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Division Links: Everyone is focused on free agency

It’s a quiet offseason for the NFC East

Blogging the Boys

Cowboys free agency 2022: Dallas reportedly “unlikely” to sign free agent linebacker Bobby Wagner

Fans have wanted the Cowboys to sign Bobby Wagner, but there might be just disappointment on that font.

The Cowboys have already brought back Leighton Vander Esch and Luke Gifford this offseason, but adding someone like Wagner would allow even more flexibility for Micah Parsons to float towards rushing the passer.

Wagner is a big name which means Cowboys fans should have tempered their expectations towards signing him. Clearly the team has been interested, but according to The Dallas Morning News, a reunion between he and Dan Quinn is unlikely.

Quinn coached Wagner in Seattle where the two were part of the Seahawks team that won Super Bowl XLVIII.

But the Cowboys do not like to spend in free agency, and Wagner, like many before him, might just be out of their price range. It would take a change in philosophy for this one to happen.

Bleeding Green Nation

Why can’t the Eagles get top WRs to play in Philadelphia?

The Eagles have struck out when it comes to signing or trading for another high-end veteran WR this off-season.

It’s pretty obvious the Eagles wanted to make a big upgrade at wide receiver this off-season. And yet, so far, it’s been adding Zach Pascal and bringing back Greg Ward.

Look, Pascal is a fine receiver, a decent slot guy who Nick Sirianni knows well. It’s OK, but the Pascal signing doesn’t make the Eagles’ receiving corps a whole lot better than it was last season. After all, if the only bar you’re trying to hurdle is “better than Jalen Reagor,” well, it’s akin to stepping over a jump rope lying on the ground.

Why, outside of Pascal, have the Eagles largely struck out in the receiver market?

Out Of Control Free Agent Market

Simply put, teams went a little crazy paying star money for wide receivers who, while solid and productive, are not necessarily superstars. Kirk signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Jaguars with $37 million in guaranteed money, the richest deal to a receiver this off-season.

Eagles Offensive Gameplans

Last year, the Eagles ran the ball. A lot. Their 31.5 rushing attempts per game were 2nd in the NFL only to the Titans’ 32.1. Of course, if you’re running the ball a ton, that means you’re not passing it all that much....So if you’re a wide receiver, looking for the perfect landing spot to showcase your skills, are you going to go to a team that was the most run-heavy team, and least pass-happy team in the league?

The Quarterback

Nick Sirianni never intended to be a run-first football team. Through their first six games last year, the Eagles offense was decidedly different than it was by the end of it, and one would assume Sirianni would like to get back to being a pass-first offense at some point. But with Jalen Hurts at QB, it’s likely the 2022 Eagles offense is going to look a whole lot like the ‘21 version.

Big Blue View

Giants depth chart after flurry of moves in 2022 NFL free agency

This is what a “very calculated” approach looks like

Give New York Giants rookie GM Joe Schoen some credit. He appears to have thus far made a lot out of a little in NFL free agency despite the Giants being in a precarious salary cap situation.

This is a what a “very calculated” approach aimed at trying to be competitive in 2022 while doing what’s best for the long-term future of the franchise looks like.

Schoen cut tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith, running back Devontae Booker and punter Riley Dixon, saving the Giants about $12.5 million against the cap.

The new GM, rather than cut veterans Sterling Shepard and Blake Martinez, got each to accept steep pay cuts on incentive-laden deals that saved the Giants roughly another $12 million against the cap. He re-structured the contract of placekicker Graham Gano to save a bit more room.

Together, that’s about $25 million in savings against the cap, maybe a touch more. That got the Giants below the $208.2 million cap, but not by much. It’s still not the $40 million Schoen said he wants to trim, and truthfully needs to trim.

What has he done with the money? He added the following players:

  • QB Tyrod Taylor
  • OL Mark Glowinski
  • OL Jon Feliciano
  • OL Matt Gono
  • TE Ricky Seals-Jones
  • WR Robert Foster
  • RB Matt Breida
  • OL Jamil Douglas
  • DE Jihad Ward

That is three competent players who would start on the offensive line if there was a game to play this Sunday. A competent veteran tight end who immediately ascends to No. 1 on the team’s depth chart. A quality backup quarterback who could give them representative play should the Giants need to turn to him this year or next. A wide receiver who had his best NFL season playing for Brian Daboll in Buffalo. A defensive end who played well in Baltimore for Wink Martindale.

Schoen still has the James Bradberry card to play, which could be a cap savings of $12.1-$13.5 million based on whether moving Bradberry — which he almost certainly still has to do — becomes a pre-June 1 or post-June 1 transaction.

To Schoen’s credit, he is holding on to Bradberry and trying to get something — anything — in return before having to cut him.

Schoen also could save $7.2 million by trading Saquon Barkley, though it doesn’t seem that is a road the Giants are headed down. Wide receiver Darius Slayton ($2.54M cap savings), defensive back Julian Love ($2.54M cap savings) and center Nick Gates ($2.125M cap savings) are other players who could be in jeopardy.

Bleeding Green Nation

The reason why Deshaun Watson didn’t want want to be traded to the Eagles

the MAIN reason that Watson didn’t want to go to Philly?

His existing relationship with Jalen Hurts.

John McMullen pointed to that reasoning in a column for PhillyVoice:

The interesting part is why Watson was so steadfast in his refusal to come to Philadelphia from start to finish in this entire saga. The principles aren’t going on record anytime soon but the strongly held belief around the league is that Watson’s aversion to the Eagles had to do with his loyalty to Jalen Hurts.

Sources familiar with Watson’s sentiments pointed to the relationship built between the two players in the offseason through the connection of working with the same QB trainer, Quincy Avery.