NFC East weekend mailbag

You send e-mails. I read through them, deleting the profane insults and picking out a few insightful questions to be answered here on the blog. It's a graceful, elaborate dance, and we call it the mailbag.

Gene from DC wants to know about Ryan Tannehill -- specifically, whether he's the kind of quarterback prospect who can work his way up the draft board in the coming months to the point where the Washington Redskins might take him at No. 6. Gene cites recent examples such as Christian Ponder, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman and Joe Flacco as quarterbacks who ended up being picked much higher than it originally seemed they would.

Dan Graziano: Excellent point, Gene, and you didn't even mention Mark Sanchez, who was a late-first/early-second guy this time three years ago and ended up going No. 5. Quarterback is a vital position with a scarcity of elite talent, which is why those guys tend to get picked higher than their scouting grades indicate they should. And Tannehill is a prime candidate to be such a guy this year. If he impresses in workouts and interviews and the whole pre-draft process, I agree completely that he could be a mid-first-round pick or even a viable option for the Redskins at No. 6, even if right now it doesn't appear as though people think he should go that high. Quarterbacks go higher than they should, in general.

The Eagles Spoke to Griffin? from Middletown, PA heard the reports that the Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Robert Griffin III at the scouting combine and wants to know whether this is a case of "everyone talking to everyone" or if there's potentially something more to it.

DG: It'd be a huge surprise if the Eagles actually traded up and drafted Griffin. That said, it's not a case of "everyone talking to everyone," because teams only get a limited number of player interviews at the combine. The Eagles obviously wanted a chance to get to know Griffin and find out what he's all about. That could have been the result of pure curiosity. It could be due diligence, in case something happens and the guy drops to 15 and they want to know whether he's worth taking at that spot for the future or depth at the most important position. Griffin's an intriguing guy, and I'm sure there are a lot of teams that want a chance to meet him -- not just those who appear to be in position to draft him this year.

Anthony from Ft Worth, Texas asks how many free agents the Cowboys will sign this year and if DeMarcus Ware's sack numbers would go up if the Cowboys were to draft a pass rusher such as North Carolina's Quinton Coples.

DG: Sneaky two-part question, Anthony. The Cowboys could have around $20 million worth of cap room when it's all said and done, which should be enough for them to sign a cornerback, pass rusher (i.e., keep Anthony Spencer or replace him) and and interior offensive lineman in free agency. As for the draft -- Coples is a 4-3 lineman and likely to be gone by the time the Cowboys pick anyway. But if they do pick up an elite pass rusher (think Courtney Upshaw or Melvin Ingram) who outperforms Spencer in terms of getting to the passer, yes, that could be beneficial to Ware as the new guy would require teams' attention more than Spencer often does. Hard to imagine how much higher Ware's sack totals could go, but your logic is sound.

Seth from Vermont asks when was the last time the Giants used the franchise player designation and whether they have any candidates for it this year.

DG: The Giants franchised Brandon Jacobs three years ago because they felt like they were close to completing negotiations on a long-term deal with him, which they were and they did. As for this year's group, there are no obvious franchise candidates. They won't want to franchise Mario Manningham or Kareem McKenzie, because each of those guys would happily play for $9.4 million guaranteed in 2012 and that's much more than they'd want to pay them. Same with Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas, whose franchise numbers would be $10.6 million, and Jonathan Goff, who'd get $8.8 million. Even if they wanted to bring back one, two or all of those guys, they'd want to do it at much lower numbers. Somebody asked last week about punter Steve Weatherford, whose franchise number would be $2.6 million. The Giants are at work on a long-term deal with Weatherford and I guess could conceivably do what they did with Jacobs three years ago if they can't get the deal done by the end of next week.