Is Chip Kelly a mad scientist or a genius? The Eagles coach, who now wield personnel power, has been the busiest man in the NFL the past couple of weeks. His team will be interesting, but is it better? Let's analyze the moves in the NFC East with futures odds.
Let's see, since the start of last season Kelly has gotten rid of starting quarterbacks Nick Foles and Michael Vick, 2013 NFL rushing king LeSean McCoy, and the team's two top receivers in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. McCoy was traded a few weeks ago to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso, Foles was dealt to St. Louis for quarterback Sam Bradford this week and Maclin left as a free agent. It seemed that Kelly had replaced McCoy with the signing of free agent running back Ryan Mathews, formerly of the Chargers. That news was leaked on Wednesday. However, on Thursday, another stunner: 2014 NFL rushing king DeMarco Murray, formerly of the Cowboys, had signed with the Eagles to play with his former University of Oklahoma roommate and teammate Bradford. Murray is the NFL's first leading rusher to ever start the following season on a different team after moving via free agency. Yet, amazingly, Mathews is still an Eagle as well. That's $53.5 million combined between those two and $26 million guaranteed. Is Kelly going to run the wishbone? Not sure what this means for Darren Sproles. Kelly also bolstered his secondary by signing former Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell. I doubt Kelly is done because he has to get a receiver, beyond probably drafting one.
Current Super Bowl odds: +2500 (was +2800 before Murray signing)
Dallas is the defending NFC East champion but there's no way you can call the Cowboys as good as they were last year at the moment. The team's offseason priority was to hang on to star receiver Dez Bryant, and the Cowboys did that by franchising him -- although Bryant won't like that and probably holds out until he gets a long-term deal. Obviously the Murray loss is devastating. The Cowboys were second in the NFL in rushing behind him, and Murray touched the ball a whopping 447 times last season (NFL-high 392 carries, 57 receptions) with 16 total touchdowns. How do you replace that? There's no free agent back left who can. But ... Adrian Peterson? It's no secret that the Texas native wants to play for the Cowboys, but will the Vikings simply release him? Doubtful. Maybe a trade can be worked out, but Peterson would have to re-work his contract. The Cowboys have yet to add anyone of note and lost linebackers Bruce Carter and Justin Durant and may lose Rolando McClain as well, so it would be wise to wait for the rest of their moves before taking them with your NFL Picks.
Current Super Bowl odds: +1800 (way overvalued)
New York Giants
The G-Men kept arguably their best defensive player by franchising defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul but lost safety Antrel Rolle to Chicago in free agency. The team's biggest move thus far has been signing former Patriots running back Shane Vereen. Running back didn't seem a position of need with Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams already on the team. But Vereen is mostly used as a receiver out of the backfield. With 838 yards from scrimmage, 52 catches and five touchdowns, Vereen's 2014 season was the best of his career. He caught a game-high 11 passes and rushed for 13 yards in New England's win over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX.
Current Super Bowl odds: +2500
Remember when Redskins owner Dan Snyder used to "win' free agency by wildly overspending on guys like Deion Sanders and Albert Haynesworth? Maybe Snyder has learned his lesson because the Skins have been quiet thus far. They did lose solid backup running back Roy Helu to Oakland and probably will also lose pass-rushing linebacker Brian Orakpo. The biggest addition has been former Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea. Last season, Paea established career-highs in games played (16), starts (16), total tackles (33), solo tackles (24), tackles for loss (eight), sacks (six) and forced fumbles (two). The real news could come at the draft as there are reports that the Redskins would take Marcus Mariota if he's there at No. 5 overall, which could improve their NFL Odds.
Current Super Bowl odds: +12500