By Anthony Cervino Tue, Feb 21st 7:37pm EST
ESPN's Jeff Darlington reports the Chicago Bears have "actively started seeking a trade partner for quarterback Jay Cutler." (Source: Adam Schefter on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: As expected, Cutler's eight-year tenure in Chicago will come to an end this offseason. The Bears have begun seeking a trade partner for his services this week. Expect the Jets and Bills to be in the conversation for Cutler with New York being viewed as the front-runner. However, he is not a long-term answer for any club at quarterback. Therefore, Chicago should not expect a huge return for Cutler in a potential trade. Perhaps a late-round draft pick will be enough.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett "will" test the open free agent market this offseason. The NFL Insider added that "it's a real possibility" he makes his exit from New England due to his asking price and "likely offers" from other clubs. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: In other words, Rapoport expects other teams to outbid the Patriots for Bennett's services when the free agency signing period begins on March 9. Coming off of a 2016 season in which he accumulated 55 receptions for 701 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns, Bennett is expected to command top dollar on the open market. Expect the Texans, Giants and Broncos to make a run at Bennett. If he indeed departs from New England, the Patriots could sign impending free agent Jack Doyle from the Colts, who would be a tremendous fit in Josh McDaniels' system. Doyle's acquisition would also add a cheap insurance policy for Rob Gronkowski, who is coming off of his third back surgery.
The Carolina Panthers have released fullback Mike Tolbert on Tuesday. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: After playing five seasons in Carolina, the Panthers have released Tolbert on Tuesday. The veteran fullback was beginning to be phased out of the Panthers' offense in 2016. While he appeared in all 16 games, he only accumulated 186 yards on 45 touches and a touchdown. It was his worst statistical season since 2014. Tolbert, 31, should have no problem catching on with a new club for 2017 as the fullback position appears to be making a comeback in today's NFL landscape.
The Carolina Panthers have released defensive lineman Paul Soliai Tuesday. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: After playing only one season in Carolina, the Panthers released Soliai Tuesday. The 10-year veteran only appeared in four games in 2016 and was unimpressive during his minimal time on the field. He could have a difficult time finding a landing spot for 2017 this offseason and may have to wait until training camp when players begin to fall to injury.
By Anthony Cervino Tue, Feb 21st 1:14pm EST
Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson told the media he expects to be a "full participant" at the NFL scouting combine. "That's the plan," Watson said via AP.com. "Run, throw, meetings, everything." (Source: Associated Press)
Fantasy Impact: Watson, who threw for 10,168 passing yards and 90 touchdowns in his three seasons at Clemson, is expected to fully participate at the NFL scouting combine. While he is already projected to be picked in the first round of April's NFL Draft, a tremendous effort at the combine could boost his overall draft stock.
By Anthony Cervino Tue, Feb 21st 1:03pm EST
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur believes "this is going to be an offseason that is very critical" for wide receiver Laquon Treadwell's career. "He's had a chance now to go through the process once," Shurmur said via StarTribune.com. "He'll have a feel for what it's going to feel like and we're anticipating he's going to come back and be raring to go and make great via improvements.” (Source: StarTribune.com)
Fantasy Impact: Treadwell, the 23rd overall pick in last year's draft, had a horrendous rookie season in the NFL. While being active -- and seeing limited playing time -- in nine games in 2016, he only caught one target for 15 yards total for the year. He must have a terrific offseason, and improve on his rapport with quarterback Sam Bradford to move up on the depth chart and garner increased playing time in 2017. However, if he has a sub-par offseason, his career in Minnesota could come to an end before it ever really begins.
ESPN's Josina Anderson believes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a "possible destination" for Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson this offseason. (Source: Josina Anderson on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Jackson, an impending free agent, has already been rumored to be heading back to Philadelphia. However, Jackson reportedly has an "existing rapport" with Jameis Winson, which now links the wideout to Tampa Bay. Wherever Jackson ends up landing when the free agency signing period begins on March 9, it's all but certain that he won't be retained by the Redskins in 2017.
By Alexander Onushco Tue, Feb 21st 7:44am EST
The Sacramento Bee believes that Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will likely sign a contract extension at some point this offseason. (Source: The Sacramento Bee)
Fantasy Impact: Most likely, it will be after free agency and the draft, allowing the team flexibility in cap space when it comes to bringing in key free agents. Carr is certainly deserving of the extension, as he has shown consistent improvement since coming in as a rookie. He makes for an interesting low-end QB1 option in fantasy leagues next season.
By Alexander Onushco Tue, Feb 21st 7:36am EST
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will reportedly not sign a long-term deal prior to the March 1 deadline, when the team will have to decide whether to place the franchise tag on him or not. (Source: Pro Football Talk)
Fantasy Impact: The team will almost assuredly use the franchise tag on Cousins, which means he will be making a cool $24M on a one-year deal before becoming a free agent yet again next offseason. Cousins holds most of the cards in these negotiations, which is refreshing to see in a day and age where teams often can get the better of players.
Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden believes the team "wouldn't mind" retaining him for 2017. "I kinda get the feel that they wouldn't mind keeping me," McFadden said via The Dallas Morning News. "I was raised in Arkansas. I live here now. Set up my home here in Texas. I'm a Cowboys fan regardless of whether they decide to bring me back or not." (Source: Dallas Morning News)
Fantasy Impact: McFadden, an impending free agent, believes he is "fresh" entering the 2017 campaign as he feels he "didn't get a lot of wear and tear" on his body from last season. If McFadden is retained by the Cowboys, it will be in a reserve role to Ezekiel Elliott, who is the team's all-purpose back. With Alfred Morris still under contract until 2018, however, McFadden appears to be the odd man out. Although he will be 30-years-old by the time next season begins, McFadden should garner moderate interest on the open market. He is a quality option at running back who could pass block, catch the ball out of the backfield and will come at a reasonable price. Perhaps, the Packers, who are in dire need at the running back position, will take a look at McFadden when the free agent signing period begins on March 9.
By Anthony Cervino Mon, Feb 20th 6:19pm EST
ESPN's Jordan Raanan believes the New York Giants could use the franchise tag on pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason if the two sides cannot agree to terms on a long-term deal. (Source: ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: Pierre-Paul, who only played in 12 games in 2016 due to a sports hernia injury ending his season, is expected to receive a contract in the range of at least $15 million per year this offseason. If he reaches the open free agent market, another team would likely swoop in and outbid New York for the pass rusher's services as it is a position in demand in today's NFL. However, the Giants could prevent that scenario from happening by tagging Pierre-Paul. The franchise tag, which is projected to be worth close to $17 million for pass rushers in 2017, could be applied as a bridge until the two sides could agree to terms on a long-term deal later in the offseason if one is not reached by the March 1 deadline.
By Anthony Cervino Mon, Feb 20th 5:22pm EST
The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to trade tight end Julius Thomas to the Miami Dolphins for a late-round draft pick in 2017. Per league rules, the trade cannot be made official until March 9, the start of the new league year. (Source: Armando Salguero on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Thomas had his best statistical years as a pro when he played for his new head coach, Adam Gase, during his tenure as Denver's offensive coordinator from 2013-2014. During the two-year span, Thomas accumulated a 108-1,277-24 stat line while appearing in 27 games. If he can keep his health intact, Thomas should once again thrive while playing in Gase's system. For Jordan Cameron, his time in Miami will likely come to an end in the wake of Thomas's acquisition.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have released offensive lineman Jared Odrick on Monday. (Source: David Canter on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Odrick was released Monday after spending two seasons in Jacksonville. The seven-year veteran only played in six games in 2016 as he dealt with the lingering effects of an elbow injury for most of the campaign. Odrick, who can play both guard and tackle, should have no issue landing with a new club for 2017 despite his injury concerns.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon posted a cryptic social media message which suggests his tenure with the Redskins could be coming to an end. "Y'all hiring?" Garcon said via Instagram. (Source: Pierre Garcon on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Garcon, who is an impending free agent, could be on his way out of Washington. He posted a photo of himself on Instagram donning his Redskins uniform with the hashtag, "y'all hiring," beside it. Perhaps Garcon was informed by the team that they will be moving on from him this offseason. His social media message could also be an attempt to drive up his value for his coming contract with whichever team decides to sign him. Garcon is expected to receive at least a $9 million per year salary with his next deal, per ESPN.
By Anthony Cervino Sun, Feb 19th 6:03pm EST
Cincinnati Bengals beat writer Geoff Hobson believes running back Giovani Bernard (ACL) will not begin the 2017 season on the PUP list. "I’m willing to wager that barring a setback he [Bernard] won’t go on PUP," Hobson said via Bengals.com. "Maybe he’ll miss the first one or two games of the regular season, but I think that’s it. That’s merely a gut call, so we’ll see. After what happened with Tyler Eifert’s ankle I’ll leave medical speculation to the journals." (Source: Bengals.com)
Fantasy Impact: Bernard suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 11 of the 2016 regular season and was placed on IR shortly after. Bernard, who underwent surgery to repair the knee, is not expected to begin the 2017 campaign on the PUP list but could miss the first "one or two games," per reports. Barring a setback, he will likely enter next season in his usual role as Cincinnati's No. 2 back behind Jeremy Hill as well as the team's primary receiver out of the backfield.
Category: Injury Updates
NFL Insider Albert Breer reports the Cleveland Browns are not "planning" on placing the franchise tag on wide receiver Terrelle Pryor this offseason. Breer later added that the Browns "would like" to get a long-term done to retain the wideout. (Source: Albert Breer on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Pryor's future in Cleveland has ben a hot topic throughout the early stages of the offseason. Earlier reports indicated that the Browns were likely going to place the franchise tag on Pryor. However, Breer's latest report says otherwise. Both sides have shown mutual interest in getting a deal done, so it could be only a matter of time until something is worked out. Breer projects the 2017 franchise tag value for wide receivers to fall close to the $15.7 million range.
The Miami Dolphins and pass rusher Cameron Wake agreed to terms on a two-year, $19 million contract extension that includes $11 million in guaranteed money. (Source: Adam Schefter on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Wake was awarded a contract extension Saturday that ties him to the Dolphins through 2019. Despite his age, the 35-year-old pass rusher is coming off of one of his best seasons as a pro in 2016. Playing in all 16 games, he accumulated 29 total sacks, 11.5 sacks, an interception and five forced fumbles. He'll likely wrap up his career in Miami.
Buffalo Bills beat writer Jay Skurski does not expect the team to retain quarterback E.J. Manuel. "Manuel’s time with the Bills should be over," Skurski said via the Buffalo News. "His legacy will be that of a first-round draft bust, even if it’s not his fault the Bills reached for him." (Source: Buffalo News)
Fantasy Impact: Manuel, an impending free agent, is unlikely to be retained by the Bills this offseason. The former 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft has never lived up to expectations and is labeled by most as a bust. He will likely compete for a backup role with another club for 2017.
By Anthony Cervino Sat, Feb 18th 8:13am EST
San Francisco 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows believes linebacker Navorro Bowman (Achilles) will be ready for the start of the 2017 regular season. (Source: The Sacramento Bee)
Fantasy Impact: After suffering a torn Achilles in Week 4, the 49ers placed Bowman on IR, ending his season. Bowman, who is viewed as one of San Francisco's top defensive weapons, could tremendously help a 49ers team that finished the 2016 season ranked dead last in total defense. Although he is expected to be sidelined for the bulk of the team's offseason workouts, Bowman is presumably on track for Week 1, barring a setback.
Category: Injury Updates
Detroit Lions beat writer Dave Birkett believes running back Ameer Abdullah's (foot) rehab from a foot injury is "going well." Birkett added that Abdullah "remains on track" to return for the start of offseason workouts in April. (Source: Dave Birkett on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Abdullah got off to a promising start in 2016. However, a foot injury suffered in Week 2 abruptly ended his season. In his limited playing time, two games, the second-year rusher received 18 carries for 101 yards while adding five receptions for 57 yards and touchdowns as a receiver. Barring a change in personnel, expect Abdullah to enter the 2017 season as Detroit's early down back while Theo Riddick assumes his role as the team's primary receiving threat out of the backfield.
Category: Injury Updates
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