NFC East Free Agency Grades

Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: A

What did you expect? The Eagles cleaned up shop in this years free agency. They robbed the Cardinals blind in a deal that sent Kevin Kolb to Arizona giving them a 2012 second round draft pick and the 25 year old Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. When it looked like the Jets and Cowboys were going to go head-to-head for the services of the highly talented Nnamdi Asomugha, the Eagles swooped in at seemingly the last second and acquired him.

The Eagles were on fire this free agency. They had many needs and they addressed them with star power, all the while picking up quality players that fit their system. I was amazed at what Andy Reid was able to do. Jason Babin returns to the Eagles after one year with the Titans to solidify the defensive line. Cullen Jenkins also adds to this coming off of a Superbowl season in Green Bay.

Everybody wondered what Philadelphia would do without depth at the quarterback position after trading Kolb and they went out and got Vince Young. Vince is a a guy who is troubled but has the potential that Andy Reid and his staff can tap into. To aid the running game the Eagles signed Ronnie Brown, a back who is 29 years old and still very much in his prime. They were able to get DeSean Jackson to report to camp and hopefully they’ll pay him the money he deserves. He is after all their biggest playmaker and a piece that gives them legitimate Superbowl hopes.

Philadelphia is dangerous in nearly every part of their team. They have the secondary from hell, speedy wide receivers, a solid offensive line, a talented quarterback, and a great defensive line as well. They covered all of that ground in one giant step of a free agency period. Their only weakness is at the linebacker position. It’s very average but, maybe even those guys will look better with all the talent around them.

The Eagles have made moves that make them the team to beat in the NFC East. Right now at least, they’re the division’s paper champs.

New York Giants

Grade: C

The Giants were up against the cap with rookies to sign and weren’t able to make the same splash that their division rivals, the Redskins and Eagles were able to make. The Giants made some moves with the wiggle room that they had. They let tight end Kevin Boss go and re-signed Bear Pascoe who is a bit younger and very capable.

The Giants made many simple moves. They invested in their own players and tried to get their own guys back. They re-signed running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive lineman  Mathias Kiwanuka, and guard Kevin Boothe to bolster one of the most solid offensive lines in the division. I also have to commend the Giants for reaching out to undrafted free agent and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich. I think he’ll be a solid player for years to come because of his work ethic and experience.

Unfortunately for the G-men because they were not ready for the frenzied free agency they were not able to improve their team. They just maintained it. They lost some solid players and didn’t really gain anybody who is going to drastically make a difference on the team. It’s good that they brought a lot of their guys back because they are a good football team already but, the Eagles not only made a statement in free agency, they made a gap. I just don’t think New York did enough to separate themselves from the rest of the division or to simply not get left eating Philly’s dust.

Washington Redskins

Grade: B

It’s clear that Dan Snyder is no longer running things in Washington. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have full autonomy and it shows. The Redskins made smart decisions in free agency. They went after guys that fit the needs that they had. They signed Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen to add size to the defensive line. Both men are excited to transition into a 3-4 defense, so they know the effort will be there. This was apart from moving Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth two players constantly surrounded by controversy in D.C.

To be honest there’s not enough room to go over all the things the Redskins did in free agency. They were extremely active but, the thing that stood out the most is that there were no huge names coming in. Except for the large sum of money that the Redskins allegedly offered Santonio Holmes, it appeared that no one was going to be truly over paid.

Apart from their work on the defensive line the Redskins added Josh Wilson to replace the departing Carlos Rodgers, and they re-signed a few linebackers that worked well in the 3-4 and were improving later on in the last season (and a few that didn’t).

Offensively Washington traded for Tim Hightower to add depth at the running back position. This is good because Ryan Torain is hurt . . . again. They signed a bajillion wide receivers, many of which will not make the final roster, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, and Santana Moss are the notable signings. Casey Rabach, who once was a solid center but isn’t anymore, was cut and Will Montgomery was moved to center. Jammal Brown was re-signed at guard.

With all the good moves that Washington made, they never addressed their less than desirable quarterback situation. John Beck is an unknown but, who knows if he’ll be any good? Rex Grossman is a known commodity with ups and downs that make roller coasters seem  boring. They may still be at the bottom of the division but, steps are being made in the right direction.

Dallas Cowboys

Grade: D

Dallas like the Giants were hamstrung by the cap. While the Redskins and Eagles made concessions for this year by restructuring contracts during the 2010 season. Dallas was over the cap and had to cut many players but, including players from their already porous offensive line.

The Cowboys were able to re-sign Doug Free which is something that they wanted to do, and needed to do. Dallas had many needs and quite frankly, few answers. Key re-signings for the Cowboys apart from Free, were defensive back Allan Ball, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, and defensive end Marcus Spears. Dallas followed the trend of most teams against the salary cap. They invested in their own guys. There was the run they made at Nnamdi but we all know how that turned out.

With a new head coach in Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator in Rob Ryan, taking the helm this season Dallas may get out to a rough start. They didn’t help themselves in free agency. They brought some guys back but, they lost some to other teams, and they managed to do this without really addressing any of their needs. Their free agency was an uninspired mess.



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