NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco believes Jerick McKinnon is in line to be the 49ers' passing-down back in 2020. "McKinnon gives the 49ers something they previously lacked: A legitimate route-runner and third-down option out of the backfield," Maiocco writes. "If he’s healthy, McKinnon will have a spot on the team." Injuries have prevented McKinnon from playing a single game for the 49ers since they signed him ahead of the 2018 campaign. But San Francisco restructured his deal this offseason and evidently still has plans for him. McKinnon caught 94 balls over his final 2 seasons in Minnesota. Maiocco adds that Matt Breida is the 49ers RB most likely to be off the roster come Week 1.
Bears GM Ryan Pace has said there's an "open competition" for the team's starting QB job, according to multiple reports. That's not surprising, given the quality of Mitchell Trubisky's play so far and the team's trade for Nick Foles. It's nice to hear the official word, though. We should either get a slight upgrade in Foles or a better-performing Trubisky in the Chicago offense in 2020. Either would mark a welcome change, with some intriguing talent in the skill-position group.
The Chiefs have agreed to a new 1-year deal with WR Sammy Watkins that pays $9 million in base salary with another $7 million available in incentives, according to Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star. The move saves Kansas City $5 million in 2020 cap space. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the deal also includes a no-trade clause. New contracts for Watkins and WR Demarcus Robinson hurt the 2020 outlook for last year's 2nd-round pick, Mecole Hardman. The youngster could be a value in dynasty trades this offseason, though. Neither Watkins nor Robinson is signed beyond 2020. Watkins, meanwhile, should remain K.C.'s #2 wideout.
The Cowboys on Wednesday night signed edge rusher Aldon Smith to a one-year deal. Smith hasn't played since 2015 because of NFL suspensions for both legal and drug issues but is reportedly seeking reinstatement. He racked up 14 sacks as a 49ers rookie way back in 2011 and then climbed to 19.5 in his 2nd season. Smith dealt with injuries and off-field issues over the next 3 seasons, last playing 9 games -- and tallying just 3.5 sacks -- with the 2015 Raiders. He'll turn 31 shortly after the 2020 season begins, so we'll see what Smith looks like whenever team workouts become possible again. If he approaches his early career form, there are certainly plenty of snaps available after DE Robert Quinn left to sign with the Bears. Smith's worth a stash in IDP dynasty leagues where possible.
The Lions have reached a 1-year deal with former Packers WR Geronimo Allison. ESPN reports that it's for just the league minimum, a fraction of the $2.8 million Allison commanded in the 1-year pact he signed with Green Bay last offseason. Despite playing all 16 games last season, Allison ranked just 6th among Packers in receptions. Barring injuries to others, Allison's high point in Detroit looks like the #4 role behind Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola.
Former Eagles CB Ronald Darby has agreed to a 1-year, $3 million deal with Washington. That's a tiny contract for a 26-year-old former 2nd-round pick who has spent his whole career starting. But it signals that Darby couldn't find more than a "prove it" deal on the open market after losing 20 games to injury over his 3 seasons in Philly. Darby served as the Eagles' top corner when healthy and could become the same for Washington. That defense has traded away CB Quinton Dunbar and released CB Josh Norman this offseason. The current roster sports only 1 corner (Fabian Moreau) who played at least 50% of Washington's defensive snaps last season. Washington also signed CB Kendall Fuller in free agency. Barring an early NFL Draft pick at the position, Fuller, Moreau and Darby look like the new top 3 corners there. Philly, meanwhile, traded for Darius Slay to take over its top CB spot. The rest of the depth chart likely has some sorting left to do.
The Cowboys have signed K Greg Zuerlein to a 3-year, $7.5 million deal. The 32-year-old had a down 2019, connecting on just 73% of his FG attempts. But he'd drilled 86+% in each of the previous 3 seasons and is a prime bounce-back candidate in Dallas' high-powered offense.
The Chiefs have agreed to a 1-year deal to keep WR DeMarcus Robinson, ESPN reports. The 25-year-old must not have found much interest on the open market. He returns to an offense that has allowed him to increase receptions and yards per catch each of the past 3 years. Robinson will have trouble continuing that trend in WR Mecole Hardman's 2nd season, with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins also still around. Robinson's return also complicates the outlook for Hardman. Robinson was still playing more snaps than the rookie in the playoffs. We'll take Hardman easily over Robinson in 2020 fantasy football drafts, though. The youngster's speed gives him much more fantasy-scoring upside.
According to multiple reports, the Bengals have agreed to a 3-year deal with S Vonn Bell. The former Saint joins a secondary that returns both starters at safety: Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates. Cincinnati's primary slot CB Darqueze Dennard, however, left for Jacksonville in free agency this offseason. We'd bet on that role being at least part of the plan for Bell with the Bengals -- and perhaps his primary job. We'll keep an eye out for word from the coaches as we move into 2020 IDP rankings time.
The Vikings inked WR Tajae Sharpe to a 1-year deal. The 2016 5th-rounder totaled just 92 catches across 4 seasons in Tennessee, with nearly half of those coming in his rookie campaign. Sharpe will have a shot to win the #2 WR job in Minnesota -- although we expect the Vikings to add a rookie or 2 in next month's draft.
The Jaguars have agreed to a 2-year deal with TE Tyler Eifert, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Eifert joins a roster whose most productive TE had been James O'Shaughnessy, with a top season of 24 receptions in 2018. Jacksonville drafted TE Josh Oliver in Round 3 last year, but he appeared in only 4 games because of injury. Eifert reunites with new Jaguars OC Jay Gruden, who coordinated the Bengals offense back when Cincinnati drafted Eifert in 2013. Eifert made it through 16 games for the 1st time in his career last season, posting a 43-436-3 receiving line in his age-29 season. If he hits August as Jacksonville's lead TE, Eifert should present at least spot-start potential.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Packers are "expected" to sign WR Devin Funchess. The former Panther and Colt appeared in just 1 game for Indy last season before succumbing to a broken clavicle. Funchess would now join a Packers offense that saw Davante Adams dominate targets in 2019. Adams drew 127 in just 12 regular-season games. Aaron Jones ranked 2nd at just 68 looks, with Jimmy Graham behind him at 60. Graham has left for Chicago, and #4 Marquez Valdes-Scantling saw his playing time disintegrate late last season. In short, there's clear opportunity for Funchess. He should compete for the outside job opposite Davante Adams, with Jake Kumerow, MVS and Equanimeous St. Brown as current competition. We'll see what else the Packers add to the corps this offseason.
Former Buccaneers WR Breshad Perriman has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Jets, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus. Perriman will make just $6 million, with incentives that could push it to $8 million -- somewhat limited money for a 26-year-old wideout who finished last season strong. On top of his big numbers as Tampa Bay's top receivers went down, Pro Football Focus' grades say Perriman stepped up his play to near top level. PFF also graded Perriman 32nd among all 215 targeted WRs in 2018, his lone season with Cleveland. Perriman now steps into an offense that just let Robby Anderson walk for Carolina. Anderson drew 96 targets in 2019, second most on the team and 18.4% of the team total. Perriman should be competing for at least a similar role. We'll see whether the Jets add anything else in free agency or the NFL Draft.
The Panthers have agreed to a 2-year deal with WR Robby Anderson, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Anderson -- who played under new HC Matt Rhule at Temple -- figures to start opposite D.J. Moore in Carolina's renovated offense. Curtis Samuel, meanwhile, could fit in the slot. Although Samuel spent a lot of time running downfield routes last season, he was a short-range playmaker as a RB/WR in college. He doesn't look like a top-36 fantasy WR heading into the season but has some upside. We'll be interested to see how the offense shakes out under Rhule and OC Joe Brady. Anderson leaves behind 96 targets (an 18.4% share) for the Jets to disperse.
Washington has reached a 2-year deal with RB Peyton Barber. It's a somewhat strange signing given that Washington already has Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson under contract. We wouldn't bet on much fantasy relevance for Barber, barring injuries to others.
The Seahawks have signed WR Phillip Dorsett to a 1-year deal. A 1st-round pick back 2015, Dorsett has yet to top 33 catches or 528 yards in a season. He's coming off a 29-396-5 line with the Patriots last year. Dorsett will battle for #3 WR duties in Seattle and is unlikely to emerge as a 2020 fantasy asset barring injury to Tyler Lockett or D.K. Metcalf.
The 49ers have inked WR Travis Benjamin to a 1-year deal. Injuries limited the 30-year-old to just 5 appearances for the Chargers last season. But Benjamin averaged over 14 yards per catch in each of his first 7 NFL campaigns. He'll provide a field-stretching threat for QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the 'Niners -- but Benjamin is a long shot to hold real fantasy value in 2020.
The Seahawks on Monday traded a 5th-round NFL Draft pick to Washington for CB Quinton Dunbar, ESPN reports. Dunbar is heading into the final season on his contract and lost 14 games to injuries over the past 2 years. He has proved productive when on the field, though, including 17 passes defensed and 6 INTs over his past 18 games. Dunbar should be a starter for Seattle and a draftable DB in 2020 IDP leagues of at least moderate depth.
The Panthers are expected to release QB Cam Newton on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Carolina tried to trade Newton to the Bears and Chargers but couldn't get a deal done. So Cam will hit the open market. He'll turn 31 in May and has missed 16 games over the past 2 seasons with shoulder and foot injuries. The Chargers, Jaguars and Patriots seem like the best landing spots for Newton's 2020 fantasy value. We'll see where he lands.
The Patriots have released K Stephen Gostkowski, saving $3.5 million against the 2020 cap. The 36-year-old Gostkowski missed 12 games last season with a hip injury. He leaves New England as the team's all-time leading scorer. A healthy Gostkowski should land a starting job elsewhere. We'll see who the Patriots bring in to kick.
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