Despite no longer under the imposed cap penalty and a projected increase in the salary cap, the Cowboys are basically still struggling to tie down key players and a number of free agents this year. Aside from the notable Dez Bryant and Demarco Murray, the Cowboys have a ridiculous amount of free agents to sort out.
Dallas are struggling to find space in their salary cap to include these players. This is partly due to Tony Romo's contract, which has been restructured a few times already, to the point where he is projected to earn over $27 million in 2015. Obviously that is unsustainable and they will most likely look to restructure or even renegotiate with Romo to releive some of this pressure on their finances.
Dez Bryant received the franchise tag yesterday, which hasn't gone down well with him. There are also these rumours about a shocking video of him that is yet to surface. If it does then we could be looking at another Ray Rice/Adrian Peterson scenario, and one that would really hurt the Cowboys organisation and ultimately their offense.
Demarco Murray is also set to hit free agency. Many believe that he will be easily replaceable behind the impressive Cowboys offensive line, but that may be a bit speculative. Many also believe that Peterson will end up in Dallas, but with said cap issues I highly doubt they can afford to pay Peterson what he would expect.
One final notable change, and is one to our benefit. This of course is the loss of Bill Callahan as the offensive line coach (who joined the Redskins if you have had your head in the sand). Callahan was widely respected for the brains behind the strong performance of the Cowboys offensive line last year, and Dallas' loss is our gain.
The Cowboys have a lot of work to do, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them actively trade back and maximise picks in the draft to help alleviate cap issues and replace some of their free agents. It is doubtful they make a splash in free agency.
New York Giants
Compared to the rest of the division the Giants are having quite a time of it. Most of their news is coming from the coaching staff, with a decision only recently made on Tom Coughlin's contract. Last year he signed a 1 year extension to avoid the dreaded lame duck scenario. Same applies this year, with reports coming out last week of a deal being done. It is not a ringing endorsement of a coach though is it? You have to question how long they can do that and how much longer Coughlin can stay in New York, especially with the recent results on the field being less than inspiring. They obviously also got rid of Perry Fewell, who is now the defensive backs coach with the Redskins.
In terms of player news, the Giants had one major decision to make with Jason Pierre-Paul, who was officially tagged yesterday. They also need to make decisions on Walter Thurmond III and Antrel Rolle in the secondary.
So this is where it gets interesting. After a power struggle in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly now handles all GM duties, and reports are growing in weight every day that they want to trade up to pick Marcus Mariota in the draft. If they do, it is doubtful we would hear much of it until the night itself. Of course, they would have to pay a fortune in a trade to jump that high (assuming Mariota goes at least in the top 10), so this could be a make or break decision for Kelly, if he gets it wrong then he is the single wringable neck.
This also brings into question the roles and futures of Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez with the team. Particularly the former who will be in the final year of his rookie season (as is the case with RGIII). The options for the Eagles here are to cut him, trade him, offer a new contract or let him play out his contract and hit free agency. My guess is the latter with an eye to sorting out a deal based on their QB situation this time next year, although he could well be offered as trade bait in any trade scenario.
Elsewhere, LeSean McCoy is reportedly in Kelly's sights, and the star running back is going to be asked to take a pay cut or used as trade bait. Jeremy Maclin still hasn't signed a new contract so he could also be on his way out. The Eagles chose to not franchise tag him, and will need to get something done before free agency starts on March 10th.
We will do a similar update after free agency, and then the draft, before we get into some detailed looks at all of our 2015 opponents closer to the start of the season.