NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins

     

Cowboys

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy and new LB Aldon Smith have off-field plans to help Smith re-adjust to life in the NFL after a lengthy five-year absence.

“When we met, it seemed like we had known each other,” Smith said of McCarthy on Fox Sports last Thursday, via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That was really important to me because going through this process, I wanted to surround myself with people who I felt that connection with. I felt like he genuinely cares about me and what I’m trying to do. Just me as a man. That obviously played a vital role.”

Despite stellar play early in his career, Smith’s struggled with sobriety, depression and several other legal issues.

“He has missed 5 years of the NFL and done everything now in the last nine months to get himself right not just for himself but for other people,”  said Smith’s agent Ron Slavin. “I understand when fans get fed up with players who continue to make mistake after mistake and get other chances but that not the case with Aldon. He got suspended and never tried to make a comeback until now. This is the first time he has actually stayed sober and done the right things off the field to get back and I think he deserves a chance. I think everyone should support him because it is a disease and alcoholism is rough for a lot of people in our country.”

Eagles

Former Ravens and Broncos QB Joe Flacco is one of the many quarterbacks with a long, established resume who are left still without a team for 2020. Like the others, Flacco has some medical questions. A neck injury ended his 2019 season with the Broncos. He’s also likely looking at having to take a backup position to keep playing, and he says he wouldn’t mind that job being with the Eagles. 

“I grew up with it. . . . All my friends, live and die with the Eagles. There definitely be a lot of very cool things about that. You never know what the future holds,” Flacco said via NJ.com’s Mike Kaye.

  • According to the Athletic’s Aaron Reiss, the Eagles might be a potential trade fit for Texans WR Kenny Stills. Philadelphia could part with a 2021 draft pick if they don’t like what they come out of this year’s draft with, though Stills’ $7 million cap hit is a hurdle. 

Giants

The Giants had the cap space to make a little more noise in free agency than what they ended up doing, particularly as it related to former Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney, who remains unsigned. But Giants GM Dave Gettleman said they placed an emphasis on bringing in players they were familiar with. And with the COVID-19 shutdowns affecting physicals, players with medical question marks were almost automatically taken off the table. 

“There is a little bit of a lean toward people you know in free agency,” Gettleman said via the team website. “Times have changed. I know back in the day in free agency you had time to bring a guy in. You could spend a day with him to get to know him. Now we are speed dating and the decision happens before you can get a guy in the building, before you can get a physical, and that’s even before COVID-19. I don’t think it’s any more sensitive, but I do know for us a big concern was the medical piece. We are making decisions and you are building your roster. Just think about what happens if you sign a high dollar guy and he doesn’t pass his physical, now where are you? Now you have spent in free agency and now the draft and you think you have your team set and you put together what you think is a good roster. Then, all of the sudden, a guy doesn’t pass his physical. The guys we signed, we felt we got good value and we are very pleased with the group.”

  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini and Jordan Raanan analyze the offensive tackle class, which is tightly bunched with little consensus among the top four as evidenced by their poll of 11 NFL evaluators.
  • Both the Giants and Jets are candidates to take one of Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs or Georgia’s Andrew Thomas in the top 11 picks. 
  • Becton is seen as the player with the most potential given his staggering size and athleticism at 6-7 and 360+ pounds. However, there are some work ethic and technique concerns by some scouts. He has the “gold-jacket potential” Gettleman covets but also more risk, while the Jets would be nuts to pass on him if he falls to them, per ESPN. 
  • Raanan and Cimini say the buzz for Wills to the Giants has been building given the connections to Alabama on New York’s coaching staff. Wills would start on the right side and could eventually move to the left. He’s seen as the most pro-ready of the group and a great fit at right tackle for either the Jets or Giants. 
  • The evaluators pegged Wirfs as the most athletic and scheme versatile of the top guys, with some believing he’d be an elite guard. Both the Giants and Jets would be strong fits. 
  • Thomas is seen as the most game-ready of the top four tackles at left tackle despite some technique issues. However, there hasn’t been a ton of buzz connecting him to the Giants. Cimini thinks the Jets might consider a receiver before Thomas, but he does have the intangibles GM Joe Douglas looks for. 
  • Florida EDGE Jonathan Greenard had virtual pre-draft meetings with the Giants. (Melo)

Redskins

  • According to the Athletic’s Aaron Reiss, the Redskins might be a potential trade fit for Texans WR Kenny Stills, as Washington has multiple Day 3 picks if Houston wants to unload the 28-year-old receiver and his $7 million cap hit. 
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