The MMQB's Albert Breer hears that Texans TE Kahale Warring impressed in last weekend's rookie minicamp. The 3rd-rounder didn't even play football until his senior year of high school, so he's obviously a project. "But the raw ability could help him carve out a role as a matchup guy in Year 1," Breer writes. Warring might find targets tough to come by, though, in a passing game featuring DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee. We're not spending a pick on Warring in early redrafts, but he's a fine target late in dynasty rookie drafts.
Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be a full-go for training camp, HC Dan Quinn said. Knee, groin and foot injuries limited Freeman to just 2 games last season. “We can’t wait to get Free back,” Quinn said. “He’s having such an awesome offseason ... When you get to see the team out here this spring, I think you’ll feel the energy at running back certainly with Free leading the way.” Prior to the injury-wrecked 2018 campaign, Freeman had finished 13th, 6th and 1st among RBs in PPR points the previous 3 seasons. Still just 27, he's a prime bounce-back candidate in 2019 with Tevin Coleman gone and Atlanta beefing up the offensive line with free agents Jamon Brown and James Carpenter and rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary.
The Dolphins have signed RB Mark Walton. The 2018 4th-rounder was cut by the Bengals after his 3rd arrest of the offseason (carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession, battery). Walton is looking at a suspension from the league and is no lock to make Miami's roster. He figures to battle with rookie Myles Gaskin for a spot behind Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage.
The Patriots have signed WR Dontrelle Inman to a 1-year deal. The 30-year-old caught 28 balls in 9 appearances with the Colts last year and has a 58-catch season on his resume back in 2016 with the Chargers. In New England, Inman will compete with Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas and Maurice Harris for snaps behind Julian Edelman and 1st-round rookie N'Keal Harry.
TE Ben Watson has inked a 1-year, $3 million deal with the Patriots. The 38-year-old has remained effective, posting a 74-825-6 line with the Saints in 2016, a 61-522-4 with the Ravens in 2017 and a 35-400-2 back in New Orleans last year. He spent his first 6 NFL seasons with the Patriots, including 3 under current OC Josh McDaniels. Watson will battle with talented but oft-injured Austin Seferian-Jenkins for targets this season. It's worth noting that ASJ's 1-year deal is for less than a million bucks. Consider Watson the early favorite.
Jaguars OLB Telvin Smith announced via Instagram on Thursday that he'll be taking 2019 off from football to "get my world in order." After the announcement, the Jaguars released a statement saying they wouldn't have a comment until after they had "a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances." That indicates Smith hadn't even been in contact with the franchise about whatever's going on in his life. We'll see where this goes. Bet on open competition for the weak-side job in Jacksonville this year. Smith's absence raises the tackle ceiling for MLB Myles Jack.
The Seahawks on Thursday terminated the contract of WR Doug Baldwin on the grounds of a failed physical. The veteran wideout has undergone 3 surgeries since the end of the season, and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports this is "likely the end of the road" for Baldwin. His departure leaves Seattle without its target leader for each of the past 5 seasons. Tyler Lockett and the rest of the crew stand to benefit in a low-volume pass offense. Rookies D.K. Metcalf and Gary Jennings gain redraft interest, and the TE competition could be worth watching this summer.
According to multiple reports, the Seahawks have agreed to terms with former Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah. There's plenty of room for Ansah on a D-line that jettisoned DEs Michael Bennett and Frank Clark over the past 2 offseasons. Ansah joins a group that includes 2019 first-rounder L.J. Collier, 2018 rookie Rasheem Green (a potential DE/DT swing player like Bennett) and some backup/rotational types. Ansah has lingered on the market because of an injured shoulder that will be worth watching through the summer. But Seattle clearly believes he'll be ready to contribute this fall.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a neck fracture in last week's single-car accident that might cost him the 2019 season. Pierre-Paul will reportedly get further opinions this week, but he's expected to need surgery. The hope is that "a portion of this season can be saved." With JPP out, Tampa Bay would enter the year thin at DE. The Bucs might have suddenly turned into the top suitor for free-agent DE Ezekiel Ansah.
Lions RB Kerryon Johnson said he's back to 100% after a November knee injury ended his rookie campaign. He didn't need surgery and will get in a full offseason of work. Johnson will need to hold off RB C.J. Anderson for work but has breakout potential in new OC Darrell Bevell's run-focused offense.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders ran in cleats on Friday for the 1st time since tearing his Achilles in December, NFL Network's James Palmer reports. "He’s coming along nicely," Palmer adds. Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to return from -- especially for a 32-year-old WR like Sanders. We're still considering him questionable for Week 1 and are generally avoiding him in early fantasy drafts. Denver has a pair of young, promising WRs in Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton who should claim big roles this season.
The Cardinals have signed TE Maxx Williams. The 55th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft totaled just 63 catches across his 4 seasons in Baltimore. Williams just turned 25, though, so it's too early to bury him. Arizona has now added 3 TEs this offseason: Williams, Charles Clay and rookie Caleb Wilson. Ricky Seals-Jones also returns. We'll see how the situation sorts out this summer.
Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill's attorney sent a letter to the NFL denying the child abuse claims against his client. "He [Hill] categorically denies he has ever 'punched' his son in the chest or anywhere on his body, or otherwise touched him in the chest in a mean-spirited manner or as a form of discipline," the letter reads. So far, Hill has only been barred from team activities for the "foreseeable future." But the Chiefs are still looking into the situation, and the Johnson County District Attorney has re-opened the case against Hill. This remains a fluid situation, but we'd still bet on Hill facing a lengthy suspension.
The Raiders have re-signed RB Doug Martin. The move is clearly a direct reaction to Isaiah Crowell's Achilles tear. Martin averaged a respectable 4.2 yards per carry on 172 totes for Oakland last year but ranked just 30th out of 47 RBs with 100+ carries in Pro Football Focus' Elusive Rating. Martin is veteran insurance in case rookie Josh Jacobs stumbles.
Raiders RB Isaiah Crowell tore his Achilles in a workout on Tuesday and will miss the entire 2019 campaign, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Crowell will hit free agency next offseason at 27 years old. First-round rookie RB Josh Jacobs was already the favorite to lead Oakland in touches this season. Crowell's absence only makes him a safer bet. Undersized pass-catchers Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, plus 2018 undrafted free agent Chris Warren, sit behind Jacobs on the depth chart.
The Colts have signed RB Spencer Ware. The former Chief has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and 11.5 yards per catch for his career, proving capable of handling lead duties when called upon. In Indianapolis, though, Ware figures to battle with Jordan Wilkins for work behind Marlon Mack and pass-catcher Nyheim Hines.
The Panthers added a pair of RBs over the weekend, selecting Jordan Scarlett in the 5th round of the NFL Draft and then signing Elijah Holyfield as a free agent. Scarlett averaged 5.4 yards per carry career at Florida, while tallying a fairly light 344 carries and just 15 receptions. Holyfield delivered 1,018 yards on 6.4 per carry in his final season at Georgia, but it wasn't surprising to see him go undrafted after a terrible Scouting Combine (including a 4.78-second 40 and 4th-percentile vertical). Carolina could use some backfield depth behind Christian McCaffrey. The rest of the team's RBs handled just 63 carries last year, with no one drawing more than 24. Scarlett and Holyfield should get in on the competition to back up McCaffrey, and perhaps the rookies can finally push veteran Cameron Artis-Payne off the roster. Artis-Payne has totaled just 118 rushing attempts through 4 pro seasons.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman said during a Saturday press conference, "We've been looking for a runner like Miles for a few years," according to NBC Sports Philadelphia. It was obvious that Philly liked Sanders when the franchise selected him in Round 2. These words from Roseman, however, could point to the new guy having a bigger workload share ahead of him than other RBs in the Doug Pederson era. Pederson's Eagles have run with a true committee. Amid personnel shuffling and injuries, no RB has reached a 37% share of team carries in any of his 3 seasons. Philly just traded for Jordan Howard this offseason, of course, but gave up a mere 6th-round pick for a RB in the final year of his rookie contract. Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles remain from last year's squad, but only Adams has reached 100 carries under Pederson and none has topped 120. Adams is also coming off shoulder surgery. None of those players looks like a big threat to Sanders' touch outlook. We wouldn't bet on workhorse touches for the rookie, but Sanders might just be the best bet to lead the backfield in opportunities right away.
There were whispers that the Redskins' selection of Stanford RB Bryce Love in the 4th round of the draft was a bad sign for RB Derrius Guice's recovery from last year's torn ACL. HC Jay Gruden said Saturday that that isn't the case and that Guice is on track to be "full-go" before training camp. He reportedly needed 4 surgeries on the injured knee -- 1 to repair the ligament and 3 more to address an infection. Guice's status will be 1 of the bigger storylines in fantasy football come August. Love, of course, is also recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December. He told reporters that he's hoping to be ready at some point during training camp.
The Bills kept Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson in town, signing him as an undrafted free agent. Jackson has some exciting tools. He goes 6’7 and 249 pounds with a rocket arm and a 95th percentile SPARQ score. But he struggles with accuracy, completing just 55.8% of his passes over the past 3 seasons at Buffalo. He’s a poor man’s Josh Allen — the guy he’ll attempt to back up with the Bills this year.
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