Everyone is sad that football is over but the offseason is right around the corner. Philadelphia not only won the NFC East this past year but finished off the season with a Super Bowl championship. Dallas won the division a year ago and the New York Giants also are one-year removed from a playoff spot. As for Washington, we will have to wait and see what Alex Smith can bring to the table.
Teams can officially slag that good ole franchise tag starting on February 20th. Free agency begins shortly thereafter on March 12th. Championships are won in the offseason, just ask Howie Roseman. What can we expect from the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins during the 2018 NFL offseason?
Free Agents: Stephen Paea, Byron Bell, Jonathan Cooper, Alfred Morris, DeMarcus Lawrence, Brice Butler, Anthony Hitchens
Dallas is projected to have around $18 million in cap space to work with. The problem is franchising DeMarcus Lawrence is going to cost them around $17 million. The Cowboys can essentially let everyone else walk but keeping Lawrence should be the Cowboys first priority. Lawrence, 25, racked up 14.5 sacks for Dallas in 2017. The former 2nd round pick from Boise State hasn’t produced much up until this past season. franchising him seems to be the logical move to see if this wasn’t some sort of one-year wonder.
Cutting Dez Bryant seems like a logical thing to do as well. Releasing the X-Man will save $8 million towards the cap. Let’s face it, Bryant couldn’t separate from a statue last year and has clearly lost a step. Bryant, 29, played in all 16 games and came away with 69 catches for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns. Bryant is also a big-time distraction and demands the ball ruining the flow of the offense. It’s time for 88 to go. Outside of restructuring contracts, there is no other logical way to create cap space anyway on the Cowboys roster.
New York Giants:
Free Agents: Shane Vereen, D.J. Fluker, Jonathan Casillas, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Geno Smith, Orleans Darkwa, Kelvin Sheppard, Mark Herzlich, Akeem Ayers, Devon Kennard
This team just flat out stinks. Is there any reason to bring back one of these impending free agents? New York has just $15 million in cap space remaining to start the offseason and that cancer Odell Beckham wants an extension. There’s zero chance that I would pay Beckham but knowing the Giants, he’s in line for a huge payday that will likely preclude them from doing much of anything on the market.
Eli Manning should be used as a trade piece. Clearing Manning off the roster would clear $10 million. Holding the 2nd overall pick, there’s really no reason to keep Manning as a $22 million backup. Brandon Marshall and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are also prime candidates to fall victim to roster cuts.
Free Agents: Darren Sproles, Nigel Bradham, Trey Burton, Corey Graham, LeGarrette Blount, Najee Goode, Patrick Robinson, Beau Allen
The Eagles have an entirely different task to worry about, getting under the cap. Philly enters the offseason more than $12 million over the cap. Cutting Torrey Smith saves $5 million with no dead money. Cutting Brent Celek saves $4 million leaving $1 million behind in dead cap. Dumping Nick Foles, Mychal Kendricks, and Vinny Curry would get Philly below the cap. Jason Peters may also have to be part of the cap-clearing effort. Sure, Howie can reshuffle the deck and sink below the cap number with some restructuring but it’s going to take some work. It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows putting the Eagles in a tough spot to start out 2018.
Free Agents: Kirk Cousins, Terrelle Pryor, Shawn Lauvao, Zach Brown, Niles Paul, Trent Murphy, Dustin Hopkins, Bashaud Breeland
Washington got started with their offseason a little early this year when they acquired Alex Smith to lead the franchise. While he might be a slight upgrade over Cousins, Smith is still mediocre and the Skins will need to put together an elite roster around him. Zach Brown, Trent Murphy, and Bashaud Breeland will likely be the targets to bring back. Washington doesn’t have an unlimitless cash flow to work with because they have just $24 million in cap space.
Realistically, the Redskins have no choice but to just let Kirk Cousins walk. It may not be a bad thing, however, because they can score a third round comp pick as long as they don’t mess up in free agency.