Starting a little later this month, the NFL takes something of a small hiatus as coaches and front-office personnel get off the grid to recharge before training camps begin. The work doesn’t entirely evaporate though, as NFL teams still have orders of business to tend to.
Thinking bigger picture, here is a look at a key decision each NFL team can see on its horizon and that will unquestionably become a topic of conversation over the next two months:
Some offensive line business. Let’s package this into two topics, as both pertain to the O-line. First, Dallas must sort through and find the best options to play the left guard and right tackle spots. La’El Collins is getting some offseason work at right tackle, but he could stay at guard and leave just one spot open. If he plays right tackle, there’s a competition at left guard, which includes former first-round pick Jonathan Cooper. The second order of business is paying guard Zack Martin, perhaps the NFL’s best player at the position, who could be an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Dallas has said a long-term extension for Martin is a priority, so don’t expect him to hit the market.
New York Giants:
Finding the ground game. This isn’t so much a decision as it is a resolution of internal options. The Giants’ offense has immense potential in its passing game, but the ground game is less certain — on paper. Does Paul Perkins, a 2016 fifth-round pick, emerge as the lead back? He appears to be the best fit after the Giants didn’t aggressively address the position this offseason. New York also has Shane Vereen, while Shaun Draughn was added in free agency and Wayne Gallman was picked on Day 3 of the draft. For now, Perkins seems like the lead back.
Figuring out Wentz’s long-term weapons. The Eagles have built an impressive stable of weapons for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz — this season. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith were among the early additions through free agency, while Philly recently acquired LeGarrette Blount on a one-year deal. Jeffery’s contract is also for only one year, while Smith’s contract is a year-to-year proposition. Plus, Jordan Matthews enters the final year of his rookie contract. The takeaway? While the Eagles’ offense should be much better this season, it’s incumbent upon general manager Howie Roseman to identify which of Wentz’s weapons are integral parts of the future beyond 2017 and get them locked into deals.