NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins

     

Cowboys

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott‘s negotiations went down to the wire, with Dallas and the star running back agreeing to a deal early Wednesday morning in time for him to take part in practice for Week 1. Elliott ended up re-setting the market for running backs, signing a six-year, $90 million deal that was instantly criticized by many as too much for a running back.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acknowledged Elliott “plays a position that has some interesting dynamics” but defended Elliott as an exception to the usual rule of running backs being replaceable. He cited Cowboys Hall-of-Fame RB Emmitt Smith and said he and Elliott are both “lionhearted” and worth the investment.

“Zeke has been, arguably, our best player,” Jones said via CNBC. “I’m not trying to be unfair to anybody else, but he’s an incremental part to our success. We’re glad to get him booked in.”

  • According to Jane Slater, the Cowboys plan to manage Elliott’s reps on Sunday against the Giants, planning for him to play 20-25 snaps. 
  • Elliott says he feels like he’s in great shape and can handle however many touches Dallas gives him on Sunday: “I feel good. I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to be back on the field. I’m excited to go win some ballgames.” (Jon Machota)
  • Dallas saves $1.6 million against the cap this year by signing Elliott, who now counts for $6.339 million. (Todd Archer)
  • Spotrac.com points out that Rams QB Jared Goff‘s record-setting four-year, $134 million contract that includes $110 million guaranteed is “certain to drive up” the price of Cowboys QB Dak Prescott‘s possible extension.  
  • Charles Robinson writes that Goff’s deal “further cements” Prescott’s argument to be paid “slightly above” Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz‘ guaranteed figure of $107.9 million. 
  • Adam Schefter also writes that Prescott is now “in the primmest position of all” with his contract negotiations after Goff’s deal. 

Eagles

Eagles GM Howie Roseman is one of the most diligent executives in the NFL in terms of investigating potential trade opportunities, big and small. He reportedly was one of the general managers exploring a trade with the Texans for DE Jadeveon Clowney, but the fact that the Eagles didn’t beat the Seahawks offer of a third-round pick and a pair of backups speaks volumes about what Roseman thinks of the current defensive ends on the roster. 

The Eagles re-signed DE Brandon Graham to a major deal last year and drafted Derek Barnett in the first round in 2017. Clowney would have pushed one of those two to the bench, which Roseman was likely referring to when he said recently “we aren’t just trying to collect talent, we are trying to build a team.”

“We drafted Derek [Barnett], it goes without saying and you’ve heard it from a lot of people that we are excited about Derek and his opportunity on this field,” Roseman said via 94WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks. “We re-signed Brandon Graham, brought back Vinny [Curry]. Really, it is important for one of these young guys as our fourth defensive end — we drafted two guys in the fourth round, Daeshon [Hall] was drafted in the third — those guys need to step up. If they don’t, we’ll address that at that time.”

  • Eagles HC Doug Pederson confirmed WR DeSean Jackson, who broke his finger recently, would play in Sunday’s game against the Redskins, per ESPN’s John Keim.
  • Pederson confirmed the team would continue to rotate running backs as it was a key part of his philosophy to keep players healthy through the entire season: “If you don’t have a couple of guys to hang your hat on, it’s difficult.” (Mike Kaye)

Giants

  • According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Giants TE Evan Engram is in line for a potentially “massive” role this year and could be the team’s leading receiver.
  • Giants OT Mike Remmers missed practice Wednesday with a back injury and illness. Remmers, New York’s projected starting right tackle, had back surgery this offseason. (Raanan)
  • Art Stapleton believes that the Giants should sign DE/OLB Nate Orchard, who was released by the Dolphins on Tuesday. 

Redskins

  • Redskins HC Jay Gruden said TE Jordan Reed (concussion) would do some limited work on Wednesday with the hopes of being cleared from the protocol in time for Sunday’s game. (Mike Garafolo)
  • Gruden added there was no real timeline for Reed, but he could take the post-practice baseline test tomorrow. (JP Finlay)
  • Redskins CB Fabian Moreau is a “long shot” to play Sunday, per Gruden. (Finlay)

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