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NFC East Position Outlook: The Cornerbacks

While football pundits tend to refer to the middle linebacker as the “quarterback of the defense,” no defensive position group sees the quarterback-like criticism from fans like the cornerbacks do. As soon as an offense gets their passing game going, everyone wants to jump on the corners, wondering what could possibly be going wrong with the coverage. Sometimes, the criticism isn’t warranted and is delivered by not-so-knowledgeable fans. But other times, this heavy criticism points to just how important having formidable cornerbacks is. With that being said, let’s take a look at the cornerback groups of the NFC East.

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Who’s excited to see Orlando Scandrick again!?

While football pundits tend to refer to the middle linebacker as the "quarterback of the defense," no defensive position group sees the quarterback-like criticism from fans like the cornerbacks do.

As soon as an offense gets their passing game going, everyone wants to jump on the corners, wondering what could possibly be going wrong with the coverage.

Sometimes, the criticism isn't warranted and is delivered by not-so-knowledgeable fans. But other times, this heavy criticism points to just how important having formidable cornerbacks is.

With that being said, let's take a look at the cornerback groups of the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Headlines - Is the Defensive Backfield still a concern? 2

Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) defends Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fans love to hate the Cowboys secondary. And oh have they given us reason to do so over the last few seasons.

There is reason to believe things are looking up for this group, however.

Brandon Carr, who has been much maligned for being overpaid, took a pay-cut of sorts this offseason after what I would call his best season as a Cowboy in 2015. No, he isn't the shutdown corner that many had hoped for when he signed his blockbuster deal, but he is a solid player who can and will contribute.

Morris Claiborne is sticking around for at least one more season in Dallas. Similar to Carr, Claiborne had his best year as a Cowboy last season, and will be looking to build on that for 2016.

The biggest reason for the optimism around this group is the return of certified-beast Orlando Scandrick. While he missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL, Scandrick is undoubtedly the best cornerback on the roster, and was sorely missed last season.

My eye is also on sixth round pick Anthony Brown out of Purdue. I loved the tape I was able to watch on him and expect him to see a ton of time throughout this season.

Philadelphia EaglesCowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Outlook: The Cornerbacks

The Eagles defense was a disaster a year ago. A disaster which seemed to correlate perfectly with the demise of big time free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell.

Maxwell disappointed Philadelphia with his play, and was traded to Miami this offseason.

Now, the Eagles cornerbacks are surrounded by questions due to youth and lack of familiarity with the team. Regardless of these problems, I do think the Eagles cornerback group will be improved in 2016.

Eric Rowe and Nolan Carroll return to Philadelphia, and I expect them to make nice strides under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

The Eagles also added former Buffalo Bills corner Leodis McKelvin, who is slated to be the team's number one cornerback.

New York GiantsCowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Outlook: The Cornerbacks 1

The Giants approach to free agency was to spend, spend, and then spend some more.

This excessive spending yielded the Giants former Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins. While we all disagree with the years and dollar amount which will be coming Jenkins' way, he is a solid corner and an upgrade over their 2015 group.

New York invested in another cornerback in the first round of this years draft, selecting Ohio State Buckeyes corner Eli Apple. Similar to Jenkins, most "football people" agree that the Giants spent too much by drafting Apple 10th overall, but I do expect him to be a solid professional corner.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returns, and will more than likely be slated as the number two cornerback week 1 against the Cowboys.

Washington Redskins Cowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Outlook: The Cornerbacks 2

Though the Giants added two good cornerbacks this offseason, no team made the absolute splash at the position like the Washington Redskins did.

The NFL world erupted when Washington decided to make former Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman the highest paid corner in all of football.

Norman automatically improves this group and this defense as a whole, but the Redskins weren't done there.

They then decided to draft Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Fuller, who many thought would have been taken in the early second round, fell to the third mostly due to injury concerns. But if he can remain healthy, he will carve out a nice career for himself in the league.

Veteran Deangelo Hall also returns for 2016, and Bashaud Breeland looks to continue his improvement in his third NFL season.

Who's the best?Cowboys Headlines - NFC East Position Outlook: The Cornerbacks 3

Similar to the linebacker groups, this one is tough to call. Each team has their own reasonable claim to the throne, and I also don't see any of these groups as too elite to deny.

I like what Dallas and Philadelphia have to offer, but I still have too many questions about individual players in each group to call them the "best," even in this division.

Washington made the biggest addition during the offseason, but Hall and Breeland aren't exactly studs. So while they are strong at the top, their next two-to-three corners are average at best.

That leaves the New York Giants.

No, I don't agree with the money they shelled out for Janoris Jenkins, and I don't love the value of selecting Eli Apple at 10th overall. While they may not live up to their hype or contracts, they will both be solid additions and formidable corners.

Then you throw in Rodgers-Cromartie, and the New York Giants have the best cornerback group in the NFC East.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick

Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.

Jane Slater on Twitter

C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed

Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.

Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.

Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.

With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys Place 2nd Round RFA Tender on DL David Irving

Jess Haynie



David Irving

One of the more anticipated Cowboys free agency moves has finally happened. Defensive lineman David Irving has been given the 2nd-round Restricted Free Agent tender, which would result in a $2.91 million contract for 2018.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: the Cowboys have used a 2nd round tender on DT David Irving. The cost is $2.91 million.

If another team offers Irving a contract, that would have to send their 2018 second-round draft pick to the Cowboys.

There was no doubt that Dallas would extend an RFA tender to Irving, one of the bright young stars on their defense. The question was at what amount; they could have gone with the $4.1 million tender which raises the compensation to a first-round draft pick.

With a difference of only about $1 million, some might argue that the Cowboys went lower to entice other teams to try to sign Irving. Perhaps they don't foresee giving him a big long-term deal next year, so want to get something for him now.

It's a logical argument, and one that means there may be more to this story before the offseason ends. For now, though, David Irving's closer to remaining a Cowboy than he was yesterday.

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