With the draft coming up at the end of the month, free agency has started to slow, so now is a good time to assess what the NFC East has done in free agency.
This week NFL Nation reporters Dan Graziano, John Keim, Phil Sheridan and Todd Archer are taking a look at the best, worst and underrated signings so far and will offer up who is the best team in the division entering the draft based on the moves that have been made.
Today the NFC East roundtable focuses on the best free-agency signing made in the division.
Dan Graziano: Terrance Knighton, Washington Redskins. This starts from the premise that almost all free-agent deals are awful. DeMarco Murray was the best player anyone signed in the division, but committing $21 million to a running back who's had one healthy season is not, to my mind, a good signing. Washington snagging Knighton, a top defensive tackle still in his prime, for one year and $4 million is a deal that will help them this year and won't cripple them against the cap for years to come.
John Keim: Murray, Philadelphia Eagles. But I don’t say this with much conviction because that line in Dallas was fantastic. And he’s coming off a 436-carry season (including the playoffs), which usually leads to a decline the following season. But playing in this offense could provide a jolt – he’s a one-cut runner with pretty good vision, which makes him a good fit for Chip Kelly’s offense. LeSean McCoy was a terrific back, but he was not a special one last year. Murray has a chance to have another excellent season.
Phil Sheridan: Knighton. You could certainly make a pretty convincing case for the Eagles signing Murray. But let’s face it. In terms of getting better, I just don’t see much difference between McCoy, the 2013 NFL rushing champion, and Murray, the 2014 rushing champion. So I’m casting a vote for Washington’s signing of Knighton. He’ll stand as a symbol for a defensive makeover that I think was pretty well executed by new Washington general manager Scot McCloughan.
Todd Archer: Murray. First let me contradict myself. I agree with Dan in thinking they have overpaid a little bit to get him. I wouldn’t have given him $18 million guaranteed, which can easily turn into $21 million guaranteed. But what I like most about it is how it will affect the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles took the Cowboys’ heartbeat, which is what Jason Garrett called Murray. It might be a little rich, but you have to be willing to take a chance. I think Murray will give Kelly the downhill runner he wants and he won’t have to use him as much as the Cowboys had to use him because they have Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews on the roster too. I do believe Kelly will find it difficult to take Murray off the field because of all the things he can do, but they won’t wear him down. Until we see how the Cowboys replace Murray -- it won’t be just Darren McFadden -- the tenor of their offense has changed. And we’ll always wonder what would have happened if Frank Gore had not backed out of his agreement with the Eagles, which opened the door for Murray.