2021 NFL Free Agency Grades: NFC East

washington football team 1

Washington Football Team: A

Key Acquisitions
CB William Jackson (3yr / $40M)
WR Curtis Samuel (3yr / $34.5M)
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (1yr / $10M)
WR Adam Humphries (1yr / $2M)

Key Departures
CB Ronald Darby
OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis

The Washington Football Team set themselves up to compete in 2021, and they are my favorite to win the NFC East. Starting off with the losses, the two notable names are Kevin Pierre-Louis and Ronald Darby. However, the team has already solved the Darby issue by getting a better cornerback in William Jackson, previously of the Bengals.

Then, the one position that this team really needed to address was QB. They went out and got the QB that would put them in the very best position to win, in Ryan Fitzpatrick. While Fitz is not a great QB, he is good enough to lead this offense down the field and put up points. Fitzpatrick will have weapons all around him to utilize.

Speaking of weapons, Ron Rivera is reunited with Curtis Samuel, another major addition to this team. Now the Washington Football Team has two massive threats at the WR position in Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. Throw in new-signing Adam Humphries, alongside explosive second-year running back Antonio Gibson, and TE Logan Thomas, and this team is filled with weapons.

Note that the team also franchise-tagged Brandon Scherff, one of the very best guards in the game. He is money well spent, even at $18m this year. It will be interesting if Scherff decides to sign a long-term deal or will keep pushing to leave Washington.

The only place Washington needs to address is linebacker and offensive line. They should also look at a long-term solution at the QB spot. However, Washington has the draft capital to address their major needs to win now during the draft, or they could sell the farm to move up for a young QB that they like. Either way, Washington has done great in this free agency period.

New York Giants

New York Giants: C+

Key Acquisitions
WR Kenny Golladay (4yr / $72M
CB Adoree’ Jackson (3yr / $39M)
TE Kyle Rudolph (2r / $12M)
RB Devontae Booker (2yr / $5.5M)
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (1yr / $2.5M)
WR John Ross (1yr / $2.25M

Key Departures
DT Dalvin Tomlinson
LB Kyler Fackrell

It is hard to say that the New York Giants did badly in free agency. They went out and spent money on guys they wanted to bring in. Having Kenny Golladay in addition to the weapons already on the team should be a massive plus for Daniel Jones as the Giants give themselves one more year to evaluate if he is the QB of the future.

However, I really do not love the Adoree’ Jackson or Kyle Rudolph signings, especially since that money could have easily gone to bringing back one of the best DTs in the game, Dalvin Tomlinson.

Jackson is nothing special and did not play well in the Titans’ defense last year. Even with the opt-out, the team is still committed to $13m a year for two years to a DB who is simply not worth that kind of cash. Meanwhile, Kyle Rudolph is a bit of a washed-up TE. He is a decent player who will block and has fantastic hands. However, again, if this money could have gone to re-signing Dalvin Tomlinson, why in the world would you use it on your second-string TE, who has injury concerns as he is aging?

I will say that I love the Ifeadi Odenigbo and John Ross signings, two cheap contracts for players who can produce for your team and are great depth. I also do not mind the Devontae Booker signing as he is the perfect back to come in for a couple of snaps a game to give Barkley his rest. He would also work well in a split backfield if Barkley went down again.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: C-

Key Acquisitions
OLB Tarell Basham (2yr / $5.5M)
S Keanu Neal (1yr / $4m)
OT Ty Nsekhe (1yr / $2M)

Key Departures
CB Chidobe Awuzie
CB Jordan Lewis
QB Andy Dalton
OT Cameron Erving
S Xavier Woods

The Dallas Cowboys did not have a ton of money to make moves during this free agency period. However, they did get the most important piece of roster work complete by extending their franchise QB, Dak Prescott. They also structured that deal to give themselves some wiggle room this year and next.

However, the whole reason the Cowboys are in this bad situation is due to terrible contracts handed out in previous years. The Cowboys are paying way too much money to Zeke Elliot and Amari Cooper and simply do not have any room to spend money elsewhere. While no one could have seen the pandemic coming and the lowering of the cap being an issue, these two contracts are still not ideal.

I was shocked to not see Michael Gallup on the move. The Cowboys have holes to fill at every defensive position and are in need of another offensive linemen. While I think Gallup is a great player, there really is no need for him on the offense with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Not to mention the fact that Cedrick Wilson showed that he could be a fantastic replacement and #3 option for the team.

The Cowboys are going to need to get creative, but nothing about this free agency sparked any excitement about the prospect of a 2021 playoff run.

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles: C-

Key Acquisitions
S Anthony Harris (1yr / $4M)
QB Joe Flacco (1yr / $3.5M)
LB Eric Wilson (1yr / $3.5M)

Key Departures
S Jalen Mills
WR DeSean Jackson
S Johnathan Ford
DT Malik Jackson

+ 2021 Draft Picks: 84 (Third Round)
+ 2022 Draft Picks: Conditions 2nd Round (Converts to 1st With Benchmarks)
– QB Carson Wentz ($34M Dead Cap)

The Eagles are simply not in a position to compete and were unable to really make any competitive moves this offseason. First, they decided that they had to let go of Carson Wentz. The team got a decent return but will be eating so much dead cap that there was never a way to field a competitive roster for 2021 with the reduced salary cap.

The team has needs all over the field. Offensive line, wide receiver, linebackers, cornerbacks, EDGE, you name it, and the Eagles probably need it. The team was able to secure a fantastic deal for former Viking safety Anthony Harris, who will replace Jalen Mills in the DB room. They also just landed LB Eric Wilson, who will instantly be one of the best on the roster. However, other than that, it is going to be pretty much all rookies to fill out the roster.

There is not much to say about this offseason other than judging it on the Carson Wentz deal. While I do not think that there is any shot that Jalen Hurts becomes the answer at QB, at least the Eagles will hopefully grab a weapon or two in the draft to find that out this year. This will set up the team to know exactly what the next 2-3 years will be like.

Matthew Amato is a UC Berkeley Economics and Philosophy graduate. Matthew follows and writes about the NFL, Fantasy sports, MLB, European soccer, Professional Lacrosse, and e-sports. He has managed his own tournament baseball team and coached high school lacrosse. In his free time, Matthew used to compete competitively in Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.

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