Cowboys Catching Eagles in NFC East Race? Ranking Free Agency Moves

The Dallas Cowboys made two significant upgrades this offseason in hopes of keeping the Philadelphia Eagles from repeating as NFC East champs.

A year ago the Philadelphia Eagles were aggressive in free agency and in making trades, and the running NFC East narrative was how much they had closed the gap on the defending division champion Dallas Cowboys.

Then: Hunters.

Now: Hunted.

In one of the wildest occurrences in the NFL, the NFC East has produced a different champion for 19 consecutive years. There hasn’t been a repeat winner since the Eagles dominated the division 2001-04.

Is this the year the Eagles can finally run it back? Or have the tables again turned, with Philly losing key players in the wake of their Super Bowl XLVII loss while the Cowboys added key pieces on both sides of the ball?

The NFC East was the league’s best division in 2022, with all four teams finishing above .500 and three making it as far as the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

How did the teams fare in free agency?

Eagles – They couldn’t have realistically retained all their free agents, but losing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson is a blow to the defense. They did, however, manage to re-sign cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry. They also saw starting running back Miles Sanders leave, and will attempt to replace him with free agent Rashaad Penny or maybe even a former Cowboy in Ezekiel Elliott.

Yes, we’re aware of Philly’s denials. But we place our bet that Zeke in green would be a short-yardage TD machine here.

Cowboys – Coming off a 12-win season they filled two glaring needs in trades for former All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and speedy receiver Brandin Cooks. The only significant loss is tight end Dalton Schultz, who signed with Houston. After deciding Tony Pollard was their running back of the future, they released Elliott.

New York Giants – They kept their offensive nucleus intact by signing quarterback Daniel Jones to a long-term contract and placing the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley. They also traded for former Raiders Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller to give Jones an elite receiving target.

Washington Commanders – A team in turmoil in the front office (will embattled Dan Snyder finally sell?) is also without a proven starting quarterback. Washington cut old Philly pal Carson Wentz and let Tyler Heinicke walk in free agency, leaving it with second-year Sam Howell and journeyman Jacoby Brissett as the only options. Yikes. They did hire former Chiefs offensive play-caller Eric Bieniemy to run the offense.

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