NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins

     

Cowboys

As the Cowboys negotiate with their big three on offense, QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper and RB Ezekiel Elliott, conventional wisdom has seemed to suggest that the sooner they can agree to a deal, the better. Elliott has two more years left on his contract, but both Prescott and Cooper are free agents after this season. Dallas can use both the franchise tag and the transition tag, but it will be expensive, with no guarantee in the case of the transition tag that another team won’t make an offer. Still, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones says the team is prepared to wait until after the regular season to pick talks back up with Prescott and presumably Cooper.

“It’s not terrifying to me,” Jones said via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “Do we want to make a deal with Dak? Do we want to do a deal that hopefully he wiil think is really good and good for him? We certainly want to do that but we’re not afraid to go another year. I mean we’re certainly not. That happens in this business. But I don’t want anyone to think we’re not going to go to the midnight hour and exhaust all things to get a deal done with Dak, to get a deal done with Zeke and to get a deal done with Amari and then get deals done with other players. That’s what we’re in the business for, to tie up young guys that we think so much of that we drafted.”

  • According to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, multiple sources told him RB Ezekiel Elliott did not inform the team he would not play without a new contract in 2019. 
  • Sources told ESPN’s Josina Anderson they still think Elliott not playing in 2019 would be unlikely at this time given Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to get a deal done. 
  • Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones says the team feels like the running back market reset with Le’Veon Bell‘s deal in March worth a little over $13 million per year: “We’ve been very generous with our offer.” (Jon Machota)
  • Jones added that there’s likely not enough momentum to sign Elliott, Prescott and Cooper before the Cowboys wrap up camp in Oxnard, California, on August 15. (Todd Archer)
  • According to Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams, Cowboys DE Randy Gregory hasn’t yet filed his petition for reinstatement, however, he still plans to play this season. 
  • Gregory had previously identified Week 1 as his goal to return, though that is looking more unlikely. 
  • The Cowboys signed OL Lukayus McNeil. (Todd Archer)

Eagles

  • The Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski writes that WR Nelson Agholor is expected to leave in free agency next season and cash in handsomely given the market for receivers. 
  • Kempski says that while the Eagles would prefer to keep OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, he might be able to cash in during free agency and claim a starting spot somewhere else. 
  • Kempski notes the Eagles have team options on LB Nigel Bradham until 2022. Bradham will count $9,767,500 against the cap in 2020, with a savings of $4,465,000 and a charge of $5,302,500 in dead money if the Eagles decline the option next year. 
  • Eagles LB Kamu Grugier-Hill is a candidate for an in-season extension if he returns early from his MCL sprain and plays well, per Kempski. 
  • Eagles CB Ronald Darby is another likely candidate to test free agency in 2020 after signing a “prove it” deal this offseason.
  • Kempski mentions the Eagles could likely tender upcoming RFA K Jake Elliott with an original round tender since he was drafted in the fifth round.
  • Eagles DE Joe Ostman‘s injury that sent him to injured reserve was a torn ACL. (Jeff McLane)

Giants

  • According to Ryan Dunleavy, Giants WR Sterling Shepard won’t play in the preseason opener Thursday and will have another X-ray on his broken thumb. 
  • The X-ray is just a progress check, per Dunleavy, not related to any reinjury. 

Redskins

Redskins QB Alex Smith has continued to stay around the team, balancing attending meetings and practice with rehabbing his broken leg. While he won’t play this season, Smith is still trying to serve as a valuable mentor presence to the Redskins quarterback room. 

“It’s definitely a different role for me, a different capacity,” Smith told the Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael on Monday, via NBCSportsWashington.com. “I’m loving being down here; I’m glad I came down. This whole experience for me has kind of been flexible with my rehab and coming back. I made the decision to come down here, and I’m really happy with it. It’s nice to be around the guys. Selfishly for me, it’s helped me pass some time. I’ve been getting good work in, but at the same time, obviously a different role, almost like a coach a little bit, especially with the quarterbacks.”

Smith shed the external fixator from his leg a few weeks ago and now just has to rely on crutches to get around. It’s a big step forward from being in a wheelchair following complications from surgery to repair his broken leg. Smith might not ever play again, but the 35-year-old veteran says he “without a doubt” wants to try to come back. 

“I’m doing well. I am,” Smith said. “I’m as optimistic as I’ve ever been. I’ve continued to progress. I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated what this road would be like. I don’t think I knew what it would be like. It’s longer than I thought. But like I said, I’m still progressing and really optimistic about what is ahead of me.”

Meanwhile among the quarterbacks set to play for Washington this year, Redskins QB Case Keenum was listed behind Colt McCoy as the starter for the first preseason game. 

“I didn’t know,” Keenum said via NBC Sports’ JP Finlay. “It’s news to me. Whatever reps I’m getting, I’m getting ready to play. That’s hands-down what I’m doing. [The depth chart] is for you guys to talk about. I’m not going to change what I do and how I approach each day.”

McCoy has an early advantage as he’s spent multiple years in the current offense, while Keenum is still working to pick it up. The veteran acquired from the Broncos via trade is still the favorite to start the season for the Redskins, though. 

“I don’t want to peak right now,” Keenum said. “I don’t want to peak as an offense right now. We’re still putting stuff in. It’s still the first time I’ve run some plays. We’re now getting to the point where there are staples to our offense. But you still want to be building. You still want to be climbing the mountain.”

  • If the Redskins end up redoing OT Trent Williams‘ deal, that could open up the door for DE Ryan Kerrigan to also request a new contract. (Finlay)
  • Like Williams, Kerrigan is 31, has two more years remaining on his deal with little guaranteed money and has been a franchise stalwart. 
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