East Notes: E. Manning, Cowboys, Dolphins

Eli Manning is entering the final year of his contract with the Giants, and there have been no discussions about an extension, writes Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. However, the lack of negotiations has not phased the two-time Super Bowl MVP.

“I haven’t made a big deal about it,” Manning said. “[It] is not something I’m going to argue about or make a fuss about.”

Of course, Manning did receive a six-year, $97.5MM deal from the Giants back in 2010, a contract he is going to play out, so he has reason to be patient as his next contract negotiations approach. One would think that he is in line for one more big payday, even though he will be 35 when he hits unrestricted free agency next winter. New York could put the franchise tag on him if it comes down to it, though it is difficult to imagine Manning finishing his career on anything other than a multi-year deal with Big Blue.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News believes there is only one direction for the Giants to go with the No. 9 overall pick in the draft: offensive line. Even if an elite wide receiver prospect like Amari Cooper or Kevin White falls to New York, Vacchiano believes the team should resist temptation and grab one of the top offensive linemen like Brandon Scherff or Ereck Flowers.
  • Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News looks at the top priorities for the Cowboys heading into the draft. He lists cornerback and defensive line as the two positions the team absolutely must address.
  • For a number of reasons, the Cowboys have been pretty successful in the draft under head coach Jason Garrett. Garrett and assistant director of player personnel Will McClay have a good eye for talent, executive VP Stephen Jones has wielded a “firm and disciplined hand,” and owner Jerry Jones is meddling a little less. As David Moore of The Dallas Morning News writes, the one drawback to success in the draft is that other teams want to poach the successful team’s players, which has happened with the Cowboys this offseason. Running back DeMarco Murray, linebacker Bruce Carter, and special teams ace Dwayne Harris were all part of Garrett’s first draft class and all left in free agency, so the team must now deal with the unique challenge that drafting well presents: not only adding talent to the nucleus of the roster, but replacing lost talent in the most cost-effective manner possible, which includes mining hidden gems in the lower rounds. Dallas must show they are up to that task if they are to repeat as NFC East champions.
  • John Keim of ESPN.com takes a look at a number of Robert Griffin III-related questions in his latest mailbag, including the ramifications of Washington‘s decision to either exercise or not exercise RGIII’s fifth-year option.
  • In a couple of Dolphins-related items, James Walker of ESPN.com examines whether Miami would really be willing to roll the dice on Georgia RB Todd Gurley and what the holdup is in exercising Ryan Tannehill‘s fifth-year option.
  • In Bill Belichick‘s 15 drafts with the Patriots, the team has traded up 17 times and traded down 17 times. As Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald writes, New England is one of two teams holding five of the top 101 picks in this year’s draft, so you can expect more wheeling and dealing from the Pats this week.
  • Despite the buzz surrounding Marcus Mariota and the disappointment surrounding Geno Smith, Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News believes the Jets should go with the “strategically smart” decision and trade down from their No. 6 overall pick to select Stanford OT Andrus Peat.
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