Good morning to you in the East. After a long stretch in which not much has happened, this past weekend saw the start of some very real action. The Redskins' trade up to get the No. 2 pick in next month's draft was the first truly significant offseason move by any of our four teams, and this week will bring more. Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET is the start of free agency, and in a few days the shifting, updating 2012 rosters of our division's four teams will begin to give us some clues as to what might happen in the coming season. It's an exciting time, for me as well as for you, and I look forward to a fun week.
We'll have the usual free-agent bells and whistles. Those of you who remember "How was your day?" from last summer will be happy to know I'm planning to bring that back, for instance. And the goal is to have a post reacting to every signing as they happen, so it shouldn't be a problem to keep the blog fresh and updated.
One thing on which you know you can always count, however, is the reliable morning presence of your hot, fresh links.
New York Giants
Ohm offers a Giants free-agency primer over at ESPNNewYork.com. It's very thorough and will get you set up to follow the Giants in the coming week. Interesting that Ohm seems to think the return of Steve Smith as the team's No. 3 wide receiver is a very real possibility.
It looks as though the Giants have completed their 2012 coaching staff with the hiring of Temple assistant coach Matt Rhule to replace Jack Bicknell Jr. as assistant offensive line coach. The Giants' coaching staff was picked over a bit in the wake of their Super Bowl victory, as often happens, but replacements have been found for everyone.
The run of free-agency primers continues with Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer breaking down the decisions the Eagles have to make with their own free agents, including important players such as Evan Mathis, Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri. Jeff thinks that, if they lose Mathis, they'll try to mine the middle rounds of the draft for a replacement, since Howard Mudd-type linemen (like Jason Kelce) are available later in the draft.
And Les Bowen of the Daily News takes a look at what the Eagles might do externally on the free-agent market. Again, as I and many others have been writing recently, don't expect a repeat of last year's Eagles free-agent frenzy. They may go out and add a piece or two, but they're not likely to be this year's offseason headline-grabbers.
Tim MacMahon and Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com have a Hot Button debate about what the Cowboys' free-agency priority should be. Tim says they'd be wiser to spend on a guard such as Carl Nicks than to throw money at big-name cornerbacks who will end up disappointing them. Calvin says the need for cornerback is their most glaring and should be addressed. I'm inclined to side with Calvin, but Tim makes his case very convincingly. Anyway, you can vote!
Blogging the Boys has some Cowboys free-agency predictions. It believes the team will swiftly come to an agreement with wide receiver Laurent Robinson (I'm not so sure) and sign both cornerback Brandon Carr and guard Carl Nicks, effectively taking both sides in the aforementioned ESPNDallas.com Hot Button debate. Hey, everybody's allowed to dream.
Sally Jenkins believes that Robert Griffin III's background and upbringing as a self-described "military kid" tells you more about who he is and why he's worth betting on than anything he's done on the field.
The Redskins' big draft trade Friday night has had the effect of energizing the fan base and prompting some season-ticket renewals, Rich Campbell writes. This is a look into one of many reasons quarterback is so important in the NFL. If you have a viable quarterback (or, in this case, the chance to get one), your fans have reason to believe. If you don't, they don't.