Almost two weeks into free agency, the Redskins haven’t been able to accomplish much because of the crippling, $18 million NFL-imposed salary cap penalty. Some of their NFC East rivals, however, have been busy, adding players, filling holes and reshaping their rosters. Here’s a quick look at who they’ve added and how the changes might affect next season’s battle for the division crown.
2012 record: 9-7, 3-3
Key acquisitions: WR Louis Murphy (from Panthers), TE Brandon Myers (Raiders), LB Dan Connor (Cowboys), DT Cullen Jenkins (Eagles), CB Aaron Ross (Jaguars), S Ryan Mundy (Steelers), K Josh Brown (none)
2013 outlook: It wasn’t much a surprise that GM Jerry Reese opted to make changes on defense after the unit slogged to a 31st overall ranking. And although the team’s close proximity to the salary cap ceiling has any prevented major acquisitions, Reese has managed to make a handful of budget-conscious tweaks that could pay off.
New York’s glaring deficiency was its scuffling secondary, which yielded an average of 254 yards per game (28th) and a total of 26 passing touchdowns (tied for 19th). Ross is a solid vet who will add depth, while Mundy is a productive and durable player who figures to be more reliable than the talented yet oft-injured man he replaces, Kenny Phillips.
On offense, the Giants' passing attack lost tight end Martellus Bennett (55 receptions, 626 yards, 5 TDs) but he was replaced with sure-handed former Raider Brandon Myers (79 catches, 806 yards, 4 TDs). Myers was reportedly scheduled to visit Redskins Park if he did not sign with the Giants first. Louis Murphy, meantime, was added to the Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks-led wide receiving corps. Murphy could give Eli Manning another young, speedy option capable of getting behind defensive backs.
As you can see, the Giants haven’t made any splashy moves. But they appear to be an improved squad in terms of overall depth. And don’t forget, they’re just a season removed from a second Super Bowl title in six years. My bet is Tom Coughlin and Co. manage to give the incumbent Redskins all they can handle in 2013.