Updated: Mar 14
2/21-2/27: Latest fantasy football news during the weeks of February 21st through February 27th.
Texans released RB Duke Johnson.
The move saves the Texans around $5 million in cap space for 2021. Johnson played in 27 games for Houston and rushed for 645 yards and three rushing scores. An excellent pass catcher, Johnson reeled in 72 balls for 659 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns during his two seasons with the Texans. Johnson was relegated to a situational back in the Houston offense, seeing double digit carries just three times in two years. He averaged a mere 3.59 targets per contest in 27 games with the Texans, much to the frustration of Duke Johnson truthers everywhere. Johnson didn't stand much chance of making the 2021 roster with Houston entering full rebuild mode. Johnson, who will be 28 in September, should catch on with a team in need of an experienced third down back. SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Feb 26, 2021, 12:42 PM ET
ESPN's Dan Graziano reports Deshaun Watson met with new Texans coach David Culley last Friday and "reiterated that he wants to be traded and told Culley he has no intention of playing for the Texans again."
If hiring Culley was the Texans' last-ditch gambit to keep their franchise player, it didn't work. It appears Watson may be Carson Palmer-level committed. Palmer sat out the beginning of the 2011 season before the Bengals finally traded him to the Raiders. The Texans have been adamant, both publicly and via leak, that Watson will not be dealt. For his part, Watson continues to further dig in. Someone is going to have to blink, and it will probably be the Texans. Even in a league where teams hold all the cards, players of Watson's stature typically get a deal when things devolve to this point. It's not a good situation for anybody when a star is kept against their will.
SOURCE: Dan Graziano on Twitter Feb 25, 2021, 3:14 PM ET
Russell Wilson's agent tells ESPN's Adam Schefter that he has not requested a trade, but that if he were dealt, he would waive his no-trade clause for the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders or Bears.
It's a trade request by another name. Various national media sources have taken great pains to report Wilson's relationship with coach Pete Carroll could still be patched up, but neither side is working very hard to tamp down the flames. This situation appears further along than Deshaun Watson's with Houston. Wilson has expressed discontent only to make up with Seattle before, but the odds he is dealt are very real, if not inevitable. SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Feb 25, 2021, 1:52 PM ET
Speaking Wednesday, 49ers GM John Lynch said "I really believe" Jimmy Garoppolo will be the team's starting quarterback in 2021.
Lynch made it sound more like he needs to upgrade the Niners' backup spot behind injury-riddled Garoppolo. “When he’s healthy, he’s played at a high level,” Lynch said. “But we probably have to add someone. We probably need to improve ourselves, so if he’s not there, we’re all right; we can win games." C.J. Beathard is a free agent, and Nick Mullens is a restricted one. The Niners went 13-3 when Garoppolo was healthy for all 16 games in 2019 and advanced to the Super Bowl. But he missed 10 games last season and has been unable to stay healthy for long stretches as a pro. There was speculation the Niners could look to move on this offseason, but Garoppolo's $26.4 million cap number isn't as bad in today's quarterback landscape.
SOURCE: Full Press Coverage Feb 24, 2021, 3:01 PM ET
Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reports there's "mutual interest" between the Dolphins and impending free agent Aaron Jones.
Miami will have roughly $26 million in cap space when the new league year begins and could easily create an additional $36 million in cap space by restructuring contracts and/or outright releasing a number of veterans. The Dolphins could also opt for the cheaper route in adding to its backfield with the No. 18 overall pick and instead allocating any excess cap to a high-end wide receiver and another cog in the front-seven — two other drastic needs. With the Jets also reportedly in on Jones, odds are the 26-year-old at the very least opens 2021 as a workhorse among his own backfield. That would also likely entail Jamaal Williams re-upping with the Packers immediately.
SOURCE: Barry Jackson on Twitter Feb 24, 2021, 12:01 AM ET
Ben Roethlisberger's player rep said the Steelers have confirmed they want him back for 2021.
GM Kevin Colbert Goff'd Roethlisberger a bit in a press conference last week, saying "as we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers." Not a glowing endorsement, though Colbert hinted the main issue was Roethlisberger's mammoth $41.2 million cap hit. His agent insists they are willing to get "creative" to ensure Roethlisberger remains with the only team he has ever known. This situation seems like it will resolve with Roethlisberger remaining under center in Pittsburgh.
SOURCE: Aditi Kinkhabwala on Twitter Feb 23, 2021, 6:39 PM ET
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Cowboys want to extend impending free agent Dak Prescott "now."
Per Rapsheet, the Cowboys are "confident enough in Prescott's rehab to do a big-time, long-term deal now." The Cowboys may want the deal now, but even as he rehabs his gruesome injury, Prescott holds all the leverage. He can play 2021 out with a fully guaranteed $37.7 million under his second consecutive franchise tag. Prescott's camp knows the Cowboys desperately need to get that number down. The window to apply the tag is now open, with the deadline coming March 9.
SOURCE: Ian Rapoport on Twitter Feb 23, 2021, 1:43 PM ET
Chris Godwin said he wants to remain in Tampa but wants to "get paid too."
While a much sought-after free agent looking to maximize his earnings isn't exactly breaking news, Godwin's comments indicate he won't give the Bucs a hometown discount if the team wants to retain their star wideout. “An extension would be ideal," Godwin said Tuesday. "I want to be in Tampa, but I want to get paid, too.” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has been clear that the team wants to bring back Godwin, who would remain a key part of the team's Tom Brady-led offense. It would be a major upset if Godwin ended up with a new team in 2021.
SOURCE: James Palmer on Twitter Feb 23, 2021, 12:54 PM ET
The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia believes Aaron Jones could get up to $15 million a year in free agency.
That would put Jones on par with Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott, and just $1 million less than Christian McCaffrey, the highest paid running back in NFL history. It would hardly be surprising to see a team break open the vault for Jones, who has 3,017 yards from scrimmage since the start of 2019 and whose 829 receiving yards over the past two seasons rank sixth among running backs. His 51 runs of 10-plus yards are tied for sixth over the past two seasons. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said the team would like to bring back Jones for 2021 and beyond, but at 26 years old, this will probably be Jones' only chance to break the bank. Packers backfield mate Jamaal Williams is also a free agent. AJ Dillon, who flashed late in the 2020 season, waits in the wings.
SOURCE: The Athletic Feb 23, 2021, 10:23 AM ET
Michael Silver reports teams "believe" any deal for Russell Wilson would "start" with three first-round picks.
"What's a realistic price if the Seahawks were to trade Russell Wilson?," Silver said in a spot on NFL Network. "I think you start with something like three first-round draft picks. That's kind of the message that other teams believe would be conveyed." That last sentence makes his "report" sound a lot more like conjecture than anything, but the fact remains that teams would have to legitimately shock Seattle with an unreasonable offer to even begin trade negotiations. There's still more than enough time for the two sides to consider all matters water under the bridge.
SOURCE: Michael Silver on Twitter Feb 22, 2021, 3:45 PM ET
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Derek Carr is "in the Raiders' plans" for the 2021 season.
For what it's worth, that sentiment is what the Raiders shared with the Colts when the latter was reportedly checking in on Carr's availability before acquiring Carson Wentz. On the other hand, Rapsheet adds that there's been enough interest around backup Marcus Mariota that he's "not likely" to remain on the team. Carr, 30 in March, continues to offer league-average quarterbacking ahead of his eighth year in the league and is due $42 million over the next two seasons. At this point, an organization would likely have to blow the Raiders away with a bundle of premium draft picks in order to have Carr moved.
SOURCE: Ian Rapoport on Twitter Feb 22, 2021, 3:12 PM ET
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports impending free agent Kenny Golladay is a "strong" franchise tag candidate.
"I'll be very surprised if he's actually available," Rapoport added. The Lions are projected to be roughly $20 million over the cap after soaking up Jared Goff's $27.5 million on the books, making it harder to reach a long-term deal with Golladay, whose market value is likely somewhere between $16-$18 million annually. Currently in the midst of a full rebuild, it's also possible Detroit negotiates a tag and trade scenario with another suitor. Over the Cap projects the franchise tender for wide receivers to fall in the range of $16.4 million.
SOURCE: Ian Rapoport on Twitter Feb 22, 2021, 1:31 PM ET
The Athletic's Jeff Howe said the Patriots "have had conversations regarding every potential [quarterback] trade target in the league."
Howe reports that head coach Bill Belichick and the New England organization are keen on upgrading at the QB position but "have so far been thwarted by inflated prices in an offseason that is currently siding with the sellers." The Patriots spoke to the Lions about acquiring Matthew Stafford and to the Eagles about trading for Carson Wentz, though the team was never considered a serious contender to land either quarterback. Howe mentioned Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, and Jimmy Garoppolo as signal callers who could be pursued by Belichick in the coming weeks. The team is a decidedly unfavorable landing spot for incoming QBs unless and until they upgrade their skill position players -- some of the worst in the NFL. The Patriots haven't ruled out re-signing Cam Newton, whose season with the team could most charitably be described as forgettable. Howe said the team -- which holds the 15th pick in this spring's NFL Draft -- could trade up and take one of the top three or four QBs. SOURCE: The Athletic Feb 22, 2021, 8:16 AM ET