Shark Bites

A source tells NFL Network's Steve Wyche that Rams RB Todd Gurley's knee was a "wear-and-tear issue." The reports of what was ailing Gurley late in the year have been all over the place -- and we'll probably never know exactly what was wrong. The trouble was with the same knee in which Gurley tore the ACL in at Georgia back in 2014. And it's worth noting that he's racked up 1,281 touches over 4 NFL seasons -- an average of 320 per year. He turns just 25 in August, though, so we shouldn't need to worry about him breaking down yet. Still, Gurley will be 1 of the most interesting decision points in the 1st round of 2019 fantasy drafts. His ADP is sitting at 1.03 in February FFPC drafts.

The Buccaneers have reached a deal with RB Andre Ellington. The 30-year-old started his career in Arizona under new Bucs HC Bruce Arians. They showed us then that Ellington's not a workhorse. There's room for him to work into a Tampa committee, however. Last year's 2nd-round pick, Ronald Jones, returns, and Peyton Barber (a restricted free agent) will likely remain in the mix. Signing Ellington certainly shouldn't keep the Bucs from making any other backfield moves this offseason. We'll see what this depth chart looks like after the NFL Draft and early free agency.

The Cardinals have reached a 1-year deal with former Bills TE Charles Clay. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports it's worth "up to" $3.25 million. That's decent money for a veteran joining an Arizona roster that returns TEs Ricky Seals-Jones and Jermaine Gresham. We'll see how the new coaching staff stacks this crew on the depth chart and what Clay's arrival means for RSJ's playing time. Seals-Jones carries easily the most upside among the trio but will need opportunities. This looks like a situation to avoid until late in current best-ball drafts.

Bengals RB Mark Walton has been arrested twice since the calendar flipped to 2019, first for marijuana possession in January and then for battery this past weekend. Either or both incidents could earn him a suspension. It's a rough start to the offseason for last year's 4th-round pick who averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on 14 attempts as a rookie. Walton will open the 2019 campaign no higher than 3rd on Cincinnati's depth chart, behind Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard.

The Cowboys have declined the 2019 option on WR Terrance Williams, ESPN reports. That will make Williams an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins in March. It’s no surprise after Williams appeared in just 3 games and finished 2018 with 2 catches following an early-offseason foot fracture. That followed a career-high 53 receptions in 2017. Williams will turn 30 on Sept. 8. We’ll see where he lands this offseason, but don’t bet on much 2019 fantasy impact

The Bills released TE Charles Clay. The 30-year-old posted a career-low 8.8 YPC in 2018 and continued to battle injuries. Fortunately for Buffalo, the 2019 NFL Draft provides one of the deeper TE classes in recent memory. Consider them likely to invest in a young talent.

The 49ers have elected not to pick up the 2019 option on WR Pierre Garcon's contract. That's not a surprising move given Garcon's tumble over the past 2 seasons. He missed 8 games apiece in 2017 and 2018 and posted his 2 smallest catch totals (40 and 24) since his 2008 rookie campaign. The 32-year-old looks done as a fantasy factor -- and perhaps as an NFL player. His departure leaves opportunity for younger members of the Niners' WR corps: Dante Pettis, Richie James and Trent Taylor.

The Ravens and Broncos have agreed to a trade that will send QB Joe Flacco to Denver, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal can't be made official until the new league year starts on March 13. Flacco had flashes of elite play in Baltimore, but his 11 seasons there are best described as mediocre. He sports a career 61.7% completion rate, 6.7 yards per attempt and 212 TDs vs. 136 INTs. Flacco is clearly heading to Denver to take over as the Broncos' starter, though, which means the end of the Case Keenum Era. Considering Flacco is 34, this move shouldn't take Denver out of the running to select a QB in the 1st round of this spring's draft. Note that the Broncos can get out of Flacco's contract after the 2019 season with 0 dead money.

Update: The Ravens will receive Denver's 4th-round pick in this year's draft in exchange for Flacco.

The Texans have released WR Demaryius Thomas. It was a no-brainer move with Thomas set to make $14 million in 2019. Now 31 and coming off a torn Achilles, DT isn't worth nearly that much coin. He'll probably need to prove he's recovered from that injury before landing a job elsewhere. Houston has a young, talented WR trio in place in DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee.

The Browns have signed former Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt. It's surprising news in terms of both timing and landing spot. Hunt is still on the Commissioner's Exempt List after video was released of his February altercation with a woman inside a Cleveland hotel. It's unclear when he'll be reinstated and how long a suspension he'll garner to open the 2019 campaign. And the Browns, of course, already have RBs Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson on the roster. We'll see when Hunt is ruled eligible to return, but his addition makes Chubb a riskier pick in early fantasy drafts. We've seen him going in the late 1st and early 2nd round of FFPC best-ball drafts.

A video on the new YouTube channel of Panthers QB Cam Newton brought encouraging details on his January shoulder surgery. Newton had arthroscopic "irrigation" and "debridement" on his right (throwing) shoulder, and the cartilage damage was apparently fairly minor. “That cartilage damage was not as extensive as we had feared. It was definitely there. We knew that,” team doctor Pat Connor said. “It was pretty small. So if we get that (range of) motion back and keep it, I think we’ll be pretty good.” The Athletic's Joseph Person also talked with longtime Chargers team doctor David Chao, who said the same thing about restoring range of motion. That will be a key thing to watch for in reports through the spring and summer. Don't overrate the shoulder issue and sell off Newton cheaply in dynasty this offseason. As for his redraft -- and general 2019 -- outlook, we'll see how the rehab goes.

The Falcons have released K Matt Bryant. The 17-year veteran spent the past 10 seasons in Atlanta. His 86.2% career FG conversion rate ranks 8th among 31 active Ks with at least 50 attempts. Bryant reportedly wants to continue his career and should find a starting gig elsewhere.

Titans new OC Arthur Smith said RB Derrick Henry will be a "big part of the offense" in 2019. Henry, of course, exploded for 585 rushing yards and 7 scores over the final 4 games this past season. "He has a rare skill set," Smith continued. "Derrick's a home-run hitter. We are taking another step hopefully with him." Smith was an offensive lineman in college and was most recently Tennessee's TEs coach. It sounds like he's planning to deploy a run-leaning offense featuring 2- and even 3-TE sets. It's all good news for Henry and worrisome for QB Marcus Mariota and the Titans' pass-catchers.

The Dolphins have named Brian Flores their HC. Like Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, this deal has been done for a while. Flores has been with New England since 2004, working his way up from scout to special teams assistant to safeties and LBs coach. Although never officially named defensive coordinator, Flores called plays on that side of the ball this past season. We'll see who Flores tabs to run the offense.

The Bengals have officially named Zac Taylor their HC. The marriage has been set for about a month, but the announcement had to wait until the Rams' season was over. Taylor spent the past 2 years working under Sean McVay, but it's unclear exactly how big a hand he had in the scheme or game-planning. Taylor has just 5 games of experience as an NFL OC, all with Miami back in 2015. The Fins averaged 17 points in those 5 contests. Taylor was the University of Cincinnati's OC in 2016, "leading" the Bearcats to a 106th-place finish in total offense.

Cowboys QBs coach Kellen Moore has been promoted to OC and will call plays in 2019, HC Jason Garrett said over the weekend. “I said to everybody, ‘I want those new ideas. I want them thought through far. And if they are not being implemented call me.’ But let’s get in there and do the kinds of things to get the most out of a very talented roster," owner Jerry Jones said. "Kellen has the skill and the right attitude and style to make this work.” This is a huge step for a guy who was a player just 2 years ago. Moore's play-calling ability will be a legitimate question mark heading into 2019.

Panthers HC Ron Rivera said Thursday that QB Cam Newton is already showing "marked improvement" from his January 24th shoulder surgery. Rivera said the procedure was as "minimally invasive as possible" and was designed to clean out scar tissue that was affecting Newton's range of motion. "I was there on one of his recovery days when (Newton) was working out with (head athletic trainer) Ryan Vermillion," Rivera added. "And one of the things he did say was that he has gotten a lot of range of motion back. So that was exciting to hear." The Panthers expect Newton to be a full-go by the time training camp rolls around.

NESN's Doug Kyed reports that a return to the Patriots is "still possible" for WR Josh Gordon. He's currently serving an indefinite suspension after turning in diluted drug test samples. Gordon is reportedly in a Gainesville-area rehab center, where his treatment is being paid for by the Pats. We wouldn't consider him any better than 50/50 to get back on an NFL field -- but the 27-year-old is still worth stashing in most dynasty leagues.

The Redskins are planning as if QB Alex Smith (leg) will not be able to play at all in 2019, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Smith suffered a compound leg fracture in November and has dealt with infections after surgery that have lengthened his recovery time. He was recently spotted with an external fixator on the injured leg that's helping to hold his bones in place. Turning 35 in May, Smith's football future is probably in doubt. The Redskins figure to add a QB this offseason, with only Colt McCoy behind Smith on the depth chart now.

Panthers QB Cam Newton underwent surgery on his right shoulder on Thursday. It's his 2nd procedure on the throwing shoulder, following a March 2017 operation to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. The latest was an arthroscopic surgery that insider Jourdan Rodrigue hears was a cleanup. Newton's rehab is expected to run into spring, but the team is "hopeful" he'll be a full-go for training camp, according to Rodrigue. We'll keep an eye on him this offseason.

 
 
 

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