The Browns announced Wednesday that they've released LB Jamie Collins. The move provides $9.25 million in cap space ahead of free agency. Collins arrived via trade midway through the 2016 season and then signed a 4-year extension the following January. He made it through just 2 years of that contract. Collins rebounded from losing 10 games to injury in 2017 and played every contest last season. He finished in high-LB3 territory for fantasy purposes. Collins should garner at least 1 more starting opportunity. He'll turn 30 in mid-October.
The Chiefs are using their franchise tag to keep OLB Dee Ford from reaching free agency. Reports have also surfaced that the team is trying to trade OLB Justin Houston. Ford enjoyed a breakthrough 2018, with 55 total tackles and 13 sacks -- both career highs. He also led all edge players with 78 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Houston has reached 9 sacks each of the past 2 years but has also lost 4+ games to injury in 3 of the past 4 seasons. At 30, Houston's likely on the downside of his career. We'll see where this offseason takes him. He's worth holding in dynasty leagues that weigh sacks/pressures decently. You're not likely to find much trade value in him, and Houston has continued to flash high weekly upside when healthy.
The Falcons will keep DT Grady Jarrett off the open market by applying the franchise tag. The 25-year-old (until late April) has increased his sacks and his tackles per game each of the past 3 seasons. Pro Football Focus also credited him with a career-high 53 total pressures in 2018, tied for 6th most among all interior linemen. Jarrett retains upside beyond what he's scored for fantasy owners so far. He's not likely, however, to grow beyond a solid option for DT-required IDP leagues.
The Seahawks are using their franchise tag on DE Frank Clark. The 25-year-old (until June) delivered a career-high 13 sacks and finished top-8 among fantasy D-linemen. He also finished 12th among all edge players in Pro Football Focus' pass-rushing productivity, which measures the rate of pressure per rush opportunity. Clark should remain in the DL1 picture for at least the near future.
The Cowboys are placing the franchise tag on DE Demarcus Lawrence for the 2nd straight year. Although it'd obviously be nice for the player to secure his longer-term status, IDP owners can continue expecting the high-level production we've gotten from Lawrence the past 2 years.
The Texans are placing the franchise tag on DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney. The 26-year-old posted 9 and 9.5 sacks the past 2 seasons. He carries much more IDP value in fantasy football leagues that give him DL eligibility -- and Clowney probably should in most places. Pro Football Focus counted his most snaps, by far, at the "right end outside" position -- the spot opposite the "LEO" pass-rusher spot that has gained prominence as former Seattle defensive coaches have spread around the league. Where he's merely a LB, Clowney figures to remain more of an IDP spot starter.
The Ravens are releasing veteran S Eric Weddle. It's a salary-driven move on a player Pro Football Focus graded 10th-best among safeties in 2018, his age-33 season. Weddle should be able to find a new home if he wants to keep playing. We'll see who Baltimore taps to replace him.
The Giants have informed S Landon Collins that they won't give him the franchise tag, meaning he'll reach unrestricted free agency. If the team finds the franchise number too high, it seems unlikely New York will reach a long-term deal with the star safety. Collins should remain a strong IDP factor in just about any landing spot. We'll be interested to see where he goes.
Rams GM Les Snead said at the Combine that his team is considering scaling back RB Todd Gurley's workload due to concerns over his troublesome left knee. "There's an element of wear and tear and I think we have to determine in probably two stages: are we going to give him the amount of load that he's had in the past or are we going to lessen that load to let's say keep him fresher for the season and for the seasons beyond," Snead said. The Rams backfield, of course, devolved into a committee late last year with Gurley and C.J. Anderson. Anderson is now a free agent, so we'll see whether L.A. brings him back or adds another RB who can handle significant work. Gurley remains a clear-cut RB1 heading into 2019, but RBs Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott look like safer bets at the top of drafts right now.
Per NFL Network, Chiefs TE Travis Kelce recently underwent ankle surgery. The procedure was considered a “cleanup,” and Kelce is fully expected to be ready for training camp. The 29-year-old has reached 1,000 receiving yards in 3 straight seasons. He’s missed just one game since the start of the 2014 season.
The Ravens waived RB Alex Collins Friday, hours after he was arrested following a car crash in Maryland. We have yet to see details on the specific charges facing Collins, but Baltimore likely didn't need much motivation to move on from the veteran. Collins totaled just 114 carries and 15 receptions over 10 games before a foot injury landed him on IR. Gus Edwards then took over the backfield, and Kenneth Dixon grew his role late in the year. We'll see whether the Ravens add another piece or 2 this offseason. And we'll see whether Collins gets a shot at returning to fantasy relevance.
The Eagles have reached agreement on a 3-year extension with DE Brandon Graham, according to multiple reports. The deal keeps Graham from hitting unrestricted free agency later this month. It also keeps in town a player who split his time between the right and left edges of the D-line in 2018 after serving as the primary left DE in 2017. With 3rd-year DE Derek Barnett returning from injury, Graham figures to return to primarily playing the left side in 2019. He has been a productive IDP over the past 4 years but has lacked the big sack numbers to deliver consistent starter value for fantasy owners. Graham tallied 9.5 sacks in 2017 but has no other seasons of more than 6.5.
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll called RBs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny "a one-two punch" heading into 2019. That's not what we saw last year, when Carson maintained clear lead duties throughout the season. But Penny showed well in limited action, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. And Seattle thought highly enough of him to select him 27th overall last spring. "I don’t know who’s one and who’s two, it doesn’t matter to me. I thought both guys did a really good job this year," Carroll said from the Combine on Thursday. "They’re good football players and we love what they bring. They’re not the same, their running style are different, but there’s plenty of room for both of those guys, so I’m excited for both of them.” The touch distribution in Seattle's backfield will be a big fantasy storyline as we get into summertime.
The Cowboys announced that TE Jason Witten will return to play in 2019. He retired last May and bombed in the Monday Night Football booth. Now he'll head back to the field, where he's been much better. "This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship," Witten said in a statement. He'll turn 37 in May and averaged a career-low 8.9 yards per catch when we last saw him in 2017. But he still caught 63 balls that year and finished 9th among TEs in PPR points. We'll see what the year off did but won't rule out Witten being at least a spot-start option for fantasy teams in 2019.
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll revealed from the Combine on Thursday that WR Doug Baldwin recently had surgeries on his knee and shoulder. Baldwin was banged up all last season, starting with a left knee issue when he arrived at training camp, then a sprained right MCL in Week 1 and finally a hip injury in Week 13. We don't have any details yet on the knee and shoulder procedures, but Carroll said Baldwin "should be fine" for the start of the 2019 campaign. If healthy, he'll be a solid bounce-back candidate.
WR Demaryius Thomas is currently in custody in Colorado on vehicular assault charges. Pro Football Talk notes that Colorado defines vehicular assault as "driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol and causing serious bodily injury to another person." Thomas was involved in a 1-car accident on February 18 that reportedly caused serious injury to a female passenger. We'll see where this goes. Thomas was released by Houston a couple of weeks ago after his 2018 campaign ended with a torn Achilles.
Texans GM Brian Gaine said he's "optimistic about a very positive return” from RB D'Onta Foreman. Foreman was just starting to flash as a rookie before tearing his Achilles. He predictably didn't do much this past season, debuting in December and carrying 8 times for 2 yards in 2 appearances. Houston used a 3rd-round pick on Foreman back in 2017 after he ripped off 2,028 yards and 15 TDs in his final year at Texas, so there's obviously ability here. We'll see if he can regain pre-injury form and push for a significant role this summer.
49ers HC Kyle Shanahan confirmed from the Combine on Wednesday that Jerick McKinnon remains his lead back. Matt Breida impressed with 5.3 yards per carry and 9.7 yards per catch last year, despite battling injuries. But the 'Niners paid McKinnon $18 million guaranteed last offseason and owe him another $3.7 million this year. Shanahan said that McKinnon's recovery from last September's torn ACL is "on track." He remains mostly unproven as a lead back, but his athleticism and an improving San Francisco offense give him intriguing upside. McKinnon's ADP is sitting in the early 5th round as the 24th RB off the board in February FFPC drafts.
Colts GM Chris Ballard revealed at the Combine Wednesday that TE Jack Doyle recently underwent hip surgery. Doyle suffered a hip injury in Week 2 that cost him 5 games this past season. He's expected to be sidelined until training camp. "Jack's a vet player. I trust him; trust that he's going to do everything that he can to get back," Ballard said. "And we're shooting for the start of training camp for him to be back." We'll track Doyle's recovery this summer. He remained a big part of the Colts passing game when healthy last year, averaging 5.5 targets per game.
The Bengals are "shopping" WR John Ross, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 9th overall pick of the 2017 draft has been a colossal disappointment through 2 seasons, going catch-less in 3 appearances as a rookie and catching just 21 balls this past year. Injuries have been a problem for Ross throughout his football career. But he posted big numbers in college, boasts 4.2 speed and is still only 23. Ross remains a hold in dynasty leagues. We'll see if he finds a new home.
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