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March 26, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Dan Graziano

Dan Graziano
  (12:00 PM)

Greetings and welcome to our Tuesday NFC East chat. Let's have some fun.

Joe (NYC)

Have the Giants shown any interest whatsoever in Urlacher? He would seem like such a great, short term, addition to the squad? He may have wanted more money in CHI, but I would think the 2 sides have a lot to gain from working with each other

Dan Graziano
  (12:02 PM)

I like Urlacher for the Giants if he'd take a veteran minimum deal. He obviously doesn't want to do that, but it's possible he ends up having no choice. I think he's be a good fit in their defense and their locker room, and they have a little bit of coverage with young guys and Dan Connor so they wouldn't need to overtax him work-wise. But the Giants don't tend to view linebacker as a need position the way we seem to view it as one for them. So I doubt they're in the market for Urlacher.

rob va [via mobile]

You were saying the cowboys are losers in free agency explain? I know they haven't addressed their needs but how are the giants winners?

Dan Graziano
  (12:05 PM)

Mickey Spagnola sent you, didn't he? The Cowboys are "losers" because they haven't been able to do anything and they have needs to fill. I think they made a panic-driven mistake by franchising Anthony Spencer and it has cost them the chance to upgrade their offensive line. The Giants are "winners" not because they did anything spectacular but because they did what they wanted to do. They had goals, targeted certain players and executed their plan. That exercise, for me, wasn't about deciding who signed the biggest names but rather evaluating which team was able to do what it wanted to do. And no matter what the Cowboys tell you, I promise they would have liked to have more flexibility over the past couple of weeks.

Justin (B-More)

The slow developing DB market has to play right into the Redskins favor? A lot of hungry vets gotta eat, even on the cheap?

Dan Graziano
  (12:07 PM)

Yes. They will eventually find someone. Though they will have to clear more cap room no matter how cheap he is. I don't even think they have enough room right now to sign their draft picks, though the fact that none of them will be first-rounders helps with that.

Fred (Dallas)

Dan, If the top five OL are off the board when Dallas draft's at 18, do you believe the Cowboy's should draft Fluker or their next highest rated OL? Do you think that might be reaching for one need? If they left Vaccarro or Sheldon Richardson on the table to draft Fluker, wouldn't the Cowboys be guilty of passing on better talent for other needs?

Dan Graziano
  (12:08 PM)

I don't understand how Fluker is a reach. I've seen him projected to the Giants at 19, or to the Bengals at 21, but if the Cowboys take him at 18 he's a reach? I don't get that. I love Fluker for the Cowboys. He's a run blocker, sure, but they obviously could use that. Take the best offensive lineman available at 18 and don't look back. It solves short-term and long-term problems.

Marty (Raleigh)

With all the "expert" draft prognosticators predicting the Giants take a TE or LB (most likely not), do you see the g-men making a move on Rhodes or Trufant to help the much maligned secondary?

Dan Graziano
  (12:09 PM)

Taking a DB would be more in line with their draft history, yes.

Gary Cook (MA)

How come you don't do a mock draft (like Kiper and McShay) for the NFC East? I'd like to hear your perspective on what you think each team will do and possible target names.

Dan Graziano
  (12:10 PM)

Well, we kind of talk about that continually, and will do so more leading up to the draft. It's still 30 days away, you know! Also, last year we did a bloggers mock draft where I and the other seven division bloggers did a live mock of the first round with trades and everything. I believe we're planning something like that again.

Dan (Your Computer Desk)

Thoughts on John Keim being out of a job as the Washington Examiner has chosen to drop local sports coverage? I believe he is the go-to writer for post game analysis of all things Redskins.

Dan Graziano
  (12:12 PM)

Obviously, these are tough times in this business, for newspapers in particular, and I hate to see anyone lose a job, especially a friend whose work I respect as much as John's. I have no doubt he'll land somewhere and you'll still be able to enjoy his insight. But yes, it's upsetting that he's going through that, and it's a loss for Redskins fans if he writes less.

Hanson (DC)

If you do the blogger mock draft again do you lean toward your picks being what you think the team should do what you think they will do?

Dan Graziano
  (12:13 PM)

Good question. I think probably try to balance both. The thing I was most proud of last year was that Paul Kuharsky and I worked out a first-round trade between the Eagles and Jags that landed the Eagles Fletcher Cox, and on draft day it actually happened. We were fired up about that.

Joe Girardi (Tampa)

You know anyone who can hit or play shortstop or anywhere in the outfield? We're desperate here man...

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

No kidding. I've lived in New Jersey nearly all my life and it's been a long time since there's been this much pessimism about a Yankees season. I have a feeling they'll be better than people think.

Kung Fu (Panda)

Dan, How do you interpret the cowboys bringing in Safeties like Michael Huff? Do you still think the cowboys will draft an OL in the first? I think they are leaning towards safety.

Dan Graziano
  (12:15 PM)

I don't see why you'd think that. They really like Church and Johnson, and they're looking for a veteran to help them hedge. You know, in case everybody but them was right about Johnson. I think taking a first-round safety would signal that they don't view Church and Johnson as starters, and I think they do.

Brian (Philly)

Why'd the Eagles move training camp back to the city, isn't that just intentionally limiting your exposure to the fans? Were there financial or logistical reasons or does Kelly just play everything closer to the vest?

Dan Graziano
  (12:17 PM)

He said it was because the facilities in Philly are better than what they have at Lehigh, and he's surely right. But the collateral damage is, obviously, the loss of the fans' training camp access to the team. It's a shame. That Lehigh setup was very nice.

robin (kansas)

I get how you say there are "plenty" of 1st round lineman talent for the cowboys to pick from at 18. However, Mcshay, and all the espn draft experts work for espn, and not nfl teams for a reason. Maybe dallas doenst grade them the way they do. Maybe they see far fewer 1st round prospects at the line position. If what they consider a 1st round talent doesnt make it to them, do they still take a lineman? I undersand YOU may see fluker has a 1st rounder, but if they dont, and take a diffrent positon, i dont think we should all "jump ship". Are rankings could be way diffrent then theres. I agree though, if its close, they need to take a lineman. There season depends on improving there line. Just my 2 cents.

Dan Graziano
  (12:18 PM)

Not just this season. Future seasons also depend on improving the line. It's the right long-term move as well as the right short-term move, and there will be a player there who fits what they need. It just seems too obvious to me to ignore. I think they'd be negligent if they didn't come out of the first round with a new starting offensive lineman.

Ivan (Dallas)

With Orakpo and Carriker coming back shouldnt the Redskins be excited for even if they have to go with a patched up secondary? I still believe Fred Davis will return.

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

They have every right to be excited, and they are the defending division champions. Just don't be surprised if opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers are just as excited about that secondary.

RCU Loves Peaches (Oklahoma chapel )

Which NFC east team will be the first to draft a quarterback?

Dan Graziano
  (12:19 PM)

Eagles

Kung Fu (Panda)

interesting sentence, Dan. "I think taking a first-round safety would signal that they don't view Church and Johnson as starters, and I think they do."you really think that a second year, unproved back-up has the cowboys confidence?I think not, even if they bring in a veteran, i think he will play a mentoring role to the cowboys 18th pick, Vaccaro

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

I don't think they SHOULD have confidence in Johnson, and I know for a fact they're not CERTAIN about him as a starter. But they believe he can be, and they want to give him a shot at it.

Scott (DC)

"RG III tosses football to elephant at circus." What more evidence do we need that he's ahead of schedule?

Dan Graziano
  (12:20 PM)

Planning an in-depth examination of that for a post this afternoon. Lots to break down there on the elephant front.

Hanson (DC)

After watching the line play recently shouldn't the Cowboys trust someone else's opinion more than their own.Not like they have added any real talent at the position in a while.

Dan Graziano
  (12:22 PM)

Yes, I believe the Cowboys have reached the point at which they need to realize the approach they take to the offensive line is a flawed one. They need top talent there. Tyron Smith is a start, but they need more. For too long, they've seemed to believe they could just patch it together there. It hurts them every single year at this point.

Matt (Tampa)

Is Chip Kelly going to coach to his players talents as much as everyone seems to be saying he is going to, or are we (Philly fans) set up for more disappointment?

Dan Graziano
  (12:23 PM)

It's a total wild card, Matt. There is simply no way to know for sure whether Kelly is up for this. The Eagles have obviously convinced themselves he is, and he seems to be an intelligent guy. But lots of questions with a new coach who's new to the league. Could go either way, honestly.

Dave (Charlotte)

Can you include whether or not the elephant has good hands and foot speed? My Patriots need a wide out that can stretch the field.

Dan Graziano
  (12:24 PM)

The elephant has no hands of which I am aware. I'm much more interested to find out if she's a willing downfield blocker.

rawzie (oklahoma)

since garrett has been HC, there drafts have actually been pretty good. He even talked jerry into taking a lineman in the 1st round , for the 1st time in his regime (tyron) Agree?

Dan Graziano
  (12:25 PM)

I didn't love their draft last year, as most of my readers know. But obviously, if guys like Johnson and Crawford perform, I'll be proven wrong. Smith and Carter the year before looks pretty good at this point.

Christopher (Randolph, NJ)

What are the chances the Eagles can land Andre Smith?

Dan Graziano
  (12:26 PM)

I'm sure they could if they wanted to. It does not seem as though they do.

Matt (vermont)

If Johnson starts at safety and plays well for the cowboy's this season how many words will there be in your appology you write to him for ripping on him since his name was called last April?

Dan Graziano
  (12:27 PM)

Whatever. I can admit when I was wrong. But I have nothing against the kid. Just the fact that they drafted him in the fourth round when he'd have been there in the seventh. And I love that the same fan base who doesn't want to "reach" for the 20th-best guy in the draft with the 18th pick defends the use of a fourth-rounder on a guy who may not have been drafted at all.

Lebron James (Miami)

For my next act, I will quit the sport I love to join the Eagles. I hear they need a QB.

Dan Graziano
  (12:28 PM)

No, buddy. You need to win seven more games in a row before we let you out.

Gene (DC)

Who is up next for a pay cut/restructure/release for the Redskins?

Dan Graziano
  (12:28 PM)

Top of my head, I'm pretty sure Cofield and Chester could be reworked, Orakpo could be extended. Those are some options.

Riley (VA)

Sunday at 9:00 p.m, you watching season finale of Walking Dead or premiere of Game of Thrones?

Dan Graziano
  (12:29 PM)

THRONES!!!

Jarett (NYC)

Any chance that the Giants try to integrate some sort of zone read/pistol plays into their offensive playbook to give opposing teams a taste of their own medicine? It they draft a guy like Denard Robinson who can play running back/wide receiver but also could take some snaps at quarterback it might work.

Dan Graziano
  (12:30 PM)

Having listened to the Giants' head coach discuss the problems with the zone read last week, and address it as a fad and a puzzle that defensive coaches ultimately will solve, I would say likely no. And I sincerely doubt the Giants are looking for ways to snap the ball to someone other than Eli Manning.

Corey (Philly)

With all the new guys we're bringing in, someone between Trent Cole, Vinny Curry, and Brandon Graham will be a casualty. Is there some trade material in that bunch or do you think it will end up in someone being cut?

Dan Graziano
  (12:31 PM)

This always gets me too. It's as though people don't understand that there are more than 22 guys on these rosters. Why not be deep at pass rusher? How can you get good value for Cole off the year he just had? Why would you trade a young, cheap talent like Graham just as he's hitting his stride? What's the rush to dump guys. Depth matters.

RCU loves Peaches (OK wedding chapel)

You'd claimed the Cowboys were better equipped to convert to a 4-3 than the eagles were to convert to a 3-4.Now that free agency moves are nearly complete, do you change your views on who is more ready to convert?

Dan Graziano
  (12:32 PM)

No. I think there are more players on the Cowboys' defense who benefit from a switch to the 4-3 than there are on the Eagles' defense who benefit from a switch to the 3-4. I would cite Ratliff, Lee, Carter and Hatcher as examples for Dallas. In Philly, I think Fletcher Cox will be fine, but I don't think he's going to play considerably better as a result of the switch. Who does it actually help?

Paul (Randolph, MA)

You've written a few times about the Cruz contract situation, but I don't think you've ever answered this question: If YOU were the Giants GM, would you pay Cruz top SLOT money or top RECEIVER money?

Dan Graziano
  (12:34 PM)

I think the Giants are doing the right thing with Cruz, assuming they're offering to make him the highest-paid slot receiver in the game. They tried him on the outside last year and it didn't work. I think they're right to tell him, "You are what you are, and you're fantastic at it, but you're not Hakeem Nicks."

Joseph (Philadelphia)

As a fellow Georgetown Alum, isn't it time we admit that John Thompson III is not his father and pull the plug?

Dan Graziano
  (12:36 PM)

Don't get me wrong. What happened Friday hurt like hell, and was the worst one yet. I am sick to my stomach over the continued refusal to take the NCAA Tournament seriously. That said, I think you have to assess what the coach has done and the kind of program he's running and the kind of kids he's turning out and the way they develop and improve while they're there. And I think if you do that, you can't fire a guy just because he chokes in the tournament every year. I HATE that he chokes in the tournament every year, but there's more to the job than that tournament.

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

And that's it. That's all the basketball we're discussing today. Period. I haven't watched a second of that tournament since I turned that game off in the second half Friday and won't watch a second of the rest of it. Maybe ever again.

Kung Fu (Panda)

Ok then, Dan. Different topic. What are your thoughts on how Jerry and Stephen Jones are handling their current cap crisis? I actually like the "wait and see" type mentality that they are taking. I wonder how much longer Jerry holds the GM spot and hands it off to Stephen...

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

I think they're doing fine, given the situation, and I think Stephen is more involved than people realize.

WyattBurp (Detroit)

Postscript. Nnamdi Asomugha. Will he stay in the NFC East, or find employment elsewhere?

Dan Graziano
  (12:37 PM)

No, it sounds like New Orleans or San Francisco, right?

Paul (Randolph, MA)

Bradshaw is still not picked up by any teams. Surprised?

Dan Graziano
  (12:38 PM)

Well, he's not fully healthy, so I guess not. I think if he does recover fully from his surgery, he helps someone in 2013.

Pete (Connecticut)

Dan please stop criticizing fan bases as a whole. Not all of us are completely ignorant

Dan Graziano
  (12:38 PM)

Noted.

rob va [via mobile]

You were saying you didn't like the cowboys draft last season did you forget Claiborne?

Dan Graziano
  (12:40 PM)

Of course not, but as I wrote at the time, I disagreed with them using their first two picks to get him. I thought they needed to get two players in the first two rounds, and they got one.

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

As I always say, we can't predict how these guys are going to play. So to evaluate a draft based on that is foolish. If I say I didn't like a team's draft, it's generally because I didn't like the value they got for their picks. Using two picks to get Claiborne didn't seem like a good use of resources. Using a fourth-rounder on a guy who maybe could have been an undrafted free agent didn't seem like a good use of resources.

5StarUnderDawg (Yonkers, NY)

Darrell Revis decides to take a one year contract and stay in NY with the GIANTS! Wishful thinking?

Dan Graziano
  (12:41 PM)

Yes. The Jets won't trade him to the Giants.

Joe (IL)

Could you type faster please? You barely answer any questions, and the ones you do are unrelated to football.

Dan Graziano
  (12:42 PM)

Somebody forcing you to be here, Joe?

Gregg (Poland)

Dan do you think think the Eagles would be smart to completely ignore the QB position in this draft build depth and find a QB in 2014?

Dan Graziano
  (12:44 PM)

Yeah, I mean, I don't think they should draft a QB they don't like just to do it. They have coverage at the position for 2013. If they draft a guy, I believe it'll be because they like the player and think he has a future, not just because they're supposed to draft a QB.

Jerry Reese (in the draft room)

Kyper has me taking Manti Teo. What do you think?

Dan Graziano
  (12:44 PM)

I just don't see it. Carl Banks was the last linebacker the Giants took in the first round. Carl Banks.

Carm (NJ)

If you could have dinner with one of the division's owners, who would it be?

Dan Graziano
  (12:45 PM)

Oh, Jerry Jones, without question. Don't you think that'd be the most entertaining one?

rob va [via mobile]

How do you think Spencer and ware hold up on the d line they are small for those positions

Dan Graziano
  (12:46 PM)

I think they'll be fine.

weech (SoCal)

If you had to pick up the check in that dinner, which owner would it be with?

Dan Graziano
  (12:47 PM)

I promise you that I will never offer to buy dinner (or anything else) for a billionaire.

Jon (NYC)

I understand that the Giants prefer to draft the best player available on their board but it seems to me that, for the first time in a while they don't have the luxury of just ignoring needs. The roster situation isn't dire or anything, but they do have pressing needs on the OL, at LB and in the secondary. Is this the year we see them draft for need?

Dan Graziano
  (12:49 PM)

The Giants' patterns are extremely well established. If they take a LB or OL in the first round, it'll be because they have that player ranked well above the options at other positions. They order their priorities, and those spots don't call for them to spend big resources like first-round picks.

Master (Shifu)

Dan, I have been openly ridiculed for my opinion of how Jerry Jones blew the Spencer deal and strapped himself over a barrel just to fill his roster, much less improve it. Your thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:50 PM)

I think he blew the Spencer deal. It was a mistake to franchise him, it cost him the ability to maneuver in the offseason, and the way the market has developed has shown that they didn't need to do it.

Mr. Burden (dallas)

Is Dallas better off long-term biting the bullet this year regarding salary cap? At some point, the past will catchup. As long as the Cowboys restructure enough to sign drafted players, a short-term hit may be better than kicking the can. Your thoughts?

Dan Graziano
  (12:51 PM)

I agree. Same with the Redskins, who appear to have decided to take that approach.

TMSCFINEST (Toronto, Ontario)

Dan, do you have an opinion on why the Eagles haven't picked up a right tackle in Free Agency??? If they're going defense with the 4th pick, surely they can't be thinking of keeping Watkins at right guard.

Dan Graziano
  (12:53 PM)

I think they should have signed a right tackle or right guard, yes. I think at some point it becomes fair to call the Eagles out for failing to spend to the cap.

Tommy ( (Wye Mills, MD))

Since Spencer was franchised for the season, he has no reason to 'come to a long term agreement' with the Cowboys to assist them with their cap issues as he is locked into receiving a large sum of money this year, correct?

Dan Graziano
  (12:54 PM)

Correct. They will have to offer a long-term deal that includes more than $10.6 million guaranteed, and I'm sure they understand that.

Willis Drummond (Gary, IN)

Dan,Is there any sensible reason that the Cowboys would bring back Doug Free in light of his awful 2011-2012?

Dan Graziano
  (12:55 PM)

No. I think he's a goner.

Mr. W (Dallas)

teo ran a 4.7 40, is that good enough to get the giants' attention?

Dan Graziano
  (12:56 PM)

Carl Banks was the last linebacker the Giants took in the first round. Carl Banks. It was 1984.

Mike (Ft. Worth)

Obviously the Cowboys need to free up cap space, but I feel that cutting Connor was a mistake. Why am I wrong?

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

Because he didn't play that well for them and they're going to start three linebackers this year instead of four.

Jon Snow (The wall)

Why would you call out the Eagles for failing to spend to the cap? If they feel they don't like any of the current free agent lineman or their price is too high. Why would you blame a team for being smart for not overpaying? The Eagles have clearly shown since Jeff Lurie has bought the team they have always managed the CAP well and always have the flexibiliity to sign whatever players they need versus the cowboys are always over the cap.

Dan Graziano
  (12:57 PM)

I mean, they're 12-20 the last two years and under the cap by eight figures.

Matt (Tampa)

you said "I think at some point it becomes fair to call the Eagles out for failing to spend to the cap". With cap space carrying over to the next year is that not smart? The eagles already have 120M tied up next year (per eaglescap.com) so carrying 15M or so to give them the same flexibility next year that they have this year isn't a bad idea. Thats about all they'd have left after another small signing or two and rookie contracts.

Dan Graziano
  (12:58 PM)

They have their young core locked up. What are they saving it for? Maybe a QB if they can find one next year, but what else. Who's coming up who needs a big contract? Maclin?

ken (ohio)

If a new owner buys the cowboys, will they keep Jerry Jones on as GM?

Dan Graziano
  (12:59 PM)

That's funny.

Chris (Boston)

Who was the last linebacker the Giants took in the first round? The name is escaping me.

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

They've taken three, ever. Banks, Lawrence Taylor and Jim Files in 1970.

Robert Griffin III (Virginia)

You will blog about my spectacular performance in Week 1, Dan.

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Again?

Bashshar (ac) [via mobile]

Carl banks he said it 3 times

Dan Graziano
  (1:00 PM)

Fairly sure he was being sarcastic.

John (MI)

Does Kiwanuka count as a first round LB? I know he was a DE at BC.

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

Drafted as a DE, plays LB now but he's really a DE, right?

weech (SoCal)

Dan, Chris was making fun of you. FYI

Dan Graziano
  (1:01 PM)

Oh, I got it.

Tim (New Haven)

Prediction: I'm "banking" you will leave in the next minute

Dan Graziano
  (1:02 PM)

Yeah, what the heck? It's after 1 pm. See ya!