NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins

     

Cowboys

Part of the holdup in contract negotiations for the Cowboys this year is they have three key players in QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR Amari Cooper who can all lay reasonable claims to being among the highest-paid at their respective positions. Ideally, the team would like to not sign any of them at that premium. 

“We’ve got three really good football player that we’re dealing with here and that have very good representation. And they want to see the market,” Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said via the Athletic’s Jon Machota. “We can’t push the issue unless we want to be a market-setter. And we’re damn sure not going to be a market-setter, because of all the things that go with being a Dallas Cowboy.”

Part of what Jones is tasked with figuring out is locking up the aforementioned trio without compromising the Cowboys’ flexibility to sign other core players. Notable players Dallas would like to extend in the near future include CB Byron Jones, OT La’el Collins and LB Jaylon Smith. Getting a couple players to take smaller contracts would make it easier to fit everyone under the salary cap. 

“We want to be fair. We want our players to feel good about their contract. But at the same time, we don’t want to do things that are out of line because we can’t afford to be that way,” Jones said. “Whether it’s Dak, whether it’s Amari, whether it’s Zeke, they all understand we’ve got a whole group of young players coming behind them that want to be Dallas Cowboys and want to stay here. When we save money, whether it’s with Dak, whether it’s with Zeke, whether it’s with Amari, it’s not saving Jerry and I a dollar. It’s just money that’s going to go to another player….We’re very convicted that we’re going to get these deals done.”

  • Per Machota, Jones says Saints WR Michael Thomas‘ $100 million extension doesn’t reset the bar they were looking at in negotiations with Cooper: “I think it’s probably in line with what we were thinking. I’ve got a little better numbers than that. … We’ve drilled down on it and got some good numbers.”
  • Jones said the team would have obviously preferred to have Elliott with them in training camp instead of away in Mexico: “Do we like it? Of course not. Do we think there’s a better way to handle things? We do. Are we focused and convicted on getting Zeke a contract? We are.” (Machota)
  • Elliott’s deal is not close to being done, with the two sides still in disagreement over “everything” in the contract. (Jane Slater)
  • The Cowboys are trying to reset the market from the deal signed by Rams RB Todd Gurley, who Elliott’s side is holding up as the standard for a new deal. They’ve also signed RB Alfred Morris as an extra layer of insurance if Elliott’s holdout continues. (Slater)
  • However, both sides believe having Elliott in the fold gives the team their best chance to reach the Super Bowl. 
  • Todd Archer reports that Cowboys’ veteran LB Sean Lee sustained a “minor” MCL sprain in his right knee and team will be “cautious” with him going forward. Cowboys HC Jason Garrett confirmed that Lee does not require surgery.

Eagles

  • Eagles CB Orlando Scandrick‘s one-year deal is worth $1.12 million and has a $1.03 million base salary with $90,000 total in per-game roster bonuses. (Adam Caplan)

Giants

With all of the injuries to the wide receiver position, the Giants might have to turn to unconventional places to find production on offense. One option is giving S Jabrill Peppers some chances on offense, as Peppers played on both sides of the ball while he was in college. Peppers said he’s open to the idea, though it’s not done often in the NFL. 

“Guys might not have gotten chance, and guys might not want to because now it’s about making your career last as long as possible so you reap the fruits of your labor,” Peppers said via NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy. “I definitely think there are guys that can do it. But will they do it? Will they want to do it? Will the team make them do it? Especially if they are key guys. It’s all up in the air. It depends on a lot — the type of system and type of franchise.”

  • Giants HC Pat Shurmur says sixth-round CB Corey Ballentine could be an option to return kicks. (Matt Lombardo)

Redskins

Redskins’ executive Bruce Allen said the team would “love” to have LT Trent Williams back at practice, who is holding out for a new contract. 

Training camp is going on, we’re doing well, and we’d love to have Trent here,” Allen said, via Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Allen said the Redskins’ signing veteran OT Donald Penn does not impact their extension discussions with Williams. 

We like Donald – Donald had a good workout,” Allen said. “But we still want Trent.”

Redskins OL coach Bill Callahan said they hope to play Penn at left tackle and move RT Ereck Flowers “inside”.

Hopefully we can settle Ereck inside now with Donald coming. I feel good about depth at guard with Ereck and Wes beginning to be developed. Donald gives us another LT we can work and hopefully we get Trent back,” said Callahan, via John Keim.

  • As expected, Redskins fourth-round RB Bryce Love is not expected to begin the regular season on the active roster, per ESPN’s John Keim.
  • Love tore his ACL earlier this year preparing for the draft and is still working his way back.
  • Redskins first-round DE Montez Sweat left the field with cramps as the medical staff wanted to be cautious. (JP Finlay)
  • Redskins OT Donald Penn said he reached out to OT Trent Williams, who is a friend, before he signed with Washington. (Keim)
  • Penn didn’t get into specifics of his conversation but did say he wanted to sign somewhere he had a chance to start. 
  • Penn mentioned being able to play left tackle was important for him, as a Lisfranc injury in his right foot made playing on the right side and pushing off that foot harder. (Keim)
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