All the numbers that come after players’ names represent how they were rated on ESPN’s Free Agent Tracker.
NEW YORK GIANTS
GET: DT Cullen Jenkins (80), DT Mike Patterson (71), CB Aaron Ross (71), LB Dan Connor (69), S Ryan Mundy (66), K Josh Brown (65), TE Brandon Myers (59)
LOSE: DE Osi Umenyiora (80), RB Ahmad Bradshaw (78), DT Chris Canty (78), S Kenny Phillips (77), TE Martellus Bennett (74), LB Chase Blackburn (66), WR Domenik Hixon (61)
RE-SIGNS: WR Victor Cruz (80), OT Will Beatty (79), S Stevie Brown (71), G Kevin Boothe (71), DT Shaun Rogers (69)
DRAFT: 1st round: OT Justin Pugh, Syracuse 2nd round: DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State 3rd round: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M 4th round: QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse 5th round: S Cooper Taylor, Richmond 7th round: G Eric Herman, Ohio RB Michael Cox, Massachusetts
SUMMARY: After winning Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots, the Giants went 9-7 with a defense that was 28th against the pass, 25th against the rush and gave up the second-most yards per game behind the New Orleans Saints. So despite a defense that just didn’t click last year, the Giants almost made the playoffs anyway. The Giants had a decent offseason. DE Osi Umenyiora left for Atlanta, but the Giants got two DT’s in Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson to help out up front. TE Brandon Myers is a risk, as Myers never was very productive in Oakland, but the Giants hope that will change with QB Eli Manning throwing to him. RB David Wilson seems ready to take over the starting runningback duties and if he can demonstrate the same explosiveness as he did last year, the Giants may make an improvement from last year’s 14th-best rushing attack. Manning is renowned for his durability, as he has played eight consecutive seasons without missing a start, and should continue to produce consistently as he has done his entire career. The secondary is solid, but the linebacking core is young this year. Despite last year’s poor defensive performance, I expect coach Tom Coughlin will have gotten this defense back into shape. The Giants have won at least eight games in every season since 2004, when they went 6-10 in Coughlin’s first year. I expect that streak to continue this year as the Giants edge out the Redskins for the division crown.
SCHEDULE PROJECTED RECORD: 10-6
Week 1: @ DAL Week 2: vs. DEN Week 3: @ CAR Week 4: @ KC Week 5: vs. PHI Week 6: @ CHI Week 7: vs. MIN Week 8: @ PHI Week 9: BYE Week 10: vs. OAK Week 11: vs. GB Week 12: vs. DAL Week 13: @ WSH Week 14: @ SD Week 15: vs. SEA Week 16: @ DET Week 17: vs. WSH
LOSE: OT Jammal Brown (76), S Madieu Williams (74)
RE-SIGNS: TE Fred Davis (79), CB DeAngelo Hall (79), G Kory Lichtensteiger (69)
DRAFT: 2nd round: CB David Amerson, North Carolina State 3rd round: TE Jordan Reed, Florida 4th round: S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State 5th round: RB Chris Thompson, Florida State OLB Brandon Jenkins, Florida State 6th round: S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia 7th round: RB Jawan Jamison, Rutgers
SUMMARY: This team went far beyond expectations last year, winning their last seven games to make the playoffs. This despite a defense that gave up a total of 377.7 yards per game (28th), 24.3 points per game (22nd) and a pass defense that was 30th in the league. However, the Washington Redskins finished high in two of the most important statistics in the game: turnover differential and turnovers. They had the third highest turnover differential at +17. Only Chicago and New England were better. The Redskins also had only 14 turnovers, the fewest in the league. TE Fred Davis, OLB Brian Orakpo and veteran S Brandon Meriweather are all coming back from injuries. However, the Redskins lost 4th round pick S Phillip Thomas to a Lisfranc tear, meaning 6th round pick S Bacarri Rambo will be one of the starting safeties. The linebacking core is strong, but the secondary must perform better than last year, especially if CB DeAngelo Hall is part of that unit. RB Alfred Morris should keep the rushing game moving smoothly and although I’m worried about QB Robert Griffin III’s durability, he is consistently accurate and doesn’t commit a lot of turnovers. If the secondary improves and RG3 stays healthy, this team could overtake the Giants for the division.
SCHEDULE PROJECTED RECORD: 9-7
Week 1: vs. PHI Week 2: @ GB Week 3: vs. DET Week 4: @ OAK Week 5: BYE Week 6: @ DAL Week 7: vs. CHI Week 8: @ DEN Week 9: vs. SD Week 10: @ MIN Week 11: @ PHI Week 12: vs. SF Week 13: vs. NYG Week 14: vs. KC Week 15: @ ATL Week 16: vs. DAL Week 17: @ NYG
GET: LB Justin Durant (77)
LOSE: RB Felix Jones (75), LB Dan Connor (69), DE Kenyon Coleman (69), CB Mike Jenkins (67), WR Kevin Ogletree (64), S Gerald Sensabaugh (retired)
RE-SIGNS: LB Anthony Spencer (80), C Phil Costa (68)
DRAFT: 1st round: C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin 2nd round: TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State 3rd round: WR Terrance Williams, Baylor S J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern 4th round: CB B.W. Webb, William & Mary 5th round: RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State 6th round: OLB DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina
SUMMARY: The Dallas Cowboys had one of the worst offseasons in my opinion. They got LB Justin Durant in free agency, but that was it, even though their defense was a cause for concern last year. They gave up 25 points per game (24th) and the team had a -13 turnover differential, tied for fifth-worst in the league. The Cowboys had the second-worst rushing attack last year and to solve it, drafted a running back in the fifth round, even though runningback should have been one of the main priorities for this team. RB Demarco Murray breached the 100-mark one time last year, which was on opening day and that’s gotta change if this team wants to win. QB Tony Romo shows time and time again he is not the quarterback for this team, but Jerry Jones signed him to a contract extension this summer so the Cowboys will continue to turn the ball over and fail to perform when it matters. The Cowboys haven’t made the postseason since 2009 and I don’t see that changing this year.
SCHEDULE PROJECTED RECORD: 8-8
Week 1: vs. NYG Week 2: @ KC Week 3: vs. STL Week 4: @ SD Week 5: vs. DEN Week 6: vs. WSH Week 7: @ PHI Week 8: @ DET Week 9: vs. MIN Week 10: @ NO Week 11: BYE Week 12: @ NYG Week 13: vs. OAK Week 14: @ CHI Week 15: vs. GB Week 16: @ WSH Week 17: vs. PHI
GET: LB Connor Barwin (79), S Kenny Phillips (77), DT Isaac Sopoaga (77), S Patrick Chung (75), P Donnie Jones (75), RB Felix Jones (75), CB Cary Williams (73), FB James Casey (67), CB Bradley Fletcher (66)
LOSE: DT Cullen Jenkins (80), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (80), CB Dominique Rodger-Cromartie (78), DT Mike Patterson (71), LB Akeem Jordan (70)
DRAFT: 1st round: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma 2nd round: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford 3rd round: DT Bennie Logan, LSU 4th round: QB Matt Barkley, USC 5th round: S Earl Wolff, North Carolina State 7th round: DE Joe Kruger, Utah CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State DE David King, Oklahoma
SUMMARY: This team was once called a dream team by fans a couple of years ago, fated to make a Super Bowl run. Everyone, including myself, was wrong. QB Michael Vick has failed to shine the last few years, WR DeSean Jackson is no longer the electric receiver he used to be, the defense has fallen apart, and RB LeSean McCoy is dealing with injuries. College coaches haven’t had much success in the pros, but the Eagles are hoping new coach Chip Kelly will be different. The team lost two of its best DT’S as well as both of their starting CB’s. They picked up two new safeties, and CB Cary Williams from Baltimore is expected to start. Despite all the help, I don’t think the Philly defense will improve much after allowing 27.8 points per game (tied-29th) last year. The Eagles have to get a better turnover differential, after a -24 last year, tied for worst in the league. The secondary will struggle and the offense will once again fall on RB LeSean McCoy and QB Michael Vick, who has less targets to throw to after WRs Jeremy Maclin and WR Arrelious Benn tore their ACL’s. The city of brotherly love won’t be getting any love on the field this year.
SCHEDULE PROJECTED RECORD: 4-12
Week 1: @ WSH Week 2: vs. SD Week 3: vs. KC Week 4: @ DEN Week 5: @ NYG Week 6: @ TB Week 7: vs. DAL Week 8: vs. NYG Week 9: @ OAK Week 10: @ GB Week 11: vs. WSH Week 12: BYE Week 13: vs. ARI Week 14: vs. DET Week 15: @ MIN Week 16: vs. CHI Week 17: @ DAL