Shark Bites

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.

New Ravens WR Sammy Watkins expects OC Greg Roman to "open up" the offense this season. “He’s going to utilize us in so many different ways," Watkins said. "He’s got a complex offense. I know the world hasn’t been seeing that yet, but he’s definitely going to open it up this year, run the ball and do, I’m pretty sure, all types of things with this offense.” We'll believe it when we see it. All 8 of Roman's offenses have ranked in the bottom 4 in pass attempts. That includes 32nd-place finishes in Baltimore the last 2 years. And when Watkins played under Roman in Buffalo, the Bills finished 31st and 32nd in pass attempts. Perhaps the Ravens chuck it a bit more in 2021, but it won't be enough to make Watkins, WR Marquise Brown and TE Mark Andrews reliable weekly fantasy plays. Watkins figures to be the odd man out.

After dealing for QB Sam Darnold, the Panthers have given QB Teddy Bridgewater permission to seek a trade, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Carolina is open to Bridgewater returning, but will give him a chance to have a say in his future," Rapoport adds. Bridgewater straddles the line between quality NFL starter and backup, so it's unclear how much interest there will be in him on the trade market. The takeaway here, though, is that the Panthers are planning on handing the keys to Darnold.

The Jets traded QB Sam Darnold to the Panthers in exchange for a 2021 6th-round pick and 2nd and 4th-rounders next year. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Carolina was the "sole suitor" for Darnold -- hence the relatively cheap price tag. Darnold, of course, has been largely disappointing since going 3rd overall in 2018, completing 59.8% of his passes, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt and tossing 39 INTs vs. 45 TDs. He's gotten little help from his coaches or supporting cast. But Darnold has not fared well in Pro Football Focus' passing grades, ranking 30th, 27th and 35th over the past 3 seasons. He's a fine gamble for the Panthers to make, but Darnold certainly isn't a lock to emerge as the team's long-term starter. In fact, he'll need to beat out QB Teddy Bridgewater for the 2021 starting job -- although we do consider Darnold the favorite there. The Jets, meanwhile, are widely expected to take BYU QB Zach Wilson with the 2nd overall pick later this month.

NFL executives expect WR Larry Fitzgerald to retire at some point prior to the 2021 season, according to The Athletic's Mike Sando. Fitz has so far been hush-hush about his plans. He turns 38 in August and mustered just 7.6 yards per catch on 54 grabs last year. We've been anticipating this news: Fitzgerald isn't even in our 2021 WR rankings.

A complaint against Texans QB Deshaun Watson has officially been filed with the Houston Police Department. Prior to this, all the sexual assault claims against Watson were of the civil variety. It's unclear exactly what this means for Watson's standing with the league. The NFL can place him on the commissioner's exempt list and/or suspend Watson even without a guilty charge. Watson is obviously a risk/reward pick in current best-ball drafts.

 
 
 

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