The Falcons released RB Ito Smith. A replacement-level player, Smith has averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per catch over 3 NFL seasons. His departure, though, leaves Atlanta with only RBs Mike Davis, Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James. The Falcons are an obvious candidate to add a RB in the draft. But if they don't, Davis would be set up for a heavy workload.
The Falcons signed Cordarrelle Patterson to a 1-year, $3 million deal, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports. The 29th overall pick of the 2013 draft has settled in as a return specialist and gadget player. He's averaged just 21 catches per season over the last 4 years but did set a career high with 64 carries in Chicago this past year. There's a chance he gets similar rushing volume in 2021 if Atlanta doesn't make any other additions to its backfield. Still, Patterson will only have fantasy value in leagues that award points for return yardage.
The Seahawks have agreed to a 1-year deal with DE Aldon Smith, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Smith made an impressive comeback with the Cowboys last season, considering he hadn't played in the NFL in 5 years. All 5 of his sacks, though, and 9 of his 14 QB hits came in the season's first 8 games. Dallas then decided not to bring the 31-year-old back. He lands in a Seattle situation that provides opportunity, but don't plan to draft Smith expecting big fantasy returns for your IDP lineup in 2021.
The Browns have agreed to a 1-year deal with DE Jadeveon Clowney, worth up to $10 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Clowney played in just 8 games in his lone season with the Titans, registering no sacks before landing on IR for meniscus surgery. Pro Football Focus credited him with a solid 28 total pressures, though. In Cleveland, Clowney should find a positive situation. He figures to line up opposite DE Myles Garrett along a talented D-line. Clowney's mere 3 total sacks in 2 years since leaving Houston should also keep his ADP down in IDP fantasy football leagues. Clowney looks like he'll be a low-risk, high-upside DL option come draft time. He's heading into just his age-28 season.
The Cardinals are signing RB James Conner, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. Conner popped for a big year back in 2018, rushing for 973 yards and 12 scores on 4.5 yards per carry and adding a 55-497-1 receiving line. He hasn't looked like the same guy the past 2 seasons, though, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per catch. Conner ranked 33rd in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades among 47 RBs with 100+ carries last year. He turns just 26 next month but has dealt with a bunch of injuries, missing 12 games over the last 3 years. Conner and Chase Edmonds figure to battle for snaps this summer. We'll see if the Cardinals add anything else to the backfield in the draft.
The Bucs signed RB Gio Bernard, 5 days after he was dumped by the Bengals. The 29-year-old has averaged less than 4 yards per carry in 3 straight seasons. But he's remained useful in the passing game, catching 112 balls and averaging 7.2 yards per. Bernard will be no better than 3rd in line for carries in the Bucs backfield behind Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones but could siphon receptions from both guys.
Patriots WR Julian Edelman announced his retirement. It's not surprising news if you've been following the reports on his knee trouble. Edelman finishes an 11-season career with 620 catches, 6,822 yards and 36 scores. He had some monster performances in the postseason, including 9-109-1 and 10-141 lines in the Super Bowl. The Patriots likely had a good idea that Edelman was done and added WRs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency.
RB James Conner had surgery to repair a "very moderate turf toe-type injury" this offseason, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The injury reportedly happened when Conner was riding in a "recreational vehicle." He's expected to be back to 100% by June, per Rapoport. Conner is still toiling on the free-agent market but is visiting the Cardinals today.
Titans HC Mike Vrabel thinks WR Josh Reynolds is capable of playing both "inside and outside." Reynolds played 74% of his snaps on the outside in each of the past 2 seasons with the Rams, but positional versatility can only help his cause in Tennessee. The Titans lost a whopping 192 targets from last year with the departures of Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith, so there's plenty of opportunity for Reynolds to carve out a big role in 2021.
The Eagles re-signed RB Jordan Howard to a 1-year deal. Howard hooked up with the Eagles last November after being dumped by the Dolphins but carried just 7 times in 2 appearances. He's a good bet to make the team with how the Eagles' backfield currently sits. But he'd need a Miles Sanders injury to sniff fantasy value.