NFL free agency kicks off in earnest in just under two weeks. With the 2021 salary cap expected to fall from last year’s figure by a significant amount, teams have already begun the process of trimming the fat from their rosters in order to reach compliance before the deadline arrives.
But while free agency will produce considerably player movement as always, some teams will look largely the same due to cap restraints. The recently published divisional odds from DraftKings Sportsbook takes those factors into consideration. These odds provide a deeper look into the perceived hierarchy of each division and how much upside certain teams have within them.
The NFC East proved to be the league’s most exasperating division a season ago and the odds don’t suggest much more separation between the four teams at this point in the process.
Dallas Cowboys: +100
If not for the general malaise of the NFC East, the Cowboys would have quickly fallen out of playoff contention following Dak Prescott’s leg injury early in the 2020 season. However, with Prescott reportedly on schedule to recover in time for training camp and the team expected to bring him back on the franchise tag or long-term deal, the Cowboys’ outlook improves considerably. The defense will need to do a considerably better job in order to help out, but on paper Dallas has the most working in its favor among the division’s four teams.
Washington Football Team: +350
Despite winning the NFC East last season, Washington has perhaps the least certainty under center of any franchise in the division. Alex Smith, the reigning Comeback Player of the Year as voted by the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers of America, will not return to Washington for 2021. In his place, the team will turn to Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, or perhaps a signal-caller not yet acquired. Still, the offense doesn’t need to play spectacularly for Washington to compete as the defense features one of the league’s best d-lines headlined by Chase Young.
New York Giants: +425
The Giants appear ready to give Daniel Jones another season to establish himself as the long-term answer under center. As of yet, Jones has done little to convince anyone outside of the organization that he can provide such stability. Until that changes, the Giants’ ceiling remains well defined, though the lack of obvious competition in the NFC East could allow them to make a run.
Philadelphia Eagles: +425
Virtually all the key cogs of the Eagles’ 2017 championship team have departed. Head coach Doug Pederson received his walking papers earlier this offseason with quarterback Carson Wentz leaving in a trade to the Indianapolis Colts not long thereafter. That leaves the offense in the hands of first-time head coach and play-caller Nick Sirianni and second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, assuming the team doesn’t bring in competition. The Eagles still have some decent talent on defense and some offensive skill-position players with upside, but the squad will have to gel quickly to have a chance for the NFC East crown.
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