NFC East: Terrell Owens

IRVING, Texas -- There is no way the Dallas Cowboys will let Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant see free agency.

The Cowboys will exercise the fifth-year option on Smith’s contract by May 2, guaranteeing he will be with the Cowboys in 2015. The Cowboys could also use the franchise tag on Bryant in 2015 if they are unable to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.

Ask yourself this question: Who is the last guy the Cowboys wanted to sign to a long-term deal and couldn’t? I can’t think of one.

Smith
Bryant
Bryant
But for this exercise, let’s ask another question: Who would you pay first?

To me the answer is Smith, and it’s not a knock on Bryant.

Smith is young. He doesn’t turn 24 until December. He could very well have two cracks at the big-money apple in his career. He played in his first Pro Bowl in January. He had his best season and has quickly become one of the best left tackles in the NFL.

Have I mentioned he’s young? The Cleveland Browns signed Joe Thomas to a seven-year deal worth $84 million a few years ago with more than $40 million guaranteed. Thomas was a Pro Bowler in his first four seasons before the new deal, and a two-time All-Pro. So Smith doesn’t quite have those credentials, but have I mentioned he’s young?

SportsNation

Which player should the Cowboys lock up to a long-term deal first?

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Left tackle is a more crucial spot than wide receiver, even for a receiver as good as Bryant. We see teams get by without receivers as dominant as Bryant, but you don’t see very many get by with a substandard left tackle. When a team has a left tackle, they keep him.

Smith might want a shorter-term deal than what the Cowboys want to pay. My guess is the team would like the seven-year structure just to help with the salary cap down the road. Smith might want to go shorter so he’s not yet 30 by the time he hits the market for a second time.

As for Bryant, he has answered all of the critics on and off the field. He appears to have put his troubles behind him, although Jerry Jones said at the Owners’ Meetings that Bryant must keep his guard up. There has to be a little concern about Bryant’s back, which has cost him mostly practice time the past two seasons, but Jones is not worried about the long-term effects.

The structure of Bryant’s deal will be important. Do the Cowboys try to give him higher base salaries in his guarantees rather than an overloaded signing bonus? They did it with Terrell Owens in his first contract after what Owens went through with the Philadelphia Eagles. A similar structure would seem to work for Bryant as well.

Bryant is a force in the red zone, but he can score from anywhere on the field. He has developed his all-around game, but there is more work to do. He is the veteran of the receiver room now with Miles Austin gone, so the younger receivers will be paying attention to him.

The bottom line is Smith and Bryant will be Cowboys for as long as the Cowboys want them, but if you’re picking a guy to pay first, Smith is the answer.

Parsing personnel: When to cut loose

February, 24, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS -- As a businessman, Jerry Jones has been known to make difficult decisions, cutting his losses before they became too great.

As owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jones is viewed as too sentimental to make the difficult decisions because he is too close to the players.

But in recent years he has made decisions right on time, like cutting Terrell Owens, either of the Roy Williamses, Marion Barber or Andre Gurode even if the cap situation might not have been the best or the replacement player an improvement.

“It gets pretty subjective and, yes, you can make for our team this year a bad mistake, saying, ‘You know, it’s a lot of money,’” Jones said. “Can you make a mistake the other way as well?”

He did not answer the question, but left unsaid is that any decision can be the wrong one.

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Who's been the Cowboys' best first-round draft pick in recent years?

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And that brings us to DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys have yet to talk with Ware’s agents about how to deal with the seven-time Pro Bowler’s $16 million salary-cap figure.

“We have been counting on DeMarcus Ware to be the best player we got on defense,” Jones said. “It is tough for him to practice. He hasn't been able to practice. It's not that he doesn't want to practice. It's just that he hasn't been able to practice. DeMarcus is paid like the best player on defense. You got to look at a lot of things here. As we evaluate either or, it's a question of, if not DeMarcus, then who?”

Jones acknowledges the Cowboys have a decision to make, but one has yet to be made. He also gave a nod to Ware the person and player.

“No one, no one has been a better and is a better Dallas Cowboy than DeMarcus Ware,” Jones said. “He has been exemplary in every way.

“But the facts are in football, when you start not being able to practice and you start not being able to really get your reps, then you can be DeMarcus Ware, who is a Hall of Famer, and get compromised by not being able to do fundamental things to get ready. So I look at that. Those are things you have to look at.”

But then Jones also does not fathom a defense without Ware. In a down year Ware had six sacks in 13 games. The Cowboys gave Anthony Spencer the franchise tag twice, handing him nearly $20 million, and he had one season in which he had more than six sacks.

“What are we going to think when we line up against Green Bay?” Jones said. “How are we going to feel there?”
ARLINGTON, Texas – It was ridiculous enough when T.O. celebrated on the Dallas Cowboys' star. What the heck is up with A.J. pulling that strutting stunt?

Who?

His name is A.J. Bouye, an undrafted free agent cornerback out of Central Florida who hopes to earn a spot on the Houston Texans' roster, a cause his interception early in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s preseason finale should have helped. But Bouye earned a 15-yard penalty and the scorn of Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the former Cowboys head coach, by jogging to the star logo at AT&T Stadium's midfield and celebrating by raising his arms and looking toward the roof.

It was a scene that conjured up memories of then-San Francisco 49ers receiver Terrell Owens’ infamous star-celebrating stunts at Texas Stadium in 2000.

“That’s just stupid. It’s just stupid,” said Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, who sat out the game with the rest of the Dallas starters. “I understand having fun with the game, but you know me, I don’t like to celebrate too much. I like to worry about winning football games and moving on to the next play. I guess there’s having fun out there, but at some point, it can be a little bit much.”

Bouye, who was far from brash after the Texans’ 24-6 victory, agreed with Lee’s assessment.

"I wasn't thinking, I was being stupid,” Bouye said. “It was disrespectful for me to do it, for the team and the other team. I wasn't thinking. … They don't' teach us to do that. For me to even do that was disrespectful.”

The Cowboys weren’t too bothered by the disrespect. Lee wasn’t even aware of it until informed about the incident by a reporter, as was also the case with Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones shrugged it off as “just motivation for us,” then asked if Bouye was flagged.

The Cowboys basically responded to the rookie moment by rolling their eyes.

“He’s got to understand that this is nothing to get excited about,” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said. “It didn’t count. It’s preseason. This is preseason. I’m not trying to bust his bubble, but it’s the truth. It’s just preseason.”

It was much more heated when Owens twice sprinted to the star to celebrate after scoring touchdowns in the 49ers’ September 2000 victory at Texas Stadium, which prompted ex-San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci to fine and suspend his star receiver for a game. Safety George Teague’s tenure with the Cowboys is best remembered for him running after Owens on the second occasion and delivering a big hit at midfield.

The Cowboys could have used Teague on Thursday night. None of the Cowboys on the field confronted Bouye.

“I’ve got George coaching my grandson,” Jones said, “so I’ve got him doing some heavy lifting someplace else.”
PHILADELPHIA -- The talk on the radio this morning was of Terrell Owens, which is downright preposterous and actually makes you wonder if there's any real hope for sports discourse. More realistic free-agent options (i.e., guys who have played at least one game in the league in the past three seasons) include Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie. But as the Philadelphia Eagles confront 2013 life without receiver Jeremy Maclin, who tore his right ACL in practice Saturday, it doesn't sound as though you should expect them to make any moves like that.

"We have a lot of faith in our skill position group as a whole. That's kind of how we look at it," Eagles GM Howie Roseman said before Sunday's practice. "We're not only looking at the wide receiver group. We look at the running backs. We look at the tight ends. Those are the guys that we have high hopes and expectations for."

[+] EnlargeJeremy Maclin
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesDon't expect the Eagles to rush out and sign a free agent to replace injured receiver Jeremy Maclin.
This is obviously the kind of thing a GM says after a major injury like this one, and obviously it's possible it's not true and that Lloyd and Collie will be in for workouts by the end of the day. But I think Roseman's answer here speaks to the big-picture look the Eagles are taking of their roster and of Chip Kelly's first season as their coach. The idea of replacing Maclin by adjusting the responsibilities of the remaining personnel, regardless of position, is much more in line with what Kelly seems to be about than rushing out to find an established replacement would be.

"When we met with Chip originally, he's much more personnel-driven than even I thought just from observing him at Oregon," Roseman said. "So it's going to be based on the guys who are producing at a high level. If that's the tight end position, they'll get more reps. If it's the receiver position, if it's the running back group ... I think that's yet to be determined since we're so early in camp."

We've been talking about this since before the Eagles hired Kelly. The best coaches are the ones who accurately assess their personnel and its capabilities, and design their schemes around those. It's not as though Kelly had some ironclad plan to run a certain specific offense and needs a piece to play the Maclin part in it. Losing Maclin makes the wide receiver group worse, unquestionably, but the depth the Eagles have at tight end (Brent Celek, James Casey, Zach Ertz) and running back (LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Felix Jones, Chris Polk) offers Kelly options in the likely event that Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson and Riley Cooper aren't enough to replace Maclin's production. Kelly could be sitting in a film room two weeks from now deciding that the backs look so good that the September plan will be to throw it to them as much as possible.

I wrote Saturday that the Eagles won't be able to effectively replace Maclin, and I stand by it. But they're still going to have to play the games and do what they can to score as many points as possible. It appears as though their plan for handling this situation is the same one they've had all along -- to evaluate what they actually do have and be creative with it. Kelly surely isn't scared of that. On the contrary, it appears to be something he relishes.
The big question of the day was whether the Dallas Cowboys would or should sign free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress. This all sprouted from an ESPNDallas.com report Thursday that said the team had had "preliminary discussions" with Burress' agent. Adam Schefter addressed this on SportsCenter, and while he did allow that he's surprised that Burress hasn't signed anywhere yet, he said, "it would be an even bigger surprise if he ended up in Dallas with the Cowboys. The Cowboys are trying to groom their young wide receivers, and if they wanted to sign Plaxico Burress, they probably would have done it by now."

So there you go. If you don't believe me, believe Adam. Burress isn't what the Cowboys are about right now. As you know from reading Camp Confidential earlier today (as I'm sure you all did), the Cowboys are trying to build their football program for the future. Burress isn't a good enough player at this point in his career that it's worth (a) the baggage he brings or (b) costing the young receivers reps and setting back their development another year. The Cowboys will be fine without Burress, and even if they do have an injury to Miles Austin or Dez Bryant, there's nothing in Burress' recent history to indicate he'd be a significantly better option that Kevin Ogletree or anyone else the Cowboys currently have. I'm sorry. I know he's a big name, but this isn't 2006.

If I were Burress and his agent, I would also be surprised and disappointed that Randy Moss and Terrell Owens have been able to get jobs and I haven't. And if Burress' agent is trying to drum up interest in his client, good for him. That's his job. But like Adam, I would be surprised if the Cowboys reciprocated his interest. And I think they're wise not to.
I know you guys and I have had our moments, and that we've fought and argued over matters regarding your favorite teams. But I like to think we're all in this thing together, and that... well, that you have my back. So, to that end, as I prepare to spend all day in airports and in the air, I offer you this video, which is a new ESPN.com feature called "The Huddle" that we plan to do every week. It's a look at three hot topics around the league, but this week the NFC East hook is, unfortunately, the story of Andy Reid losing his son. With Ashley Fox and Jamison Hensley, we discuss that, the Terrell Owens signing in Seattle and whether Joe Flacco has a chance to make a big leap this year with the Ravens.

Like I said, this won't always be NFC East-related, but they seem to like using me on this kind of stuff, and I'd like to do a good job with it. So you know, since I feel like you guys probably have my back, give it a click, give it a watch and let me know how you think we can make it better. Preciate it.

NFC East links: RG3's contract status

July, 16, 2012
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Dallas Cowboys

Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys' first-round pick, informs worried Dallas fans: "I'm not holding out."

Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer will most likely play with his current contract, according to his agent, Jordan Woy.

Should Terrell Owens make a return to the Cowboys lineup, there are a few current players who are walking the line on their feelings about the former wide receiver.

Coach Jason Garrett says the Cowboys aim to take advantage of using both tight ends John Phillips and Jason Witten. Garrett tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "There's going to be times when John's going to be blocking. Sometimes Witt's going to be blocking. We are trying to get them enough work in either role so we can be really diverse in our formation use with those guys."

New York Giants

Victor Cruz says he anticipates teammate Hakeem Nicks to return to the field in time for Week 1 against the Cowboys. Meanwhile, Cruz is on a promotional tour for his autobiography, "Out of the Blue."

Expecting to be the Giants' starting cornerback, Terrell Thomas says he's medically cleared for training camp some 11 months after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Philadelphia Eagles

In an era when the window for running backs shuts quickly, will the Eagles limit LeSean McCoy's touches, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Chad Graff asks.

Just a year ago, DeSean Jackson was miserable over his salary and Jeremy Maclin was battling a mysterious ailment. This season the Eagles' wide receivers are a much happier group.

Not only is Andy Reid a mentor, but he's also a realist. Defensive end Jason Babin tells NFL.com's Dan Hanzus that his plan to run with the bulls in Spain was shelved thanks to the Eagles coach.

Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III continues to pick up supporters along the way, including Redskins legend Sonny Jurgensen. Also, there are still some issues with Griffin's pending contract status.

How much room does Washington having in salary-cap space?

Video: Should Jerry Jones risk signing T.O.?

July, 13, 2012
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First Take debates whether or not Jerry Jones should give Terrell Owens a chance to make the Cowboys.

NFC East links: Greg Jennings praises NYG

July, 13, 2012
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Dallas Cowboys

For a team that believes it has its starting receivers set with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, the Cowboys bypassed on taking Josh Gordon in Thursday's supplemental draft.

Fourth-year pro Kevin Ogletree appears to be the only contender for the No. 3 receiver job who has caught a pass in the NFL, writes Josh Ellis.

In an effort to keep good with NFL brass, Terrell Owens talks up Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, calling him a "great guy." While he angles for a job, T.O. is reportedly in more trouble over late child support payments, and could face jail time.

New York Giants

Brandon Jacobs tells NFL.com's Marc Sessler the reason he's no longer in New York is simple: "It was just money."

According to Dan Benton of Giants101.com, Greg Jennings is the first Packers player to step up and truly acknowledge the Giants since the divisional playoff game.

Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick launches a sporty menswear collection called V7, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

LeSean McCoy has run 1,152 pass routes the past three seasons. Only Ray Rice (1,199) has run more. CSNPhilly.com has more on McCoy's skills outside of carrying the ball.

Speaking of McCoy, Chris McPherson, a writer with the Eagles' website, analyzes the team's ballcarriers coming out of the backfield.

Washington Redskins

A new trial date has been set for the man accused of fatally shooting Redskins safety Sean Taylor during a 2007 burglary in Miami.

Without quarterback Robert Griffin III on board, the Redskins would likely be lower than 24th in Pro Football Talk's preseason power rankings.

Others should follow in the charitable footsteps of former Redskin Bobby Mitchell, says the Washington Post's Jason Reid.


Bit of a scorpion-and-the-frog vibe to the latest story about former Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens. In this one, the sixth-leading receiver in NFL history has been released by the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League for what team owner Jon Frankel described as "lack of effort both on and off the field."
Owens
Frankel cited Owens' refusal to play in two upcoming road games that are critical to the Wranglers' playoff hopes and Owens' no-show for a scheduled appearance at a local children's hospital as the breaking points in the team's relationship with the receiver.

...

Owens caught 35 passes for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games for the Wranglers.

"It's disappointing and unfortunate," Frankel said of releasing Owens, "but (he) could no longer be tolerated by the Wrangler organization."

My first thought was, "What did the Allen Wranglers expect?" Did they think Owens was going to be a team player? A dedicated, hard-working mentor to young pros who watched his glory days when they were children? A pillar in the community? If they did, my next question would be "Have they never read anything at all about the guy?"

The Wranglers did this for the publicity, but even that's not worth it anymore. Yeah, you can tolerate a lot of things if you're an Indoor Football League team and one of the greatest receivers in football history decides he wants to play for you because he's got massive financial problems and no NFL team wants him in their locker room. But when the guy blows off sick kids, I guess that's the breaking point.

I can't imagine anybody's got much sympathy for Owens. To his credit, he never made any pretense about why he was playing in the IFL. The man needs money, plain and simple. His problem is, he's never done anything, in any of his professional stops, to make anyone want to give him the benefit of the doubt. He kept getting jobs because he was such a great player, but once his skills began to decline, no one was going to bring him into its locker room because he was a known malcontent who consistently put himself above the good of the team.

After the Cowboys released him following the 2008 season, the Bills took a shot because they felt like it would help them sell tickets. He lasted one year in Buffalo and signed with the Bengals, who consistently sign players no one else wants because they represent potential bargains. And he played well for the Bengals, who liked him so much they didn't even consider bringing him back for the 2011 season. Still in need of money but out of NFL prospects, Owens signed with the Wranglers, who were obviously thrilled to have the publicity and were willing to give Owens everything he wanted, including an ownership stake and the right not to have to go to road games if he didn't want to.

But in the end, even an IFL team that couldn't otherwise hope to attract a player with Owens' level of name recognition couldn't put him with the guy anymore, and at this point you're left to wonder what other potential income avenues are available to him. TV reality show, I guess, but he's already tried that. It's going to be pretty tough for Owens to find a bridge he hasn't burned and cross it into a friendly place that will help him pay his bills. Sad, really, but it's a case of a guy who never felt he had to care about anyone but himself learning that there was a reason to think about doing that after all.
Mike JenkinsEd Mulholland/US PresswireMike Jenkins isn't happy with his contract or his new role as No. 3 cornerback on the team.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday the team isn't going to trade disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins. We didn't post on it here because we already knew this. Everybody already knew it. Even Jenkins, though he's let it be known he's unhappy with his contract and his new role as the team's No. 3 cornerback and would like to be traded, probably knew it too. He'd have to be blind not to.

Jenkins isn't making so much money that the Cowboys would want to dump him like the Eagles did with Asante Samuel. He's too good for them to trade for a late-round draft pick and not quite good enough to convince a team to offer an early-round pick. The result is that the team, as it tends to in NFL contract situations, holds all of the cards and is required to make no move at all in response to Jenkins' decision to skip offseason workouts. If he wants to stay home, he stays home. If he wants to skip mandatory workouts next month or part of training camp, they can fine him. If he wanted to sit out a whole season, they'd just run Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick out there and take their chances. They're better with Jenkins in that mix and would like to have him, but they're not desperate enough to even consider granting him his wish.

Jenkins finds himself in NFL contract limbo, and if he's looking for a sympathetic shoulder on which to cry he doesn't even have to look outside his own division. The New York Giants' Osi Umenyiora is basically in the same situation -- he's unhappy with his contract, he isn't thrilled to be the No. 3 defensive end on his team, and he would rather play elsewhere. But he isn't getting traded either, because (stop me if this sounds familiar) he's affordable, he's too good to trade for peanuts, and he isn't going to bring back a first-round or second-round pick in a deal. The Giants are better off keeping an unhappy Umenyiora around than trading him for pennies on the dollar. It's the decision they made when he raised the same fuss a year ago, and they got 12.5 sacks out of him in 13 games (counting postseason) for their patience.

[+] EnlargeOsi Umenyiora
AP Photo/Evan VucciOsi Umenyiora did not attend the team's first organized team activity of the season on Wednesday.
If either Jenkins or Umenyiora really wanted to push this, there are two somewhat extreme ways they could go. The first is that they could sit out the meaningful stuff, like training camp and regular-season games. If they prove that they're willing to do that, then circumstances could, theoretically, improve their leverage. Say Jenkins is sitting at home in late August and Claiborne gets hurt, or Umenyiora is sitting at home Week 2 and Justin Tuck gets hurt. In cases like those, the need for the player may become great enough to warrant a new deal. But that's a big risk to take because injuries are unpredictable, and in the meantime the player has allowed the team the chance to get used to life without him.

The second option in this case is to make a nuisance of yourself -- to show up, but put your contract situation into the spotlight in an annoying and disruptive way. The all-time visual symbol of this may well be Terrell Owens doing pushups in his driveway. Jenkins or Umenyiora could choose to simply continue being a pain, in the hope that the annoyance might prod the team into trading him for less than they think he's worth. But this carries risk, as well -- the basic one being the risk of giving the outside world (and potential future employers) reason to believe you're a jerk.

The Giants don't fear this from Umenyiora, because they trust their coaching staff and their veteran locker room to effectively ignore potential disruptions. And the Cowboys know Jenkins, and I think they're betting on the idea that he's not the pushups-in-the-driveway sort.

What these guys are doing now -- skipping voluntary workouts and letting it be known through third-party sources that they're upset -- is the simplest way to make their particular point. It costs them nothing right now to stand up for themselves, and they should.

If you're unhappy at work and you feel your bosses aren't treating you fairly, it's important to find a proper and effective way to let them know. That goes for you, me, NFL players and everyone else. But in the end, in the cases of Jenkins and Umenyiora, there's not going to be anything either one can do.

This is the nature of their profession, and the working conditions under which NFL players operate. It's not fair, because teams can end contracts on a whim and the risk of injury is incredibly high, but a history of players crossing picket lines and caving in on labor negotiations has constructed a system in which the teams hold all the cards and the player rarely finds himself in the position of strength. Unfortunately for NFL players, this isn't Major League Baseball.

Jenkins and Umenyiora are both eligible to be free agents next year, and I don't think either has to fear the franchise-player designation. The franchise numbers for cornerbacks and defensive ends are over $10 million, and it's unlikely that either the Cowboys or Giants would want to commit so much to their No. 3 player at those positions.

It's too far into the future to predict for certain, but the odds are they won't be in limbo again this time next year. Right now, all these guys can do is decide how much fine money (if any) they're willing to spend to make their point, and once they reach that number, show up, practice, hope they don't get hurt and play well enough to convince some other team to give them big contracts in 2013.

It may not be great. May not be fair. But for Jenkins, Umenyiora and so many others like them in the NFL, they unfortunately don't have much choice.
Exactly one year ago today, I began my job as the NFC East blogger for ESPN.com. I did not know what awaited me, but it has exceeded all of my expectations. To say nothing of how much fun it is to write about football for a living, this job has put me in direct contact with you, the extremely passionate fans of the teams of the NFC East. It has been an eye-opening pleasure to learn, experience and continually work to understand and appreciate your perspective, without which this blog would have no soul.

My goal was to maintain a community where we could all debate topics and issues of interest to the four diverse and often adversarial fan bases, and I feel like that's exactly what this has been. We don't always agree, but hopefully you're all having as much fun with it as I am. I thank you for making this a regular stop on your daily journey of procrastination around the Internet, and I hope to continue to make it worth your while.

Links.

Dallas Cowboys

In the lead to his latest mailbag, Calvin Watkins examines the paths taken to the NFL by two of the less likely members of the Cowboys' roster.

Brandon George thinks the departure of Laurent Robinson could hurt the production of tight end Jason Witten, since teams had to devote attention to Robinson late last year and presumably devoted less to Witten. I kind of go the other way here. Especially in the red zone, Tony Romo began to look for Robinson last year. I think if no one emerges to do what Robinson did (which is likely), those red zone targets could find their way back to Witten, where they used to go.

New York Giants

Things haven't been great for all-time Giants star Lawrence Taylor for the past couple of years, and now he's auctioning off his Super Bowl XXV ring. Every day, it seems, brings us another story about players struggling with life after football. Sadly for Taylor, this is far from the first (or the worst) one involving him.

Brandon Jacobs blew off the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI ring ceremony the other night so he could stay and work with his new 49ers teammates in San Francisco. I've seen a couple of people suggest that Jacobs should have gone to the ceremony, but I disagree. I think he and Mario Manningham are trying to set a tone with their new team, as Ohm Youngmisuk's story suggests, and that they were right to play it the way they did.

Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy's agent says Andy Reid's direct involvement in the negotiations was a key to getting the new five-year deal for McCoy done. It's the third significant long-term deal the Eagles have done with Rosenhaus this offseason, including those for DeSean Jackson and Evan Mathis. Clearly, whatever damage the Terrell Owens years may have done to this particular agent/team relationship has been repaired.

There are plenty of reasons to like the McCoy deal, as Sheil Kapadia writes. I think one of the most important things to remember is that McCoy is still very young. And while some may say a long-term investment in a running back is a bad idea in this day and age, it will be some time before McCoy reaches the age at which backs start to wear down and see their production diminish.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins have agreed to terms with fourth-round draft pick Keenan Robinson, who will work at inside linebacker behind Perry Riley and the ageless London Fletcher. The opportunity to learn from Fletcher is a special one for Robinson, who has talent and could become a very good player in the NFL with that kind of a mentor.

Robert Griffin III appeared Thursday night on "The Tonight Show," and he talked about wanting to play basketball with the president. He also showed off some socks. (Have you heard he's into socks?) Here are some clips, in case you were already in bed like I was.
LeSean McCoyEric Hartline/US PresswireLeSean McCoy proved his value to the Philadelphia offense last season with 20 touchdowns.
Interesting insight here from Tim McManus on the relationship between the Philadelphia Eagles and agent Drew Rosenhaus and what that means for the prospects of a long-term contract extension for running back LeSean McCoy. The Eagles and Rosenhaus haven't always been the best of friends, and hard feelings persisted for a time from both ends after the Terrell Owens years. But the Rosenhaus-Eagles relationship this offseason has looked as strong as ever, with the long-term deals for DeSean Jackson and Evan Mathis serving as evidence:
"Every relationship needs to be worked on," said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. "If you don't work on relationships -- especially in high-pressure situations -- they can deteriorate. I think as you go further along and you have more history with someone, you understand different perspectives."

It seems clear that the relationship in question is in a good place from which to arrive at the long-term deal McCoy is seeking. The Eagles obviously have plenty of cap room with which to work. (They already did a month ago, and since then they've unloaded Asante Samuel and his $10.5 million cap number.) And they consider McCoy a vital piece of their offense, especially after he scored 20 touchdowns last season.

But running back deals aren't easy in this day and age, when the position is becoming more undervalued and wear and tear on backs leads to shorter and less productive career primes. So it's not as though the issue is going to be resolved simply or quickly. I believe the Eagles and McCoy will get a deal done eventually. I do not know if it will or can be done before training camp, before the regular season or before next offseason. I don't think McCoy will make a huge issue of things if no deal is done -- i.e., hold out of training camp or skip the first few days as Jackson did last year -- but only McCoy and possibly Rosenhaus know that.

A lot of this stuff is more fragile than fans give it credit for. As Tim points out, McCoy fired Rosenhaus twice last season, so it's always possible the agent-client relationship could surface as an issue before this is resolved. I know Eagles fans won't be comfortable until this is all wrapped up, but in the meantime I guess you can be encouraged by the idea that at least the sides are talking and friendly.

NFC East links: Pay cut for Giants' Jacobs?

March, 1, 2012
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Dallas Cowboys

What issues should the Cowboys consider before offering to extend Tony Romo's contract? ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins explores.

The NFL has never had a cheerleader older than 42. But a grandmother of two that will be 56 years old in May is trying to become a Cowboys cheerleader.

New York Giants

Running back Brandon Jacobs says the team is asking him to take pay cut. "It’s a great organization and I want to be a part of it, but if they’re not feeling the same way, then so be it," Jacobs said in an interview with NBC-4.

ESPN.com's Michele Steele sat down with Giants offensive lineman David Diehl to talk about his two Super Bowl championships and his NFL career.

ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk grades the Giants' special-teams play from this past season.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy says he's still trying to figure out how his team lost to the Giants in the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles

Is the Eagles' front office making the same mistakes with DeSean Jackson that it did with Terrell Owens? Former governor Ed Rendell weighs in.

Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com looks at whether Plaxico Burress can be a good fit with the Eagles.

Washington Redskins

Mike Wise of the Washington Post tries to temper the Robert Griffin-mania that has gripped Redskins fans lately. "Many of the same people eviscerating this team for being so irresponsible over the years have decided responsibility is suddenly boring and want to go for it. We’re all-in again for one player who we are absolutely certain can be the answer to all the franchise’s problems," Wise writes.

The Redskins may pursue free agents Vincent Jackson, Pierre Garcon or Marques Colston in their search for an impact wide receiver.

Andrew Smith of the National Football Authority breaks down the Redskins' options for upgrading at quarterback.

Linebacker London Fletcher fired agent Drew Rosenhaus.

NFC East links: Eagles shouldn't draft RG3

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
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Dallas Cowboys

Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram writes that there's a prior connection between Stanford guard David DeCastro and new Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

Not so fast, writes CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan, who argued DeCastro is not worth such a premium pick.

Executive Stephen Jones admits the Cowboys don't have "good enough talent" on defense, the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill Jr. wrote.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Tony Fiammetta is the only restricted free agent the Cowboys plan to tender.

Former Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens is reportedly facing foreclosure on two homes he owns in Dallas.

New York Giants

Brandon Jacobs will have to take a significant pay cut if he wants to return to play with the Giants, writes Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

Tight end is a position of need for New York, and Giants101.com lists the five best options on the free-agent market.

Philadelphia Eagles

Robert Griffin III is going to be an elite player in the NFL, but Dave King of InsidetheIggles.com says the Eagles "can’t draft him. They shouldn’t, and they probably won’t, for a number of reasons."

The best player available when the Eagles draft No. 15 overall, says Philadelphia Daily News' Les Bowen, will likely be a defensive tackle. Is Devon Still in the Eagles' crosshairs?

Washington Redskins

The Redskins have re-signed backup defensive end Darrion Scott, The Washington Post reports.

Donovan McNabb is no longer a Redskin, and he says he sure doesn't see Peyton Manning as one, either.

Adam Carriker tells Jake Russell of TheHogs.net that he feels he's finally coming into his own as a defensive end and he should be compensated fairly by the Redskins or some other team.

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