NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Washington


  • According to Over The Cap, the Cowboys will need to save $4,714,916 in cap space to sign their draft picks this year.
  • The Athletic’s Bob Sturm and Jon Machota write that their sense is the Cowboys moved on from DE Aldon Smith because of the way he wore down over the course of the full season. They also think Dallas wants to get a good look at DE Randy Gregory as a starter in the final year of his rookie contract. 
  • Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy described free-agent Smith’s situation as “fluid” on Thursday and didn’t rule out bringing him back. Werder reports that Dallas’ coaches want Smith to return but the front office informed Smith he won’t be back on the team. 
  • McCarthy said they are still in talks with LB Sean Lee about returning for the 2021 season. (Jon Machota)
  • McCarthy said it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cowboys select defensive players in the 2021 NFL Draft: “I wouldn’t be surprised if we take some defensive players in the draft.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • As for the Cowboys’ backup quarterback role after the departure of Andy Dalton, McCarthy said it’s “definitely a position” they will address: “It’s definitely a position we’ll continue to look at.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • Mccarthy added that they have spoken to some of the veteran quarterbacks available in free agency. 
  • As for where the Cowboys will line up recently signed Keanu Neal, McCarthy explained that Neal will start out working with the linebackers. (Jon Machota)
  • The Cowboys’ defense struggled mightily throughout the 2020 season. McCarthy mentioned that they must improve on conducting their virtual offseason program this time around: “We need to do a better job in the virtual component of it.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • When talking about the Cowboys’ defensive lapses in 2020, McCarthy believes they tried to “change too much” and overcomplicated the situation: “We tried to change too much on defense, if you’re looking for a mistake. And I don’t think we made a mistake. We just didn’t get it done. We went in with too much volume.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • McCarthy feels the addition of new DC Dan Quinn will help provide stability to their defensive unit: “I think… the largest change is clearly on defense. Consistency puts you in place to win championships… The change with coordinator and the coaches, we feel the direction the team needs to go is with Dan Quinn.” (KD Drummond)
  • McCarthy added that the Cowboys’ defense will have 3-4 and 4-3 components and will focus on player “alignment and assignments.”  (Jane Slater)


  • The Athletic’s Zach Berman expects the Eagles to add a complementary running back sometime during the draft to provide a physical element to the backfield and push RB Boston Scott for playing time.
  • He also highlights RB Jason Huntley, a fifth-round pick by the Lions last year who Philadelphia landed on waivers, as someone to pay attention to.  
  • Berman writes that former second-round WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside will need to prove he deserves a roster spot entering his third training camp this summer. 
  • Berman notes the Eagles need to find a fourth defensive end and a third defensive tackle, which are key role players in their defense. Joe Ostman and Hassan Ridgeway are the current incumbents at those spots. 
  • Once again, Berman says linebacker is shaping up to be a weakness for the Eagles and is a position they could add a free agent or draft pick. He adds the same is true at cornerback where they need another starter either outside or in the slot depending on what they do with Avonte Maddox.
  • Berman mentions Eagles S Rodney McLeod will take the other starting safety spot if/when he’s healthy, but until then, Philadelphia will have to rely on either new pickup Andrew Adams, 2020 fourth-rounder K’Von Wallace or Marcus Epps.
  • New Eagles veteran QB Joe Flacco mentioned that he wasn’t signed to purely mentor QB Jalen Hurts: “Your goal as a football player is to show people around you that you can play football.” (Martin Frank)
  • Flacco added that there haven’t been any discussions on whether he’d compete for the starting job or if it was clear he’d be a backup. (Jimmy Kempski)
  • Flacco said he had interest elsewhere on the open market but felt comfortable with the Eagles’ new coaching staff: “[That] really led to my decision.” (Zach Berman)


  • Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, other executives were shocked the Giants didn’t just trade a late-round pick to the Titans for CB Adoree’ Jackson. One NFC personnel evaluator pointed out they made a much bigger financial commitment as a result: “Call Tennessee and give them a sixth- or seventh-rounder and you get him for the one year at $10 million and you can see what you have. Instead, the Giants will pay Jackson $16 million in year one.”
  • Fansided’s Matt Lombardo says he’s heard from multiple scouts around the league that Giants GM Dave Gettleman is zeroing in on Alabama WR DeVonta Smith with the No. 11 pick. 
  • Penn State LB Micah Parsons mentioned that he’s been in contact with Giants DL coach Sean Spencer “numerous times” throughout the pre-draft process. (Art Stapleton)
  • Giants’ recently signed TE Kyle Rudolph said he is adjusting to his new team after spending 10 years with the Vikings: “The hardest thing for me was to quit referring to the Vikings as ‘we’ and ‘our’. I kept catching myself saying ‘we’ and ‘our’ and I was no longer a Minnesota Viking.” (Zack Rosenblatt)
  • Regarding his success in the red zone, Rudolph believes his ability to catch contested passes makes him a valuable target: “Making contested catches. You’re not going to get someone to come open wide open schematically… Either Kyle’s getting it or no one’s getting it.” (Art Stapleton)
  • Rudolph added that he plans to undergo surgery on a lingering issue in his foot which caused him to miss the final four games of 2020 but will be ready for the start of the regular season. (Art Stapleton)
  • Rudolph confirmed that he won’t miss Week 1 of the regular season: “I’m not expecting to miss any football.” (Matt Lombardo)
  • As for other teams that were interested in him on the open market, Rudolph said he selected the Giants over “12-13 other teams.” (Zack Rosenblatt)
  • According to Over The Cap, the Giants will need to save $4,103,304 in cap space to sign their draft picks this year.


Washington Football Team president Jason Wright said he’s received input in support of the organization continuing with its current name. 

“There are a set of folks that have warmed to the Washington Football Team,” Wright said of input the organization has received. “Some of the things that are emerging from that are the Washington Football Team has something that ties deeply to our history. It feels like that isn’t jettisoning all the things we have been in the past, whereas something that’s completely new might feel that way. It’s important for a substantial part of our fan base to feel that this is a continuation of something versus a complete reset, something brand new.”

Wright said there’s a chance for the official name to be announced at the end of the 2021 season, but there is no official timetable. 

“The sooner the better — that’s one thing I hear from the fan base,” Wright said. “I would like it sooner than later, but it’s hard to commit to timing because the importance here is thoroughness, rigor and ensuring that we have been inclusive of all the folks that we need to listen to. That works against speed in some ways, but we’re moving as fast as possible.”

Wright mentioned that Washington’s owner Dan Synder and their front office have felt pressure to make the right decision over the team’s official name. 

“The pressure is felt from the fan base to us,” Wright said. “Dan feels it. I feel it. Our entire team feels it. This fan base deserves something that is thoughtful, that has taken their input into consideration very deeply.”

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