Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 28, 10 days before the start of NFL free agency.
Enemy Intel: A spin around the NFC East and more
On Sundays we’re going to take a look around at what is going on the NFC East including an angle on the Redskins plus what’s up with another team that is on Washington’s 2016 schedule. We’ll try it for a while; if it’s fun and you readers find it interesting we’ll keep doing it.
The Eagles made a smart move in re-signing S Malcolm Jenkins—Philadelphia gave Jenkins a four-year extension worth $35 million last week. Jenkins, signed by the Eagles as a free agent in 2014, is coming off of a Pro Bowl selection in 2015. He has five interceptions in his two years in Philly, returning two of them for touchdowns. The drawback to the extension is the wear and tear on Jenkins; he turns 29 before the season is out and he has seven seasons at a very physical position under his belt.
Cowboys’ Jason Garrett doesn’t have much to say about DE Greg Hardy—It’s apparent that the Cowboys coach is counting down the days until March 9, when the names of his team and Hardy are no longer associated with each other. At the NFL Combine, Garrett was asked about the status of Hardy, who had six sacks in 12 games but just 1.5 in the Cowboys’ last six games and created a lot of distractions along the way. The coach’s response was a frosty, “Greg Hardy’s a free agent.” With Hardy gone, at least if Garrett has anything to say about it, and Randy Gregory suspended for the first four games after he failed four (four!) drug tests in 2015, the Cowboys may have to look for a pass rusher with their top draft pick, No. 4 overall, rather than trying to get Tony Romo’s successor.
Giants’ TE Larry Donnell may have career-ending neck injury—When you complain about an NFL player trying to get as much money in a contract as he possibly can, keep this story in mind. Donnell missed the last half of the season with a neck injury and it may end his career at the age of 27. There is no definitive word but Donnell has not yet been cleared for football activities. Giants GM Jerry Reese said that “hopefully” Donnell will be able to play again but only time will tell. The 6-6 tight end has eight touchdown catches in his last 24 games.
Redskins want Matt Jones to step up—When Scot McCloughan and the rest of the organization drew up their plans last year there was hope that at this time they would have full confidence that Jones could move right in to the starting running back job. Four lost fumbles and a couple of injuries later the hope is still there but the full confidence is missing. Both McCloughan and Jay Gruden said that if Jones took care of ball security and health he’d be fine. But even if he fixes those problems he’ll need to improve on his average of 3.4 yards per carry.
Around the NFL
Ravens and QB Joe Flacco making progress in contract talks—Flacco has a 2016 salary cap hit of $28.55 million and it’s causing a sticky situation for Baltimore’s ability to re-sign its own players and shop to improve the team in 2016. The Ravens and Flacco’s agent are in negotiations to reduce that number but it’s not easy. A simple restructure that would reduce his cap hit this year and increase it in future years is dicey because his cap hit is already $31.15 million next year. An extension is the most likely solution, a deal that will have the 31-year-old Flacco under contract well past his 35th birthday. No doubt the Redskins have an eye on this situation; they want to structure a new deal for Kirk Cousins in a way that avoids massive cap hits in the out years.
—The Redskins last played a game 49 days ago. It will be about 196 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 10; Redskins offseason workouts start 50; 2016 NFL draft 60
In case you missed it
- Free agency talk heating up
- Smokescreens galore swirling around Redskins’ quarterback dramas
- New report suggests why Kirk Cousins hasn't signed with Redskins yet
- Momentum builds surrounding RG3 joining Cowboys
- DeSean Jackson wins key battle in legal war with NFL super-agent
- Cousins in position to make big jump this offseason, Gruden says
- 2016 NFL salary cap up $12 million