<
>

NFC East weekend mailbag

You e-mail, I answer. It's an offseason weekend thing.

Nick Curtin from Newark, Del., wants to know if the Dallas Cowboys might be able to pull off trades for Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel and New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

Dan Graziano: Obviously, both would fill major needs, assuming Umenyiora would be willing/able to make the switch to outside linebacker in the 3-4. The problem is that these are potential trades and not free-agent acquisitions, which would require only money. These deals would require the Cowboys to give up draft picks (unwise, considering their plethora of needs) and would also require them to convince division rivals to trade them very good players. If I were the Eagles, I wouldn't be trading Samuel to a team I had to play twice a year, and same with the Giants and Umenyiora. As much as the Cowboys might like it, it's hard to imagine either of those players being traded to Dallas.


Greg Martin from Freehold, N.J., is surprised by the seemingly overwhelmingly negative reaction among Redskins fans and Washington media to the idea of the Redskins bringing in Peyton Manning to play quarterback next year. He wants to know why I think people are so against the idea.

DG: Greg, I think it's because people fail to see the differences between what's going on in Washington now versus past years, when they just went out on the market and signed the biggest possible name for the most money and it never worked out. This wouldn't be the same, but since Manning is such a big name and since he wouldn't be a long-term solution, people are inclined to say things like, "No, not again. Same old Redskins. Blah, blah, blah." I think people should trust what Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen are doing. They've been focused and directed in their offseason moves since taking over. They took a flyer on Donovan McNabb two years ago and it didn't work out, but otherwise they're building the team the right way. If they can't trade up for Robert Griffin III, and they can't find their long-term, franchise guy in this offseason, a healthy Manning would be a fine solution. They'd be able to spend draft picks and other resources on other needs such as wide receiver and offensive line, and could continue looking for the long-term fix rather than trying to force one that doesn't work. And Manning isn't getting some huge contract. It'd be a year or two, incentive-based. No need for Redskins fans to fear a return of the bad old free-agency days.


Steve from Denver asks, if the Eagles decide to trade DeSean Jackson, which teams would be interested?

DG: The Patriots in the Super Bowl sure looked like a team that could use Jackson. The Saints if they lose Colston. The Chargers if they lose Vincent Jackson. The Bears. The Ravens. The 49ers. I could go on and on, but there's no shortage of teams that could use a wide receiver with Jackson's talent and big-play potential.


And Scott from Charlotte, N.C., has a PUNTER QUESTION!!!! He wants to know if it'd make sense for the Giants to franchise Steve Weatherford after his big season, and what such a move would cost.

DG: The franchise number for punters is around $2.7 million, and Weatherford did in fact have a great, difference-making season and especially postseason. Some have suggested to me that he should have been a stronger candidate for Super Bowl MVP. (Much as I love punters and the game Weatherford had, I disagree. Eli Manning was 30-for-40, for goodness' sake.) But I think the issue is moot. The Giants and Weatherford are at work on a contract extension and both sides expect a multi-year deal to be done soon.