NFC East Update

There's been a lot of player movement over the past few days. Here's a look at the changing face of the NFC East at this point in the off-season.

DALLAS COWBOYS

WR Keyshawn Johnson was released by the Cowboys in somewhat of a surprise move that didn't save the team much money against the salary cap. Johnson was due a $1 million bonus this month, but was scheduled to make just $1.5 million next season. But he's a possession receiver who is also 34, and lacks the downfield playmaking ability (can you say Terrell Owens?) quarterback Drew Bledsoe desperately needs. "Keyshawn is one of a handful of the top competitors that have ever played for the Dallas Cowboys," owner Jerry Jones said. "The more he was a part of our team, the more we appreciated him as a player."

Free agent TE Dan Campbell signed with Detroit.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB Michael Barrow; LB Quinton Caver; S Tony Dixon; LB Eric Ogbogu; OT Marcus Price; S Lynn Scott.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: S Keith Davis; LB Scott Shanle; OT Torrin Tucker.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: CB Jacques Reeves; S Willie Pile; LS L.P. Ladouceur; FB Lousaka Polite.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Terrance Copper; WR Patrick Crayton; G/C Andre Gurode; P Matt McBriar.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: LB Akin Ayodele; OL Kyle Kosier.

PLAYERS LOST: DT Willie Blade; TE Dan Campbell; LB Scott Fujita; DT La'Roi Glover; WR Keyshawn Johnson; LB Dat Nguyen.

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

The Giants struck quickly in free agency to overhaul their defensive secondary, which lost safeties Brent Alexander (released) and Shaun Williams (free agent, signed with Carolina)) and figures to lose cornerbacks Will Allen (free agent) and Will Peterson (back injury concerns).

Former Miami cornerback Sam Madison was the first to agree to terms, and is expected to start opposite second-year corner Corey Webster. R.W. McQuarters, a veteran most recently with Detroit, will be expected to be the third corner if he doesn't beat out Webster for a starting job.

"Madison and McQuarters are veteran corners who have instantly upgraded our secondary," GM Ernie Accorsi said. "The two young signees, Harris and Bell, will be in the mix with the young corners we already have to give us a good mix back there. And McQuarters is also a premier returner, which gives us depth at that critical position. We wanted to upgrade our secondary in free agency so we can go into the draft with an open mind."

To complete the overhaul, veteran free safety Will Demps was signed as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore.

"The signing of Will Demps should complete the UFA phase of our rebuilding the defensive secondary," Accorsi said. "This is a four-year starter on a very competitive defensive team in Baltimore. He's very athletic and can make plays."

And to provide depth, the Giants signed cornerback Jason Bell away from Houston and safety Quentin Harris away from Arizona.

"In Jason Bell you have a young corner who has played in the dime situations, who has been an outstanding special teams player, who is very anxious to compete and play in this system," coach Tom Coughlin said. "In Quentin Harris you have a proven special teams performer who has had multiple responsibilities, including personal protector to prove his reliability, and who has also seen action as a corner and as a safety. So, in these players you have versatility, you have got veterans, you have got guys that have played in multiple roles and are looking forward to an opportunity to be New York Giants and to compete for positions in the secondary."

The Giants' current top-three offseason needs:

For a team that finished 11-5 and took home the NFC East Division championship, there are more needs than expected. But they aren't all serious; the most major need is to get the injured players back and healthy.

But for more tangible needs:

1. Linebacker: The Giants must have an outside linebacker with youth and flair, and if Reggie Torbor can't do it on the strong side (this will be his third shot) they will have to sign one in free agency or get extraordinarily lucky in the draft. Should they wind up with Texas-El Paso linebacker Thomas Howard, the search for one of the outside positions might be at an end. But they need another one, especially if weak-side linebacker Nick Greisen departs via free agency. They're looking at a few veterans, including Julius Peterson of San Francisco.

2. Defensive tackle: With Kendrick Clancy off to Arizona, the Giants need to bolster the interior of their line. But thus far through free agency they have been unable to fill the void.

3. Running back: This might sound odd when you consider Tiki Barber gained 1,860 yards (10 short of tying Seattle's Shaun Alexander for the NFL rushing championship) but there is almost nothing behind him and if he is injured for any length of time, it could be a disaster. Rookie Brandon Jacobs looked spectacular early but soon ran head-first into a learning problem with the playbook. Reserves Michael Cloud and Derrick Ward are ordinary on very good days. But there aren't that many outstanding running backs past the first round, and as for free agents, most of the worthwhile veterans have already found new homes.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

WR Darnerien McCants re-signed with the Eagles for a one-year deal.

TE Matt Schobel signed a five-year deal with Philadelphia. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately known.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB Keith Adams; S Jack Brewer; LB Justin Ena; RB Lamar Gordon; DE N.D. Kalu; P Sean Landeta; TE Chad Lewis; OT Jon Runyan.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: CB Rod Hood; P Dirk Johnson; RB Reno Mahe; S Quentin Mikell.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Darnerien McCants; DE Juqua Thomas.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: LB Shawn Barber; DE Darren Howard; TE Matt Schobel; QB Jeff Garcia; WR Jabar Gaffney.

PLAYERS LOST: WR Terrell Owens.

 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

S Adam Archuleta signed a six-year, $30 million contract with Washington that includes a $10 million signing bonus. He will replace Ryan Clark, who signed with Pittsburgh, and is an insurance policy in case Sean Taylor's legal woes force him to miss any time.

LB/DE Andre Carter, a free agent from San Francisco, has agreed to a deal with Washington. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. He will likely be the replacement for LaVar Arrington, playing the role of an outside pass-rushing linebacker.

QB Todd Collins signed with Washington, although terms of the deal were not disclosed. He is expected to compete with Jason Campbell for the top backup job behind starter Mark Brunell.

LB Khary Campbell has re-signed with Washington. Terms were not disclosed.

TE Christian Fauria signed with Washington. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fauria, 6-4, 250 lbs., has played in 167 games with 119 starts during his 11-year NFL career. During that time span he has recorded 245 receptions for 2,473 yards and 20 touchdowns. He spent the previous four seasons with the New England Patriots, where he was a member of the Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX championship teams.

The Redskins tendered three of their four restricted free agents at $712,000: left guard Derrick Dockery, reserve linebacker Chris Clemons and backup cornerback Ade Jimoh. Defensive lineman Melvin Williams, who was on injured reserve all last season and has never played for Washington, wasn't tendered.

Third-string running back/special teams leader Rock Cartwright re-signed with the Redskins on March 10.

S Matt Bowen was released by Washington on March 10.

CB Walt Harris was released by Washington on March 10.

DL Brandon Noble was released by Washington on March 10.

OL Cory Raymer was released by Washington on March 10.

P Tom Tupa was released by Washington on March 10.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DL Demetric Evans; LB Warrick Holdman; DT Cedric Killings; TE Brian Kozlowski; S Omar Stoutmire.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): DE Melvin Williams

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: WLB Chris Clemons; LG Derrick Dockery; CB Ade Jimoh.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: LB Khary Campbell; RB Rock Cartwright.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: S Adam Archuleta; LB Andre Carter; QB Todd Collins; WR Brandon Lloyd; WR Antwaan Randle El; TE Christian Fauria

PLAYERS LOST: LB LaVar Arrington; S Matt Bowen; OG Ray Brown; S Ryan Clark; CB Walt Harris; DT Brandon Noble; C Cory Raymer; TE Robert Royal; P Tom Tupa.


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