NFC Notes: Cowboys, Redskins, Bears, Vikes

Jerry Jones is bullish on linebacker Jaylon Smith‘s prospects at 2017 contributions, but Albert Breer of hears the situation isn’t exactly as rosy, as the Cowboys view anything Smith gives them in 2017 as a bonus. While the damaged nerve in Smith’s foot started firing again, the 2016 second-round pick is nowhere close to full strength and might never get there again, Breer notes. The MMQB scribe also doubts whether Smith can be effective playing on a brace to deal with the unique drop foot issue with which the ex-Notre Dame star became saddled. And playing through this injury puts Smith at risk for further damage, Dr. Thomas Gill told Breer.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Free agent defensive tackle Terrell McClain is already expected to draw interest from Atlanta and Seattle, and the Redskins are also expected to give the 28-year-old a call, according to Jane Slater of (Twitter link). McClain is coming off the best season of his career, as he started more 12 or more games for the first time since 2012. In 15 starts, McClain put up 39 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
  • The Bears were expected to meet with Brian Hoyer‘s agent last weekend, and the club reportedly expressed its desire to re-sign the veteran quarterback, tweets Jason La Canfora of Chicago is expected to pursue other signal-callers this offseason, but Hoyer could serve as something of a bridge option if the Bears roll with a young passer. Hoyer will have plenty of other suitors, however, per La Canfora.
  • Linebacker Audie Cole will reach free agency without inking a new Vikings deal, but a return to Minnesota is possible, per Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Cole, 27, appeared in all 16 games for the Vikings last year but didn’t start a single contest. While played only 35 defensive snaps, Cole did play on more than 65% of the Vikes’ special teams snaps.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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