Evan Silva’s Fantasy Transactions Tracker offers analysis on each fantasy-relevant move of the 2021 offseason ranging from small-time but noteworthy reserve/future signings to blockbuster trades and free agent additions.
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* Free agents are loosely ordered based on expected 2021 earnings
* These lists are adjusted when teams release, sign, and tag players
* Ages at/near beginning of the new league year are in parentheses
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FREE AGENT QUARTERBACKS
Dak Prescott (27) — Re-signed 4-year, $160 million deal with DAL
$126 million is guaranteed. In annual value, Prescott’s $40-million average places him second behind only Patrick Mahomes ($45 million) among NFL players all time. Whereas Mahomes took a whopping ten-year deal, Prescott’s four-year pact positions him to test free agency at age 31. Over the past three seasons, Prescott has completed 67% of his passes at 7.9 yards per attempt, logged a 61:23 TD-to-INT ratio, and averaged 18.2 rushing yards per game with an additional 12 rushing scores. As the dual-threat field general for a loaded Dallas offense, Prescott should be approached as a top-eight fantasy QB1 with top-three upside for the foreseeable future.
Jameis Winston (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $5.5 million deal with NO
Winston is expected to compete with Taysom Hill to succeed Drew Brees, who announced his retirement on March 15. In all likelihood, both Hill and Winston will make 2021 starts. It’s also possible Hill and Winston form a true two-QB committee and share time on a weekly basis. This is a fantasy situation to avoid outside of two-quarterback leagues, and a trickle-down effect will inevitably be felt by Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and the rest of New Orleans’ skill-player talent.
Mitchell Trubisky (26) — Signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with BUF
Even as a longtime outspoken Trubisky critic, I love this signing by Buffalo. A dollar store version of Josh Allen, Trubisky is capable of moving an offense with simplified passing concepts that implements designed quarterback runs and trots out Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and Emmanuel Sanders at wideout behind plus line play. Trubisky may not be starting-QB material, but he is a high-end backup and obvious upgrade on Matt Barkley.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (38) — Signed 1-year, $10 million deal with WFT
He can earn another $2 million in incentives. Since Washington was never in position to land a franchise quarterback this offseason — Ron Rivera‘s team won’t draft until 19th overall, and this year’s free agent QB crop was weak — Fitzpatrick represents a respectable fallback option for an offense in which he’ll be capable of delivering the ball to playmakers Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas. Washington remains a defense-driven team, so Fitzpatrick’s primary task will be limiting turnovers, a skill at which he’s improved late in his career. Fitzpatrick has always been willing to pull the trigger on tight-window throws and will be an upgrade in that respect on jettisoned Alex Smith.
Cam Newton (31) — Re-signed 1-year, $5 million deal with NE
Cam’s new deal is heavily incentive laden; he can earn another $9 million via statistical and team accomplishments. The Patriots are making a low-cost bet that Newton’s performance will elevate in his second season under Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels. New England will presumably put more talent around him — Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, and Nelson Agholor represented quite a start — and bring in competition stiffer than Jarrett Stidham. Last season, Newton answered questions about the health of his foot by leading all quarterbacks in rushing TDs (12) and running for the third most yards at his position (592) but struggled as a thrower as part of one of the NFL’s weakest passing games. He’ll be an upside QB2 pick in 2021 fantasy.
Alex Smith (36) — Announced his retirement on 4/19
Jacoby Brissett (28) — Signed 1-year, $5 million deal with MIA
Brissett’s addition should not dissuade any Dolphins potential pursuit of Deshaun Watson; Tua Tagovailoa would probably be part of such a swap anyway, with Brissett then backing Watson up. On Miami’s staff, Brissett has history with ex-Patriots assistant Brian Flores and co-OC George Godsey. Brissett should be treated as a strict backup entering 2021, even if no Watson acquisition is made.
Andy Dalton (33) — Signed 1-year, $10 million deal with CHI
Perennially desperate at quarterback, the Bears settled for backup-caliber journeyman Dalton as competition for backup-caliber journeyman Nick Foles. Dalton has a subpar 6.7 yards-per-attempt average and 61.1% completion rate over the past four seasons, and Dalton’s on-field performance has never elevated the play of his supporting cast. Chicago remains locked in QB purgatory. Rather hilariously, the Bears’ Super Bowl odds decreased from 40 to 1 to 50 to 1 following Dalton’s addition. Onetime starter Mitchell Trubisky wound up in Buffalo on a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Dalton did state at his introductory press conference that the Bears’ staff assured him he would start Week 1 over Foles.
Tyrod Taylor (31) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with HOU
He can earn over $6 million via incentives. Taylor offers the Texans a (weak) insurance policy in case Deshaun Watson indeed forces his way out of Houston. New coach David Culley was Taylor’s position coach with the 2017 Bills.
Nick Mullens (26)
Chase Daniel (34) — Signed 1-year deal with LAC
Joe Flacco (36) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with PHI
This union supports the notion Jalen Hurts will be given a real chance to assert himself as the Eagles’ quarterback of the future in 2021; Flacco is a clear-cut backup at this stage of his career. Philadelphia maintains the sixth overall pick in April’s draft, giving Howie Roseman‘s team back-end access to this year’s first-tier quarterback crop of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance.
Geno Smith (30)
Mike Glennon (31) — Signed 1-year, $1.35 million deal with NYG
Colt McCoy (34) — Signed 1-year deal with ARZ
Blake Bortles (28)
Matt Barkley (30)
C.J. Beathard (27) — Signed 2-year, $5 million deal with JAX
A.J. McCarron (30)
Nathan Peterman (26) – Re-signed 1-year, $1.025 million deal with LVR
Despite an abysmal 3:12 TD-to-INT ratio on 135 career pass attempts, Peterman is a favorite of Jon Gruden and looks set to spend his third straight season with Gruden’s Raiders. Nos. 1 and 2 quarterbacks Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota were both the subjects of early-offseason trade rumors, although Carr doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and Mariota took a pay cut to return.
Brandon Allen (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal with CIN
Allen is a bottom-rung backup quarterback, sporting a 2-6 record and 6.4 yards-per-attempt average across eight NFL starts. Allen’s main “in” is his connection to Bengals coach Zac Taylor after Taylor and Allen spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons together with the Rams and 2020 with the Bengals.
Nate Sudfeld (27) — Signed 1-year, $900,000 deal with SF
Blaine Gabbert (31)
Ryan Griffin (31)
Brett Hundley (27)
Brian Hoyer (35)
DeShone Kizer (25)
Josh Dobbs (26) — Signed 1-year deal with PIT
Robert Griffin III (31)
Trevor Siemian (29) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Tim Boyle (26) — Signed 1-year deal with DET
Sean Mannion (28)
FREE AGENT RUNNING BACKS
Aaron Jones (26) — Re-signed 4-year, $48 million deal with GB
He got a $13 million signing bonus, while Jones’ $12 million annual average makes him the league’s sixth highest-paid running back behind Christian McCaffrey ($16 million), Alvin Kamara ($15 million), Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), Dalvin Cook ($12.6 million), and Derrick Henry ($12.5 million). A true three-down back, Jones amassed over 3,000 yards from scrimmage, averaged a cool 5.0 yards per carry, caught 96 passes, and scored 30 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Previous Packers No. 2 back Jamaal Williams wound up in Detroit, and the role Williams leaves behind will be primarily filled by A.J. Dillon. This scenario likely gives Jones a passing-game bump; Dillon is an inferior receiver to Williams, and Jones is one of the top pass-catching backs in the league. Jones is a surefire first-rounder and possible top-five pick in 2021 fantasy drafts.
Chris Carson (26) — Re-signed 2-year, $14.625 million deal with SEA
This is an ideal outcome for Carson’s fantasy value, as well as the outlook and versatility of Seattle’s offense. Carson is a clearly superior main back option to Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, and Alex Collins after banking 4.6 yards per carry, 94 receptions, and 27 touchdowns over the past three years. One of the league’s highest-efficiency runners, Carson has also developed into a dynamic receiving threat. I’m especially encouraged by Seattle’s lofty financial investment in Carson; I didn’t think he would get this much. Carson will be worthy of a top-three-round draft pick in 2021 season-long leagues.
Leonard Fournette (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $3.25 million deal with TB
Plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout last regular season, Fournette finally rounded into shape during Tampa Bay’s playoff run. In four postseason games, Fournette tallied 4.69 yards per carry, scored four touchdowns, and caught 18-of-21 targets for 148 yards. Most importantly, he gave stability to a Bucs backfield that lacked it all year. The Bucs are returning 11-of-11 starters on offense, and Fournette should enter 2021 with a significant leg up on Ronald Jones.
Kenyan Drake (27) — Signed 2-year, $11 million deal with LVR
Drake’s $11 million is fully guaranteed, and he can earn another $3.5 million via incentives. The Raiders also re-signed passing-down specialist Theo Riddick to a 1-year, $1.75 million deal, positioning Josh Jacobs‘ receiving productivity to disappoint for a third straight season. Considering Las Vegas’ flurry of offensive line downgrades and Drake’s obvious committee role, signing with LVR was a net-negative development for Drake’s fantasy outlook, and an acknowledgment from Raiders decision makers that they can’t trust Jacobs to hold up as a three-down back. Post-signing reporter rhetoric indicated the Raiders view Drake as player to be featured in the passing game with Jacobs maintaining a stronghold on far-less-valuable early-down rushing work.
Le’Veon Bell (29)
James Conner (25) — Signed 1-year, $1.25 million deal with ARZ
Conner is presumably ticketed for 2020’s Kenyan Drake role in which Drake primarily handled first- and second-down runs en route to 15.9 carries and 2.1 targets per game. Yet the Cardinals have openly indicated they want to expand more-versatile Chase Edmonds‘ usage, and there is every possibility Conner struggles in his first year in Kliff Kingsbury‘s spread running scheme. This will be Edmonds’ third year in the system. I plan on fading Conner in his new situation and staying well above ADP on Edmonds.
Mark Ingram (31) — Signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with HOU
Ingram reunites with new Texans coach David Culley, formerly a Baltimore assistant. David Johnson is returning on a restructured one-year, $4,25 million deal and remains the favorite for touches in Houston. But Ingram’s addition could threaten Johnson’s early-down and scoring-position usage. Ingram will be a low-ceiling, late-round fantasy pick unlikely to carve out standalone value. UPDATE: Phillip Lindsay‘s signing further muddies the Texans’ running back corps, which now has the look of a three-man ordeal. It’s hard to imagine getting at all excited about any member of this backfield.
Todd Gurley (26)
James White (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with NE
White’s return keeps New England’s backfield muddled with Damien Harris, Sony Michel, Brandon Bolden, J.J. Taylor, and White returning to a run game that last year was dominated by Cam Newton. In his first-ever NFL season without Tom Brady, White’s 375 receiving yards were his fewest since 2014, and his 33% snap share was White’s lowest since 2015.
Marlon Mack (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $2 million deal with IND
Mack is coming off a torn Achilles’, an injury from which running backs notoriously struggle to return. Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines safely project as the Colts’ top-two 2021 backs.
Kyle Juszczyk (29) — Re-signed 5-year, $27 million deal with SF
The NFL’s most active fullback, Juszczyk scored six all-purpose TDs and contributed over 200 receiving yards for his sixth straight season in 2020. Juszczyk lacks individual fantasy value but cuts into the box-score productivity of San Francisco’s rotation of tailbacks.
Giovani Bernard (29) — Signed 1-year deal with TB
Strictly a situational passing-down player at this stage of his career, Bernard is an upgrade on outgoing LeSean McCoy but has no clear path to 2021 fantasy value in a Bucs backfield that returns Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and could easily add talent in the draft.
Damien Williams (29) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Williams’ all-purpose skill set and background in Matt Nagy mentor Andy Reid‘s offense make him an excellent fit in Chicago, where he’ll back up David Montgomery and provide insurance on Tarik Cohen‘s ACL recovery. Williams opted out of the 2020 season after his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He was coming off his best NFL season, establishing 2019 career highs in yards from scrimmage (711), touchdowns (7), and receptions (30), and making a legitimate run at Super Bowl MVP honors with the world champion Chiefs.
Jerick McKinnon (28)
Jamaal Williams (26) — Signed 2-year, $7.5 million deal with DET
Williams is a coach-friendly player who carved out 10.4 touches per game in Green Bay over the past four seasons despite Aaron Jones‘ obvious talent superiority. In Detroit, Williams threatens to have a similar effect on D’Andre Swift in a vastly inferior offense. There are no fantasy winners here.
Duke Johnson (27)
Mike Davis (28) — Signed 2-year, $5.5 million deal with ATL
Atlanta is a near-optimal landing spot for Davis, whose pre-draft competition for backfield touches consists of fringe NFL talents Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison with Todd Gurley and Brian Hill‘s contracts up. New coach Arthur Smith showed a notable knack for running well-oiled, high-efficiency offenses during his time in Tennessee, maximizing production at virtually every position. Davis still must survive the Falcons drafting an early-round running back, although Atlanta has enough team needs elsewhere that such a move is hardly guaranteed.
Carlos Hyde (30) — Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with JAX
Coached by Urban Meyer at Ohio State and drafted by new Jaguars GM Trent Baalke in San Francisco, Hyde was signed to at very least provide depth behind James Robinson, if not compete for early-down/goal-line carries with last year’s undrafted revelation. Neither Meyer nor Baalke has invested in Robinson, and they may lack commitment to him despite Robinson’s strong rookie campaign. The Jaguars are also flush with 2021 draft capital and could easily add another talented back. Robinson remains one of this year’s most obvious sell-high Dynasty commodities.
Cordarrelle Patterson (30)
Wayne Gallman (26)
Matt Breida (26) — Signed 1-year deal with BUF
Breida is an explosive playmaker when healthy but has struggled with ball security and durability, and his skill set is somewhat redundant with Devin Singletary‘s. Breida will compete for a roster spot behind Zack Moss and Singletary. We also wouldn’t rule out Buffalo adding backfield talent in the draft.
Tevin Coleman (27) — Signed 1-year, $2 million deal with NYJ
Coleman has familiarity with new Jets coach Robert Saleh and OC Mike LaFleur after all three spent multiple years together in San Francisco. Yet Coleman struggled mightily with both durability and effectiveness over the past two seasons, averaging 3.6 yards per carry with minimal passing-game contributions in 22 appearances. 2020 Jets sparkplug Ty Johnson should be given every opportunity to beat out Coleman for Gang Green’s speed-back role. New York remains one of 2021’s likeliest teams to add running-game help via the draft.
Adrian Peterson (36)
Rex Burkhead (30)
Devontae Booker (28) — Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with NYG
Booker should have Giants No. 2 back duties all to himself with free agents Wayne Gallman, Devonta Freeman, and Dion Lewis all unlikely to return. Lower-leg injuries cost No. 1 back Saquon Barkley 17 games over the past two seasons.
Devonta Freeman (29)
Dion Lewis (30)
Mike Boone (25) — Signed 2-year, $2.6 million deal with DEN
Boone will compete with Phillip Lindsay for change-of-pace duties behind Melvin Gordon, a serious competition based on Denver’s somewhat notable monetary commitment to Boone versus Lindsay’s lowly original-pick tender in restricted free agency. A profitably longtime favorite at Establish The Run, Boone is a first-tier athlete with big-play capability who’s dominated in past preseason opportunities and more than held his own as a regular season contributor. UPDATE: The Broncos rescinded Lindsay’s tender, paving the way for Boone to beat out Royce Freeman and operate as Gordon’s primary backup if not committee partner. Boone will be well worthy of a 2021 late-round re-draft pick.
Malcolm Brown (27) — Signed 1-year, $1.75 million deal with MIA
A plodding pedestrian runner, Brown has managed an even 4.0 yards per carry through six NFL seasons while contributing virtually nothing in the passing game. At most, he’ll be a minor drain on Myles Gaskin‘s 2021 fantasy value, possibly at the goal line.
T.J. Yeldon (27)
Brian Hill (25)
Chris Thompson (30)
Frank Gore (37)
Lamar Miller (29) — Signed 1-year deal with WFT
Ameer Abdullah (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with MIN
DeAndre Washington (28)
Jordan Howard (26) — Signed 1-year deal with PHI
Ty Montgomery (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.12 million deal with NO
A seventh-year veteran on his fourth NFL team, Montgomery has carved out a nondescript yet lengthy big-league career through special teams value and versatility. He played wide receiver at Stanford but has primarily been a running back in the pros. In last season’s Week 17 spot start against the Panthers, Montgomery parlayed 19 touches into 107 yards. He is a personal favorite of Saints beat reporter Nick Underhill, a close confidant of Establish The Run.
Samaje Perine (25) — Re-signed 2-year deal with CIN
Joe Mixon is entrenched as Cincinnati’s feature back when healthy after landing a four-year, $48 million deal last September, yet Mixon’s injury history necessitates focus on the Bengals’ depth behind him. Giovani Bernard‘s release would save over $4 million. Perine banked a 4.8-yard average on 63 carries last season and has caught 36-of-40 targets (90%) in his NFL career. UPDATE: The Bengals indeed cut Bernard, elevating Perine to their clear-cut No. 2 running back with Trayveon Williams at No. 3.
Taiwan Jones (32) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BUF
LeSean McCoy (32)
Tyler Ervin (27)
Alex Collins (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $850,000 deal with SEA
Out of football for all of 2019 following a marijuana and weapons arrest, Collins briefly resurfaced in Seattle last year, rushing 18 times for 77 yards and two TDs in three appearances and playing two special teams snaps in the Seahawks’ playoff loss to the Rams. With Chris Carson‘s contract expiring, it’s not crazy to think Collins could sneak his way into a committee role. UPDATE: The Seahawks re-signed Carson to a two-year, $14 million deal. Collins will enter 2021 training camp on the roster bubble.
Alfred Morris (32)
Corey Clement (26)
C.J. Prosise (26) – Re-signed reserve/future contract with TB
Long intriguing for his athletic profile and versatility, Prosise is on his third NFL team in six years. He’s worth monitoring in deep fantasy settings but would be fortunate to earn a roster spot in Bucs camp.
D.J. Foster (27)
Kenjon Barner (31)
FREE AGENT WIDE RECEIVERS
Allen Robinson (27) — Franchise Tagged by CHI
Robinson’s tag costs $17.9 million, or 120% of his 2020 salary. One of Chicago’s few offensive bright spots over the past three seasons, Robinson caught a career-high 102 balls last year despite continued subpar quarterback play, an unfortunate staple of Robinson’s college and pro backgrounds. Robinson wins on both interior and vertical routes, catches everything — just six drops on 417 targets as a Bear — and creates mismatches with plus size, elite ball skills, and leaping ability. In fantasy terms, he’s earned rare “quarterback-proof” treatment.
Kenny Golladay (27) — Signed 4-year, $72 million deal with NYG
Golladay wound up getting nearly every penny he initially targeted in free agency; $40 million of his contract is guaranteed, including a $17 million signing bonus. A difference-making vertical receiver, Golladay will book end 4.39 speedster Darius Slayton outside with Sterling Shepard in the slot and TEs Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph giving the G-Men personnel-package flexibility. Golladay’s addition has a chance to make his teammates better; Shepard’s efficiency has long been superior inside rather than out wide, and Daniel Jones is now arguably surrounded by a top-ten supporting cast including the return of Saquon Barkley (ACL) and an offensive line that improved as 2020 progressed. Jones’ questionable development and OC Jason Garrett’s progress-stopping design loom as the biggest obstacles for the G-Men taking a substantial 2021 offensive leap.
Chris Godwin (24) — Franchise Tagged by TB
The Bucs tagged Godwin at $15.98 million over free agent EDGE Shaq Barrett, justifiable after Godwin asserted himself as Tom Brady‘s favorite 2020 target. Having their cake and eating it too, they proceeded to sign Barrett to a long-term extension. Extremely efficient regardless of his quarterback’s identity, Godwin will enter 2021 with a career 69% catch rate and 10.0 yards-per-target average. Godwin also returns as the primary interior complement to perimeter dominator Mike Evans for the defending Super Bowl champs. I expect to value Godwin in the WR2/3 range this season.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (24) — Re-signed 1-year, $8 million deal with PIT
Smith-Schuster allegedly turned down more money from several teams to give Pittsburgh a hometown discount, a strange decision considering 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger‘s rapid 2020 decline and JuJu’s value-sapping usage in last year’s offense. Essentially deployed as a short-area possession tight end last season, perhaps Smith-Schuster received some assurances his aDOT will rise under new OC Matt Canada. From a lineup standpoint, expect the 2021 Steelers to feature Chase Claypool as their main vertical receiver, Diontae Johnson as the movement-Z across from him, and JuJu inside again. Smith-Schuster looks like a relatively unexciting WR3/4 pick in re-draft leagues.
Will Fuller (27) — Signed 1-year, $10.6 million deal with MIA
Fuller will be eligible to join the Dolphins’ lineup in Week 2 after serving the first five games of his six-week PEDs suspension with the Texans. At this point, the Texans may as well be the Dolphins’ Triple-A affiliate. Miami acquired ex-Texans Fuller and Benardrick McKinney this offseason and owns this year’s Nos. 3 and 36 overall picks, both of which once belonged to Houston. Barring a trade for Deshaun Watson, however, Fuller’s fantasy value is likely to suffer competing with DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Preston Williams, and Albert Wilson for targets in a Tua Tagovailoa-quarterbacked offense.
Corey Davis (26) — Signed 3-year, $37.5 million deal with NYJ
$27 million is guaranteed. The Jets are “buying high” on Davis after his career-best year, but their optimism isn’t unwarranted. Davis just turned 26, has flashed alpha-receiver traits throughout his four-season NFL stint, and teams with Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder, Chris Herndon, and Keelan Cole to give Gang Green a pass-catcher corps theoretically flush with talent. The identity of New York’s 2021 quarterback remains unknown, and Davis’ fantasy outlook is nebulous at best. But from a real-life football standpoint, he is a player worth betting on at this stage of his career with an Allen Robinsonian skill set. Davis finished No. 5 among 84 qualified receivers in 2020 yards per route run (2.58), one of Pro Football Focus’ most predictive metrics.
Curtis Samuel (24) — Signed 3-year, $34.5 million deal with WFT
This move reunited Samuel with head coach Ron Rivera and OC Scott Turner, who both spent time with Samuel in Carolina. Washington’s addition of Samuel gives Turner’s offense blinding team speed; Samuel ran 4.31 coming out of Ohio State, Terry McLaurin ran 4.33, and Antonio Gibson is a 4.39 athlete. Logan Thomas‘ 4.61 forty time coming out of Virginia Tech placed him in elite territory in both quarterback and tight end terms. Samuel has shined as a high-aDOT vertical role player, short-area post-catch playmaker, and threat out of the backfield. Still only 24 years old — the age of some incoming rookies — Samuel is a high-upside signing by Washington.
T.Y. Hilton (31) — Re-signed 1-year, $8 million deal with IND
Hilton reportedly took less money to stay with the Colts, the only NFL team he’s ever known. Carson Wentz will be Hilton’s fourth quarterback in as many seasons — following Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, and Philip Rivers — and their ability to form an on-field bond will be crucial to Hilton’s chances of rebounding from last year’s disappointing 56/762/5 receiving campaign. My guess is Hilton will deliver sporadic big plays and a handful of big games but struggle for consistency with Parris Campbell returning and Michael Pittman‘s role certain to grow. The Colts need to keep adding weapons in the draft.
A.J. Green (32) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with ARZ
Green’s 2020 performance suggested his tank is nearing “E,” pathetically averaging 5.0 yards per target and 1.02 yards per route run, which ranked 101st among 112 qualified wide receivers. In Arizona, Green will play a complementary role across from DeAndre Hopkins with Christian Kirk presumably taking over in the slot and free agent Larry Fitzgerald moving on. TE Dan Arnold also departed. I see Kirk as the biggest fantasy beneficiary here.
Marvin Jones (31) — Signed 2-year, $14.5 million deal with JAX
The Jags aren’t getting Jones in his theoretical prime years, but he is still playing at a high enough level to make this a potential bargain deal, reuniting with ex-Lions OC Darrell Bevell. Jones’ 978 yards for last year’s Lions were second most of his nearly decade-long career, and he’s averaged 8.5-plus yards per target in four of the past five seasons. In Jacksonville, Jones will team with D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Collin Johnson to form a deep wideout corps. Yet Jones’ path to targets is murky enough that he’ll best profile as a WR4 pick in 2021 fantasy drafts.
Nelson Agholor (27) — Signed 2-year, $26 million deal with NE
After an abysmal 2019 season with the Eagles, Agholor rehabbed his stock on a one-year, prove-it deal with the 2020 Raiders, emerging as Derek Carr‘s favorite wide receiver en route to career highs in yards (896), yards per reception (18.7), touchdowns (8), and yards per target (10.9). Unfortunately, Agholor’s landing spot downgrades his fantasy outlook transitioning from high-percentage thrower Carr to less efficient Cam Newton in a lower-volume passing attack. Agholor profiles as a pedestrian WR4 pick in 2021 fantasy leagues.
Sammy Watkins (27) — Signed 1-year, $5 million deal with BAL
The Ravens spent the bulk of early free agency pursuing wide receiver help, only to whiff on Kenny Golladay, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and T.Y. Hilton, among others. They settled for Watkins, who despite his still relatively young age seems to be on the back nine of his career due primarily to the accumulation of injuries. Watkins has not reached 700 yards in an individual season since 2015 even while spending the last three years with Patrick Mahomes. Watkins adds experience and clear-out ability to Baltimore’s passing game but otherwise nothing particularly tangible. He’s also facing a severe environmental downgrade; last year’s Ravens threw the ball 224 fewer times than last year’s Chiefs.
John Brown (31) — Signed 1-year, $3.75 million deal with LVR
He can earn another $1.75 million via incentives. Brown was unceremoniously released by the Bills to save nearly $8 million in cap space in early March after missing seven 2020 games due to calf, knee, and ankle injuries. When healthy, Brown was an efficiency maven; Josh Allen averaged nearly a full yard more per pass attempt with Brown in last year’s lineup. Nicknamed “Smokey” for his ability to take the top off enemy defenses, Brown was a savvy signing by the Raiders to compensate for Nelson Agholor‘s loss. Unfortunately, Brown’s fantasy outlook looks bleak in a checkdown-oriented Derek Carr-quarterbacked offense where Brown’s skill set may prove redundant with Henry Ruggs.
Antonio Brown (32)
Breshad Perriman (27) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with DET
Perriman joins Tyrell Williams as Detroit’s only two credible wide receivers with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay hitting the exits. Forever a boom-bust producer, Perriman’s fit with Jared Goff looks suspect on paper, although this could be the best box-score opportunity of Perriman’s career barring future wideout additions.
Josh Reynolds (26) — Signed 1-year deal with TEN
The departures of Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Adam Humphries free up 192 combined targets, or 41% of the total targets collected by Titans players in 2020. Based on opportunity, this is an appetizing landing spot for Reynolds’ fantasy value coming off a career-best 52/618/2 (11.9 YPR) receiving line for last year’s Rams. Yet Tennessee’s overall pass-catcher downgrades more especially highlight A.J. Brown‘s colossal 2021 ceiling. Reynolds is best deployed as a role player; Brown is a true alpha in the Terrell Owens mold.
Rashard Higgins (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.38 million deal with CLE
Albeit only a five-game starter across 13 appearances, Higgins was one of the league’s most efficient reserve receivers last year with averages of 16.2 yards per reception, a 71.2% catch rate, and 11.5 yards per target. Higgins will be no better than Cleveland’s No. 3 wideout behind Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, but his re-signing is a boon to Baker Mayfield‘s outlook based on their established chemistry together.
Emmanuel Sanders (34) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with BUF
Sanders essentially replaces John Brown, whom Buffalo released early this offseason. Sanders is more likely to operate as the Bills’ No. 4 receiver behind Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Gabriel Davis, however, primarily appearing in OC Brian Daboll‘s liberally used four- and five-wide sets.
DeSean Jackson (34) — Signed 1-year deal with LAR
Jackson has appeared in just eight games over the past two seasons and turns 35 later this year, but he remained highly efficient (11.0 YPT) when healthy in 2019-2020 and can stretch the field for a Rams offense previously lacking that element. L.A. upgraded its downfield passing capability by swapping out Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, and neither Cooper Kupp nor Robert Woods is a true vertical threat. I continue to love the look of this offense and believe it could be the best unit of Sean McVay‘s Rams tenure. After the Jackson signing, I took another bite out of the 16-to-1 Stafford MVP apple.
John Ross (25) — Signed 1-year deal with NYG
Ross has battled injuries since the University of Washington and dropped far too many passes in the pros, but wideouts of his age and vertical capability are always worth low-risk bets. This was a smart signing by the G-Men, whose lone true downfield threat previously was inconsistent Darius Slayton.
Golden Tate (32)
Keelan Cole (28) — Signed 1-year, $5.5 million deal with NYJ
Capable of playing all three wide receiver positions, Cole primarily manned the slot in 2020 en route to a career-best 55/642/5 stat line amid subpar and revolving-door quarterback play with Jacksonville. In New York, Cole presently projects as the Jets’ No. 4 receiver behind Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, and Jamison Crowder, although Crowder is rumored to be on the chopping block. Ideally, Cole would open 2021 as Gang Green’s No. 4 wideout as opposed to a starter in three-receiver sets.
Tyrell Williams (29) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with DET
He can make another $3.2 million via incentives. The Lions began the offseason with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola all due for free agency. Williams (6’3/204) gives them a plus-sized option with run-after-catch prowess on a cheap contract. Williams was severely hobbled by plantar fasciitis in 2019, then missed all of 2020 with a torn labrum in his shoulder. When healthy, Williams has been a useful role-playing downfield and post-reception threat.
Willie Snead (28) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
Larry Fitzgerald (37)
David Moore (26) — Signed 2-year, $4.75 million deal with CAR
Moore will compete for Carolina’s No. 3 receiver job behind D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.
Demarcus Robinson (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.13 million deal with KC
Sammy Watkins appears on the way out in K.C., but Robinson and Byron Pringle are returning to continue to pose obstacles to Mecole Hardman‘s role growth behind Tyreek Hill. Robinson played 70% of the Chiefs’ 2019 offensive snaps and 65% of their downs last year. Despite Watkins’ departure, Robinson is unlikely to emerge as a legitimate fantasy asset in 2021.
Kendrick Bourne (25) — Signed 3-year, $15 million deal with NE
A possession/red-zone specialist in San Francisco, Bourne operated as a chain-moving role player over the past three seasons. He adds reliability to New England’s pass-catcher corps but lacks big-play ability and probably won’t make a fantasy dent in an offense likelier to feature its tight ends and run game.
Mohamed Sanu (31) — Signed 1-year deal with SF
Chris Conley (28) — Signed 1-year deal with HOU
As of Conley’s signing on March 22, the Texans’ wide receiver depth chart consisted of Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee, Isaiah Coulter, Chris Moore, Alex Erickson, Donte Moncrief, Andre Roberts, and Conley. Exciting stuff.
Danny Amendola (35)
Dede Westbrook (27)
Isaiah McKenzie (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.15 million deal with BUF
A diminutive but sometimes electrifying playmaker at 5-foot-7, 173, McKenzie banked six all-purpose touchdowns for last year’s Bills, five at receiver and one on a punt return. Roberts can return kickoffs, too, and his special teams contributions figure to expand with Andre Roberts gone to Houston. On offense, Roberts projects as Buffalo’s No. 5 wideout behind Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and Emmanuel Sanders.
Kenny Stills (28)
Adam Humphries (27) — Signed 1-year deal with WFT
A possession-slot receiver, Humphries flamed out quickly in Nashville after signing a “four-year, $36 million” deal with the Titans in 2019. He lasted just two seasons and missed 16-of-32 games due to a severe concussion and high ankle sprain, among other maladies. In Washington, Humphries will likely get the first crack at earning a job in three-wide sets between Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. Humphries can be a chain mover on third downs but is unlikely to make a fantasy dent.
Mack Hollins (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with MIA
Phillip Dorsett (28) — Signed 1-year deal with JAX
Damiere Byrd (28)
Andre Roberts (33) — Signed 2-year, $5.5 million deal with HOU
Roberts is most valued on special teams, where he is a plus contributor on both kickoff and punt returns and makes tackles as a gunner.
Mike Thomas (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with CIN
Zay Jones (26)
Dez Bryant (32)
Alex Erickson (28) — Signed 1-year deal with HOU
Isaiah Ford (25)
Dwayne Harris (33)
Chris Moore (27) — Signed 1-year, $2 million deal with HOU
Moore’s appeal to the Texans likely stems from his connection to ex-Ravens assistant David Culley. Moore spent the first five years of his career in Baltimore, managing 47 combined receptions for 511 yards (10.9 YPR) and four scores. Moore is best deployed as a No. 4/5 receiver and special teams gunner.
Tavon Austin (30)
Marvin Hall (27)
Josh Gordon (30)
Taywan Taylor (26)
Donte Moncrief (27) — Signed 1-year deal with HOU
Pharoh Cooper (26)
Trent Taylor (26)
Noah Brown (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with DAL
A lightly used red-zone/possession receiver, Brown managed 14 catches in 16 appearances last season and has never scored an NFL touchdown. He’ll return as a low-rung reserve on one of the league’s deepest wideout depth charts.
FREE AGENT TIGHT ENDS
Hunter Henry (26) — Signed 3-year, $37.5 million deal with NE
In an apparent attempt to recreate the Rob Gronkowski–Aaron Hernandez glory days, the Patriots are pairing Henry with Jonnu Smith as interchangeable Y-F tight ends both capable of blocking and turning short passes into long gains. New England’s offensive design is similar to Baltimore’s with a dual-threat quarterback, multi-tight end capability, and plus offensive line play setting up the Patriots to instill their will on the ground but also move the chains in the air. Unfortunately, this landing spot is unideal for Henry in fantasy terms competing for middle-of-the-field targets with Smith and Julian Edelman on a run-first team.
Rob Gronkowski (31) — Re-signed 1-year, $8 million deal with TB
As expected, Gronk re-signed with the #RunItBackBucs, who are maintaining enviable continuity on both sides of the ball. Gronkowski got off to a slow 2020 start after taking the entire 2019 season off but wound up as fantasy’s overall TE9 in PPR scoring and showed up big time in the Super Bowl with a 6/67/2 receiving line on seven targets in Tampa Bay’s triumph over the Chiefs. From an eyeball-test standpoint, I thought Gronk looked better every week he played. He profiles as a fringe TE1/2 in 2021 fantasy drafts.
Jonnu Smith (25) — Signed 4-year, $50 million deal with NE
He received a whopping $31.25 million guaranteed. Smith’s high-priced contract was nevertheless deserved; he’s a true three-down tight end with adequate run- and pass-blocking capabilities, brings to the table 93rd-percentile athleticism, and was publicly deemed the NFL’s top run-after-catch tight end by Bill Belichick long before Monday’s signing. Still, Smith’s fantasy landing spot is unideal joining the run-heavy Patriots in what projects as a low-efficiency passing offense. Especially after the Hunter Henry addition, Smith sets up as a fringe TE1/2 pick in 2021 leagues.
Gerald Everett (26) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with SEA
Everett banked a career-high 136 yards in the Rams’ Week 5 loss to Seattle in 2019 and has faced the Seahawks more times than any other NFL team. Seattle lost Greg Olsen to retirement and Jacob Hollister to free agency. Everett profiles as the Seahawks’ top receiving tight end with Will Dissly in a more blocking-oriented role; Everett will be worth drafting in tight end-premium leagues. Everett is an elite athlete who never reached his ceiling with the Rams as a timeshare partner with Tyler Higbee.
Kyle Rudolph (31) — Signed 2-year, $12 million deal with NYG
Rudolph projects as the complementary, in-line “Y” tight end to Evan Engram‘s “F” position. As part of a low-productivity Giants passing offense, Rudolph’s odds of accruing fantasy value are low in New York.
Jared Cook (34) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with LAC
Cook’s signing can’t be viewed as a positive for Adam Levitan LoveChild Donald Parham, but it shouldn’t be treated as a deal breaker, either. Cook turns 34 in April and started to look his age in 2020, respectably finishing 13th among 48 qualified tight ends in yards per route run but disappearing for long stretches and earning just a 43% snap share despite a largely healthy year. Nevertheless, the Chargers’ 2021 offense continues to be one worth betting on with rising sophomore Justin Herbert surrounded by Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, explosive young role players Jalen Guyton, Tyron Johnson, and Joe Reed, Cook/Parham, and an improved offensive line.
Dan Arnold (26) — Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with CAR
Joe Brady‘s Panthers offense ignored tight ends in its 2020 passing game; Ian Thomas ranked dead last among NFL tight ends in yards per route run. Yet Arnold’s high-end athleticism is noteworthy in addition to Carolina’s fairly significant monetary investment relative to Arnold’s limited track record. A college wideout who’s converted to tight end, Arnold runs 4.68 with a lofty 39 1/2-inch vertical and has averaged over nine yards per target in the NFL. Arnold projects as a low-floor, high-ceiling TE2 pick in 2021 fantasy drafts with a meaningful two-year connection to Brady on the 2017-2018 Saints.
Trey Burton (29)
Tyler Eifert (30)
Jacob Hollister (27) — Signed 1-year, $1.12 million deal with BUF
Hollister came at an exceptionally cheap price, spent two years with Bills starting QB Josh Allen at Wyoming, and offers pass-catching capability at the tight end position, a characteristic missing from Buffalo’s offense for the past several years.
MyCole Pruitt (29)
Tyler Kroft (28) — Signed 1-year, $2 million deal with NYJ
Virgil Green (32)
Marcedes Lewis (36) — Re-signed 2-year, $8 million deal with GB
A one-trick-pony blocking tight end, Lewis earned a 41% playing-time share for last year’s Packers yet managed 10 receptions on 17 targets in 15 games. Lewis did earn PFF’s No. 6 run-blocking grade among 84 qualified tight ends and ranked 34th in pass blocking.
James O’Shaughnessy (29)
Richard Rodgers (29)
Josh Hill (30) — Signed 1-year deal with DET
The Lions swapped out Jesse James for Hill, who is familiar with new coach Dan Campbell from their time together in New Orleans. Hill mainly blocks on offense and plays special teams. He’ll be a role player behind T.J. Hockenson.
Chris Manhertz (29) — Signed 2-year, $6.65 million deal with JAX
Manhertz is a blocking tight end whose signing suggests the Jaguars will lean heavily on their deep wide receiver depth chart to move the ball offensively and less on pass catching at tight end.
Blake Bell (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.12 million deal with KC
Jesse James (26)
Demetrius Harris (29)
Jordan Reed (30)
Derek Carrier (30) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
Cethan Carter (25) — Signed 3-year, $7.8 million deal with MIA
A blocking tight end, Carter was signed away from Cincinnati to complement Mike Gesicki. Across four seasons with the Bengals, Carter managed seven combined receptions for 66 yards and a single score.
Geoff Swaim (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with TEN
Stephen Anderson (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with LAC
Luke Willson (31)
Nick Vannett (28) — Signed 3-year deal with NO
Vannett is a depth signing after the Saints parted with Josh Hill and Jared Cook. Adam Trautman remains in line to take over as New Orleans’ starting tight end.
Eric Tomlinson (28) – Re-signed 1-year, $1.015 million deal with BAL
A blocking tight end on his seventh NFL team, Tomlinson helped fill in for Nick Boyle following Boyle’s year-ending Week 10 knee injury. The Ravens have enough confidence in Boyle’s recovery that they signed him to a two-year, $13 million extension in January. Tomlinson will compete for a roster spot.
Jeremy Sprinkle (26) — Signed 1-year deal with DAL
Ricky Seals-Jones (26)
Darrell Daniels (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
A blocking tight end, Daniels averaged 30.4 snaps across 12 appearances last season.
Luke Stocker (32)
Matthew Stafford to Rams – Sean McVay’s team acquired Stafford from Detroit in exchange for Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick, and first-rounders in 2022 and 2023. The Rams haven’t made a first-round selection since 2016 and appear destined to continue that streak until 2024. Around Stafford, the Rams return critical skill-position players Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and Cam Akers behind an offensive line that brings back 4-of-5 starters. The Rams fielded 2020’s No. 4 DVOA-rated defense after Stafford spent the year playing across from the NFL’s last-ranked group. Stafford’s off-script and second-reaction playmaking ability are vastly superior to predecessor Goff’s, while Stafford’s efficiency has a chance to skyrocket based on improvements in coaching and supporting cast. I’m buying 33-year-old Stafford resuming peak performance under McVay and placed a conservative bet on Stafford to win NFL MVP at 16-to-1 odds.
Carson Wentz to Colts – Wentz reunites with Frank Reich, his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia for Wentz’s rookie (2016) and MVP-caliber (2017) campaigns. Even after LT Anthony Castonzo’s retirement, the Colts’ offensive line is superior to the Eagles’, although Indy’s weaponry needs work. While Wentz’s inaccuracies are an ongoing concern, Reich’s emphasis on having his quarterbacks get the ball out quickly should help offset Wentz’s tendency to stand and stare for too long in the pocket. Wentz’s strengths of dual-threat capability and tight-window aggressiveness remain intact. Since the conditional 2022 second-round pick Indianapolis surrendered to acquire Wentz can elevate to a first-rounder based on playing time, the Colts will be incentivized to sit Wentz early should he flounder in his first year with the team. In both real life and fantasy, Wentz should be approached as a boom-bust 2021 commodity.
Jared Goff to Lions – Goff arrived in Detroit as part of January’s blockbuster Matthew Stafford deal, joining one of the league’s long dysfunctional organizations lacking continuity at receiver with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola’s contracts expiring and dotted with coaching question marks helmed by run-game proponents Dan Campbell and Anthony Lynn. In L.A., Goff was an environment-controlled quarterback who floundered in virtually all adverse conditions consisting of under-pressure plays, forced improvisation, and suboptimal weather. On a rebuilding Lions team making over its front office and coaching staff with major personnel uncertainty, Goff is set up to face even more adversity. He’ll be a full fade in 2021 fantasy leagues.
Josh Oliver to Ravens — A 2019 top-70 pick of the Jaguars who appeared in just 4-of-32 games over the past two seasons due to foot, back, and hamstring injuries, Oliver was sent to Baltimore in exchange for a conditional late-round pick. Oliver profiled as a pass-catching tight end coming out of San Jose State, having caught 56 balls for 709 yards and four TDs as a 2018 senior before banking 70th-percentile athletic results at the Combine. Oliver projects as a role-playing bit presence behind Mark Andrews in Baltimore’s run-heavy attack.
NOTABLE OFFENSIVE LINE MOVEMENT
LT Trent Williams (32) — Re-signed 6-year, $138.1 million deal with SF
Technically, this deal makes Williams the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman of all time, narrowly surpassing Packers LT David Bakhtiari. Williams’ signing bonus exceeds $30 million, and he’s guaranteed $55.1 million. Long recognized as one of the league’s most talented tackles, Williams’ lone drawback has been availability with 11 missed games over the past four years. Nevertheless, retaining Williams is a monster win for Kyle Shanahan‘s team following 2020’s disappointing 6-10 result.
RT Taylor Moton (26) — Franchise Tagged by CAR
The offensive line tag is worth $13.75 million. Based on age, reliability, and on-field productivity, Moton was arguably 2021’s top free agent O-Lineman. He’s an impact run blocker and earned a 90th-percentile pass-protection grade from Pro Football Focus over the past three years. Although Moton’s primary experience is at right tackle, he is capable of playing left tackle in a pinch.
G Joe Thuney (28) — Signed 5-year, $80 million deal with KC
A model of consistency in five seasons with the Patriots, Thuney never missed a start during his half decade in Foxboro. He mainly played left guard but is one of the NFL’s rare linemen truly capable of manning all five O-Line positions. For a Chiefs team remaking its offensive front, Thuney’s position figures to be sorted out later. But regardless of where he ends up, Thuney adds reliability to a K.C. line that severely lacked it due to injuries, opt-outs, and personnel change over the past two years.
G Brandon Scherff (29) — Franchise Tagged by WFT
As a second-year recipient of the offensive line tag, Scherff is owed $18 million guaranteed for the 2021 season. Although Scherff’s career has been hindered by injuries, he is coming off a 13-start year in which Scherff allowed a single sack, committed just one penalty, and earned his fourth Pro Bowl berth in the past five seasons. He was also named first-team All Pro. Washington must shore up the left side of its offensive line but looks solid otherwise with C Chase Roullier, RG Scherff, and RT Morgan Moses returning.
LT Cam Robinson (25) — Franchise Tagged by JAX
Robinson turned in his first ever 16-game campaign in 2020, yet managed PFF’s No. 54 pass-blocking grade and No. 78 run-blocking grade among 84 qualifying tackles. The Jaguars’ overhauled front office and coaching staff are presumably banking on Robinson to discover a level of consistency he’s yet to demonstrate in four NFL seasons. Robinson is talented and still quite young, but his franchise designation was one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 offseason.
C Corey Linsley (29) — Signed 5-year, $62.5 million deal with LAC
Center was among the Chargers’ many 2020 trouble spots on the offensive line following Mike Pouncey‘s year-ending hip injury. Pouncey retired this offseason. A first-team All-Pro pick for last year’s Packers, Linsley has been one of the league’s best centers for a long time. I loved this addition for my Chargers futures bets.
C Rodney Hudson (31) — Traded from LVR to ARZ
Hudson is theoretically entering post-prime territory, yet elite centers tend to age well in the NFL, and Hudson has missed just one game since the 2015 season. This past year, Hudson ranked top ten among 39 qualified centers in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency grades and No. 9 in run blocking. This was an unexpected yet colossal get for the Cards, who are enjoying an exciting free agency period.
RT Daryl Williams — Re-signed 3-year, $24 million deal with BUF
Williams took over as Buffalo’s starting right tackle in 2020 and didn’t miss a single snap while earning PFF’s No. 9 pass-blocking efficiency rating among 84 offensive tackles from Pro Football Focus. Williams also has experience at guard and is a plus run blocker. The Bills are tracking to enter the 2021 season with immense continuity on offense.
LT Ali Villanueva (32)
OT Mitchell Schwartz (31)
C Nick Martin (28) — Signed undisclosed deal with LVR
In a clear downgrade, Martin will compete with third-year UDFA Andre James to replace Rodney Hudson at center. The Raiders’ talent losses from one of 2020’s very best offensive lines have been startling so far.
G Kevin Zeitler (31) — Signed 3-year, $22.5 million deal with BAL
One of the best values of 2021 free agency, Zeitler fills the colossal vacancy Baltimore never filled in 2020 following Marshal Yanda‘s retirement. Zeitler is still in his prime years, didn’t break the bank, and won’t cost the Ravens compensatory-pick equity because he was released by the Giants. PFF charged Zeitler with just two sacks and two additional QB hits allowed last season, and he started 15 or more games for the sixth straight year.
OT Trent Brown (28) — Traded from LVR to NE
The Patriots acquired Brown and a 2022 seventh-round pick from the Raiders in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round pick. Brown disappointed during his two-year Raiders stint due to injuries but made a difference on the field, especially as a pass blocker. Brown is experienced at both tackle spots and obviously familiar with New England’s system after starting all 16 games for the 2018 Pats. In a corresponding move, the Patriots dealt RT Marcus Cannon to the Texans to clear space for Brown at right tackle.
LT Eric Fisher (30)
G Trai Turner (27)
C Alex Mack (35) — Signed 1-year, $5.5 million deal with SF
San Francisco’s interior offensive line fell apart in C Weston Richburg‘s (knee, hip) 2020 absence, and word is Richburg is considering retirement. Mack was Kyle Shanahan‘s center with 2016’s NFC champion Falcons. Last year, Mack earned PFF’s No. 15 run-blocking grade among 39 qualified centers and was charged with just one sack allowed on 633 pass-blocking snaps.
LT Russell Okung (33)
OT Riley Reiff (32) — Signed 1-year, $7.5 million deal with CIN
Reiff has been a durable starter at both left and right tackle for the past decade with Detroit and Minnesota but delivered average to below-average on-field results. Nevertheless, Reiff seems likely to provide an upgrade on outgoing RT Bobby Hart with Jonah Williams returning healthy on Joe Burrow‘s blindside.
C Austin Reiter (29)
C David Andrews (28) — Re-signed 4-year deal with NE
After missing all of 2019 with a pulmonary embolism, Andrews returned to start 12 games for last year’s Patriots, who ranked top three in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards, a run-blocking metric. PFF charged Andrews with just two quarterback hits allowed. The Pats continue to build a bully-ball offense with a mobile quarterback, plus line play, and multi-tight end flexibility.
G Gabe Jackson (28) — Traded from LVR to SEA in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick
The breakup of the Raiders’ once-vaunted offensive line has been fast and furious; RT Trent Brown, G Gabe Jackson, and C Rodney Hudson have all been jettisoned. Jackson is an above-par pass-blocking guard with a road-grading profile at 6-foot-3, 336. The Seahawks’ offensive line has been a longtime weakness; Jackson’s addition is a significant plus.
G/T Matt Feiler (28) — Signed 3-year, $21 million deal with LAC
Feiler can play guard and tackle at competent levels, giving the Chargers’ offensive line credibility in conjunction with C Corey Linsley‘s addition and RT Bryan Bulaga‘s return. The rebuild of the Bolts’ front five remains a work in progress, but GM Tom Telesco is off to a noteworthy start.
G Jon Feliciano (29) — Re-signed 3-year, $17 million deal with BUF
A 16-game starter in 2019, Feliciano missed the initial seven games of 2020 due to a torn pectoral but returned in Week 8 and was all systems go the rest of the way. Feliciano is capable of playing all three interior offensive line positions. From Week 8 onward last season, Feliciano was a top-20 run-blocking guard among 84 qualifiers at PFF and held his own in pass protection. After making last season’s AFC Championship game, the Bills are running it back with impressive continuity.
C Andre James — Signed 3-year, $12.5 million extension with LVR
In addition to financial relief, the Raiders’ belief in James was reportedly the driving force behind Rodney Hudson‘s release. Undrafted out of UCLA in 2019, James has made just one start through two NFL seasons, however, and his promotion is obviously being keyed by controversial OL coach Tom Cable‘s practice-field evaluation of James.
G Richie Incognito (38) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.62 million deal with LVR
G/T Kyle Long (32) — Signed 1-year deal with KC
NOTABLE DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS MOVEMENT
DL J.J. Watt (32) — Signed 2-year, $28 million deal with ARZ
He got $23 million guaranteed. The woebegone Texans organization can chalk up another loss after shortsightedly releasing Watt on February 12 rather than waiting a few weeks to gauge his trade value. Clearly, Watt’s market was frenzied; he reportedly drew interest from 11-of-31 teams and wound up with a top-eight deal among NFL defensive linemen in annual salary. Flying in the face of his injury-prone reputation, Watt turned in full 16-game seasons in two of the past three years and earned PFF’s No. 7 grade among 125 qualifying edge players in 2020 despite nonexistent help; theoretical bookend Whitney Mercilus finished 125th (dead last) in the same grading system. Cardinals DC Vance Joseph‘s front seven — anchoring a unit that quietly ranked top four in the NFL in sacks (48) and top eight in QB hits (105) last year — looks even more exciting with Watt joining EDGEs Chandler Jones and Dennis Gardeck, 340-pound DT Jordan Phillips, three-down MLB Jordan Hicks, and hyper-versatile LB Isaiah Simmons.
CB William Jackson III (27) — Signed 3-year, $42 million deal with WFT
The Football Team gave Jackson $26 million guaranteed. Jackson held opponents to a pedestrian 88.2 passer rating and exceptionally inefficient 51.4 completion rate when targeted in 2020. Washington’s defensive front asserted itself among the league’s elite last season and is now being supplemented by talented backend defenders.
EDGE Shaq Barrett (28) — Re-signed 4-year, $68 million deal with TB
S Justin Simmons (27) — Franchise Tagged by DEN
2021’s first franchise-tag recipient, Simmons sports the designation for a second straight year in the $13-14 million range. New GM George Paton stated Denver intends to sign Simmons to a long-term deal. A two-way difference maker, Simmons shines in both coverage and run support and is a playmaker on the ball, having collected nine interceptions and 24 pass breakups over the past two seasons while not missing a game since 2017. As of March 6, Arizona’s Budda Baker was the NFL’s top-paid safety at $14.75 million per year. Simmons is capable of overtaking Baker atop the league’s annual safety earnings. UPDATE: Simmons indeed overtook Baker on March 19, landing a four-year, $61 million pact for a $15.25 million annual average.
EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (26) — Signed 2-year, $26 million deal with LVR
Ngakoue gives Las Vegas pass-rush credibility with eight-plus sacks in five straight seasons and four or more forced fumbles in four of those years. The 2020 Raiders ranked 29th in sacks (21) and 26th in QB hits (76).
CB Patrick Peterson (30) — Signed 1-year, $8 million deal with MIN
He can earn another $2 million via incentives. Minnesota’s 2020 cornerback play was among the worst in the league. Peterson’s on-field performance is in decline — he conceded a 100.8 passer rating when targeted last season — but Peterson remains a quality press-man starter and should allow Mike Zimmer to play more man coverage than the shorthanded Vikings did last year.
EDGE Matt Judon (28) — Signed 4-year, $56 million deal with NE
He got $32 million guaranteed. The defensive centerpiece of New England’s free agent spending spree, Judon tallied sack totals of 8.0, 7.0, 9.5, and 6.0 with the Ravens over the past four years. Judon is a situational pass rusher being paid as a top-flight EDGE in Foxboro but brings a needed element of juice to a Pats defense that ranked 27th in sacks (24) and 31st in QB hits (68) last season.
EDGE Bud Dupree (28) — Signed 5-year, $82.5 million deal with TEN
The signings of Dupree and DL Denico Autry signal Tennessee is well aware of its 2020 pass-rush deficiency. Dupree banked 11.5 sacks for the 2019 Steelers, then tallied 8.0 in 11 games last season before tearing his ACL in Week 12. When healthy, Dupree is a boom-bust speed rusher off the edge. All told, Dupree was arguably the most overpaid player in 2021 free agency based on his to-date productivity and injury rehab.
S Marcus Williams (24) — Franchise Tagged by NO
The cost of Williams’ tag is $10.6 million. Exceptionally young, skilled in centerfield, and a playmaker on the ball, Williams doesn’t turn 25 until the very beginning of the 2021 season, has caused 15 takeaways (13 picks, 2 forced fumbles) through four NFL seasons, and earned PFF’s No. 18 coverage grade among 84 qualified safeties in 2020. Signing Williams to a lengthy extension should be a priority for the Saints; doing so would free up salary cap space, and Williams is worth betting on long term.
DL Leonard Williams (26) — Franchise Tagged by NYG
Williams delivered a personal-best year in 2020, banking career highs in sacks (11.5), tackles for loss (14), and QB hits (30) as part of an underrated Giants defense that yielded the league’s ninth fewest points per game (22.3). Yet Williams’ projected one-year cost is $19.4 million, which will force cuts elsewhere on New York’s already pedestrian roster (read: RG Kevin Zeitler) in a year where the cap is dipping by nearly $16 million. It was only a few years ago that Williams’ 2021 salary equated to franchise quarterback money. UPDATE: The Giants later signed Williams to a three-year, $63 million deal, reducing his cap hit by $8 million for the 2021 season.
LB Lavonte David (31) — Re-signed 2-year, $25 million deal with TB
Extending David allows Tampa Bay to maintain arguably the league’s most athletic linebacker tandem in David and Devin White. David hasn’t missed a game in two seasons, has exceeded 100 tackles in eight of his nine NFL years, and in 2020 yielded a 91.8 passer rating when targeted, eighth lowest among 41 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus’ linebacker grades. Last year’s Bucs scored the ninth most points among fantasy D/STs. Expect them to remain a top-ten defense in both real life and fantasy.
LB Matt Milano (26) — Re-signed 4-year, $44 million deal with BUF
Even while the value of off-ball linebackers has depreciated in today’s game, linebackers capable of containing the middle of the field in pass coverage have appreciated in value. When healthy, Milano is one of the league’s premier coast-to-coast defenders in mid-field coverage and combines with Bills MLB Tremaine Edmunds to form one of football’s most athletic linebacker duos.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson (27) — Signed 2-year, $22 million deal with MIN
Tomlinson gives Mike Zimmer‘s defense a 6-foot-3, 310-pound presence up the middle after Tomlinson piled up 2020 career highs in tackles for loss (8), QB hits (10), sacks (3.5), and pass breakups (4) for the Giants. Still a better run stopper than pass rusher, Tomlinson figures to occupy the old Linval Joseph role on Minnesota’s front.
EDGE Carl Lawson (25) — Signed 3-year, $45 million deal with NYJ
Lawson banked 5.5 sacks and a career-high 32 QB hits while ranking No. 9 among 83 qualified EDGE players in PFF’s 2020 pass-rush productivity ratings. The Jets’ outside edge rush has needed improvement for over a decade.
CB Adoree Jackson (25) — Signed 3-year, $39 million deal with NYG
Giants GM Dave Gettleman‘s highly aggressive free agency period continues. The Titans released Jackson after he missed 18 combined games over the past two years due to a slew of foot and knee injuries, but he won’t turn 26 until early in the season and has been an above-average cover corner when healthy. Theoretically, Jackson should team with James Bradberry to give second-year Giants DC Patrick Graham a quality perimeter tandem. Last year’s No. 2 cornerback position was a major deficiency for the G-Men.
CB Kyle Fuller (29) — Signed 1-year, $9.5 million deal with DEN
Fuller reunites with ex-Bears DC Vic Fangio, positioning Denver to field a vastly improved 2021 secondary with Fuller bookending Ronald Darby, Bryce Callahan in the slot, All-Pro FS Justin Simmons signed to a long-term extension, and hard-hitting SS Kareem Jackson back as well. The Broncos are talented enough on defense, along the offensive line, and at the skill positions to make a quick turnaround should they finally find a quarterback solution.
S John Johnson III (25) — Signed 3-year, $33.75 million deal with CLE
Johnson looks like one of 2021 free agency’s best signings as a young playmaker with high-end cover skills filling a huge need spot for Cleveland. When challenged in pass coverage last season, Johnson permitted a miniscule 6.4 yards per completion, 4.4 yards per target, and zero touchdowns on 68 targeted throws. The Browns’ secondary was the weakest part of their 2020 roster.
S Anthony Harris (29) — Signed 1-year, $5 million deal with PHI
S Marcus Maye (28) — Franchise Tagged by NYJ
Maye matched or set career highs in interceptions (2), pass breakups (11), forced fumbles (2), sacks (2), and tackles (88) in 2020 while earning PFF’s No. 3 pass-coverage grade among 84 qualified safeties. Highlighted in Jamal Adams‘ absence, Maye emerged as a multi-purpose playmaker and building block for the Jets’ defense under new coach Robert Saleh.
CB Shaquill Griffin (25) — Signed 3-year, $40 million deal with JAX
He got $29 million guaranteed. Griffin was essentially deployed in the old Richard Sherman role during his four seasons with Seattle, occupying one side of the field but never traveling with No. 1 wideouts, let alone coming close to Sherman’s level of on-field play. Griffin was burned for passer ratings of 93 or higher in each of the last three years. The Jags appear to be taking a shot on Griffin’s youth and potential rather than his to-date productivity.
EDGE Trey Hendrickson (26) — Signed 4-year, $60 million deal with CIN
Hendrickson erupted for 13.5 sacks, 25 QB hits, and 12 additional tackles for loss in his contract year with the Saints. The Bengals were in desperate need of pass-rush help after last season ranking dead last in sacks (17) and 28th in QB hits (72).
CB Michael Davis — Re-signed 3-year, $25.2 million deal with LAC
After releasing Casey Hayward, the Chargers prioritized re-signing his underrated bookend. Davis yielded stingy 2019 and 2020 passer ratings of 76.0 and 79.2 on throws into his coverage while banking corresponding snap percentages of 68% and 92%.
CB Ronald Darby (27) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with DEN
DT Sheldon Rankins (27) — Signed 2-year, $17 million deal with NYJ
Rankins has been beset by injuries in recent seasons — a 2018 torn Achilles’, 2019 foot surgery, and four missed 2020 games with a torn MCL — but just turned 27 years old and is a dynamic three-technique interior rusher when healthy.
CB Casey Hayward (31)
DT Michael Brockers (30) — Traded to Lions from Rams in exchange for a 2023 seventh-round pick
CB Chidobe Awuzie (25) — Signed 3-year, $21.75 million deal with CIN
In combination with slot CB Mike Hilton‘s addition, the Bengals paved the way for William Jackson III‘s exit with Tuesday’s moves. A high-end athlete with plus size (6’0/202) for a corner, Awuzie flashed big-time potential in four years as a Cowboy but ultimately underachieved relative to his theoretical upside. Many fans clamored for Awuzie to convert to safety during his time in Big D.
DT Ndamukong Suh (34) — Re-signed 1-year, $9 million deal with TB
Hellbent on #RunningItBack, the defending Super Bowl champs stayed committed to their 2021 approach by retaining interior power pig Suh, who last year piled up six sacks on a 74% playing-time clip and played all over Tampa Bay’s dominant defensive line, seeing action at both nose tackle and three technique in addition to the edge. Per PFF, Suh’s 13 QB hits ranked No. 10 among 70 qualified interior defenders. He’s clearly got plenty left in the tank at age 34.
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (28) — Signed 1-year, $8 million deal with CLE
Albeit not an elite sack artist — he’s never reached double digits through seven NFL seasons — Clowney is a robust run defender with enough power to disrupt the pocket and create takedown opportunities for others. Clowney’s affordable signing continues a highly productive Browns offseason, especially on defense. In addition to Clowney, they’ve signed S John Johnson III, DT Malik Jackson, slot CB Troy Hill, EDGE Takk McKinley, and ILB Anthony Walker. I took a shot on the Browns to win the Super Bowl at 22-to-1 odds. They have one of the best roster-coaching staff combinations in the NFL.
EDGE Melvin Ingram (31)
S Malik Hooker (25)
LB Haason Reddick (26) — Signed 1-year, $8 million deal with CAR
Experienced as both a middle-field linebacker and pass rusher off the edge, Reddick brings versatility to the Panthers coming off a career-best year in which Reddick banked personal bests in sacks (12.5), tackles for loss (15), QB hits (16), and forced fumbles (6). Last year’s Panthers ranked 24th in sacks (29) and bottom half in QB hits (91) and obviously need quarterback-disrupting juice.
S Keanu Neal (25) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with DAL
The Cowboys faced almost zero resistance in signing Neal, who was drafted by new DC Dan Quinn in Atlanta. After injury-ruined years with the 2018 and 2019 Falcons, Neal returned to deliver a career-high nine tackles for loss in 15 appearances last season. Apparently, the Cowboys are considering converting Neal to weak-side linebacker, where Dallas’ athleticism has been lacking and Neal’s coverage limitations could be better managed.
CB Richard Sherman (33)
EDGE Carlos Dunlap (32) — Re-signed 2-year, $16.6 million deal with SEA
EDGE Aldon Smith (31)
LB Kwon Alexander (26)
DL Denico Autry (30) — Signed 3-year, $21.5 million deal with TEN
Autry piled up 20 combined sacks for the division-rival Colts over the past three seasons, playing all over Indy’s defensive front. The Titans badly needed defensive line juice after ranking 30th in both sacks (19) and QB hits (70) last year.
CB Desmond King (26) — Signed 1-year, $3.5 million deal with HOU
CB Quinton Dunbar (28) — Signed 1-year deal with DET
CB Mike Hilton (27) — Signed 4-year, $24 million deal with CIN
CB Troy Hill (29) — Signed 4-year, $24 million deal with CLE
S Xavier Woods (25) — Signed 1-year, $1.75 million deal with MIN
EDGE Leonard Floyd (28) — Re-signed 4-year, $64 million deal with LAR
LB Jayon Brown (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $5.3 million deal with TEN
CB Emmanuel Moseley (25) — Re-signed 2-year, $10.1 million deal with SF
Moseley was slated to be a restricted free agent. Undrafted out of Tennessee in 2018, Moseley found his way into 17 starts over the past two seasons but generously yielded a 98.8 passer rating on throws into his 2020 coverage. He is slated to return as a 2021 starter with K’Waun Williams‘ contract expiring and Richard Sherman not expected back.
CB Janoris Jenkins (32) — Signed undisclosed deal with TEN
Jenkins is part of Tennessee’s plan to replace Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson, both of whom were released. The Saints cut Jenkins early in the offseason after he was burned for 13.9 yards per completion and 8.1 yards per target last year. Throughout his career, Jenkins has been a risk taker willing to concede big plays in exchange for opportunities to make them himself. That’s why he’s accounted for 26 career interceptions and eight pick sixes. On a one-year deal, ex-Texans and Browns CB Kevin Johnson also signed in Nashville as the Titans continue to remake their secondary.
CB Jason Verrett (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $5.5 million deal with SF
Verrett shook off a slew of career-threatening injuries to make 13 starts for the 2020 Niners, earning PFF’s No. 9 pass-coverage grade among 50 qualified cornerbacks. He projects as the 49ers’ No. 1 corner entering 2021 with Emmanuel Moseley bookending him.
LB Jarrad Davis (26) — Signed 1-year, $5.5 million deal with NYJ
The Jets are taking a shot on a 2017 first-round pick who amassed more than 300 tackles and ten sacks over his first four seasons in Detroit. Gang Green needs talent infusions on defense, and Davis is a playmaker attained at an affordable cost.
CB Xavier Rhodes (30) — Re-signed 1-year, $6.5 million deal with IND
CB Malcolm Butler (31) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with ARZ
Butler projects as Byron Murphy‘s bookend in an Arizona secondary that remains a work in progress. Butler was released by the Titans early this offseason despite a solid 2020 in which Butler allowed an 83.7 passer rating, which ranked 32nd among 84 qualified cornerbacks at PFF. Butler also tied his career high with four interceptions.
DT Jarran Reed (28) — Signed 1-year, $5.5 million deal with KC
DT Jurrell Casey (31)
DL Kawann Short (32)
LB Benardrick McKinney — Traded from HOU to MIA in exchange for EDGE Shaq Lawson
McKinney missed all but four games in 2020 due to shoulder surgery. When healthy, he is a productive interior run stuffer with coverage limitations. Lawson is a situational pass rusher who managed 4.5 sacks in 14 games for Miami last year. The Texans are downgrading from McKinney to free agent signing Christian Kirksey at inside linebacker.
LB Kyle Van Noy (30) — Signed 2-year, $13.2 million deal with NE
After just one season with the Dolphins — before which New England collected a fourth-round compensatory pick for “losing” Van Noy — KVN rejoins the Patriots on an affordable deal. Van Noy’s swiss-army-knife versatility makes him a perfect fit for Bill Belichick‘s defense; KVN can play middle linebacker, outside linebacker, and rush off the edge in a pinch.
CB Desmond Trufant (30) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Trufant is being billed as Kyle Fuller‘s replacement, an obvious downgrade since Trufant played just 15-of-32 games over the past two seasons and was torched for 2019 and 2020 passer ratings of 100.2 and 111.3, respectively. Fuller has never missed a game through six NFL seasons and yielded corresponding passer ratings of 102.0 and 89.8 when targeted. Fuller is also over two years younger than Trufant.
CB Justin Coleman (28)
CB Kevin King (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $6 million deal with GB
Beset by hamstring, shoulder, quad, Achilles’, and back injuries over the past two seasons, King has failed to meet expectations commensurate with being an elite-sized (6’3/200) cornerback with top-end athleticism, traits that encouraged the Packers to make King the 33rd overall pick in 2017’s NFL draft. Yet for enemy offenses, King has all too often been Green Bay’s corner to attack opposite Jaire Alexander. At an affordable cost, the Packers are betting King finally overcomes the injury bug and realizes his potential in his age-26 season.
DL Shelby Harris (29) — Re-signed 3-year, $27 million deal with DEN
Harris is a solid role player with end-tackle versatility. He rang up a career-high 11 QB hits in 2020.
DT Malik Jackson (31) — Signed 1-year deal with CLE
PFF credited Jackson with last year’s No. 18 pass-rush productivity rating among 84 qualified interior defensive linemen. He is a value signing by the Browns, whose additions of Jackson, S John Johnson III, slot CB Troy Hill, EDGE Takk McKinley, and ILB Anthony Walker have illustrated a successful free agency supplement to a defense that fell short of 2020 expectations.
DT Geno Atkins (31)
CB Mackensie Alexander (27) — Signed 1-year deal with MIN
CB Brian Poole (28)
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Packers TE Robert Tonyan (26) — Second-Round Tender
The NFL’s premier breakout tight end of 2020, Tonyan tied Travis Kelce for the league lead in touchdowns (11) among players at their position and banked an insane 88.1% catch rate, securing 52-of-59 targets. After the Packers whiffed on top-tier wide receivers in free agency, expect Tonyan to return in a similarly prominent if not expanded 2021 role.
Washington QB Taylor Heinicke (28) – Re-signed 2-year, $4.75 million deal with WFT
A favorite of Washington OC Scott Turner from their time together in Carolina, Heinicke’s stock rose when he threw for 306 yards, ran for 46, and accounted for two scores in January’s Wild Card spot start at Tampa Bay. Although Heinicke’s skill set is backup caliber, he looks likely to have a slight hand in The Football Team’s quarterback battle. Heinicke offers enough short-term opportunity and dual-threat capability to be roster worthy in Dynasty and Superflex leagues. He ran a 4.62 forty coming out of Old Dominion and has rushed for 101 combined yards over his last three NFL appearances. UPDATE: The Football Team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to start Week 1. Heinicke is probably the favorite for No. 2 duties ahead of Kyle Allen.
Broncos WR Tim Patrick (27) — Second-Round Tender
The Broncos tendered Patrick at the second-round level, rendering him likely to return to their 2021 team. Even after a career-best 2020 season (51/742/6), Patrick’s most probable role is Denver’s No. 4 receiver behind Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler.
Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (26) — Signed 1-year, $3.25 million deal with HOU
Lindsay was initially tendered in restricted free agency at the original-pick level by Denver, then had his tender rescinded once the Broncos signed Mike Boone. Subsequently signed by the Texans, Lindsay joins a backfield already including David Johnson and Mark Ingram, both of whose roster spots are secured. As part of a mundane Houston offense certain to deploy an RBBC, Lindsay’s chances of accruing 2021 fantasy viability are remote.
Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson (25) — Original-Round Tender
Wilson’s tender is worth $2.133 million. A 2019 sixth-round pick out of Boise State, Wilson erupted for a 5/107/2 receiving line on seven targets against Seattle last Week 3 but was otherwise quiet, serving as the direct backup to Amari Cooper. Wilson should be virtually unchallenged entering the 2021 season as Dallas’ No. 4 wideout behind Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb.
Colts TE Mo Alie-Cox (27) — Second-Round Tender
Colts WR Zach Pascal (26) — Second-Round Tender
Ravens RB Gus Edwards (25) — Second-Round Tender
The Ravens narrowed their backfield from a three- to two-man ordeal as last season progressed, eliminating Mark Ingram in favor of Edwards and J.K. Dobbins. Edwards emerged with career highs in carries (144), rushing yards (723), and touchdowns (6) but remained a non-factor in the passing game. Nevertheless, Edwards looks set to return as Baltimore’s No. 2 back behind rising sophomore Dobbins and will be worthy of a middle- to late-round pick in 2021 re-draft leagues. The Ravens released Ingram early in the offseason.
Steelers WR/KR Ray-Ray McCloud (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with PIT
McCloud is an average to above-average return specialist capable of bringing back both kicks and punts and has a chance to be promoted to Pittsburgh’s No. 4 wide receiver behind Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and James Washington with JuJu Smith-Schuster likely departing. UPDATE: Smith-Schuster did not depart, re-signing in Pittsburgh on a one-year, $8 million deal.
Chiefs RB Darrel Williams (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.13 million deal with KC
Even in a year where Kansas City drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round and acquired Le’Veon Bell at minimal in-season cost, Williams carved out a meaningful role as the Chiefs’ most reliable pass-blocking back and trustworthy on-field presence alongside Patrick Mahomes behind an untrustworthy offensive line. Williams’ playmaking traits are virtually nonexistent, yet the Chiefs’ coaches and offensive players love and trust him.
Browns WR KhaDarel Hodge (26) — Original-Pick Tender
Washington WR Cam Sims (25) — Tendered by WFT
Mainly due to teammate injuries, Sims banked a career-best 32/477/1 receiving line in 2020 and regularly appeared on special teams. He’s a quality No. 4 receiver Washington should do its best to avoid resorting to as a starter going forward.
Chiefs WR/KR Byron Pringle (27) — Second-Round Tender
Titans TE Anthony Firkser (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with TEN
A spitting image of ex-Washington TE Chris Cooley, Firkser looks positioned for a usage bump following Jonnu Smith‘s departure. Albeit short on dynamism, Firkser is a high-percentage chain mover with a career 74.2% catch rate and first-down conversions or touchdowns on nearly 70% of his career targets.
49ers QB Josh Rosen (24) – Re-signed 1-year, $850,000 deal with SF
Rosen has been a colossal bust since the Cardinals made him 2018’s No. 10 overall draft pick, but there are reasons Rosen went that early, and any Kyle Shanahan-coached quarterback is worth monitoring. Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard’s contracts are up, while Jimmy Garoppolo’s future in San Francisco is unclear.
Rams TE Johnny Mundt (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with LAR
Jets RB Josh Adams (24) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.18 million deal with NYJ
Texans RB Dontrell Hilliard (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.25 million deal with HOU
Hilliard is a No. 3-caliber running back with some special teams value. He’ll compete for a roster spot in Houston.
49ers TE Ross Dwelley (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SF
Dwelley is a fourth-year UDFA who’s turned in pedestrian results during George Kittle‘s past injury-induced absences.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts — The Eagles traded away Carson Wentz before owner Jeff Lurie issued a reported mandate that Philadelphia give Hurts the 2021 season for a full-year evaluation. That would entail resisting drafting a quarterback at No. 6 overall and/or trading down to stockpile future picks as part of an organizational rebuild. Hurts’ fantasy ceiling is immense as an aggressive dual threat who stands to benefit from a healthy supporting cast after flashing colossal upside surrounded by Philadelphia’s B-squad down last year’s stretch. I’ve bet on Hurts’ longshot MVP odds at 100 to 1, 80 to 1, and 66 to 1 thus far.
Vikings TE Irv Smith — Kyle Rudolph missed four games in 2020; in them Smith’s targets per game exploded from 2.9 to 5.0, and Smith averaged nearly seven more PPR points per game. The Vikings released Rudolph on March 2, saving over $5 million in cap space while passing on tight end duties to Smith and Tyler Conklin.
Texans RB David Johnson — In addition to releasing Duke Johnson, the Texans recommitted to David Johnson for 2021 by signing him to a one-year, $4.25 million restructured deal with another $1.75 million available through incentives. The $4.25 million is guaranteed. Johnson operated at replacement level in his first season as a Texan, earning PFF’s No. 34 Elusive Rating among 63 qualified running backs while missing three games with a concussion and a fourth due to Covid. Johnson caught three passes or fewer in 10-of-12 appearances and has never been a proficient runner between the tackles. Especially after Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay‘s signings, Johnson will remain a volume-driven, low-floor RB2 pick in 2021 fantasy drafts.
Saints TE Adam Trautman — The Saints traded up to select Trautman with the 105th pick in last year’s draft, then parted with fellow TEs Jared Cook and Josh Hill early this offseason. As a rookie, Trautman earned 37% of New Orleans’ 2020 offensive snaps and averaged 10.7 yards on 16 targets with a 94% catch rate. Trautman was a dominant pass-catching tight end at the University of Dayton, offers plus athleticism at 6-foot-5, 255, and suddenly looks positioned for immense opportunity in what’s consistently been one of the NFL’s most efficient offenses under Sean Payton. Trautman is a prime second-year breakout candidate and screaming buy in Dynasty leagues.
Vikings TE Tyler Conklin — Another beneficiary of Kyle Rudolph‘s release, Conklin has proven a capable run and pass blocker after arriving in the pros as a 70th-percentile athlete out of Central Michigan. Conklin banked receiving lines of 5/40/0, 3/57/1, 4/31/0, and 3/40/0 during Rudolph’s four 2020 absences. Irv Smith is Minnesota’s pass-catching tight end of the future, yet Conklin should be rostered in all Dynasty leagues as an underrated talent positioned for heightened opportunity.