If new Cowboy Henry Melton can match his career high of seven sacks in 2014, the team will more than likely pick up the final three years of his contract, writes Todd Archer of ESPN.com in his mailbag. Picking up the rest of the deal will guarantee Melton $9MM in 2015.
Archer also discusses whether the Cowboys keep three of four tight ends on their active roster, and picks James Hanna as the odd man out if they only keep three. Hanna is the weakest blocker of the group, and the team has not been able to take advantage of his standout athleticism in his two years in Dallas.
Here are some more links from around the NFC East:
- The Cowboys‘ have lost their players to the third most games due to injury over the last two seasons, totaling 133 games missed over that time period, writes Brandon George.of DallasNews.com. The team has employed more protective equipment during practices, and the use of two ProFlex stretching machines, two other stretching machines designed for the core and lower body, one World Cup skier’s plyometric apparatus, one Dynamic Edge skier’s machine, and a vibration machine in attempt to increase their players’ resistance to injuries.
- The Eagles are better and deeper than they have been in years past, writes Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. The addition of Malcolm Jenkins should provide consistency, and Nate Allen improved again last year after regression in years prior. Backup Earl Wolff has been working with Jenkins, and will find his way onto the field in certain packages and situations, or to spell the two starters.
- Mosher also examined why the Eagles decided they didn’t need to get bigger on the defensive line this offseason, despite allowing success on the ground in their playoff loss to the Saints. Despite criticism of being too small, he notes that the unit was tenth in the league in rushing yards allowed, and were even better on a per carry basis, where they ranked fourth.
- Chris Chester struggled in 2013 as the Redskins‘ right guard, but he is still the frontrunner to start in 2014, writes Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com. However, third-round pick Spencer Long will challenge for the starting spot, and backup Josh LeRibeus could be in the mix as well.
- The Redskins have many issues they need to improve on special teams, but maybe none more than their touchback percentage, writes Chris Russell of ESPN980.com (via Twitter). According to Russell, Kai Forbath produced a touchback on only 24.6% of his kickoffs in 2013. The league average number was 48.8%.
- There is disagreement over who will return punts for the Giants in 2014, but fortunately they have a number of promising options according to the writers at Giants.com. Michael Eisen sees the job as Rueben Randle‘s to lose, as he performed well in that role in 2013, although he is not a home run threat. John Schmeelk envisions Odell Beckham Jr. taking over as a rookie, as he displayed explosive ability to do so at LSU. Finally, Dan Salmone chose the 5’5″ Trindon Holliday to be the big play threat the Giants have been missing in their special teams.