Latest fantasy football news during the weeks of January 23rd through February 6th.
Responding to recent rumors that Andrew Luck could be considering coming out of retirement, Colts owner Jim Irsay said the 31-year-old quarterback is "more retired now."
“I think everyone just needs to digest this fact that he’s more retired now than he was a year and a half ago," was Irsay's exact quote. “Only Andrew knows, of course, because it’s his decision, but I can only say that he definitely is retired. ... Believe me, I wish (the rumors were) true, and I was hiding some announcement that we could release two days from now, but that’s not the case.” Intensely private, Luck has given zero indication he is planning to return after his stunning August 2019 decision.
SOURCE: FOX Indianapolis Feb 4, 2021, 8:44 PM ET
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is planning to have international games in 2021.
The league canceled all overseas games in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, depriving fans of watching the Jaguars lose by three scores on a sopping wet English field. Vaccinations rates would likely need to be on the high side for the NFL to consider flying its teams across the world to play regular season games. We probably won't know the fate of international games until the summer.
SOURCE: Jenna Laine on Twitter Feb 4, 2021, 2:40 PM ET
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expects much of the 2021 offseason to remain virtual amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Virtual is going to be a part of our life," Goodell said Thursday. "It was actually a positive way to install offenses and work in the offseason." That second point could be debated, but it is good to see the NFL continuing to take a responsible attitude toward the coronavirus. Goodell also would not commit to full stadiums next season. "I don't know when normal will occur again. I don't know if normal will occur again." Vaccines are going to be one of many factors that make this spring and summer less dismal than last year, but it is still unlikely things will be able to go fully back to normal, and that includes the country's most dominant sports league. For fantasy purposes, it would be nice to get a preseason.
SOURCE: Aaron Wilson on Twitter Feb 4, 2021, 2:21 PM ET
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Eagles have been fielding calls for disgruntled QB Carson Wentz.
Rapoport and Mike Garafolo mention the Colts directly, although there are reportedly "others" inquiring about Wentz, too. This report obviously leaked from Philadelphia's organization since its the only side privy to this type of information. Even so, the Eagles would be stuck with $34 million in dead money if it actually were able to move Wentz. It at least makes sense to pick up the phone and gauge interest for the 28-year-old since Matthew Stafford recently garnered a haul including two future first-round picks. Whether or not GM Howie Roseman actually parts with Wentz remains to be seen. SOURCE: Ian Rapoport on Twitter Feb 4, 2021, 11:47 AM ET
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero believes the 2021 NFL salary cap will settle at around $185 million.
The NFL and NFLPA are still negotiating what the final number will be, but it is heading towards being higher than the $175 million minimum the two sides agreed to last summer. Teams may not learn what the official number will be until just hours or days before free agency begins. The league is still projecting how many fans will be able to attend 2021 games, something that's mostly out of the league's control. The hope is that vaccinations are ramped up over the next months and that stadiums can be at or near full capacity next fall. The difference between a $175 million and $185 million salary cap may sound small for a roster of over 50 players, but it will be the difference between some veterans being cut or staying on their current deal. The belief is that this will be a buyer's market as many players battle for fewer dollars available. Expect more short-term deals from veterans, who will look to land a more lucrative contract the following season when the salary cap inevitably explodes.
SOURCE: NFL.com Feb 3, 2021, 9:44 PM ET
JuJu Smith-Schuster said he "would love to come back" with the Steelers.
“I’m always about winning,” Smith-Schuster said. “I want to be on a team that is fighting and competing for the playoffs every year. As far as the business side and the money, I want to be paid for what I am worth. Obviously for what I do for the team particularly.” The Steelers have one of the worst cap situations in the league, making it hard for them to re-sign Smith-Schuster, though it's possible they can create some money by reworking Ben Roethlisberger's contract. Still only 24, Smith-Schuster should command a deal worth over $15M annually if he reaches free agency.
SOURCE: FOX Sports Radio Feb 3, 2021, 11:05 AM ET
Saints coach Sean Payton said the team has “big interest” in bringing back Jameis Winston.
“We had a great exposure for one year with Jameis,” Payton said in an interview with Good Morning Football. "We had enough time to see what we had with him as a player, as a leader. I really like what we had a chance to see. He was a tremendous leader for this team, and that’s hard to do when you come in new in free agency your first year as a backup quarterback. So that’ll be an important checkmark for us. And a lot of times, you want to hold your cards closer to the vest and he is a free agent. But him, along with Taysom Hill who’s in the building, we’ve said it all along — we’re going to develop and coach those guys." It's a strong endorsement for Winston, who's set for free agency in March. Winston is the favorite to be the Saints' 2021 starter, though it's not a given after Hill made four spot starts over him last season.
SOURCE: NFL Network Feb 3, 2021, 10:03 AM ET
ESPN's Adam Schefter thinks Sam Darnold could be worth a late first-round pick if traded.
This is not a report saying Darnold will fetch a late first-round pick, nor is it a report that Darnold will in fact be traded. Rather, it's his speculation after seeing what teams were offering for Matthew Stafford. The Jets haven't publicly shopped Darnold yet, but they certainly will be in the mix for Deshaun Watson if the Texans are willing to listen. Darnold, 24, has a career 6.6 yards per attempt average through three Adam Gase-led seasons. He hasn't played like a first-round pick under the worst circumstances, but 24-year-old quarterbacks with his pre-draft pedigree don't hit the market often. What the Jets do with their $63 million cap space and No. 2 overall pick is a leading offseason storyline.
SOURCE: Haberman & Middlekauff on YouTube Feb 2, 2021, 9:44 PM ET
Las Vegas Review Journal's Vincent Bonsignore writes "multiple teams" are expected to pursue a trade for Derek Carr.
The Raiders "figure to at least listen", especially if offers include multiple first-round picks. Carr's contract is very tradable for both parties. He'd only cost the Raiders $2.5 million in dead cap if traded, and the acquiring team would have Carr for two years at about $20 million per season, all non-guaranteed. Carr finished eighth in expected points added (EPA) per dropback last season and will only be 30 years old in 2021. Bonsignore lists the Colts, Bears, Patriots and Washington as potential suitors, along with the Texans if Deshaun Watson is actually available. If Carr is dealt for draft picks instead of players, the Raiders could turn to Marcus Mariota, who is due $11.4 million this upcoming season, as their short-term answer. But the big dream certainly is to flip Carr and the Raiders' own first-round picks into Watson.
SOURCE: Vincent Bonsignore on Twitter
Feb 2, 2021, 7:27 PM ET
Rams acquired QB Matthew Stafford from the Lions in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, and QB Jared Goff.
First-round picks remain purely theoretical in Sean McVay's Los Angeles. One of the biggest NFL trades in years is also one of the most complex. Stafford's cap number and dead money is one thing. Goff's is an entirely different dimension. McVay could no longer hide his disdain for Goff and his inability to generate instant offense, and he gets a quarterback in Stafford who has never hesitated to go big-play hunting. He has also gotten more efficient and less turnover prone over as he's aged, though his nearly decade-long iron man streak was interrupted in 2019 by a broken back before he played through a number of issues in 2020. Stafford has always seemed capable of something more. Now we will finally get to find out as he teams up with one of the brightest offensive minds in the league. A 2020 fantasy disappointment, Stafford inherits an intriguing Rams skill corps led by YAC monsters Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Jan 30, 2021, 10:09 PM ET
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Deshaun Watson has requested to be traded from the Texans.
It's been long reported that Watson wants out of Houston, but this is the first time his request has been considered "official." Schefter adds that Watson actually hasn’t spoken to new Texans general manager Nick Caserio nor executive Jack Easterby since the former's decision has already been made. With a no-trade clause baked into his deal, the 25-year-old will ultimately choose his own suitor on the market. One after another, Houston's dumbfounding decisions and cronyism in the front office transparently highlight an organization that has no direction or intention of winning in either the near future or long-term, resulting in this decision. Whomever lands Watson will merely take on a team-friendly $10.54 million cap hit in 2021 and have its franchise cornerstone locked up under center through the 2025 season.
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Jan 28, 2021, 9:56 AM ET
The Athletic's Katherine Terrell expects the Saints to "move on" from Jared Cook this offseason.
This is Terrell's informed speculation, and not a sourced "report." Cook has an $8.04 million roster bonus due on the second day of the new league year, making the move something of a no-brainer for the cap-strapped Saints. Less involved in the offense this season, especially as the year wore on, Cook's 37 receptions were his second fewest since 2010. This, for a team that struggled for healthy pass-catching options. Cutting Cook would create $9.1 million in space for a team that is well north of $100 million over the cap. Cook turns 34 in April.
SOURCE: The Athletic Jan 26, 2021, 2:46 PM ET