NFC Notes: Alex Smith, Eagles, Giants, Washington

     

Alex Smith

Washington QB Alex Smith took his recovery from his well-documented leg injury day by day, just pushing himself more to see what was possible. It turned out that what was possible was a return to play in the NFL and at a not entirely shabby level. Though retirement has been part of the discussion for Smith, he now appears to be leaning toward playing again in 2021, saying he thinks there’s “room for growth” still. 

“I had no idea how my leg and body would respond to the combination of being out for two years and the injury and the limb salvage and all that stuff; I’ve got to wear a brace to do anything,”  Smith said during an appearance on 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt. “I had no idea how I would respond to that. It’s one thing to go out there one day and roll, but could I do it over the course of the season?

“And that I think was the most encouraging thing for me. I pounded on my leg every single day harder than I ever thought I would and I felt like I got stronger and stronger and stronger and the more I pushed it, the more my body responded and my leg for that matter. I felt like if anything it only fueled me even more that I can roll and keep going.”

Eagles

  • Per Fansided’s Matt Lombardo, one NFC personnel executive believes the Eagles can be patient waiting for a team to come closer to their asking price for QB Carson Wentz: “The one thing you know for sure is Carson Wentz is not going to be in Philly. If Philly’s not getting what they want now, they’re fine waiting. They’re the ones with the commodity that people want.”
  • Wentz has a $10 million roster bonus due the third day of the league year that’s often treated as a deadline to trade him by so Philadelphia avoids committing even more to a player who’s not in their plans. But the NFC executive thinks the Eagles would potentially hold Wentz through the draft: “If I’m Howie Roseman, if they won’t want to give me what I want, if they’re low-balling me, we’ll pay [Wentz’s] bonus. We’ll keep him for now. Then, we’ll get that money back some way or somehow. But, someone is going to want Wentz. If this drags past free agency, past the draft, some team is going to look around and say ‘Oh Shit, everybody in our division got better but us, and we need a quarterback … give them whatever draft picks they want.’”
  • Another NFL management source for a different team told Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer that they thought the Eagles would draft a quarterback No. 6 overall after trading Wentz, though he acknowledged he only had a fourth-round grade on QB Jalen Hurts who Philadelphia took in the second round last year and is the presumed starter for 2021. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says multiple sources would be surprised if Eagles TE Zach Ertz was still in Philadelphia next season and both sides appear ready for a clean break. 

Giants

  • NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt lists 50 potential free agent targets for the Giants to potentially pursue at positions of need. At wide receiver, he mentions Lions WR Kenny Golladay as perhaps the top target if he’s available. 
  • He also adds Panthers GM Dave Gettleman drafted WR Curtis Samuel, who should be available, and Browns WR Rashard Higgins worked under Freddie Kitchens who’s on the coaching staff. 
  • At edge rusher, Rosenblatt notes Cardinals LB Haason Reddick is perhaps available after burning the Giants for five sacks in one game last season. Rams OLB Leonard Floyd is also potentially available and the Giants showed some interest in him a couple of years ago. 
  • Rosenblatt mentions Washington DE Ryan Kerrigan, Jets OLB Jordan Jenkins, Chiefs DE Taco Charlton and Ravens OLB Tyus Bowser as some cheaper alternatives. The Giants tried to sign Jenkins last year and Charlton had his best season under DC Patrick Graham when the two were in Miami in 2019. 
  • Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson could be an option to upgrade the Giants’ No. 2 corner spot if he’s reasonably priced, per Rosenblatt. 
  • If the Giants want to make a splash on the offensive line, Rosenblatt says Gettleman could go after Bills RT Daryl Williams, another player he drafted with the Panthers. Other options for depth include Cardinals OT Kelvin Beachum, Steelers OL Matt Feiler, Cowboys C Joe Looney or Patriots OL Jermaine Eluemunor.
  • Pending free agent linebackers like Dolphins LB Elandon Roberts, Raiders LB Raekwon McMillan, Chiefs LB Damien Wilson and Dolphins LB Kamu Grugier-Hill have familiarity with coaches on the Giants’ staff and could be targeted to bolster the depth. 

Washington

  • The Athletic’s Ben Standig says Washington is legitimately high on QB Kyle Allen as a potential starter, which he tactfully adds is not an opinion shared universally across the league. 
  • As for what it would cost to trade for Raiders QB Marcus Mariota, Standig talked to three executives who all agreed that a fifth-round pick would probably do it given Las Vegas won’t keep Mariota on his current contract. 
  • Even with an unsettled quarterback situation, one executive tells Standig Washington should be able to lure a top receiver in free agency if they want: “I think guys are worried about money, and then after money, everything else is gonna fall in line. Washington maybe has to show they’ll spend more than Green Bay because some guys will want to play with Rodgers, because they know they’ve got a shot to be in a Super Bowl, and all of these types of things, I think, comes into play.”
  • However, the executive cautions that paying a free-agent receiver big money will be a factor when Washington WR Terry McLaurin is up for a new deal in 2023 and will impact those negotiations. 
  • Michael Lombardi said on the “GM Shuffle” podcast Wednesday that Washington was interested in trading for Mariota but have since backed out on the idea.
  • Lombardi added that Washington is “kicking the tires” on a lot of quarterback options right now were among the teams in on Matthew Stafford before he was traded to the Rams.
  • Lombardi expects Washington to be in on nearly every available quarterback until they settle on their next guy.
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler points out Washington S Landon Collins‘ $12.5 million salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year and it’s already guaranteed for injury. Collins tore his Achilles last season. 
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