It has been a memorable offseason for most fans of the NFC East, from blockbuster trades and draft day reaches, to star player holdouts and TMZ videos; here’s a quick recap to get you up to speed before the season gets underway.
New York Giants
It was, simply put, a disastrous offseason for the Giants.
It has been a long time since the Jets were the better of the two New York teams yet, unbelievably that time looks to be now.
The first eyebrow raising move out of the Gettleman office this spring was the release of Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins, who was quickly scooped up by the Redskins.
Following that, the Giants felt the need to balance the field and shipped off Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns in the biggest move of the offseason. You could rationalize this move somewhat if Gettleman had taken the draft stock acquired and used it wisely to create a better football team. However, that logic wasn’t evidently apparent with the choices that were made in the Giant’s 2019 Draft.
Most bewildering of all was the selection of quarterback Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick (Pick Six – get it?) widely considered to be one of the least attractive options under center, passing up Josh Allen, and edge rusher they badly needed, and also Dwayne Haskins – a much more highly regarded prospect who, as fate would have it was also scooped up, again, by a QB-hungry Washington Redskins.
Running back Saquon Barkley may be looking at a 400 touch season as he will undoubtedly be shouldering most of the offensive load this season. Especially when you consider that not only did the Giants lose Beckham, but they also lost Corey Coleman for the season with a torn ACL, number two wideout Sterling Shepherd has a fractured thumb, and new acquisition Golden Tate will begin the year suspended.
The Redskins front office began the offseason amid a storm of controversy (as per usual), releasing fan favourite DJ Swearinger on Christmas Eve, and signing Rueben Foster who, at the time was facing charges for domestic battery.
Since then however the charges were dropped, but Foster will still be ineligible to play this season after tearing his ACL earlier in the year.
Dan Snyder and Co. regained some points with their fanbase by grabbing the aforementioned Landon Collins after his release from the Giants, finally bringing him to the team he wanted to play for due to his love of Sean Taylor.
They followed that move up by pulling off landing what has been unanimously considered as one of the greatest draft classes in the history of the franchise.
After the Giants failed to take Dwayne Haskins, Washington were more than happy to grab the Ohio State quarterback as they look for a future leader under center. They then traded back up into the first round to take the falling Montez Sweat who also filled a position of need at OLB/EDGE.
Now comes the interesting part for Washington – do they let the rookie sit for a year to develop under Alex Smith in the same way Patrick Mahomes did at Kansas City before he was unleashed onto the league to MVP plaudits? Or do they start him in Week One and hope he is good enough to lead the franchise to the promised land?
I think you can see what I think they should do…
RGIII is still too recent a memory.
But the man in the hot seat is coach Jay Gruden, who is under pressure from Snyder to win now or risk likely losing his job – unfortunately, the Redskins have the longest Vegas odds of winning the Superbowl this year.
Their receiving corps is ‘untested’ to be kind, having sent Jamison Crowder to the Jets, and ‘not at all a strength’ if you were being honest. There could be potential in the backfield with return from injury of last year’s second round pick, running back Derrius Guice, who will likely split carries with the ageless Adrian Peterson, but the prospect of “win now” football in D.C. is unlikely this year.
Expectations are high for an Eagles team that made it to the Divisional Round of the Playoffs last year, and consisting of many of the same parts that won a Superbowl title two years ago.
A couple of obvious departures however were those of backup, and Superbowl winning quarterback Nick Foles to Jacksonville, and late-season trade from the Lions Golden Tate, to the Giants.
Philadelphia didn’t have many issues entering the offseason especially as their secondary finished the season in a more cohesive place, but one position with a question mark hanging over it was at running back.
This was addressed two-fold with the addition of Bears’ workhorse back Jordan Howard as well as landing Saquon Barkley’s Penn State backup, Miles Sanders in the second round of a draft that saw the Eagles delight their fanbase with a flurry of trades leading to a respectable overall haul.
Carson Wentz is back again from injury and Philly fans hope that this will be the season that it comes together for him, having missed the last two playoff runs.
His ability under pressure in those sort of situations has yet to be tested, but if he can keep his rapport with star tight end Zach Ertz, there is confidence in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Cowboys made very little noise this offseason – partly due to the team not having a first round pick in the draft thanks to the mid season trade for Amari Cooper.
They shipped of slot stalwart Cole Beasley and brought in Green Bay’s Randall Cobb, and Miami’s Robert Quinn on the defensive side of the ball, but this season will be more about continuity for Dallas.
They have a young, strong defense who look to be the strongest in the division without a doubt, and a quarterback/running back duo who are both in a contract year.
However, all is not harmonious in Jerry World. Whilst Prescott is handling his business in a less headline grabbing manner, running back Ezekiel Elliot has decided to hold out.
This coupled with a TMZ video that shows him apparently having a physical altercation with a security guard have lead to a distinctly sour atmosphere in the Jones camp with regards to their Pro Bowl running back.
Jerry Jones has been quick to point out that running backs are a dime a dozen, and feels that the team is more than just their star in the backfield.
Disparagers to this notion are quick to point out that the only titles the Cowboys ever won were with the presence of All Pro backs.
But regardless of how things shake up in Dallas, the bottom line is the Cowboys will look to build on last year, and dominate the NFC East.
Our NFC East reporter is Chris Milner who covers Redskins, Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants. Chris is a Washington Redskins fan who has followed the game since 2011. He is one of our fantasy football correspondents and also co-hosts the ‘Same Level Fantasy Football’ podcast. Follow him on Twitter @chrismilner