Jeff CumberlandNYJ -TECumberland staying with Jets
The Jets have locked up TE Jeff Cumberland with a 3-year deal before the 26-year-old could reach free agency. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the team is "bullish on Cumberland’s ability to take that next step after flashes in his first four seasons." Cumberland began last year as a part-time player before ramping up his involvement over the 2nd half. He played more than 78% of the Jets' offensive snaps in each of the final 5 games. With Kellen Winslow gone and a weak crop of WRs, Cumberland could deliver solid TE2 value for fantasy football owners in 2014. For what it's worth, though, Mehta reports that "team decision makers" also remain high on TE Zach Sudfeld.
Matt CasselMIN -QBCassel re-signs with Vikings
Vikings QB Matt Cassel signed a 2-year contract Friday that CBS' Jason La Canfora reports is worth $10 million. That keeps Cassel from hitting the open market where many expected the Texans to show strong interest. Cassel's raise in pay also positions him as Minnesota's likely starter for the 2014 opener. We'll see if/when the team adds a rookie signal-caller. The move also likely kills any chance of Michael Vick coming to town. Cassel has proved that he won't help your fantasy team and certainly won't boost anyone else's fantasy value in Minnesota (other than those of visiting defenses). But he could prove serviceable enough to support decent fantasy value for Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph. Cassel enjoyed a particularly strong connection with Jennings -- both on and off the field -- which could turn the veteran wideout into a 2014 fantasy football sleeper.
Doug BaldwinSEA -WRBaldwin gets 2nd-round tender
The Seahawks have placed a 2nd-round tender on restricted free agent WR Doug Baldwin. That means any team that signs him -- without having its offer sheet matched by Seattle -- would have to send the Seahawks a 2nd-round pick in the 2015 draft. Baldwin's a quality player but not the kind of talent that would motivate most teams to surrender a 2nd-rounder. So it looks like he'll stick around Seattle, as expected. With Sidney Rice gone and Golden Tate potentially leaving, Baldwin could land in WR3 territory in 2014.
Darren SprolesUNS -RBSaints to Release Sproles
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Saints will release RB Darren Sproles. The housecleaning continues, as this move saves New Orleans $3.5 million. Sproles turns 31 in June and is coming off a 15-game season with 71 catches, 604 yards and 2 TDs. However, per Pro Football Focus, he did drop 10 passes. The Saints are flush with backfield depth, so this move isn’t a total surprise. Rapoport notes that Pierre Thomas’ roster spot remains in “danger” despite the loss of Sproles. This coaching staff clearly has faith in Mark Ingram and hard-charging youngster Khiry Robinson. Both guys could carry fantasy football value in the Saints’ high powered offense.
UPDATE: Per multiple outlets, the Saints are currently trying to trade Sproles. If they're unable to find a partner, he will be released.
John CarlsonARI -TECards add Carlson
The Cardinals signed TE John Carlson to a 2-year deal worth nearly $5 million. Carlson hasn’t made fantasy waves since 2009. He tallied a breakout line of 51-574-7 that year while with the Seahawks. But he’s mustered just 2 TDs over the past 3 seasons, and he dealt with concussions in 2013. With Rob Housler already on the roster, there’s very little fantasy upside for either TE. HC Bruce Arians already admitted that he wants his TEs to block first and catch second.
Chad HenneJAC -QBJags re-sign Henne
The Jags re-signed QB Chad Henne to a 2-year deal worth $8 million. HC Gus Bradley called the signing “very important.” He also indicated that Henne is the likely Week 1 starter – even if Jacksonville drafts a QB 3rd overall. Henne was average last year, tossing for 3,241 yards with 13 TDs and 14 INTs. But he’s an experienced passer who knows OC Jedd Fisch’s offense. The Jags certainly need to add weapons, and they could be eyeballing WR Sammy Watkins in May’s draft. Even if Watkins lands in Jacksonville, though, Henne will remain a poor fantasy option. We still expect the Jags to select a QB in the draft, but it's unlikely to happen in Round 1.
Sidney RiceUNS -WRRice expected to be cleared for OTAs
Free agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) is expected to be cleared in time for the start of OTAs in April, according to insider Tom Pelissero. Rice tore his ACL this past October and has dealt with injury issues throughout his pro career. Still only 27 with an intriguing 6'4 frame, Rice will surely find a home for the 2014 season. But he might not get signed until he's medically cleared. And it will likely be a 1-year deal. He'll only be a late-round flier in fantasy football drafts this summer.
Lance MooreUNS -WRSaints release Moore
The Saints have released WR Lance Moore. They reportedly tried to trade him but found no suitors. The move saves New Orleans about $2.5 million against the salary cap. Moore shouldn't have much trouble finding a new home for the 2014 season, but it will likely be as a #3 WR. He's not a plus talent, so it's tough to get excited about his fantasy outlook outside of the Big Easy. Meanwhile, Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, Joe Morgan and Nick Toon currently top the Saints' depth chart.
Darren SprolesUNS -RBSproles, Thomas and Moore on the trade block
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Saints are "shopping" RB Pierre Thomas and WR Lance Moore. Schefter adds that New Orleans "even could be open" to trading RB Darren Sproles. Both Thomas, 29, and Sproles, 30, are entering the final years of their contracts. The departure of either would make the other a stronger fantasy option. It might also open up a role for RB Khiry Robinson. Moore, meanwhile, is coming off his worst season since 2009 and turns 31 in August. He'd be a weak bet for fantasy-starter value outside of New Orleans.
Chris JohnsonTEN -RBJohnson rehab update
RB Chris Johnson has yet to be cleared to resume running after undergoing offseason knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Johnson is still working to strengthen the muscles around the knee but says he's "closer to 100%." It's the 1st surgery of his pro career and shouldn't impact his market value once the Titans release him. For what it's worth, Johnson hinted that the injury suffered in Week 3 impacted his performance the rest of the season. “I am not going to make excuses, but you can talk to anybody who’s had a torn meniscus and they know how it affects you," Johnson said. "I’m not going to sit here and tell you if I wouldn’t have had a torn meniscus I would have had 1,600-1,700 rushing yards last year, but my teammates know what I was going through.” Johnson averaged a career-worst 3.9 yards per carry last year, and the knee was at least partly to blame. But he's also turning 29 in September and clearly on the decline. The days of Johnson as an elite fantasy RB are gone. How much he can help your fantasy squad in 2014 will depend on where he lands.
Bobby RaineyTB -RBRainey sticks with Bucs
Bucs RB Bobby Rainey has signed a 1-year extension. The 26-year-old would have been an exclusive-rights free agent, which would basically have locked him in with Tampa unless the team decided not to retain him. Rainey enjoyed a pair of 100-yard games as the 3rd man in for the Bucs last season, but he'll fight for a backup job in 2014.
Brandon BrownerSEA -DBBrowner reinstated
The NFL has reinstated Seahawks CB Brandon Browner following his December suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. That allows Browner to hit the free-agent market and take part in all offseason activities. He still must sit out the 1st 4 games of the 2014 season, however.
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