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Mailbag: Will The NFC East Be More Competitive?


I know it is early, but do you see the NFL East pulling itself out of the bottom of the heap and each team contending successfully with the rest of the league this coming season? — JIM WHATLEY / HENDERSON, TX

Nick: I think it typically works that way. You'll have seasons in which most of the teams are down, but then they'll cycle back up because that's really what the NFL is designed to do. The Cowboys should get key players back to lift them. We'll see how much Saquon Barkley's return will help the Giants. I can't see the Eagles being down for too long and Washington's defense will keep that team more than competitive. In fact, by the end of the season, all four teams were playing a little better so I can expect them all to be better in 2021. Does that mean you've got two playoff teams from this division? That might be a stretch.

David: Not really, to be honest. Philadelphia is looking at a minor rebuild, especially if they wind up trading Carson Wentz — which I think they will. Washington has a talented roster, but I'm curious to see if they upgrade at quarterback, because they aren't good enough at the most important position in the sport. New York and Dallas could both take a step forward this year, but they each have a lot of work to do this offseason.

Chidobe Awuzie could excel in a single-high safety position. Would you consider re-signing him and playing him there? He has safety experience in college, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likes a single-high safety. I feel that Awuzie (Just like Byron Jones when he was here) was playing the wrong position for us all these years. — STERLING TICEAHKIE / WALTERS, OK

Nick: Well, that sounds like a plan – for the Cowboys. I don't see Chido Awuzie or his agent going down that road at all. He'll probably hit the open market come March and I would think he's going to get a contract that will surprise a lot of people. If Anthony Brown is making $5 million a season, Chido will get a lot more. Ever heard of a guy named Justin Coleman from the Lions? He makes $9 million per season and he's got four career interceptions in six years. I know these are just isolated examples but they should tell you that corners get paid. And as for the safety vs. cornerback debate, Budda Baker makes $14.7 million per season as the top safety in the league right now. That salary would rank seventh if he played corner. Just another reason why corners don't want to move to safety until they just have to.

David: I'm not opposed to this idea. The problem is that Chido's price is no longer up to the Cowboys. All it takes is one team to decide that Chido fits their scheme or their roster, and there are a lot of teams with more cap space available than the Cowboys. If he can be brought back at a manageable price, I'm all for it. But I think we're about to find out that 6'0, athletic cornerbacks with 42 career starts are valuable commodities on the open market.

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