Giants RB Saquon Barkley (knee) is "on track" to be ready for the start of the season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Barkley tore his right ACL on September 20, so he'll be nearly a year removed when the 2021 campaign kicks off. We'll keep a close eye on his progress this summer. Barkley's ADP is sitting at 1.03 in early best-ball drafts at FFPC, so don't expect to get a post-injury discount.
The Bucs and WR Antonio Brown have agreed to a 1-year contract with $3.1 million guaranteed and upside to $6.25 million, according to NFL Network. This deal took a bit longer than expected to get done, but Brown was always expected back in Tampa. He posted a 45-483-4 line in 8 games with the Bucs last season, ranking 21st among WRs in PPR points over that span. Volume is still a bit of a concern here, though, with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski also back for 2021.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that teams have been calling the Falcons to inquire about the availability of WR Julio Jones. Talks like this happen all the time, so this certainly doesn't mean Jones is on his way out. But it's worth noting that Atlanta is up against the salary cap and would save about $15 million by dealing Jones after June 1. "A trade could not happen for cap reasons before June 1, but teams know Atlanta’s brutal cap situation and are calling," Rapoport said. "A deal won’t happen now, but later? Maybe." We'll continue to keep an eye on this. A Jones trade would be a blow to QB Matt Ryan's fantasy stock but leave a ton of targets available for Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Hayden Hurst and potentially rookie Kyle Pitts.
The 49ers have signed RB Wayne Gallman to a 1-year deal. He joins a depth chart that also includes Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter. With the Giants in 2020, Gallman actually outperformed both Wilson and Mostert in Football Outsiders' rushing DYAR and DVOA, ranking top-12 in each category. Gallman also earned a higher rushing grade than Wilson from Pro Football Focus and narrowly trailed Mostert in that category (77.0 to 76.4). Mostert is going in the middle of Round 7 in FFPC best-ball ADP as RB28; Wilson sits late in Round 9 at RB37. Neither is going early enough that you need to remove them from your drafting plans. But Gallman's 2020 performance makes him worth considering in a backfield that likes to spread touches around. For now, consider sprinkling in some late Gallman shares into your best-ball drafting. We'll see how things settle out through the summer.
Browns WR Odell Beckham is on track in his recovery from October's torn ACL, according to HC Kevin Stefanski. "He's progressing very well," Stefanski told reporters Tuesday. "He's trending in the right direction." It's standard offseason rhetoric -- but better than hearing about a setback. Beckham will be nearly 11 months removed from the injury when the 2021 season kicks off, so it's fair to expect him to be at least close to 100%. We'll continue to monitor his progress.
TE Jordan Reed announced his retirement. A talented pass-catcher, Reed's career was unfortunately defined by injuries, most notably his 7 documented concussions. He finishes a 7-season career with 355 catches for 3,602 yards and 28 TDs.
QB Alex Smith announced his retirement on Monday. The 36-year-old impressively made it back on the field from a devastating leg injury in 2018 -- although he was clearly limited in his 8 appearances last season. The #1 pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, Smith hangs 'em up with 35,650 career passing yards, 199 TDs and 109 INTs.
Washington is releasing RB Bryce Love, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Love simply hasn't been able to recover from a significant ACL tear in December 2018. He's suffered multiple setbacks and has yet to hit the field since going in the 4th round of the 2019 draft. Love is still just 23 but is looking like a long shot for fantasy value. We'll see where he lands.
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.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is “expected to be ready to go” for training camp. He adds that Prescott isn’t expected to participate much in spring practices. Regardless, it’s good news, as the 6th-year passer has progressed well from 2 ankle surgeries. A healthy Dak projects as a top-5 fantasy passer.
The Bengals released RB Gio Bernard, saving $4.2 million against the 2021 salary cap. Bernard has been a thorn in RB Joe Mixon's side, averaging 3.5 targets and 2.6 catches per game over the past 4 season. Cincinnati now has only Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams behind Mixon on the depth chart. We'll see if they make any additions, but Mixon should be in for more work in the passing game this season. The 29-year-old Bernard, meanwhile, is unlikely to be a 2021 fantasy factor.
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