Terez Paylor of KansasCity.com reports Chiefs safety Eric Berry reiterated his stand on holding out the 2017 season if the team places the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. When asked if he changed his mind on Sunday at the 101 Awards, Berry replied: "no I haven’t." Later adding, "I stand firm on that." (Source: KansasCity.com)
Fantasy Impact: Early Monday morning, ESPN's Ed Werder reported that the Chiefs intend to place the franchise tag on Berry and let Dontari Poe, Kansas City's other premier free agent defensive player, test the open market. In that scenario, and if a long-term deal is not reached with Berry by the July 15 deadline, there is a good chance that the safety holds out the entire 2017 campaign. This is a developing story that doesn't appear to have an ending anytime soon.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News expects the Cowboys to pursue free agent quarterback Josh McCown this offseason. (Source: Dallas Morning News)
Fantasy Impact: For the second consecutive year, the Cowboys reportedly have an interest in McCown, who was released by the Browns earlier in the offseason. With Tony Romo set to be cut, and Mark Sanchez unlikely to be re-signed, the Cowboys once again are in need of a veteran backup quarterback. Dallas could also pursue Nick Foles if he is cut loose by Kansas City.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News expects the Cowboys to release quarterback Tony Romo "likely within the next two weeks." (Source: Dallas Morning News)
Fantasy Impact: With the new league year set to begin March 9, the Cowboys will have to make a decision on Romo's future and it could come sooner rather than later. Because Romo is not expected to command a high return in the trade market -- likely due to his age, injury concerns, and current contract value -- Dallas could ultimately do right by their long-time signal caller and cut him loose to allow him to find a suitor for the 2017 campaign. Expect the Broncos, Texans and Chiefs to have an interest in the 36-year-old Romo, who has only appeared in five games in the past two seasons.
Baltimore Ravens brass told the media defensive back Matt Elam is "not in our plans " for 2017 in the wake of his arrest early Sunday morning. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Elam was arrested in Florida early Sunday morning on multiple drug charges that include possession of a controlled substance. In the wake of his arrest, the Ravens are expected to move on from the troubled defensive back. Elam will face disciplinary action from the NFL as well and likely begin 2017, if he is on a team, serving a suspension.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Chicago Bears are "not expected" to franchise tag wide receiver Alshon Jeffery this offseason. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Jeffery, who was tagged by the Bears last offseason, is unlikely to receive the tender for the second straight year at its current value of around $17 million. The 27-year-old wideout is on track to test the open market as a result. As the top free agent receiver available this offseason, expect Jeffery to play with a new team in 2017. Expect the Eagles, who are in dire need at the receiver position, to make a run at Jeffery if they could maneuver their salary cap enough to make it work. Currently, they only have $9,842,349 million of cap space available according to overthecap.com.
By Anthony Cervino Sun, Feb 26th 3:35pm EST
ESPN's Tim McManus believes the Philadelphia Eagles could pursue running back Jamaal Charles if he is released by the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. (Source: ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: The Chiefs could part ways with Charles this offseason, especially since they signed fellow running back C.J. Spiller last week. In that scenario, Charles would become a free agent and would likely have a number of teams willing to take a chance on his services. Charles, 30, is coming off of the second ACL tear of his nine-year career in 2016 and would likely take an incentive based deal to sign with another club this offseason. Expect the Eagles to make a run at Charles if he is indeed released as they are in need of a boost at the running back position. Charles would also be a good fit with Philadelphia due to his past relationship with head coach Doug Pederson. Charles and Pederson spent three seasons together when the latter was Kansas City's offensive coordinator from 2013-to-2015.
By Anthony Cervino Sun, Feb 26th 3:12pm EST
ESPN's Mike Reiss believes the New England Patriots will not get into a bidding war with another club to retain free agent wide receiver Michael Floyd this offseason. (Source: ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: In other words, if another team swoops in and offers Floyd a contract too rich for New England's blood, they are unlikely to "get into a competitive situation to retain him," per Reiss. Floyd, who signed with the team in December after the Cardinals released him, didn't wow anyone with his performance in his first two games with the club. He caught four targets for 42 yards and a touchdown in Weeks 16 and 17. Expect Floyd's tenure with the Patriots to end this offseason. The 27-year-old wideout will, however, have a solid market in free agency despite his recent off the field issues.
ESPN's Rich Cimini reports New York Jets defensive back Darrelle Revis "all but confirmed he's willing to take a pay cut" to remain with the team in 2017. (Source: ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: Cimini reports that during an exchange with fans on Instagram, Revis said that "he doesn't deserve to be one of the 10 highest-paid cornerbacks" in the NFL, all but hinting he is willing to take a pay cut this offseason. Revis, 31, has showcased declining skills for the better part of the past two seasons, especially in 2016, at the cornerback position. However, if he remains with the Jets, the team could elect to move him to safety, a position change that many great NFL corners made in the past -- most notably Ronnie Lott and Charles Woodson, among others.
ESPN's Josina Anderson expects the Oakland Raiders to allow running back Latavius Murray to test the open free agent market this offseason. "The door will remain open for a possible return after he tests his market," an unnamed source told Anderson. (Source: Josina Anderson on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: If Oakland does, in fact, allow Murray to test the open market, and they are fully expected to, there is a good chance he will depart. As the Raiders spent the last two offseasons attempting to replace Murray, the team making him a lucrative offer to stay is unlikely. In Murray's possible departure, Oakland would be in the market to address the running back position this offseason in either the draft or in free agency.
Jacksonville Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin told the media that the "key" for Blake Bortles to remain the team's starting quarterback is "limiting his turnovers." (Source: Jacksonville.com)
Fantasy Impact: Bortles, who committed 22 total turnovers (16 interceptions and six lost fumbles) in 2016, will have to limit his mistakes to remain the team's starter moving forward, per Coughlin. Despite his ball security issues, Bortles has shown enough upside to likely keep his job at least for the start of next season. Playing in 16 games, he threw for 3,905 yards and 23 touchdowns while rushing for 359 yards and three scores in 2016. If Jacksonville adds offensive line help to protect their sometimes shaky signal caller, their offense will be a more cohesive unit in 2017.
Pro Football Focus compares former FSU running back Dalvin Cook to former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor. (Source: Pro Football Focus)
Fantasy Impact: "In his prime, Taylor had elite, game-changing ability, and that is what separates Cook from the other backs in this class," writes the PFF team. "He can turn the slightest crease into a big play, and he can contribute as a weapon in the passing game." Cook is expected to be either the first or second running back taken in this years draft and is assured a spot in the first round barring any character concerns that come to light as the process plays out. He should slot in as his team's top RB right away, making him worth drafting in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts next season.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo told the media Baltimore Ravens brass "may balk" at the idea of paying tight end Dennis Pitta his $5.5 million salary due for 2017. Garafolo added that Pitta could be a free agent if the Ravens elect to move on from him. (Source: Mike Garafolo on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Pitta, who caught a 86 targets for 729 yards -- both career highs -- and two touchdowns in 2016, could be on his way out of Baltimore because of his $5.5 million salary due for 2017. He accomplished those marks after not playing a meaningful NFL game since 2014 due to a lingering hip injury. Pitta, 31, could cash in on the open market if the Ravens decide to move on from him. The tight end position in this year's free agent class is light and headlined by Patriots big man Martellus Bennett.
By Anthony Cervino Thu, Feb 23rd 7:10am EST
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey told the media running back DeMarco Murray will continue to be featured over Derrick Henry in 2017. On the Titans backfield situation, Mularkey said: "He's [Henry] an important part of our offense but right now DeMarco Murray is the guy." (Source: Terry McCormick on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: If Murray is indeed featured next season, it shouldn't surprise many. The six-year veteran bounced back in 2016 after being labeled a bust in Philadelphia the year before. He accumulated 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground while adding 53 receptions for 377 yards and three scores as a receiver out of the backfield. He did, however, show signs of slowing down toward the end of the season, which is when Henry stepped in and showcased his talents. The impending sophomore rusher scored four of his five touchdowns in the final quarter of the season. With both Murray and Henry returning and healthy in 2017, barring an offseason setback, Tennesee's running game is primed for another big year behind their punishing offensive line, which is regarded a top unit around the league.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (groin) "hasn't scheduled" offseason groin surgery and "would've had it by now" if it was necessary. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Bell, whose dealt with a groin injury in the postseason, appears to have avoided offseason surgery to repair the ailment. On Thursday, Rapoport said Bell has yet to schedule a procedure and would've had it by now if it was really necessary. Bell, an impending free agent, will likely receive the franchise tag this offseason. The Steelers are expected to award Antonio Brown with a new, long-term contract ahead of the elusive running back.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah believes the Washington Redskins could agree to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins to the San Francisco 49ers. (Source: Daniel Jeremiah)
Fantasy Impact: Jeremiah says that the deal could be Cousins and the 17th overall pick for the 49ers 2nd overall pick. This is just speculation based on rumors from sources, but certainly noteworthy. Cousins would lose a lot of value if he went to the weaponless 49ers offense, but he could help right that sinking ship.
Pro Football Focus compares former LSU running back Leonard Fournette to Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley. (Source: Pro Football Focus)
Fantasy Impact: Gurley had a dismal season in 2016, but the consensus is that his sophomore slump had more to do with his surrounding cast than his talent. Being compared to Gurley is high praise, and PFF cites Fournette's similar size-speed blend as a primary reason why the two are similar. Look for Fournette to be drafted in the first round of this years draft and make a Day 1 fantasy impact.
By Alexander Onushco Wed, Feb 22nd 7:43am EST
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette doesn't expect wide receiver Markus Wheaton to be re-signed by the Steelers. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Fantasy Impact: Bouchette does clarify that Wheaton may return if he receives little interest on the open market (which is possible given his recent film). Still, the most likely scenario is Wheaton playing elsewhere next season. Wherever it is, it likely won't be in a fantasy-relevant role.
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.
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.
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