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Free agency tells the tale of the NFC East

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Bang for the buck

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearly midway through the season, but we can already crown a champion. The offseason champion that is. Sure, no team that won the offseason has ever won a Super Bowl*. A division title? Well that’s another story. The fortunes of the NFC East this season can be illustrated through what each team did in free agency. Or didn’t do.

*This has not been verified

Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)

Last Week: Spotted the Redskins a touchdown midway through the 2nd quarter, then led at halftime and never looked back.

This Week: Host the 49ers. t.r.a.p. g.a.m.e.

What they needed in free agency: WRs, a RB, a DT, and a CB.

Did they get it? Oh hell yeah. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith might only be third and fourth in receiving yards on the Eagles, but they provide enormous value creating space for Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor. Carson Wentz Is Our Baby but there’s no way this offense is this good without them. LeGarrette Blount is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. The Eagles got Wentz weapons, and he’s been The Punisher. Tim Jernigan kept the defensive line going when Fletcher Cox was out, and Patrick Robinson has been one of the best slot corners this season. An incredible haul, and with Chris Long providing good value as a rotational DE, every free agent the Eagles signed with the intention of giving meaningful playing time has worked out.

And Nick Foles is probably really good at bringing the QB room coffee. Gets everybody’s order perfect every time.

Washington Redskins (3-3)

Last Week: Lost to the Eagles, again. So much for that.

This Week: Host the Cowboys.

What they needed in free agency: New WRs and some guys who can play defense.

Did they get it? Uh, no. Terrelle Pryor is proving the lack of a market for him was right, he averages three catches a game with the same 55% catch rate as in Cleveland. Pierre Garcon’s two best games have more total yards than Pryor’s entire season. Only four players count for more against the Redskins 2017 cap than Pryor. Brian Quick has as many yards as he does snaps: 11. On defense, they gave Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee $13.5M guaranteed to revamp their line, both have played fewer snaps than fellow free agent Ziggy Hood. They also signed DJ Swearinger.

The Redskins currently have the fourth most cap space for 2018. Dan Snyder is going to Dan Snyder, and it’s going to be beautiful. Have you seen the QB market for next year? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Sam Bradford is their QB.

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Last Week: Defeated the winless 49ers, have a cookie.

This Week: Visit the Redskins.

What they needed in free agency: A defense.

Did they get it? LOL. The Cowboys signed three players in free agency to help out their defense. None of them are still on the team. Nolan Carroll was signed to give the young secondary a fallback veteran. He was released. Stephen Paea was supposed to help out a depleted defensive line. He retired because his knees don’t work anymore. Damontre Moore was theoretically supposed to give the pass rush yet another rotational piece, he was suspended to start the season and then released.

What makes the Cowboys foray into free agency even more laughable is that it was totally avoidable. Dallas was already familiar with all three players, they played against them. The Cowboys roasted Nolan Carroll for years. Paea signed with the Redskins in 2015, they cut him after one year. They maybe couldn’t have seen his knees being an issue, though a guy who can’t make it half a season probably had a lot of red flags if he took a medical, but Paea wasn’t good. Moore was drafted by the Giants in 2014 and kicked off the team in 2015 for fighting a teammate over headphones and spent 2015 and 2016 on three different teams. They didn’t have to dig deep to find tape on these guys to evaluate.

New York Giants (1-6)

Last Week: Failed to score 28+ points for the 16th consecutive game and lost to the Seahawks 24-7.

This Week: Bye week, thank god.

What they needed in free agency: An offensive line and a running game.

Did they get it? They barely even tried to address those issues. Shaun Draughn didn’t make it out of camp, and DJ Fluker started the season inactive. You get what you pay for, maybe don’t shop at the dollar store.

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