3/7-3/13: Latest fantasy football news during the weeks of March 7th through March 13th.
Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to a one-year contract worth around $14 million.
It marks a huge increase over the $1.1 million the veteran made with the Patriots in 2020. Newton's first year with the Patriots was an unmitigated disaster, thanks largely to the circumstances of the NFL's COVID-19 season. Newton, who had to learn a new offense in a shortened offseason program, said he never recovered from missing multiple weeks on the COVID list following a promising start to the year. "I was behind and I was thinking too much," Newton said in February. “The offense kept going and I was stagnant for two weeks." Newton's return to New England seemed possible after the Boston Globe reported in February that head coach Bill Belichick had "done nothing but rave" about Newton. The team adopted a massively run-heavy offense with Newton under center, resulting in a shockingly low eight touchdown passes in 15 games for Newton (to go along with 10 interceptions). The Pats are reportedly interested in drafting one of the top QBs available in this spring's NFL Draft -- an essential move since they clearly see Newton as a bridge quarterback.
SOURCE: Jim McBride on Twitter Mar 12, 2021, 8:24 AM ET
Texans signed RB Mark Ingram, formerly of the Ravens, to a one-year contract.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the deal is worth "up to" $3 million. Waived nearly two months ago, Ingram never developed much of a market. With David Johnson back with the Texans via a restructure, Ingram will once again be a part of a committee. If the money is to be believed, he will be the clear-cut No. 2 behind Johnson. Finally fading after years of strong between-the-tackles running and decent pass catching, 31-year-old Ingram will lack standalone fantasy value. Even in the event of a Johnson injury, Ingram would be unlikely to be a plug-and-play replacement. He's a reserve back on what will be a terrible team if Deshaun Watson is traded.
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Mar 11, 2021, 4:02 PM ET
NFL Network's Jim Trotter believes Deshaun Watson will be traded after interviewing Texans coach David Culley.
In fact, Trotter "firmly believes" it after an interview where Culley spoke in constant hypotheticals about his roster, hinting at big change on the horizon. "He is our starting quarterback right now," Culley hedged. "He is our starting quarterback. Things happen between now and then. We'll see what happens." Yikes. The Texans' front office continues to feign a brave face, but there has been zero indication of softening from Watson's camp. Culley's comments are the first signs of breaking from the Texans. The situation should come to a head before the draft.
SOURCE: Jim Trotter on Twitter Mar 11, 2021, 1:37 PM ET
Jaguars GM Trent Baalke said there are "some (running backs) in-house that can compete for roles but we're certainly looking to add to that room as well."
Baalke said that James Robinson "will continue to do a great job for the organization" but that "you can only ride a horse so long." Robinson was one of just a handful of running backs to play 90-percent of his offensive snaps in recent memory, and the front office has plenty of cap space and draft capital to ensure that Robinson gets more help in the backfield next season. How much of Robinson's bellcow role depletes in 2021 will depend on who gets brought in. Robinson is best viewed as a boom-bust RB2 for now. There's a ceiling to chase with Urban Meyer and presumably Trevor Lawrence being brought in.
SOURCE: Jaguars.com Mar 10, 2021, 3:55 PM ET
Bills released WR John Brown.
The move saves the Bills $7.9 million against the cap and comes with just $1.6 million in dead money. The near 31-year-old is a quality role player when healthy, but he spent last season dealing with a nagging ankle injury. He'll likely settle for a No. 3 receiver job elsewhere as a low-volume deep threat. Brown's release immediately puts 2020 fourth-rounder Gabriel Davis into the starting lineup. When Brown missed games last year, Davis averaged 9.8 PPR points. That is Davis' floor for 2021. SOURCE: Jeremy Folwer on Twitter Mar 10, 2021, 1:10 PM ET
Saints released Emmanuel Sanders.
The Saints are scrambling to get under the salary cap, releasing Kwon Alexander and restructuring several big contracts. Parting ways with Sanders will save the team $4 million against the cap. The Saints still have a long way to go until they're under the 2021 cap. In Sanders' lone season in New Orleans, he caught 61 of 82 targets for 726 yards and five scores. Probably he's not much more than a No. 3 receiver on most teams at this late stage in his career. His departure could pave the way for Tre'Quan Smith to secure the No. 2 receiver spot in the Saints' offense. ESPN's Nick Wagoner said a reunion between Sanders and the 49ers could be "intriguing."
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Mar 10, 2021, 11:24 AM ET
The NFL's 2021 salary cap will be $182.5 million per team.
The official cap is about $500,000 less than what teams were expecting, and a marked drop off from 2020's cap of $198.2 million. The league told teams they won't be allowed to borrow cap room from future years to help them in 2021. The NFLPA told its reps this week that this year’s cap would have dropped to about $155 million if all COVID-related losses had been taken into account. That would have been disastrous for a number of teams. ESPN's Dan Graziano said the NFLPA negotiated a cap “floor” of $175 million last summer to guard against such a scenario. Dak Prescott's front-loaded deal is a sign that the 2022 salary cap will be far higher than this year's number. Free agents this year could opt for more one-year contracts in hopes of signing more lucrative long-term deals after the salary cap climbs in 2022.
SOURCE: Tom Pelissero on Twitter Mar 10, 2021, 9:30 AM ET
ESPN's Rob Demovsky expects Aaron Jones to walk in free agency after he was not franchise tagged by the Packers by Tuesday afternoon's deadline.
Demovsky believes "perhaps the only way Jones would return to Green Bay is if he doesn't find what he's looking for in free agency." Demovsky subscribes to the belief that Jones' fate was likely sealed when the Packers made AJ Dillon a second-round pick. Jones remained an All-Pro level offensive weapon in 2020 and towers above the rest of the free agent running back market. The odds he gets priced out of the Packers' range are probably close to 100 percent. SOURCE: ESPN Mar 9, 2021, 5:12 PM ET
The Titans will not franchise tag TE Jonnu Smith, making him a free agent.
The tag was never expected for a seam stretcher who finished 2020 with a 41/448/8 line. Five months shy of his 26th birthday, Smith slots in near the top of the tight end market, with only Hunter Henry clearly ahead of him. Established as both a red zone and YAC threat, Smith will not hurt for interest.
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Mar 9, 2021, 3:48 PM ET
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports the Seahawks will not franchise tag RB Chris Carson, making him a free agent.
Running backs are infrequent tag recipients, but you never know in Seattle. Carson would have netted $8.68 million under the tag. One of the top backs atop a soft running back market, Carson could get priced out of even run-happy Seattle's range. The 26-year-old's injury history is his big red flag as he heads to the open market.
SOURCE: Tom Pelissero on Twitter Mar 9, 2021, 2:19 PM ET
Bears assigned the franchise tag to WR Allen Robinson.
Robinson's coming tag was the offseason's worst kept secret. It is worth $16.4 million. The sides have not appeared remotely close to a long-term agreement, and Robinson might be feeling disrespected enough to not really consider one before the mid-July deadline. That would change if the Bears came truly correct, of course, but there has been little indication that is in the offing. With Robinson secured for at least 2021, the Bears' next order of business is figuring out who will be throwing him the football. Five months shy of his 28th birthday, Robinson remains one of the very best wideouts in football.
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Mar 9, 2021, 1:46 PM ET
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Chargers won't use the franchise tag on Hunter Henry.
The team's apparent disinterest in using the tag on Henry -- or working out a longer term deal with the tight end -- has been curious, bordering on unexplainable. Henry should have several suitors in free agency, including Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Washington. The Bills are reportedly "intent" on upgrading at tight end this offseason and the Jaguars have the most cap space in the league. It will be tough for Henry, who commanded the seventh most targets among tight ends last year despite missing two games, to find a better fantasy-related spot than with Justin Herbert in LA. Henry's departure leaves intriguing prospect Donald Parham atop the Bolts' tight end depth chart.
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Mar 9, 2021, 12:35 PM ET
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports the Lions won't use the franchise tag on Kenny Golladay.
It's something of a stunner after weeks in which it appeared the team would apply the tag to Golladay and possibly trade him for a second or third round draft pick. He's now entering the open market as the top wideout unless Allen Robinson escapes the Bears. Fresh off playing just five games and catching 20 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, Golladay will look to return to his 2019 form in another city. A healthy Golladay in a good offense should be one of the game's most productive pass catchers. Detroit now has one of the NFL's worst, most depleted wide receiver groups. Tyrell Williams (for now) profiles as the team's unquestioned WR1.
SOURCE: Tom Pelissero on Twitter Mar 9, 2021, 12:23 PM ET
The Bucs used the franchise tag on Chris Godwin.
With the team's core staying put, there was no way the Bucs were going to let Godwin, 25, leave via free agency. In Tom Brady's first season with Tampa, Godwin was second on the team with 84 targets while missing four games. His 70 receiving yards per game marked a massive drop off from the 95.2 yards per game he logged in 2019 though he continued to find the end zone at a decent clip, scoring seven times in 2020. Godwin and Mike Evans will continue to see a similar target share as the Bucs look to become repeat champs in 2021. Tagging Godwin means Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett are going to enter free agency.
SOURCE: Adam Schefter on Twitter Mar 9, 2021, 11:26 AM ET
Cowboys re-signed QB Dak Prescott to a four-year, $160 million contract.
He gets $126 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause. This one wasn't leaked to the media, as the team announced the deal and scheduled a press conference for Wednesday. Prescott "played" last season on the franchise tag but obviously missed all but five games with a gruesome ankle/lower leg injury. Prescott is reportedly on track to be ready for training camp despite needing a second clean-up surgery in December. He doesn't turn 28 until July and is smack-dab in the prime of his career, assuming he recovers normally from that ugly injury. Prescott was going to be a darkhorse MVP candidate if he could have stayed healthy last season. The Cowboys were putting up huge offensive numbers with Prescott healthy, and he has one of the best supporting casts in football. Dallas just needs to get its offensive line healthy and figured out. Prescott is a QB1 in fantasy after finishing 2019 as the overall QB2 in points per game.
Mar 8, 2021, 6:51 PM ET
ESPN Denver's John Clayton reports Ryan Fitzpatrick "looks like he's going to retire."
Fitzpatrick said last month he still believes he can be a starting quarterback. After spot starting with three teams the last five seasons, his playing future now looks up in the air. The Broncos are among the teams that reached out to Fitzpatrick, but they believe he's "going to be out of the mix." Fitzpatrick averaged 232 yards per game and had the highest completion-percentage (68.5%) of his career before getting benched for Tua Tagovailoa in Week 6. He turns 39 in November.
SOURCE: 104.3 The Fan Mar 7, 2021, 12:49 PM ET