NFC Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Panthers

     

Cowboys

Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith said he has “added tools” to his game this offseason and is looking forward to showing off his “versatility” as a defender. 

Really just some added tools for myself, man,” Smith said, via The Boys & Girls Podcast. “Being able to showcase my versatility, you know being able to run sideline-to-sideline, being able to rush the passer. I’m just looking forward to being able to showcase all of my talents. These guys are putting everyone in the right position, so all I can be is thankful.

Giants

Art Stapleton reports that Deandre Baker has been told by the Giants not to participate in their virtual offseason program in order to focus on his legal issues.

Baker is set to be released on $200,000 bail on Sunday. (NFLTR)

  • According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants have not pursued free-agent OT Larry Warford, DE Jadeveon Clowney, or Jaguars’ franchise DE Yannick Ngakoue this offseason due to their excessive price tags. 
  • Vacchiano mentions the Giants should now consider pursuing free-agent CB Logan Ryan after Baker’s arrest for aggravated assault and armed robbery.
  • Vacchiano says the Giants are hopeful to re-sign OLB Markus Golden at the right price. 
  • Vacchiano lists cornerback, center, edge rusher, and another receiver as positions the Giants could still use some help at. 
  • According to Vacchiano, there is still some uncertainty with Giants LB Ryan Connelly‘s rehab from a torn ACL, as he still has “a lot of steps” left with his recovery. 
  • Vacchiano “wouldn’t bet on” the Giants acquiring a wide receiver at the trade deadline if their receiving corps struggle this season.
  • As for the possibility of the Giants converting TE Evan Engram to wide receiver, Vacchiano notes that Engram enjoys playing tight end and there has been “no indication” of a switch.  
  • Giants RB Saquon Barkley acknowledged that his ankle injury was still bothering him when he came back just four weeks after spraining it: “It was more nagging than anything. It was tough to deal with. Once we got to the offseason and I got some time to myself to work on it and be happy with it, it made me feel a lot better.” (Zack Rosenblatt)

Panthers

After becoming just the third player to have both 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey reset the running back market with a four-year, $64 million extension this offseason. McCaffrey’s versatility was a crucial part of his pitch to the team, as it helped offset general NFL concerns about paying running backs major salaries. 

“You want to hire someone who speaks three languages great rather than one language good,” McCaffrey said via USA Today’s Jori Epstein. “I felt like I could do that on the football field.”

McCaffrey’s team, led by agent Joel Segal, pitched Carolina not just on McCaffrey’s rushing and receiving ability, but also data from Pro Football Focus that showed McCaffrey was one of the better pass-blocking backs in the NFL last year. It also didn’t hurt that Carolina didn’t want to deal with a holdout from the centerpiece of their offense. 

“I really didn’t want to miss any meetings,” McCaffrey said before adding, “[But] I was definitely willing to and I think everybody knew that.”

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