Sports are a zero sum game. What’s good for me is bad for you, and what’s good for you is bad for me. The Eagles entered the offseason with defensive tackle and a deep threat WR as two of their bigger needs, and filled those holes with Malik Jackson and DeSean Jackson, two of the best available at those needs. They also re-signed Ronald Darby, keeping the young depth at corner intact, which checked another box. Those moves are good for the Eagles, and bad for everyone that the Eagles face. That’s a pretty good week.
But even if the Eagles didn’t do anything, they’d still have had a good week, because the rest of the NFC East had a bad week, even if they don’t know it.
The Giants are a disaster. This is a franchise with no consistent plan, and have poorly executed those plans. Math hater and Wii bowler Dave Gettlemen, who’s never produced back to back winning seasons in Carolina, can’t settle on the direction of his team. Last season the Giants had a lousy 37 year old quarterback and decided to try to win now, giving Nate Solder a contract he didn’t deserve and drafting Saquon Barkley second overall. A year later and they’re rebuilding. Except they’re not. Odell Beckham was traded, the theory goes, to gain draft picks and cap space for a team changing direction. That plan would have been better executed last year, when they could have received a significant haul for the 2nd overall pick. So what did they do after clearing cap space and adding to their collection of draft picks? They signed Golden Tate, who will be 31 when the season starts, to a large contract that both ate up cap space and took away a compensatory draft pick, to say nothing of him being a slot receiver, a role they don’t need to fill. And it seems they are not interested in drafting 38 year old Eli Manning’s replacement and letting him develop during his rookie year. It’s possible to walk the fine line of being competitive while also making moves for the long term, as the Eagles have in the Doug Pederson era. But you can’t do it by trading your best player and ignoring the most important position.
Things aren’t that much better when you head down the highway. The Redskins are once again doing Redskins things. In a market flooded with safeties, they jumped to the front of the line to give Landon Collins the biggest contract for a safety in total and guaranteed money. Five months after trading a 4th round pick for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who they did not re-sign. They also signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who retired from the Raiders in October. The Redskins plan of overpaying and bringing in players in the twilight of their career is consistent with the Dan Snyder era, but the Dan Snyder era is also one of consistent mediocrity. Say what you will about the tenets of consistent mediocrity, but at least it’s a plan.
And at least they’re actually trying? The Cowboys have mostly sat still, which isn’t the worst plan for the opening salvo of free agency, when the worst contracts tend to be given out. But one of those moves was to end the search for Jason Witten’s replacement by signing Jason Witten. A 37 year old who didn’t play last year and wasn’t good when he last played is not going to solve the Cowboys problems. Nor will Earl Thomas, who Cowboys fans and possibly the Cowboys themselves spent all year dreaming of playing in Dallas in 2019. He signed with the Ravens.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are addressing needs with proven and productive players. The best laid plans can and do go awry, but the worst laid plans don’t go right.