Darren SprolesNO -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.
Cortland FinneganUNS -DBRams cut Finnegan
The Rams released CB Cortland Finnegan on Wednesday, saving $4 million in cap space rather than paying him $10 million in 2014. The 30-year-old didn't play very well in his 2 seasons after signing a 5-year, $50 million deal in 2012. He might catch on somewhere to play the slot on a short-term deal, but Finnegan seems unlikely to make much IDP impact going forward.
Champ BaileyUNS -DBBroncos dump Bailey
The Broncos released veteran CB Champ Bailey late Wednesday. The move comes as no surprise. Denver would have owed Bailey a $1 million bonus come March 15, and he would have counted $10 million against the 2014 salary cap. The Broncos reportedly didn't talk restructure before cutting Bailey. The 35-year-old seems destined for a short-term deal elsewhere. He has said that he would still prefer to play CB but is open to moving to safety.
D'Qwell JacksonIND -LBColts add Jackson
LB D'Qwell Jackson has reached a deal with the Colts. ESPN reports he'll get $22 million over 4 years, including $11 million guaranteed. That seems a hefty sum for a 31-year-old ILB whom PFF graded 49th against the run at his position each of the past 2 years. The money suggests that Jackson will play 3 downs, which would obviously help his IDP value. Jerrell Freeman's presence -- as the much better player -- hurts a bit, though. Look for Jackson to settle into low LB3 range in our 2014 IDP rankings.
Troy PolamaluPIT -DBSteelers extend Polamalu
The Steelers have extended S Troy Polamalu's contract for 2 more years, through 2016. The move gives Pittsburgh cap relief from the $10.8 million hit Polamalu was due. We'll be surprised if the soon-to-be 33-year-old makes it through 3 more seasons as a starter. Polamalu missed multiple games in 3 of his past 5 seasons, including 9 in 2012. He remains a good player when healthy but also a low-value IDP.
Aaron WilliamsBUF -DBBills extend Williams
Bills S Aaron Williams has signed a 4-year $26 million extension, which makes him the league's 8th highest paid safety in annual salary. Williams enjoyed a strong 2013 -- when healthy (he missed 2 games) -- after converting from CB. The deal clearly locks in Williams as a starter going forward and likely doesn't leave much money to chase after 2013 franchise player S Jairus Byrd. We've all expected, of course, that Byrd and the Bills would part ways this offseason anyway.
Jake LockerTEN -QBLocker update
Per beat writer Jim Wyatt, Titans QB Jake Locker (foot) is still “a few” weeks away from shedding his walking boot. The plan is for Locker to begin running shortly after that. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be ready for OTAs in June. Locker’s missed 14 of a possible 32 games over the past 2 seasons. And while nothing is cemented, it appears that new HC Ken Whisenhunt will let him earn the starting gig. Locker has already spent time studying film of Whiz’s 2013 offense with the Chargers. With some injury luck, the dynamic QB could blossom into a viable QB2.
Davone BessUNS -WRBrowns release Bess
The Browns have released WR Davone Bess. He was abysmal this past season, finishing with 42 catches, 362 yards, 2 TDs and a league-high 14 drops. Bess has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this offseason and is reportedly dealing with a mental illness. We might not see him in the league in 2014.
C.J. AndersonDEN -RBAnderson the favorite for #2 RB job
RB Knowshon Moreno is fully expected to depart Denver in free agency. RB Montee Ball is expected to take over as the Broncos' lead back. But who steps in as the #2, change-of-pace RB? Beat writer Mike Klis believes C.J. Anderson is the favorite. An undrafted rookie this past year, Anderson did enough to stick around on the active roster and bypassed Ronnie Hillman on the depth chart by midseason. He finished the year with 7 carries for 38 yards -- plus another 9 yards on 2 Super-Bowl totes. HC John Fox has always preferred a 2-back attack, so Anderson will certainly be worth monitoring this summer. If nothing else, he'll be a strong handcuff for Ball owners.
Giovani BernardCIN -RB300 touches for Bernard?
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com writes that RB Gio Bernard "no doubt is going to border on 300 touches." We assumed Bernard's workload would grow in 2014, but 300 touches would be even more than we expected. That type of workload would give Bernard monster fantasy upside. He racked up 225 PPR points on 226 total touches last year -- just about 1 point per touch. Maintaining that efficiency with 300 touches would make Bernard a top 5 fantasy RB. We ranked him #9 in our Too Early 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings.
John CarlsonUNS -TEVikings release Carlson
The Vikings have released TE John Carlson. The move saves Minny $2 million against the cap. Carlson's 2013 campaign ended with a Week 14 concussion. He's suffered multiple head injuries and mulled retirement this offseason. Carlson now plans on playing in 2014, but he'll almost certainly need to settle for a 1-year deal. The 29-year-old has totaled just 40 catches in 27 games over the past 2 seasons.
Brian OrakpoWAS -LBOrakpo tagged, not complaining
Washington applied the franchise tag to OLB Brian Orakpo on Monday, and the pass-rusher has no problem with it. "Hopefully we can get something done as far as long-term, but at least this is a step moving forward and not backward," Orakpo told the Washington Post. If no long-term deal gets done, the team will owe him $11.455 million in 2014. Orakpo has proved a dangerous pass-rusher throughout his 5 seasons but has dealt with a number of injuries. If he can stay healthy -- as he did for most of last year -- Orakpo could challenge for the NFL sack lead.
Bernard PollardTEN -DBPollard staying in Tennessee
The Titans have re-signed S Bernard Pollard for 2 more years. A hard-hitter who commonly plays mediocre-to-worse in coverage, Pollard looks like a perfect fit for the box safety role that new DC Ray Horton deployed in his past 2 stops. Look for plenty of run tackles, some blitz duties and a potential top 10 season among fantasy football DBs from Pollard.
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