The all-action NFL free agency period has blazed by in spectacular fashion since teams could officially negotiate with players on Monday. If the last few days covered the meat and vegetables of deals, today was more about the side dishes and condiments. However, there were rumors abound regarding some of the top remaining free agents, so dessert could well be served imminently.
New Franchise QBs On Deck
The blockbuster trade between the Los Angeles Rams and the Detroit Lions that sees the much-maligned Jared Goff start afresh in Detroit and the perennially undervalued Matthew Stafford finally unite with a creative signal-caller in Sean McVay at the Rams was confirmed on Thursday. Goff wasted no time in posting a message to Lions fans as the Rams focussed more on selling jerseys after a nifty bit of photoshop work. The fantasy implications for Stafford are significant as this is a move that offers him the opportunity to work behind a strong offensive line and throw to a multifarious array of receiving talent. It is a move that clearly signals McVay’s desire to make a Super Bowl run. Goff, on the other hand, has never developed into a top-12 fantasy option at the position and has another opportunity to become the face of a franchise that is mired in mediocrity. The Rams not only gave away two 1st round picks and a 3rd round pick alongside Goff to acquire Stafford, they also agreed to pay Goff’s $2.5m roster bonus this year to push the trade through, yikes!
There was a nice message from an old friend in LA welcoming Stafford.
Reunion in LA.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 18, 2021
Over The Hill
The Rams also lost a key strength with standout corner Troy Hill leaving in free agency and signing a bumper four-year, $24m deal with the Cleveland Browns, who have reinvented their secondary with former Rams talent after securing elite safety John Johnson III earlier in the week. The Browns look to be prioritizing their defense after beefing up on offense last year, and if Hill can recreate his 3 defensive touchdowns in 2020, the Browns D/ST unit could be a sneaky match-winner in fantasy this year. Cleveland is a serious contender to return to the post-season under the guidance of second-year Head Coach Kevin Stefanski.
This is somewhat of a head-scratcher but then again that is nothing new in Las Vegas these days – Raiders self-prophesized cognoscenti Mike Maycock and Jon Gruden handed out a two-year, $11 million deal to former Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, that could balloon up to $14.5 million with incentives. This is a worrying turn-of-events for Josh Jacobs‘ potential for more involvement in the passing game, something that is holding him back from reaching the upper echelons of fantasy starting running backs. Gruden hopes to utilize Drake in a “jack-of-all-trades” role in Las Vegas. Make of that what you will but Drake will be a popular flex option in fantasy drafts later in the year. Despite him constantly outperforming projections, Drake isn’t held in wide regard in the fantasy universe. His value is ultimately limited by Jacobs more than the other way around.
Veteran Tight Ends Sign Retirement Checks
Two of the most reliable blocking tight ends with receiving upside landed in good spots for the fantasy community yesterday. Jared Cook left New Orleans to sign with the Chargers in a straight one-year, $6m deal to replace Hunter Henry and become an immediate red-zone darling for exciting young gun Justin Herbert. Cook had 16 touchdowns in 2 seasons with the Saints and is a good bet to see plenty of looks near the goal line once again this coming season.
Former Vikings stalwart Kyle Rudolph found a new home in New York by signing with the Giants in a two-year, $16m deal. Rudolph is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league but was always a popular late-round fantasy target due to his knack for turning up in the red zone. Rudolph hit paydirt 48 times for the Vikings over his career but only scored once last year mainly due to the emergence of Irv Smith Jr. He will play second fiddle to Evan Engram in New York and this deal seems to weigh heavily towards his blocking skills than his receiving threat.
Goodbye Mitch Trubisky
In a deal that threatens to end the football relevance of the former 2nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, Mitch Trubisky joined the Buffalo Bills in a meager one-year, $2.5m deal to serve as Josh Allen‘s towel-holder. The Bears cut ties with Trubisky after an uninspiring 4 years of inconsistent play from the quarterback, and this landing spot is equally as dismal. Barring a major injury to Allen, Trubisky is set for pasture in the washed-up former 1st round pick wilderness. He did make history though, thanks to Nickelodeon.
Mitch Trubisky is the first QB ever to change teams after winning the NVP award pic.twitter.com/LiBKwxipVI
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) March 18, 2021
Would You Like Scraps With That?
Deep-fried fish and chips (fat fries) is the national dish of the UK. In my youth, I loved going to the fish shop with my Dad every Friday night to pick up our “chippy dinner” to devour in front of the television. When you deep fry anything with batter you usually get those crunchy odds and ends of the batter that drips off the fish. We used to get these alongside our fish and chips. They were called “scraps” and there was a heap of deals on Thursday that could be classed as just that. These included – the Chiefs bringing back Mike Remmers in a one-year deal worth $3.5m guaranteed to protect Patrick Mahomes; the Lions adding another mediocre receiver by securing former Jets and Ravens wideout Breshad Perriman in a one-year, $3m deal; the Jets landing former Jaguars receiver Keelan Cole in a one-year, $5.5m deal; deep-threat and Best Ball darling Will Fuller signed on for a career-saving chance with the Dolphins; and (in what was the most interesting of the deal of the bunch) the Panthers are taking a punt on underrated former Seahawks receiver David Moore, who flashed plenty of potential in limited opportunities in Seattle.
- The top option at the wide receiver position in free agency, Kenny Golladay, looks to be narrowing his options after visits with the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants.
- Not to be left behind, fellow wideout Juju Smith-Schuster is drawing interest from the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets.
- The slow-moving running back market added another notable name on Thursday as the Denver Broncos and Phillip Lindsay agreed to part ways. Lindsay joins household names Chris Carson, James Connor, Duke Johnson, and James White.
- In a “forget-you-ever-read-this” piece of news, the moribund quarterback situation in San Francisco may welcome Joe Flacco into the mix. Yuck!
- Speaking of “yuck” situations for quarterbacks, the potential of a game-changing trade for Texans superstar Deshaun Watson looks unlikely after a third civil lawsuit was filed against him for sexual assault.
(Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire)