NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants

     

Cowboys

It was not an April Fools joke. The Cowboys signed former 49ers and Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith on Wednesday to a one-year deal with a base salary of $2 million — far more than the veteran minimum. Smith is still suspended indefinitely for various violations of the NFL’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies, but he has turned his life around enough for Dallas to give him another shot. 

“Life is good. I’m thankful. I’m blessed. I’m a Cowboy,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “There is beauty in the struggle. Life will always present us w/ tests. I’ve learned how to take a different perspective on the adversities of life. Instead of looking at life as a victim, I have embraced the journey as God has planned it, making exponential strides towards becoming a better man. Take this time that we have away from our normal day to day activities and think about changing your perspectives. Focus not on how bad this situation is but instead on how we can all come out of this better people. Let’s work on the things we have been putting off and grow towards our ultimate potential.”

  • Smith’s contract does not include any guaranteed money but he will receive $90,000 upon his reinstatement to the NFL, $50,000 30 days after reinstatement, $100,000 for reporting to training camp, $100,000 for two preseason games and $100,000 at the end of the preseason. If he doesn’t make the final roster, Dallas is out $440,000. (Todd Archer)
  • The rest of Smith’s deal includes a $910,000 base salary and up to $650,000 in per-game active roster bonuses. He also has incentives totaling $2 million, including $500,000 for eight sacks, $1 million for 10 sacks, $1.5 million for 12 and $2 million for 14. (Archer)
  • LSU CB Kristian Fulton has spoken to or scheduled to meet with several teams including the Cowboys. (Justin Melo)

Eagles

Eagles DB Jalen Mills said he is expected to fill in the role vacated by S Malcolm Jenkins, who signed with the Saints. 

“As far as the shoes I’m going to have to fill with the name Malcolm Jenkins, of course, it’s going to be a task,” Mills said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There’s been a standard set there — you could go past Jenk to Brian Dawkins — a tone setter at that position in the city of Philadelphia.”

Jenkins believes that Mills “learn this new role quickly” and will be a player the Eagles move around to multiple positions. 

“I think Jalen is a competitor first,” Jenkins said. “So wherever he is on the field I know he’s going to compete. He’s a smart player who studies the game and I believe he’ll learn this new role quickly. Similar to me, I think when injuries inevitably hit the secondary, he will be the guy they can put anywhere, and he’ll do well.”

Jenkins expects the Eagles to use Mills as cornerback in 2020. 

“I’m sure you’ll see him at corner at some point during the season. I told him what the old vets used to tell me, ‘The more you can do, the harder it is for them to get rid of you!’”

Giants

  • According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Giants free-agent LB Markus Golden was seeking $10 million a year on the open market but hasn’t found any takers at that price which is why he remains unsigned. 
  • Raanan says it seems unlikely the Giants and Golden will be able to make the finances work to bring him back in 2020, with one source expecting Golden to be patient: “The $10 million is gone. Don’t think he’s getting [$8 million]. But it won’t be too far off.” 
  • Raanan expects the Giants to focus more on potentially adding a low-cost veteran pass rusher like Cameron Wake, Jabaal Sheard or Vinny Curry rather than pursue an elite, expensive option like Jadeveon Clowney or Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue
  • SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano reports the Giants are wary of Clowney’s injury history which includes three knee surgeries. 
  • On top of that, New York would have to rescind the franchise tag on DL Leonard Williams to be able to afford Clowney or another high-priced player, which the team says isn’t an option. 
  • The best pass rusher the Giants did sign, former Packers LB Kyler Fackrell, is motivated to rebound after following a 10.5 sack 2018 season with just one sack last year: “I believe that I am better than a one-sack guy, and I think that’s what I’m gonna prove.” (Art Stapleton)
  • Despite the dropoff in production, Fackrell thinks he had a better season last year than the year before: “I think I had 200 less rushes, but I ended up with more pressures. As a player, I think I took a step forward.” (Vacchiano)
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