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NFL Rumors: How the Cowboys, Eagles, Commanders, and Giants Can Improve Over the 2022 Offseason

The Washington Commanders have a new name and a new quarterback. What can they do to shake things up, even more, this offseason?
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NFL Rumors: How the Cowboys, Eagles, Commanders, and Giants Can Improve Over the 2022 Offseason

Dallas Cowboys

In Mike McCarthy's second season at the helm in Big D, the Cowboys finished the regular season 12-5 and went on to play in the Wild Card round where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers. By Football Outsiders' advanced metrics, they were the very best, most efficient team in the NFL. Dak Prescott and company were sixth in offense while star rookie Micah Parsons and the defense turned things around in a big way and finished second in defensive DVOA.

Is there room for them to improve -- or even advance -- their squad as they move toward the 2022 campaign? Any team that doesn't win the Super Bowl has to think so, and so far, it appears that Dallas is willing to make some substantial changes to be better. Dallas is set to cut (or, less likely, trade) Amari Cooper and save roughly $16 million against the cap, and have since announced they will franchise young, budding tight end Dalton Schultz. Their other notable free agents include Michael Gallup, Connor Williams, and Randy Gregory. And with rumors that Dallas is looking to bring back Gallup and/or Cedrick Wilson, they should be OK at wideout. So, where do they turn?

In today's NFL, it's not usually a big deal to be the team that gets eaten up on the ground. But after losing to the run-first Niners in the playoffs, it's evident that Dallas needs to do something to clean it up, and the best place to start should be inside linebacker. While the Jaylon Smith experience failed, and Keanu Neal did nothing to shore up the run defense, the Cowboys need to take a swing in the draft. Their cap space isn't enough to get them a top guy like De'Vondre Campbell, but regardless of that there are two stud prospects -- Utah's Devin Lloyd and Georgia's Nakobe Dean -- likely to be available around picks 15 to 20. They should either hope that one of the two falls to them at 24, or springboard their way into the top-20 with a draft-night trade under the right circumstances.

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Philadelphia Eagles

All the expectations that were fulfilled by the Cowboys having a great regular season pale in comparison to the job the Eagles did in exceeding the expectations of the fans and the media. Widely pegged to be one of the lowest-performing teams in 2021, Jalen Hurts led Philadelphia to a 9-8 record that ended up enough to get them a spot in the playoffs. They were handled by a much better Tampa Bay team, but nonetheless, they showed promise. Although the defense was 25th in DVOA, the offense was 11th despite all that surrounded Hurts and his shortcoming through the air.

For the Eagles, they are two very clear paths to go. Do you address the pass defense or the pass catchers first? Altogether, the defense was 25th versus opposing aerial attacks, and while they will watch a few defensive backs heading into free agency the numbers would indicate it might just be addition by subtraction. They have sufficient money to find a different combination on the back end, but they don't have the money to spend on a top-flight wideout -- something they could afford with one of their three (count 'em, three) first-round picks.

With Devonta Smith as the lone Eagles receiver to rate out inside the top 50 in defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR), Hurts and the team could use someone to complement the 2021 first-rounder. Treylon Burks, Drake London, and Jameson all fit the mold of a slightly bigger receiver that could do things Smith isn't made to do by body type and play style. And all are likely to go between picks 10 and 25. It just so happens the Eagles possess three picks in that range. It would be hard for them to miss on their pick of the three with that many opportunities.

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Washington Commanders

The 2021 season saw what was previously the Washington Football Team play its second season under that generic name and produce the same generic result. It was the second year in a row in which Ron Rivera's team posted seven wins -- albeit, absent the Wild Card appearance from the year prior. Ryan Fitzpatrick never played a regular-season game, and -- at least in part -- because of that, the offense was 21st in efficiency. That wasn't the shock, though, as the highly regarded defense finished 27th.

Carson Wentz, very recently acquired from Indianapolis, will be the new guy under center in D.C., but will the team look to give him help or prioritize gaps in the defense, something more on par with the Rivera brand? DVOA would favor additions to aid the pass defense, in particular the secondary. Kendall Fuller and Landon Collins are solid veterans, but they will lose Bobby McCain, and William Jackson failed to find consistency in his first year with Washington. They need a splash guy at corner to complement the Chase Young led pass rush up front.

After the trade to bring on Wentz and his massive contract, the Commanders are strapped for cash, with only $2 million to work with at this point. That's nowhere near enough to find a difference-maker in the market, but the draft is another story. They maintain their 11th overall pick, which holds a ton of value toward adding one of the top three corners. LSU's Derek Stingley, Louisville's Sauce Gardner, and Washington's Trent McDuffie are all top-25 players on most big boards and will likely go in the 8 to 20 range. That makes the most sense from both an on-field and financial perspective.

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New York Giants

Giants fans would like to tell you that 2021 was a season that never really happened. In their second and final year under Joe Judge's leadership, they failed to ever really get off the ground for a variety of reasons. Injuries played a part, but so did scheme and talent. Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and crew were 32nd in offense, but the 18th-rated defense did barely enough to bring them to 31st overall.

A regime change has landed general Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll in the driver's seat, in hopes to get things course-corrected in time to evaluate Jones properly. Their influence will be key, but it starts with Schoen and what he can do this offseason. And if they don't know their one massive, problematic weakness they won't accomplish that goal. That weakness is the offensive line. New York not only ranked 31st in adjusted line yards but they were listed 30th in PFF's final rankings thanks to poor play from right tackle Nate Solder and all three interior hogs. Guards Matt Skura and Willy Hernandez were both 56 player grades on the season.

For all their worries, the Giants shouldn't even concern themselves with the lack of cap space (they are over by more than $5 million), as they have the required draft capital to make quick and long-term improvements. The fifth overall pick should be a lock on NC State's Ikem Ekwonu, who could play either inside or out. As for the seventh pick, it wouldn't be insane to go back to the well at offensive line and snatch up Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross for max value, or pivot to Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum if Cross is already gone. It would be a welcome sight for the future success of Jones and Barkley in Daboll's offense.

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Brett Oswalt has been writing about sports for five years, has covered everything from the NBA to College Football DFS, and previously served as an editor at numberFire. He is a Senior Workforce Planning Analyst at Highmark by day, and an avid sports fan and girl-dad by night. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Marley, daughter, Aria, and goldendoodle, Braun.


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