Catch-up on some key fantasy football news from the NFL free agency 2018 period, including the Packers cutting Jordy Nelson and adding Jimmy Graham, and Carlos Hyde heading to the Browns.
Lead Photo by Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons
[sc name=”Google Inline Ad”]
Packers Intend to Sign Jimmy Graham
Graham had several Pro Bowl years with New Orleans at the start of his career but has largely disappointed through three injury-plagued years with the Seattle Seahawks. A Graham signing would fill one of Green Bay’s biggest holes this offseason. Last year’s signing of Martellus Bennett did not pan out the way Green Bay had hoped and his departure mid-season left that spot weak on the depth chart. Graham has lost a step or two from his earlier New Orleans days, but he still profiles to be a better fit in Green Bay’s scheme than Bennett. He has the ability to threaten opposing defenses with seam routes and draw opposing safety attention, which should help open up the field for other Green Bay receivers. Graham’s fantasy stock should rise with this move, but he’s still a bit of a touchdown-dependent TE1 these days.
Green Bay is Releasing Jordy Nelson
This move comes shortly after a report that Green Bay intends to sign tight end Jimmy Graham. Green Bay will save over $11 million dollars on the cap for 2018 be releasing Nelson. Nelson was one of football’s elite receivers for some of Green Bay’s most prolific offenses. His ability as a deep threat and patented back shoulder catch made him a dangerous weapon. However, he never fully recovered his speed following an ACL injury in 2015. While he was still able to produce due to his connection with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and was one of the best red zone weapons at receiver, he increasingly struggled to create separation from cornerbacks who no longer feared him going deep. Green Bay has a number of holes on its roster and it was expected that either Nelson or Cobb or both would be cut. There has yet to be word on whether Green Bay intends to keep Cobb or is looking to create more cap space.
Carlos Hyde Expected to Sign With Browns
According to a tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, free agent running back Carlos Hyde is expected to sign with the Cleveland Browns. Hyde will get a three-year deal worth over $15 million, including $6 million in the first year. Hyde should inherit the early-down role which Isaiah Crowell held the previous season while getting spelled by Duke Johnson on passing downs. This signing adds intrigue to the upcoming NFL draft as it likely precludes the Browns from using an early pick on Saquon Barkley.
Jets Expected to Land Teddy Bridgewater
New York is expected to sign the former Vikings quarterback to a one-year deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the situation. Gang Green is not Bridgewater’s only option, Rapoport added, but he is the organization’s first choice. The 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year and erstwhile quarterback of the future in Minnesota, Bridgewater is free agency’s quintessential wild card with just two pass attempts since suffering a career-threatening knee injury in August of 2016. More from NFL.com.
Kirk Cousins Plans to Sign With Vikings
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins plans to sign a three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The landmark deal will make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in the league. More from ESPN.com.
Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis to Join Titans
Cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back Dion Lewis intend to sign with the Tennessee Titans, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Both played for the New England Patriots last season.Butler is in line for a five-year, $61 million deal that includes $30 million guaranteed, and Lewis is expected to sign a four-year, $23 million deal that includes $11.5 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN. More from ESPN.com.
Jonathan Stewart Signs With Giants
Free-agent running back Jonathan Stewart has signed with the New York Giants, the team announced Tuesday night. Stewart, who will turn 31 on March 21, will reunite with former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula and general manager Dave Gettleman in New York. More from ESPN.com.
Josh McCown Back to Jets
McCown had his best season in 2017 with New York. McCown had 2926 yards, 18 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and completed 67.3% of his passes for the Jets last season.
Browns Solidify O-Line With Chris Hubbard
The Cleveland Browns strengthened their offensive line on Tuesday by signing Chris Hubbard away from the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Hubbard is able to play multiple positions across the offensive line, but he’s expected to take over for Shon Coleman at right tackle in 2018. Hubbard will be quite the upgrade over Coleman, who struggled mightily in 2017. Cleveland gave Hubbard a five-year, $37.5 million contract to convince him to leave Pittsburgh. Hubbard could also serve as insurance in case All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas decides to retire this offseason.
Donte Moncrief to Jaguars
Free agent wide receiver Donte Moncrief will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Moncrief will stay in the AFC South, leaving the Colts for the AFC runners up in Jacksonville. The terms of the deal are not known and Moncrief will be asked to help fill the void left by Allen Robinson, who left to sign with the Bears. Moncrief struggled at times in 2017, but his 15 yards per catch were the best of his career and he had 13 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016. He will likely be the third receiver in Jacksonville and a deep threat for Blake Bortles.
Sam Bradford to Sign With Cardinals
This comes directly after the Cardinals first choice (Kirk Cousins) was reported to have signed with the Minnesota Vikings, Bradford’s old team. Bradford only played in two games last season, dealing with a knee injury, but did have 346 yards and three touchdowns in his only start of the season. He had 20 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2016, completing 71.6 percent of his passes, and will be more of a QB2 option in 2018. Injuries continue to be the story in Bradford’s career.
Danny Amendola to Miami
Free-agent wide receiver Danny Amendola will sign with the Miami Dolphins, according to Dan Hellie of NFL Network. Hellie’s sources do not confirm the terms of the deal, but this will keep Amendola in the AFC East after he played for the Patriots for five seasons. The Dolphins are looking to fill the void left by Jarvis Landry quickly, signing Amendola and Albert Wilson, and appear to be in a better position coming into 2018 season than they were in 2017. Amendola had 61 catches on 86 targets for 659 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. He won’t be much of a fantasy option as perhaps the fourth aerial target in Miami behind DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Wilson.
Sammy Watkins to Sign With Chiefs
Watkins will sign a three-year, $48 million with Kansas City when the free agent market opens on Wednesday. He will combine with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as receiving threats for new Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes, as the second year quarterback looks to make an impact. Watkins was linked with the Packers, Bears, Jaguars, and a return to the Rams, but he will join the AFC West champions in 2018. He caught 39 of his 70 targets for the Rams, totaling 593 yards, but did have eight touchdown catches for Los Angeles. While he only has 1023 yards over the last two seasons, the 24-year-old Watkins (the 4th pick of the 2014 draft) had 2029 yards in his first two seasons with the Bills.
Allen Robinson Agrees to Deal With Bears
Robinson confirms to Josina Anderson of ESPN that he is receiving a three-year, $42 million contract from Chicago. The Bears have been linked to numerous top free agent receivers and Robinson, who is still just 24 and expected to be fully healthy for the offseason, is arguably the cream of the crop. Robinson suffered a torn ACL in 2017, but is only two seasons removed from a “down” year in which he led the Jaguars across the board with a 73-883-6 line. He steps into immediate opportunity with the Bears, who have 225 targets and nearly 2,000 air yards available from last season’s production.
Case Keenum Intends to Sign With Broncos
. Keenum won’t be back with the Vikings in 2018 after surprisingly leading the team to an NFC title appearance, as Minnesota is expected to land free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins. Known as more of a game manager, the 30-year-old Keenum racked up 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 games last year. He’ll be the favorite to start in Denver next season, but the Broncos could also draft a quarterback early and have him compete with Keenum in training camp. While Keenum can put up decent numbers for fantasy owners in the right matchups, he’s mostly a fantasy backup. Receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders disappointed last year due to poor quarterback play and injuries, and while Keenum won’t drastically improve their outlooks, he shouldn’t hurt them as much as the trio of Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler did.