NFC East Q&A: Will Giant spending on defensive free agents pay big dividends?

Today's question: Have the new additions (DE Olivier Vernon, NT Damon Harrison, CB Janoris Jenkins) the Giants made on defense turned them into a unit opponents will fear again?

Todd Archer (Cowboys): The Cowboys thought they had the best team in the NFC East in 2007, but the Giants’ pass rush knocked them out of the playoffs. In 2011, the Giants’ pass rush rattled the Cowboys in the de facto NFC East championship game. While I think Vernon is a good player, and he gave Tyron Smith fits last season, I think guaranteeing him $52.5 million is crazy. He had fewer sacks last year than DeMarcus Lawrence. I’ve seen Dez Bryant turn around Janoris Jenkins, who seems to take too many chances at cornerback. Of the three, I think Harrison might be the best signing because the Cowboys want to run the ball first and foremost, and he can hold the fort. Tony Romo has won his past five starts against the Giants. He has been dazzling against them with 14 touchdown passes and five interceptions. He has beaten them with late-game heroics the past two seasons. I don’t think he will fear going against that defense. As much as I think the additions will help New York, this isn’t 2007 or 2011.

Phil Sheridan (Eagles): Major changes like that can go the other way, as the Eagles proved last year (again) after failing to learn a lesson from the “Dream Team” fiasco in 2011. But, certainly, the addition of quality players on the front line and at the back end could make the Giants’ defense that much more difficult to attack. And change is a necessity sometimes. The Eagles averaged 27.7 points and 396 yards per game against the Giants over the past three seasons. Chip Kelly is gone, but it certainly seemed as if the Giants needed to do something.

John Keim (Redskins): I don’t know if they’ll be feared, but they should be improved – and based on the Redskins’ recent success vs. them, perhaps they should be a bit scared. After all, in its past eight meetings vs. New York, Washington has averaged just 16.4 points per game with a high total of 23 – and that came in 2012. And in those eight games, the Redskins have turned the ball over a combined 20 times, including three last season. Kirk Cousins finally had a solid, turnover-free game vs. the Giants in their second meeting last season, a 20-14 victory. But the Giants’ defense clearly knows how to deal with Washington’s offense, and now they’re adding two talented players up front. I’m not sold on Jenkins as some big-time answer – and I know the Redskins had a lot of respect for the man he’s replacing, Prince Amukamara, and thought the Giants had the most physical pair of corners they played. Jenkins misses too many tackles and takes chances; it can pay off, but I think it’ll bite him, too.