East Notes: Cowboys, Maclin, Forbath

Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray have understandably dominated the discussion surrounding the Cowboys‘ offseason, but there are still other decisions for Dallas to make once the Bryant and Murray situations are resolved. For instance, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News recently predicted that the team would opt not to exercise Morris Claiborne‘s fifth-year option, which is surprising in that it directly contradicts what owner Jerry Jones said last month. And, on the topic of underperforming defensive backs, Machota thinks the Cowboys will retain Brandon Carr but that Carr will probably end up taking a pay cut, which reaffirms what our Ben Levine wrote last night.

Now for some more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News takes a look at how the Cowboys will address their backup quarterback situation in 2015. Although Brandon Weeden is still under contract, Jones did not give Weeden a ringing endorsement at the NFL combine a few weeks ago, and the team is high on third-stringer Dustin Vaughan. George does not believe Dallas will ultimately sign a free agent to replace Weeden, but he does note that the Cowboys would not hesitate to do so if the right deal came along.
  • The Cowboys’ decision to put the franchise tag on Bryant is good news for the Eagles, as it prevents Bryant from setting a market price for wide receivers like Jeremy Maclin that Philadelphia would be unable to meet. But Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com tweets that, if the Eagles cannot agree to a long-term deal with Maclin by tomorrow afternoon, then Maclin will also get the franchise tag.
  • Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com passes along Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman‘s thoughts on trading up in the draft. Roseman is generally against such a move, which is interesting given the rumors surrounding the team’s alleged desire to move up to select Marcus Mariota. But Roseman, of course, will not have a say in the Eagles’ ultimate decision to trade up or stay put as a result of his redefined role in the team’s front office.
  • Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com examines whether Washington should part ways with kicker Kai Forbath, a restricted fee agent. Washington has not been particularly eager to extend an offer to Forbath, who would be the most accurate kicker in team history if he had enough attempts to qualify, and Tandler says the reason for that is Forbath’s leg strength. Forbath was near the bottom of the league in net kickoff average, and the team may choose to trade a little accuracy in field goal attempts below 50 yards for improved field position and the chance to make a long-range field goal every once in a while.
  • After the Bills missed out on Josh McCown, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News took a look at other signal-callers that the team could pursue. The free agent class is, of course, underwhelming, with the possible exception of Brian Hoyer, though Nick Foles or even Jay Cutler could be intriguing trade targets.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com looks at the free agent case of right guard Willie Colon. Colon could make sense for another team looking for a one-year stopgap, but the Jets are likely to seek an upgrade in free agency.
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