National Football League
Five most impactful NFC East offseason additions
National Football League

Five most impactful NFC East offseason additions

Published Jun. 26, 2023 1:36 p.m. ET

The four teams in the NFC East weren't huge spenders in free agency this offseason. None of them tried to go out and buy themselves a run at a Super Bowl championship. None of them went wild to completely overhaul the roster and look of their team.

Each of them, though, made some incredibly important additions, either through trades, hirings, signings or the draft. They added some pieces that have the potential to improve their teams and maybe even change the shape of the division race.

Now that the offseason is over and training camp is about a month away, here's a look at the five biggest and most impactful offseason additions to what was the best division in the NFL last year:

1. Giants TE Darren Waller 


Once the Giants committed to giving $160 million to quarterback Daniel Jones they knew they had to start surrounding him with at least some adequate weapons. And while they weren't able to find him a true No. 1 receiver, they may have found him a No. 1 tight end.

The key is whether they traded for the banged-up Waller of the past two seasons, or the dynamic Waller who averaged 99 catches for 1,171 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 2019-20. Even though he'll be 31 in September, the Giants think they got the dynamic version of the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder — so much so, in fact, that there are early signs they're building their passing attack around him.

If they do, and he's as good as they think, the Giants' passing attack could actually be mildly dangerous. Add in a healthy Saquon Barkley and their offense could actually be good. Considering they won nine games last season with a struggling offense and poor passing attack, that could change a lot in the NFC East.

That's why Waller is the biggest addition to the division this offseason — as long he stays healthy and turns the clock back a couple of years.

2. Cowboys WR Brandin Cooks 

The Cowboys' passing attack was a one-man show last season. CeeDee Lamb had nearly twice as many catches (107), yards (1,359) and touchdowns (9) as any other receiver or tight end. There was no one to take the pressure off him, which made the Cowboys' offense somewhat predictable. And it surely impacted the fact that QB Dak Prescott threw 15 interceptions in 12 games.

Are Cowboys playoff bound?

Dallas finished last season with a 12-5 record and a loss in the divisional round. Colin Cowherd predicts if the Cowboys are playoff bound in 2023.

That all should change with the addition of the well-traveled Cooks, who is on the edge of 30 and coming off a down season (57-699-3 in 13 games) but has been one of the most consistently dangerous receivers over the past eight years. In fact, he's topped 1,000 receiving yards six times in that span.

He won't have to do that for Dallas, but he could. Most importantly, he will stretch the field and occupy defenders, which should open things up for Lamb, one of the top receivers in the NFL. Add in Michael Gallup, now a full year removed from ACL surgery, and they could have a pretty dangerous threesome.

Maybe Cooks, now on his fifth NFL team, isn't quite what he used to be. But he definitely gives the Cowboys' offense something it desperately needs to make them a real threat in the NFC East — if not the entire NFC.

3. Commanders OC Eric Bieniemy 

If the Commanders were going to put their fates in the hands of a fifth-round quarterback in what is surely a win-or-else year for the coach and general manager, it was clear they were going to need someone better than Scott Turner to develop that young QB. And boy were they lucky to land Bieniemy, who was looking for a fresh start outside of Andy Reid's successful shadow in Kansas City.

The 53-year-old Bieniemy might not have Patrick Mahomes to work with in Washington, but he's got an offense loaded with good receivers and a strong running game. All he has to do is tailor his West Coast offense to Howell's skillset and give him just enough to not overwhelm him. If Howell's a bust they're all in trouble anyway. But if Bieniemy can get just enough out of him, they might all win just enough to convince the new owners the coaching staff deserves one more year.

Given the circumstances and uncertainty surrounding the franchise's future, the Commanders certainly weren't going to find anyone better than Biemiemy to do it.

4. Cowboys CB Stephon Gilmore 

The Dallas secondary was good already with corners Trevon Diggs, Jourdan Lewis and DaRon Bland. But the addition of Gilmore gives them depth and experience they didn't have before. And while he may be turning 33 in September, he's still on top of his game and has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league the past few years.

They certainly could use that in a division where they have to find a way to stop the likes of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in Philly and Terry McLaurin in Washington. Gilmore can help them do that, especially if he doesn't have to be locked in on the No. 1 receiver every game.

It's a bonus, too, that he can mentor Diggs and the other young cornerbacks. Despite a strong pass rush, the Cowboys' passing defense ranked just 14th in the NFL last season. With Gilmore, expect that will change.

5. Eagles DT Jalen Carter

Of all the players the Eagles couldn't re-sign, their biggest loss figured to be DT Javon Hargrave. They still had good players on their line, and DT Jordan Davis, their 2022 first-round pick, ready to step in as a replacement. But they weren't likely to replace Hargrave's inside push, not to mention his 11 sacks.

And then, on draft night, DT Jalen Carter — the best interior pass rusher, if not the best player in the entire draft according to some scouts — fell right into their lap.

Best young NFL QBs

The SPEAK crew ranks the top 5 quarterbacks aged 25 and younger, with Jalen Hurts topping the list.

Of all the rookies, Carter — drafted ninth overall after the Eagles traded up one spot to get him — figures to have the biggest impact not only because of his play, but because of the loss he'll mitigate. He probably won't duplicate Hargrave's 11 sacks, but his presence will keep the Eagles' defense on top. That line was the NFL's best last season.

With Carter, there's no reason to think it won't be again.  

Honorable mention impact additions: Defensive coordinator Sean Desai (Eagles), LB Bobby Okereke (Giants), WR Parris Campbell (Giants), WR Jalin Hyatt (Giants), OL Andrew Wylie (Commanders), CB Emmanuel Forbes (Commanders), TE Luke Schoonmaker (Cowboys).

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience
Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants

Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more