NFC East: Darcy Johnson

NFC East: Free-agency primer

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
9:49
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Dallas Cowboys

Potential unrestricted free agents: G Montrae Holland

Potential restricted free agents: NT Junior Siavii, WR Miles Austin, DE Stephen Bowen, CB Cletis Gordon, DE Jason Hatcher, WR Sam Hurd, T Pat McQuistan, C Duke Preston, G Cory Procter, S Gerald Sensabaugh, DE Marcus Spears, S Pat Watkins, K Shaun Suisham.

What to expect: Anything is possible with Jerry Jones in charge, and the Cowboys could make a big splash after an underwhelming offseason a year ago. But in terms of team needs and what is required to take the next step, Dallas really doesn’t need much. A big-time impact safety makes some sense and could make a very good defense great, but that might be a project for the draft in a trade-up scenario for someone like Earl Thomas. But Darren Sharper might pique their interest. They also need to get younger along the offensive line, particularly at tackle, but that seems like a draft-day project, too. Maybe Jones gets real aggressive in the wide receiver market, as Roy Williams certainly is not living up to his billing, but the Cowboys are still rather stacked with pass-catchers. All in all, this is a team that is sitting pretty and doesn’t have a prominent unrestricted free agent who is poised to leave.

New York Giants

Potential unrestricted free agents: QB David Carr, LB Danny Clark, P Jeff Feagles, DT Fred Robbins

Potential restricted free agents: WR Domenik Hixon, TE Darcy Johnson, DE Dave Tollefson, G Kevin Boothe, S C.C. Brown, DT Barry Cofield, CB Kevin Dockery, WR Derek Hagan, WR Sinorice Moss, T Guy Whimper, LB Gerris Wilkinson.

What to expect: Big things could be in the works here, as there are already rumors swirling that New York could be a prime suitor for linebacker Karlos Dansby. An impact linebacker is certainly near the top of their wish list and Dansby fits the bill. Plus, he is extremely versatile. Getting faster on defense is a huge priority with new coordinator Perry Fewell stressing the ability to cover a lot of ground. However, Dansby isn’t really the thumper they need in the middle and is more of an outside linebacker for this system, although he would be great on passing downs. This is a group of decision-makers who might be starting to feel some heat, so do not rule out a big move or two.

Philadelphia Eagles

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Jason Babin, S Sean Jones, LB Jeremiah Trotter, LB Tracy White

Potential restricted free agents: LB Akeem Jordan, P Saverio Rocca, WR Jason Avant, C Nick Cole, LB Omar Gaither, LB Chris Gocong, CB Ellis Hobbs, G Max Jean-Gilles, TE Alex Smith, FB Leonard Weaver.

What to expect: There are questions on the offensive line, but overall, the Eagles are in a prime situation to improve their defense, particularly up front and at safety. Remember, they have quarterbacks to dangle as trade bait and really do not have any unrestricted guys that they need to bring back. This is a possible landing spot for Julius Peppers and he would be terrific on the opposite side of Trent Cole, who is among the most underrated players in the game and could blow up with someone taking pass protection attention away from his side. Count on the Eagles being aggressive in the free-agent and/or trade market. It might just be enough to get them that ever elusive Lombardi trophy. Stranger things have happened.

Washington Redskins

Potential unrestricted free agents: LS Ethan Albright, DE Phillip Daniels, T Levi Jones, C Casey Rabach,
P Hunter Smith, T Mike Williams, DE Renaldo Wynn, TE Todd Yoder.

Potential restricted free agents: DE Lorenzo Alexander, T Stephon Heyer, LB Chris Wilson, QB Jason Campbell, S Reed Doughty, DT Kedric Golston, LB Rocky McIntosh, DT Anthony Montgomery, C Will Montgomery, CB Carlos Rogers.

What to expect: This is a difficult team to get a grasp on in terms of what they might do in free agency, but I think it is safe to say that ownership will not hold Mike Shanahan and company back from opening up the check book and signing (and even overpaying) players whom they desire. It would be wise for Washington to have an excellent idea of what they are going to do with the fourth overall draft pick in terms of going quarterback or offensive tackle before really devising a free-agency plan. Rebuilding the offensive line is a must and Shanahan needs lighter, quicker (and younger) linemen than are on the roster. A running back they can trust wouldn’t hurt either, although it looks as though Clinton Portis will return, which they may regret. But don’t forget, this is a team that -- unwisely in my opinion -- is switching to a 3-4 scheme, so inside linebacker help is required, as are defensive linemen who fit the new scheme. The Redskins have a long wish list, but also have the ownership to endorse big spending when free agency opens.

Giants have a lengthy injury report

December, 24, 2009
12/24/09
9:37
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Perhaps Tom Coughlin is erring on the side of caution, but his injury list reached double digits Wednesday. You know it's bad when players who haven't been listed on the injury report (wink) are being placed on injured reserve as was the case with tight end Darcy Johnson.

Here's the rundown on the players that Coughlin listed on the injury report:

Players who did not practice Wednesday: LB Michael Boley (triceps), RB Ahmad Bradshaw (ankles/foot), CB Corey Webster (knee), RT Kareem McKenzie (knee) and G Rich Seubert (knee). If Boley can't go against the Panthers, it would pose quite a problem. The Panthers' running backs can catch the ball and they'd likely be matched up with players such as Jonathan Goff, Clint Sintim and Chase Blackburn. As we saw the other night, Blackburn's most effective when he's allowed to focus mostly on special teams. I thought his play on special teams set the tone early in the Giants' blowout win over the Redskins.

Here are the players who were limited in practice: CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), LB Chase Blackburn (ribs), S C.C. Brown (hamstring), CB Kevin Dockery (ankle), LB Jon Goff (hamstring/rib), WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), K Lawrence Tynes (right hamstring).

I had a good visit with Nicks immediately after the game Sunday night and he was very optimistic about his quick return. It seemed like Coughlin was more worried about the injury than Nicks. But from what I'm hearing, Nicks should be good to go against the Panthers. And if New York could somehow slip into the playoffs, I sense that Nicks is about ready to take off. He didn't get off to the fast start like Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson did last season, but he's now a big play waiting to happen.

Giants place TE Johnson on IR

December, 23, 2009
12/23/09
2:52
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The New York Giants have placed tight end Darcy Johnson on injured reserve and he will miss the rest of the season. Johnson's name hasn't shown up in the injury report this season, so the move comes as a surprise. He told reporters that he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4 and then reaggravated it on Thanksgiving. But Johnson continued to play until he was inactive for Sunday's game against the Redskins.

Coach Tom Coughlin said that his decision Sunday was based on the feeling that reserve tight end Bear Pascoe could be used as a blocker, which isn't one of Johnson's strengths. Of course, teams have been known to play fast and loose with injury reports in the past.

And it's not like Johnson's quotes suggested that he needed to be shut down for the season. Now, the Giants have been able to sign tight end Scott Chandler off the Cowboys' practice squad. Chandler, a former fourth-round draft pick by the Chargers, was a standout at Iowa and he's probably a better blocker than Johnson.

Giants: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
6:34
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley


Biggest surprise: I guess Sinorice Moss actually making the team would qualify as somewhat of a surprise. He thought his days with the team were numbered, but he had two touchdowns in the Giants' final preseason game. The fact that Moss and Derek Hagan are both on the final roster is pretty surprising. The Giants now have seven receivers on the 53-man roster. That could certainly change if they make a move before the season opener or immediately after. I'm mildly surprised by Darcy Johnson making the team over Mike Matthews, who has played in every game the past two seasons. Matthews was traded to New England for a conditional draft choice. Johnson has more athleticism and his blocking's improved. Interesting to see the Giants release both Rhett Bomar and Andre' Woodson. They were both pretty bad in the final preseason game. I'm sure general manager Jerry Reese will try to sneak Bomar through to the practice squad. I'm a little surprised about former Penn State defensive end Maurice Evans getting cut. I don't think the Giants will be able to get him on the practice squad.

No-brainers: Cornerback DeAndre Wright looked OK early in camp, but he was exposed in the preseason. The Giants love to keep draft picks, but I'm not sure Wright will even be considered for the practice squad. He was outplayed by an undrafted player named Bruce Johnson, who made the 53-man roster. I also think safety Travonti Johnson is a no-brainer. Every time I looked up, Johnson was giving up a deep ball. And he didn't bring enough on special teams.

What's next: The Giants will be scouring the waiver wires to see who ends up getting cut along the offensive and defensive lines. With defensive tackle Jay Alford out for the year and Chris Canty still nursing a hamstring injury, I think Reese will keep his eye on some rookes who were released from other teams. And it's not like they have tremendous depth on the offensive line. I think Cliff Louis had every chance to make the team, but he made far too many mental mistakes. And the penalties didn't help. Glad to see defensive tackle Dave Tollefson grab one of the final spots. Interesting to see Leger Douzable make the roster. He may have been the last man in -- or maybe it's Hagan.

Jumping the gun on Giants' cuts

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
5:27
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley


Through various news outlets (including this one), the Giants' cuts have been trickling in all afternoon. Here's what the Daily News was reporting as of 5:10 p.m. ET. No huge surprises, but it does look like the Giants will release reserve quarterbacks Andre Woodson and Rhett Bomar. General manager had indicated that Woodson was having the better training camp, but the former Kentucky player wasn't able to take it to the field in preseason.

After spending a fifth-round pick on Bomar, I'm sure the Giants would like to get him through to the practice squad. It's a bit of a surprise the Giants kept Darcy Johnson over Mike Matthews, who was the better blocker. I watched Johnson limp through a practice in Albany and sort of wrote him off.

We'll see if the Giants try to get defensive end Maurice Evans through to the practice squad. He sort of flashed early in training camp, but we haven't heard much from him lately. Not a surprise that cornerback DeAndre Wright will probably be released. He received a lot of opportunities, but he gave up too many big plays.

The Giants will put defensive tackle Jay Alford on injured reserve and then put linebacker Michael Boley on the suspended list. And don't think this will be a "final" 53-man roster. Jerry Reese will watch the waiver wire closely and see if he can add some depth in the defensive line.

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