With the NFL's free agent frenzy kicking off tomorrow at 10am, it will be an interesting time for the NFC East. With rosters expanding to 90 players, teams will be adding on average about 50 new names to their squad. Included among those are teams re-signing their own free agents, signing other veteran free agents, draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents. The Eagles and Redskins will both have upwards of $20 million in cap space to play with. The Giants and Cowboys however, are in the red.
The Cowboys are currently $13.9 million over the cap, which is the second highest number in the league, behind only the Raiders, who are unbelievably $14.9 million over. Dallas is in a tough position because not only would this make it tough to pursue top free agents, it also hampers their ability to re-sign their own key free agents like RT Doug Free, who is set to get a major pay day.
Of course, there are things Dallas can do to get under the cap. Namely, releasing veterans like Marion Barber and Roy Williams, both of whom make pretty good money that their production doesn't really justify. Getting rid of Barber would save $4.75 million while cutting Williams would save a whopping $12.9 million. So, those two moves alone would at least get them back to even. They could also let go of guys like Terence Newman, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo and recoup another $7-8 mil in cap space. That said, the Cowboys will not likely be major players in free agency this year and their likely standard of offseason success will be whether they can retain Free.
The Giants are $6.1 million over the cap but they can get under much easier. By cutting former Eagle Shawn Andrews and his $7.5 million cap figure, the Giants are back in the black. However, they also have several major decisions to make that could force several more cuts to make room. Starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw is an unrestricted free agent that will likely demand pretty big money to keep. WR Steve Smith is a free agent and despite coming off an injury filled year, could draw interest as well. The Giants will also have to figure out what to do with Osi Umenyiora, who has publicly criticized the team about their unwillingness to give him a new contract. In fact, in the lawsuit the player filed against the owners, Umenyiora was a named plaintiff and alleged in an affidavit that the Giants lied to him about negotiating a new deal. So whether to trade him or give him a big new contract will be another major issue.
All salary cap info comes from ESPN.