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March 23, 2021

NFL free agency: Days 5-7 NFC East recap

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032321KennyGolladay Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

The Giants signed WR Kenny Golladay (top), while the Cowboys signed S Keanu Neal (bottom).

After each of the first four days of NFL free agency, we recapped all the gains and losses of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Football Team, and of course, the Philadelphia Eagles. 

After stalling a bit over the weekend, the action has picked back up. We'll review each team's most recent moves in the order of their finish last season.

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Day 1: Signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, retained K Dustin Hopkins, and had previously franchise tagged OG Brandon Scherff. Lost CB Ronald Darby and LB Kevin Pierre Louis.

Day 2: Signed CB William Jackson III.

Day 3: Signed WR Curtis Samuel, re-signed RB Lamar Miller.

Day 4: Signed LB David Mayo and C Tyler Lersen.

Football Team notable players gained/retained on Days 5-7

None.

Football Team notable players lost on Days 5-7

None.

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Day 1: Signed RB Devontae Booker, and had previously franchise tagged DE Leonard Williams. Lost DT Dalvin Tomlinson.

Day 2: Extended DE Leonard Williams, signed WR John Ross.

Day 3: Signed DE Ifeadi Odenigbo.

Day 4: Signed QB Mike Glennon, TE Kyle Rudolph, and LB Reggie Ragland.

Giants notable players gained/retained on Days 5-7

Signed WR Kenny Golladay: The Giants signed Golladay to a four-year deal worth $72 million, and $40 million guaranteed. That now ties him with the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill and the Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. as the sixth-highest paid wide receiver (based on AAV) in the NFL. Golladay is certainly a good starting receiver, but that is elite receiver type of money.

Golladay's career numbers: 

Kenny Golladay Rec Yards YPC TD 
2017 (11 games)28 477 17.0 
2018 (15 games)70 1,063 15.2 
2019 (16 games)65 1,190 18.3 11 
2020 (5 games)20 338 16.9 
TOTAL 183 3,068 16.8 21 


As you can see, Golladay is a consistent down the field playmaker, based on his career yards per catch average of 16.8. He also led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 2019, with 11. He missed 11 games in 2020 with hamstring and hip injuries, but should be fine going forward.

Golladay is a bigger receiver, at 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, and while he doesn't get a ton of separation, he is a contested catch machine. Some of the grabs in the following highlight reel display Golladay's impressive hands and body control.

There's no question that that Golladay will improve the Giants' offense. However, the above video isn't just a Kenny Golladay highlight reel. It's also a Matthew Stafford highlight reel. Most of those throws are not only outstanding, but they also require the willingness to "throw open" a covered receiver. Stafford could do that. Can Daniel Jones? 

The Giants are set at the skill positions. When the Giants are in 11 personnel, it will be Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard, with Evan Engram at TE and, of course, Saquon Barkley at RB. When they run two tight end sets, Kyle Rudolph will come in off the bench. It's a formidable group. The big question offensively with the Giants, however, as always, is whether their lack of a competent offensive line will ultimately doom them.

Signed CB Adoree' Jackson: Jackson was scheduled to meet with the Eagles on Monday night, but that got canceled because the Giants paid him... holy crap... what?!?

Good Lord, that is a ridiculous overpay. A week ago, the Titans cut Jackson because they didn't want to pay him $10.2 million for one year on his fifth year option. The Giants will instead pay Jackson significantly more, and for a longer period of time. Had they simply thrown the Titans a seventh round pick before Tennessee cut him, the Giants could have had him on a less expensive deal with a shorter commitment. But also, expensive cornerback deals in free agency are extremely risky:

But it's also the long-term commitment that would scare me as much as the AAV of the contract if I were a Giants fan. After three good years to start his career in Tennessee, Jackson had a weird 2020 season, in which he missed the first 13 games with something of a mysterious knee injury. There were hints that the Titans were expecting him to return sooner.

When he did return for the final three regular season games, plus a playoff game against the Ravens, Jackson did not play as well as he had his first three seasons in the NFL. The Giants were evidently satisfied with Jackson's explanation for his 2020 season, and his medicals, because again, holy crap that is a big contract for a player with some potential red flags.

If there are no worries about Jackson's desire to play football, he is a talented athlete and a legitimate starting-quality cornerback. In his first three seasons, while he only picked off two passes, he got his hands on a lot of footballs, as he had 33 pass breakups in 43 games. Also, though not a big hitter by any stretch, he was also thought of as a solid run defender, as he racked up 167 tackles during that same span. As an added bonus, Jackson is a good punt returner who has averaged 8.8 yards per punt return in 53 career attempts.

Like with Golladay above, Jackson makes the Giants a more talented team, but that is a far bigger contract than anyone could have reasonably expected him to get.

Giants notable players lost on Days 5-7

None

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Day 1: Previously signed QB Dak Prescott to a four-year deal. Lost OT Cameron Erving and LB Joe Thomas.

Day 2: Signed OT Ty Nsekhe, re-signed CB C.J. Goodwin, lost QB Andy Dalton and Chidobe Awuzie.

Day 3: Re-signed CB Jourdan Lewis.

Day 4: Signed DE Tarell Basham, DT Carlos Watkins, DT Brent Urban, and LS Jake McQuaide

Cowboys notable players gained/retained on Days 5-7

Signed LB Keanu Neal: Neal played safety his first five years in the NFL, but he will be moving to linebacker for the Cowboys. That makes sense. Neal has been a decent enough box safety over his career, but a liability in coverage against wide receivers. He signed a one-year deal worth $5 million. 

With Sean Lee almost certainly moving on, Neal will be the third linebacker behind Jaylon Smith and the oft-injured Leighton Vander Esch. Speaking of oft-injured, Neal tore an ACL in 2018, causing him to miss the final 15 games of the season. In 2019, Neal tore his Achilles, causing him to miss the final 13 games. He did manage to play 15 games in 2020.

Cowboys notable players lost on Days 5-7

None

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Day 1: Lost CB/S Jalen Mills and S Rudy Ford.

Day 2: Gained a seventh-round pick for Marquise Goodwin's reversion back to San Francisco.

Day 3: Nothing.

Day 4: Signed S Andrew Adams, re-signed DT Hassan Ridgeway.

Eagles notable players gained/retained on Day 5-7

Signed S Anthony Harris: We covered Harris more in depth here

Eagles notable players lost on Day 5-7

None.

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