He is currently the best defender in the league according to Professional football focus and continues to be a vital part of the Cowboys’ secondary defense.
New York Giants: 2025
With a 3-8 record and Tommy DeVito passing, the end of the season can’t come soon enough for many Giants fans. General manager Joe Schoen must feel like a turkey after giving quarterback Daniel Jones a four-year penalty $160 million off-season contract.
Fortunately, the team can opt out of the deal in 2025 with just $22 million remaining. Meanwhile, New York may have a shot at USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye in next year’s draft. If Jones hadn’t played so poorly before tearing his ACL, neither would have been on the Giants’ radar.
Philadelphia Eagles: AJ Brown, winger
Philadelphia finished 2021 with the eighth-worst passing attack, averaging 200.1 yards per game. With Brown on the roster in 2022, the Eagles finished ninth in passing yards per game and a trip to Super Bowl LVII.
After a slow start in Weeks 1 and 2, Brown was energized, posting a record six straight games with at least 125 yards rushing. A near-perfect combination of size, speed and accuracy, he was Jalen Hurts’ gravy potato and a bona fide threat to finish 2023 as the NFL’s leading receiver.
Washington Commanders: Taylor Heinicke
Heinicke is with the Falcons now, but the Commanders quarterback room might look very different today without him. Playing for Washington in 2022 with one game remaining against the Cowboys, Heinicke volunteered to step aside to allow North Carolina fifth-round rookie Sam Howell to start the game.
Howell responded by defeating Dallas 26-6 in a significant game for the Cowboys. His individual results weren’t great, but he showed enough to gain the team’s trust and secure the starting job in 2023.
Would Howell have gotten the job anyway? There’s no way to say it, but it’s hard to believe that a journeyman quarterback on the brink of free agency would take a seat at the baby table for a young, inexperienced teammate. Good job, Heinicke. Help yourself and eat more cake.