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NFC East Update: Cowboys, Eagles look like the real deal, Redskins and Giants have ways to go

NFC East Update: Cowboys, Eagles look like the real deal, Redskins and Giants have ways to go

Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season is officially in the books. So we know what that means: time to overreact to one game when each team still has 15 left to play.

Despite that, Week 1 meant more to the NFC East than any other division in the NFL. With the Redskins traveling to Philadelphia and Dallas hosting the Giants, all four NFC East teams played a divisional game to kick off the 2019 season. The NFC East was the only division in football for each team to start off with a divisional rival as their opponent.

If Week 1's results are an indication of things to come, 2019 will go as many expected it to in the NFC East: the Eagles and Cowboys look like Super Bowl contenders, while the Redskins and Giants fall way behind.

Let's get to it:

NFC East Update: Week 1

1. Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

Every game Dak Prescott plays from here on out, his price tag continues to go up. The fourth-year QB, who has been unable to reach a long-term extension with the Cowboys, had a career day against the Giants. Prescott threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions in a 35-17 rout over their divisional rival.

Week 1 also served as a breakout for wide receiver Michael Gallup, who looks primed to be the perfect complement to Amari Cooper. Gallup led the team with seven receptions and 158 receiving yards. Ezekiel Elliott made his debut after signing a six-year, $90 million extension this past week, but didn't overly impress. But remember, he reported just five days prior to the game. Cowboys fans should have nothing to worry about with Zeke.

Up Next: Sept. 15, @ Washington

2. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

The Eagles were the betting favorite to win the NFC prior to the season, but the first half of Sunday's contest against the Redskins hardly showed that. Washington took a surprising 20-7 lead into the halftime break.

But Doug Pederson's crew made all the necessary adjustments at halftime. Philadelphia scored a touchdown on their first three possessions in the second half without allowing Washington to muster a first down on offense. In the third quarter alone, the Eagles outgained the Redskins 197-6, as Carson Wentz had time to pick his spots on nearly every passing down.

And no one looks happier to be back in Philadelphia than DeSean Jackson himself. The speedy wide receiver got behind the Redskins secondary for two touchdowns of 50+ yards, capping off an epic return to the City of Brotherly Love. 

The NFC East looks like a two-team race, just as many expected it to be.

Up Next: Sept. 15 @ Atlanta

3. Washington Redskins (0-1)

Week 1 was a tale of two halves for the Redskins. In the first half, they dominated the heavily-favored Eagles, entering the locker room with a 13-point lead. Quarterback Case Keenum looked legit, wide receiver Terry McLaurin caught a 70-yard touchdown, and the Redskins defense held the Philadelphia offense in check besides one deep ball to DeSean Jackson.

But for every halftime adjustment the Eagles made, Washington failed to do. The Eagles opened up the third quarter on a long touchdown drive, trimming the Redskins lead to six. After Keenum overthrew McLaurin for what would've been another long touchdown pass, the Redskins went three-and-out, giving Carson Wentz the ball right back. The Eagles marched right down the field and took the lead. A very similar sequence of events occurred again, with the Eagles turning in another long drive into a touchdown, and a nine-point lead.

The Redskins couldn't move the ball in the second half until garbage time, with a late touchdown from Keenum to Trey Quinn that made the score look a little more respectable. The reality is, the Redskins have a ways to go to compete at the Eagles level. The Cowboys are up next.

Up Next: Sept. 15 vs. Dallas 

4. New York Giants (0-1)

If the Giants did one thing well on Sunday, it was making Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott look like an All-Pro. Prescott carved up the New York secondary for arguably his best performance as a pro, throwing for 405 yards and 4 touchdowns, tying a career-high.

Looking on the bright side, running back Saquon Barkley looked to have picked up where he left off. The second-year running back ran for 120 yards on just 11 carries, aided by a 59-yard scamper. But the game flow forced the ball to stay in the hands of Eli Manning, as the Giants went down...quick.

A third-quarter touchdown rush by Ezekiel Elliott gave Dallas a 35-10 lead, forcing the Giants to abandon any sort of run game.

Big Blue was able to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit, but the game was already long over. With the game in its final moments, the Giants trotted rookie quarterback Daniel Jones for his NFL debut. The 2019 No. 6 overall pick finished 3-for-4 for 17 yards before fumbling on his first rushing attempt.

Up Next: Sept. 15 vs. Buffalo


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After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

The Redskins signed Paul Richardson in 2018 to be the deep threat the team lost when DeSean Jackson left via free agency after the 2016 season. It didn't work. 

In two years with the Redskins, Richardson has 48 catches for 507 catches and four touchdowns, and both seasons finished with trips to the injured reserve. Washington, however, paid Richardson handsomely for his work.

He signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Redskins that guaranteed $12.5 million at signing. To date, he's made nearly $20 million despite never being the team's leading receiver. 

Next year, Richardson will carry an $8.5 million salary cap number, but the team could get $2.5 million in cap relief if he's cut while taking a $6 million cap hit. The final two seasons of his contract have no guarantees and no cap number unless he plays.

If the Redskins wait until after June 1st, 2020, to cut Richardson then the numbers flip. The team would save $6.5 million against the cap and Richardson's contract would only count $2 million against the cap. In fact, the team doesn't need to wait until summer to make the move, but rather can use the Post-June 1 designation that the NFL allows organizations to use to better their cap. This should be the obvious move. 

Considering Washington has made a youth movement at receiver, with rookies Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims looking like the future, Richardson looks quite expendable. Especially considering the emergence of McLaurin as a potential elite wideout, both with deep speed and route running ability. 

Redskins team president Bruce Allen signed Richardson, but it's hard to know who will be making calls for the organization in 2020. There is much speculation that Allen could be on the way out, and the team already fired head coach Jay Gruden in October. Interim head coach Bill Callahan is not expected to remain in that position next season. 

If Richardson is cut, it's hard to look at the signing as anything but a disappointment. Big money for little production. That's not winning football. 



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Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

The Redskins are unlikely to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there is certainly a scenario where the teams that finish ahead of them would be in need of quarterbacks. If that’s the case, then Washington could be in line to select Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who’s widely considered to be the highest-graded player in the draft.

But in an interview with TMZ, Young said his “plan” is to return to Ohio State for his senior year. Young set a school record with 16.5 sacks and counting this season despite missing two games due to suspension.

The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, slated to face No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 for the right to play in the national championship. Ohio State hasn’t won the title since 2014, when Young was still in high school.

It’s unknown whether he’d enter the draft if OSU wins it all. For now, Young’s draft status will be something for the Redskins—who will enter the offseason with a plethora of roster needs—to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.