NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Washington


  • When asked to name his “biggest swing and misses” during his tenure in the Cowboys’ front office, executive Stephen Jones admitted he regrets allowing Dak Prescott to play under the franchise tag last season at the end of his rookie contract: “Probably would’ve signed Dak the first time around. It would’ve been better for everybody.” (Pat Doney)
  • Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said that five of the Cowboys’ 90-man roster are unvaccinated and put the team at 77 percent vaccinated. (Charles Robinson)
  • Jones added that he’s been “really impressed” by DE Randy Gregory turning around from his off-the-field issues and expects a “big year” from the defensive end: “I’ve been really impressed with how he’s stayed the course with legitimate life challenges. … He’s got a lot of tread left on his tires. It’s what’s out ahead of him that excites me most. … I look forward to him really having a big year.” (Jon Machota)
  • As for Prescott’s participation in training camp, Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said the quarterback is expected to be fully active: “I see for him to be a full participant. It’s still a projection. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously, we’ll watch it.” (Michael Gehlken)


  • The Athletic’s Zach Berman notes that given the difference in salaries between Joe Flacco ($3.5 million) and Nick Mullens ($970,000), there’s probably not a real competition for the No. 2 quarterback job. However, Mullens could play his way into a roster spot. 
  • Berman foresees two key competitions at running back for the Eagles, with Boston Scott and fifth-round rookie Kenneth Gainwell competing for the pass-catching role and Kerryon Johnson and Jordan Howard competing for the bigger back role. The losers in those battles aren’t guaranteed roster spots. 
  • Eagles WR Greg Ward could be phased out as the team tries to shift 2020 first-round WR Jalen Reagor to the slot, per Berman. 
  • He adds one or two of either JJ Arcega-Whiteside, John Hightower or Quez Watkins will likely be cut at the end of the preseason. 
  • Berman thinks it would be unfair if the Eagles brought TE Zach Ertz to camp hoping for his value to increase following another tight end injury on another team. In his opinion, Philadelphia should find a resolution to Ertz’s situation before the start of camp on July 27. 
  • On the offensive line, Berman will monitor during camp whether G Isaac Seumalo still factors into the future at center, if former first-round LT Andre Dillard cross-trains on the right side to enhance his value as a swing tackle should he lose the competition to start, and if OL Matt Pryor can compel the team to keep a 10th offensive lineman after he fell down the pecking order in 2020. 


Last season, Washington found a diamond in the rough at tight end with a breakout season from quarterback-convert Logan Thomas. They still needed some depth at the position, particularly given Thomas is entering a contract year, and used a fourth-round pick on former Boise State TE John Bates. Though he plays the same position as Thomas, a longtime NFL scouting executive sees Bates as a much different player, calling him more of a sixth offensive lineman and classic “Y” tight end. 

“He’s never going to be dynamic. Not going to be pretty, not going to be special, but he’s going to be just above average in all facets of what he’s asked to do as a tight end,” the exec said via the Athletic’s Ben Standig. “I’ll say this: He has excellent ball skills on tape. Excellent ball skills, but he’s got really good size. He’s got average speed, average quickness, average route-running ability, but it’s functional. Then his blocking, in my opinion, was his best attribute. Not yet because of technique, but because of his desire to do it. In college football, that is hard to find. He has the right makeup and mentality and toughness to get after it. He just had no clue what he was doing. They don’t teach those poor kids in college how to block.”

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