Dallas Still Looms as Giants' Main Obstacle

The Cowboys remain the Giants' most formidable competition within their division as they prepare to defend their championship later this year.

Fittingly, Jerry Jones helped his team keep up with the Joneses by adding a couple talented players named Jones. Below is The Giant Insider's assessment of how all three of the Giants' division rivals have fared in the offseason.


Key Veteran Additions: CB-PR Adam "Pacman" Jones (acquired from Tennessee for fourth-round pick); MLB Zach Thomas (released by Miami).

Key Veteran Losses: MLB Akin Ayodele (traded to Miami); TE Anthony Fasano (traded to Miami); NT Jason Ferguson (traded to Miami); RB Julius Jones (unrestricted free agent; Seattle); CB Nathan Jones (unrestricted free agent; Miami); CB Jacques Reeves (unrestricted free agent; Houston).

Draft Picks: First: RB Felix Jones, Arkansas (22); CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida (25). Second: TE Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M (61). Fourth: RB Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech (122). Fifth: CB Orlando Scandrick, Boise State (143). Sixth: OLB Erik Walden, Middle Tennessee State (167).

Offseason Overview: Adding the suspended Jones to their secondary seemed well worth the trouble for the Cowboys, who've taken their greatest risk yet on a controversial player. They traded just a fourth-round pick for an elite corner and a dynamic punt returner whom the Titans simply had to send elsewhere for public relations reasons. The Cowboys also designed a safe, four-year contract that'll protect them if Jones' behaves badly off the field again. Commissioner Roger Goodell will have to reinstate Jones eventually, and when he does Dallas will have two tremendous corners in Jones and Terence Newman. If their "Pacman" experiment doesn't work out, the Cowboys insured themselves by selecting Jenkins with their second first-round pick. And the other Jones Dallas acquired this offseason, Darren McFadden's backup at Arkansas, might not have been the Razorback Jerry Jones coveted, but he has the type of breakaway speed that should make him a better complement to Marion Barber than the departed Julius Jones. They didn't draft any inside linebackers, though, which means they think the 34-year-old Thomas still has enough left to contribute in his 13th season. Thomas' signing prompted them to trade Ayodele, another starting inside linebacker, and Fasano to Miami for just a fourth-round pick. That trade looked even worse when they strangely picked a tight in the second round (Bennett), the same round in which they selected Fasano out of Notre Dame in 2006.


Key Veteran Additions: LB Rocky Boiman (unrestricted free agent; Indianapolis); RB Lorenzo Booker (acquired from Miami for fourth-round pick); DE Chris Clemons (unrestricted free agent; Oakland); FB Dan Klecko (unrestricted free agent; Indianapolis); P Richmond McGee (unrestricted free agent; Houston); Asante Samuel (unrestricted free agent; New England).

Key Veteran Losses: CB William James (unrestricted free agent; Buffalo); DE Jevon Kearse (contract terminated; signed with Tennessee); OLB Takeo Spikes (contract terminated; still a free agent); FB Thomas Tapeh (unrestricted free agent; Minnesota).

Draft Picks: Second: DT Trevor Laws, Notre Dame (47); WR DeSean Jackson, California (49). Third: OLB Bryan Smith, McNeese State (80). Fourth: OT Mike McGlynn, Pittsburgh (109); FS Quintin Demps, Texas-El Paso (117); CB Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin (131). Sixth: OT Mike Gibson, California (184); ILB Joe Mays, North Dakota State (200); OLB Andy Studebaker, Wheaton (203). Seventh: OT King Dunlap, Auburn (230).

Offseason Overview: The Eagles improved their secondary by signing the play-making Samuel to a six-year, $57.14 million deal; the second-largest contract for a corner in NFL history. In doing so, though, they devalued Lito Sheppard, who is still widely viewed as a quality corner throughout the league. Worse yet, Sheppard wants a new contract, so trading a player with his history of injuries proved difficult for Philadelphia before and during the draft. Eagles coach Andy Reid said he was "not just going to give (Sheppard) away," so the Eagles essentially had three starting corners at press time. Their second most important move this offseason was designating tight end L.J. Smith as their franchise player. They signed Smith to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. They traded out of the first round on the first day of the draft, a deal that left Philadelphia with Carolina's first-round pick in 2009, but they still selected two players who should contribute immediately in the second round. Laws at least figures to be part of their tackle rotation as a rookie, while Jackson should be the Eagles' deep threat and is also an accomplished kick returner. Eagles fans probably cringed, however, when they learned Jackson is only listed at 169 pounds. The last light receiver they took in the second round, 167-pound Todd Pinkston in 2000, didn't exactly make them forget Mike Quick.


Key Veteran Additions: WR-KR Jerome Mathis (unrestricted free agent; Houston).

Key Veteran Losses: QB Mark Brunell (unrestricted free agent; New Orleans); WR Reche Caldwell (unrestricted free agent; St. Louis); ILB Randall Godfrey (unrestricted free agent); WR Brandon Lloyd (released; signed with Chicago); S Pierson Prioleau (unrestricted free agent).

Draft Picks: Second: WR Devin Thomas, Michigan State (34); TE Fred Davis, USC (48); WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma (51). Third: OT Chad Rinehart, Northern Iowa (96). Fourth: CB Justin Tryon, Arizona State (124). Sixth: P Durant Brooks, Georgia Tech (168); S Kareem Moore, Nicholls State (180); QB Colt Brennan, Hawaii (186). Seventh: DE Rob Jackson, Kansas State (242); S Chris Horton, UCLA (249).

Offseason Overview: Cap-strapped Washington owner Daniel Snyder, usually much busier during the free agency period, tried his best to finally do something significant this offseason before the draft. But he failed twice to add an elite veteran receiver to the tandem of Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El. Cincinnati rejected the Redskins' respectable offer of first-rounders this year and in 2009 for disgruntled Chad Johnson, and Arizona rebuffed Washington's undisclosed offer for Anquan Boldin, who like Johnson, wants a new contract. They instead settled for taking Thomas, a first-round talent they were able to draft despite trading out of the first round, and Kelly with two of their three choices in the second round. The selection of Davis with their third second-rounder should give Washington a quality pass-catching complement to Pro Bowl TE Chris Cooley, but Davis definitely needs to become a better blocker. For all the offensive improvements they made on draft day, they didn't choose a defensive player until the fourth round. They hadn't acquired any defensive help prior to the draft, either, so they're apparently pretty pleased with what they have on that side of the ball for first-year coordinator Greg Blache, the former defensive line coach who was promoted when Gregg Williams left for Jacksonville.

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