Originally posted: March 15, 2017
TE Luke Willson sign 1-year deal with Seattle
Seahawks and TE Luke Willson agreed to terms on a 1-year deal worth up to $3m, source told ESPN. (4 for 4)
Vikings re-sign RFA Adam Thielen
Vikings and WR Adam Thielen reach agreement on three-year deal, per source. Thielen stays in Minnesota. $17 M deal that could get to $27 M with incentives, including $11 M guaranteed. (4 for 4)
Thielen broke out in his third season with 69 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns. He scored more fantasy points than Stefon Diggs, yet he’s going seven rounds later in early MFL10s. In fairness, Diggs missed three games, but these two are closer in value than their ADPs would indicate. (4 for 4)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul gets new deal
The Giants have agreed to a 4-year contract with DE Jason Pierre-Paul, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports. That should lock in the 28-year-old with the team into his 30s — and perhaps for the length of his career. Pierre-Paul was scoring like a top-5 fantasy D-lineman once again last year before hitting IR with a sports hernia in December. Adam Schefter reports that his new deal includes $54 million and averages $17 million annually. That would make it very similar to the contract DE Olivier Vernon signed with the Giants last offseason — though with $1.5 million more guaranteed over 1 fewer season. The team obviously believes that JPP will continue to produce, and we see no reason to dislike him heading into 2017 fantasy football drafts. (Draft Sharks)
Giants sign QB Geno Smith
The Giants have signed QB Geno Smith, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello. Not surprisingly, Smith didn’t garner much (any?) interest as a starter. So he’ll settle for a backup gig behind 36-year-old Eli Manning. If Smith makes a good impression with his new club, perhaps he’ll be considered as Manning’s eventual successor. That seems like a long shot, though. (Draft Sharks)
Raiders pursuing RB Marshawn Lynch
The Raiders are trying to coax RB Marshawn Lynch out of retirement, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Lynch is reportedly considering it. His rights still belong to the Seahawks, so he’d either need to be released or traded. “It could really happen,” a source told Schefter. Lynch turns 31 in April and averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in 2015, so the Raiders wouldn’t be getting prime Beast Mode. But he could certainly provide some power to a backfield that currently features 204-pound DeAndre Washington and 207-pound Jalen Richard. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the situation. (Draft Sharks)
TE Jared Cook lands in Oakland
The Raiders have signed TE Jared Cook, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Cook has largely been a disappointment through his 8-year career, but he came up big for the Packers late last season and in the playoffs, totaling 31 catches, 408 yards and 2 TDs. He joins an Oakland offense that could use a 3rd option in the passing game behind WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Raiders TEs combined for 83 targets last year — a number Cook should hit by himself in 2017. He’ll be an intriguing TE2 targets in fantasy drafts this summer. TE Clive Walford’s arrow is pointing down after a disappointing sophomore season.
Once Cook returned from his high-ankle sprain in Week 10, the Packers made a concerted effort to involve him in the offense. Over the final 10 games (including the playoffs) he averaged 4.2 catches for 55 yards and 0.30 touchdowns per game. That equates to 11.5 PPG, or low-end TE1 numbers. It’s a nice signing for the Raiders, who seemingly want to involve the position more in their passing attack. Derek Carr gets a bump and Cook is in the mix as a late-round tight end. (Draft Sharks and 4 for 4)
Cowboys re-up RB Darren McFadden
The Cowboys have re-signed RB Darren McFadden to a 1-year deal. A fractured elbow limited him to just 3 games last year, but it looks like he’ll get another shot at Dallas’ backup job. The Cowboys are reportedly looking to trade RB Alfred Morris. While McFadden is no threat to Ezekiel Elliott’s workhorse role and won’t be a standalone fantasy option, he’ll be 1 of the highest-upside handcuffs in 2017 fantasy drafts. (Draft Sharks)
RB Lance Dunbar heads to Los Angeles
The Rams have signed RB Lance Dunbar to a 1-year deal. He’ll slide in to the old Benny Cunningham pass-catching role. Cunningham totaled just 42 grabs in the 2 years since RB Todd Gurley arrived. Dunbar is probably a more explosive player — he’s averaging 9.5 yards per catch for his career — but is unlikely to emerge as a reliable fantasy option. His arrival does figure to put a cap on RB Todd Gurley’s pass-catching upside.
Benny Cunningham is a free agent, so this signing may be in preparation of his departure. Dunbar is a solid pass-catching back, but he has missed 15 games in the last two seasons. (Draft Sharks and 4 for 4)
Vikings add RB Latavius Murray
The Vikings have signed RB Latavius Murray to a 3-year deal that can be voided after this season, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. We’re curious to see the dollars involved here. Murray has been a solid fantasy RB the past 2 years, posting back-to-back top 13 PPR finishes. But his actual play hasn’t been nearly as impressive. Murray mustered just 4.0 yards per carry in both seasons. That was particularly disappointing last year, when a strong Raiders offensive line ranked 11th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards. Now Murray will be running behind a Vikings line that finished 30th in Adjusted Line Yards. He figures to get the 1st crack at lead-back duties, but bank on RB Jerick McKinnon also getting plenty of run. Murray’s arrival ends any chance of RB Adrian Peterson returning to Minnesota. The Raiders, meanwhile, are left with 2nd-year RBs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.
Murray wasn’t particularly good last season, averaging 4.0 YPC behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. (Oakland’s two other running backs, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, averaged a combined 5.6 YPC.) He joins a Minnesota offense that struggled mightily in the running game — their running backs averaged 3.2 YPC — so this does not look like a good match. Murray’s arrival hurts Jerick McKinnon, who was otherwise shaping up to be a nice middle round value. In Oakland, the Raiders are left with DeAndre Washington (104 touches, 582 yards, 2 TD) and Jalen Richard (112 touches, 685 yards, 3 TD). Washington probably has the edge since he saw 24 carries (for 165 yards and two scores) in the final three games while Richard toted the ball 15 times in the same span. The Raiders are likely to address the position in the offseason, but it’s possible that they go into the season with a plan to use Washington and Richard in a committee. The two youngsters have proven capable. (Draft Sharks and 4 for 4)
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins gets 2-game suspension
Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been suspended 2 games for his DUI arrest last September. That incident resulted in his release from the Bucs. ASJ went on to appear in 7 games for the Jets last year, mustering just 10 catches for 110 scoreless yards. He remains an intriguing talent, and the TE spot figures to be a bigger part of New York’s passing game now that OC Chan Gailey is gone. But the 2-game ban means Seferian-Jenkins won’t be worth drafting this summer. (Draft Sharks)
Bills add WR Andre Holmes
The Bills have added Andre Holmes to their ragtag WR group. He joins Philly Brown, Dezmin Lewis, Kolby Listenbee and Walt Powell behind Sammy Watkins. Holmes is probably the most intriguing name of the bunch. He turned in a 47-693-4 line for the Raiders in 2014 before being phased out the past 2 years. He’s still only 28 and boasts a 6’4, 210-pound frame. Holmes will be worth keeping an eye on this summer. Buffalo, meanwhile, remains a candidate to use an early-round pick on a WR next month. (Draft Sharks)
Big expectations for TE Tyler Higbee
There’s been a consistent buzz on Rams TE Tyler Higbee over the past couple of weeks. “Expect big things from Tyler,” GM Les Snead said from the Combine. HC Sean McVay is excited to work with the 2nd-year TE. “Nice catch radius,” McVay said. “He can stretch the seam; he’s got a good feel and savvy in the pass game.” McVay arrives from Washington, where Redskins TEs ranked 5th in targets (289), 5th in receiving yards (2,397) and tied for 3rd in TDs (20) over the past 2 seasons. Higbee is no Jordan Reed, but he is a 6’6, 249-pounder with plus athleticism. And there’s lots of target upside with TE Lance Kendricks gone and a WR corps led by Robert Woods and Tavon Austin. (Draft Sharks)
WR Justin Hunter signs with Steelers
The Steelers have signed WR Justin Hunter. The former 2nd-round pick has disappointed in Tennessee and Buffalo through 4 NFL seasons. Pittsburgh will be the best offense Hunter has played in, but he’s still a long shot to emerge as a fantasy factor. If Martavis Bryant is reinstated, Hunter figures to battle with Sammie Coates for the #4 spot on the depth chart behind Bryant, Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers. (Draft Sharks)
WR Kenny Britt not sweating the situation
Cleveland Browns WR Kenny Britt said he believes the quarterback situation will be straightened out. ‘They said they are going to get the problem fixed, and I believe that they will,’ Britt said. ‘Regardless of who they have under center, it is my job to make him look good.’ (Fantasy Guru)
QB Brian Hoyer wants to start
San Francisco 49ers QB Brian Hoyer said he won’t be content being a backup quarterback, and he believes he will have a leg up in a quarterback competition because he is familiar with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system. (Fantasy Guru)
RB Dalvin Cook visiting Philly
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook is visiting the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday, March 16, according to sources. (Fantasy Guru)
WR Mike Williams visiting Eagles
Clemson WR Mike Williams has a pre-draft visit with the Philadelphia Eagles Friday, March 17. (Fantasy Guru)
DB DeAngelo Hall to be evaluated
Washington Redskins FS DeAngelo Hall will be given a chance to show he is healthy enough contribute in 2017, according to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. ‘Across the board we’d like him back to see what he has left,’ Manusky said. (Fantasy Guru)
RB Eddie Lacy Likes system
Seattle Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy said he is motivated to prove he is not a fluke, and he feels Seattle’s offense fits his running style. (Fantasy Guru)
Friday Free Agent Roundup (NFL.com)
Darius Butler will return to Indy next season. The former second-round defensive back signed a one-year deal with the Colts, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Friday. The contract is guaranteed for $2.5 million with incentives bringing the contract’s maximum value to $4.5 million.
Butler had a solid 2016 campaign — filling in at safety for the Colts due to injuries that depleted their secondary. It was Butler’s fifth season with Indy after spending his first two with the Patriots. The 30-year-old Butler has 12 interceptions with the Colts in 67 games, including 24 starts.
Here are some other free-agent moves from Friday:
- Cornerback DeShawn Shead‘s one-year deal with the Seahawksis worth $1.5 million with $1 million guaranteed, Rapoport reported.
- Seattle also met with former Broncosand Jets left tackle Ryan Clady on Friday, ESPN reported.
- The Giantsre-signed backup quarterback Josh Johnson to a two-year deal, Johnson’s agent confirmed.
- Quarterback Josh McCownis visiting the Jets, Rapoport reported, per a source. The Cowboys also have interest in the journeyman signal-caller, Rapoport added.
- The Bearsagreed to terms with former Saints and Seahawks nose tackle John Jenkins, the team confirmed.
- The Bengalsre-signed center T.J. Johnson to a two-year contract, the team announced.
- Former Ravenswideout Kamar Aiken is visiting the Colts on Friday, Rapoport reported, per a source. Aiken will visit the Seahawks on Monday.
- The Cardinalsannounced they have re-signed defensive tackle Frostee Rucker to a one-year deal.
- The Buccaneersare signing veteran kicker Nick Folk to provide some competition for last year’s second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, Good Morning Football‘s Peter Schrager reported.
- The 49ers announced they signed linebacker Dekoda Watson to a three-year deal.
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