NFC Free Agency Recap

Hello Heat Seekers, welcome to episode 132 of Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast.  I am you host; I am Rob Sullivan.  The Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast is a proud member of the RotoHeat family of podcasts.

I hope everyone is doing well, its officially the 2021 NFL offseason, as the NFL new year officially kicked off on March 17th.  With a new year comes new beginnings.  Players are finding new homes via trade or free agency, others are remaining with their teams on new contracts and 32 NFL have renewed hope for a championship season, realistic or not. 

The NFL Salary Cap shrunk to $182,500,000 for the 2021 season. In 2020 the cap was $198.2MM.  as a result of the Coivid-19 pandemic and a massive reduction in league revenue in 2020, Team are forced to make do with 15.7MM less in 2021. 

So, with that reduction in available salary, let drive into the transactions in the NFC, thus far.

1. NFC East

Dallas Cowboys
Cap Space: $11,675,232
Draft Slot: Pick 10

QB Dak Prescott: Signed a four-year, $160 million contract that has a max value of $164 million and includes $126 million guaranteed.

Hard not to like the fact that Prescott remains in Dallas.  Last season Dallas was an offense I wanted as many pieces of as I could get, and I wasn’t alone.  2021 should be more of the same. Dak went down in Week 5 last season, he was the top scoring fantasy when that game started and was QB4 when it ended averaging 27.7 points per game.

Other key members of the offense suffered big-time without Dak.  At the end of Week 5, Ezekiel Elliot was RB3, Amari Cooper was WR8, CeeDee Lamb was WR11, and Dalton Schultz TE12. When the dust settled on the 2020 season, Zeke Was RB9, Cooper WR15, and Lamb WR22.  Schultz held his own and finished as TE11. It remains to be seen how Prescott will look post-ankle injury, but at full health it’s tough to deny that the Cowboys look potent once again in 2021.  Dak will be a top-5 QB in my Dynasty rankings that come out later this spring.

New York Giants
Cap Space: $1,321,867
Draft Slot: Pick 11

Kenny Golladay: Agreed to a 4-year $72 million deal. It has a max value of $76 million and includes $40 million guaranteed.
QB Mike Glennon: Signing a deal with undisclosed terms.
RB Devontae Booker: Agreed to a two-year, $6 million deal.
WR John Ross: Agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, including $1 million guaranteed.
TE Kyle Rudolph: Signed a two-year, $12 million deal with a $4.5 million signing bonus and a max value of $14 million.

When I started putting my notes together, I wasn’t too be excited about the 2021 version of the New York Giants. I figured that the biggest boost to this offense was going to be the return of Saquon Barkley. Well, before I could record this beauty, they went and signed Kenny Golladay.  I like this spot for Golladay.  I see him as a piece this offense has been missing and with Saquon, Kyle Rudolph, and now Kenny G, its on Daniel Jones to take the next step. 

Don’t worry about Golladay, this is a WR that finished the back half of 2019 as the WR16 with David Blough and Jeff Driskel as his QB’s.  Daniel Jones isn’t Peyton Manning but he absolutely better than Driskel and Blough.

A healthy Saquon Barkley will make everyone in that offense better.  The addition of Rudolph is a nice under the radar fantasy singing.  Rudy won’t be a fantasy relevant TE, but his insertion into this offense gives the Giants two viable pass catching TEs and it also allows them to play more 12 personnel which should give Barkley a lift as well as help protect Daniel Jones. Next up for the Giants is to address that offensive line.  As it sits now, I see them as the second-best team in this division neck and neck with the Cowboys a step or three behind the Football Team.

Philadelphia Eagles
Cap Space: -$11,965,022
Draft Slot: Pick 6

DT Hassan Ridgeway: Agreed to terms on a new deal.
S Andrew Adams: Agreed to terms on a new deal.
Anthony Harris: 1 year $5 million

The Eagles simply put are a mess. It appears that Jalen Hurts is their starting QB but that is far some certain.  They are hoping to deal Zach Ertz but can’t fin anyone to meet their third-round pick value.  They need help on offensive line help, and at WR. They released Alshon Jeffery this week and will likely release Ertz this week.  The currently need to address the cap before first and foremost. They are currently the second worst in terms of cap space, only the Rams are in a worse spot.

Washington Football Team
Cap Space: $21,207,995
Draft Slot: Pick 19

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Signed a one-year, $10 million deal with a max value of $12 million.
RB Lamar Miller: Re-signing on a one-year deal.
WR Curtis Samuel: Signing a three-year deal worth $34.5 million.
OG Brandon Scherff: Received the franchise tag.

The Football Team will be the ninth team Fitzmagic will have the pleasure of suiting up for. He’s expected to enter camp as the starter ahead of Taylor Heinicke and is equipped with at least some solid pass-game options in Logan Thomas, Curtis Samuel, and Terry McLaurin. The presence of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic, in the backfield round out this offense.  The franchise tag on Scherff is a solid move as well, he’s one of the best.

The Football team continues to change the culture of the organization.  They might get a nickname this offseason, which would help me personally as I continue to read the abbreviating to the WFT as WTF. The Cheerleaders are gone and with their legit defense perhaps losing seasons are gone as well.

2. NFC North

2021 Buy Sell Take the Flyer - NFC North
132- NFC Free Agency Recap

Chicago Bears
Cap Space: -$7,590,072
Draft Slot: Pick 20

QB Andy Dalton: Signing a one-year, $10 million contract that has a max value of $13 million with incentives.
WR Allen Robinson: Received the franchise tag.

Dalton struggled after Dak Prescott was lost for the season, but he did improve as the year went on and led the Cowboys offense to at least 30 points in four of his final seven starts. Still, any command that Dalton might’ve had over the offense didn’t exactly lead to bunches of fantasy points: He had a top 12 finish in week 16, other than that his best finish was QB14 in Week 11.  It should be interesting to see how Dalton performs in an offense with significantly less talent  than the offense he was in a year ago.

A-Rob wasn’t expected to sign his franchise tag so that fact that he did is somewhat surprising. There’s still a chance the Bears trade their No. 1 WR ahead of next season, but I highly doubt that happens. It’d be great to see Robinson play with literally anything resembling an above-average QB. Since college he’s caught passes from Christian Hackenberg, Matt McGloin, Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Chase Daniel, Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, and now Andy Dalton.

On the flip side, volume is king. It would be hard to find another offense willing to feed him 150-plus targets on an annual basis. A-Rob has finished as a top-nine PPR WR in each of the past two seasons; Andy Dalton doesn’t change that for me, A-rob is still a top-10 QB.  After all Dalton is the best QB this man has ever played with perhaps his ceiling is even higher.

Detroit Lions
Cap Space: $7,107,115
Draft Slot: Pick 7

QB Jared Goff: Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams (along with a 2021 third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and ’23) for QB Matthew Stafford.
QB Tim Boyle: Signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract that includes a $1 million signing bonus and $1.5 million in total guarantees.
RB Jamaal Williams: Signing a two-year deal worth up to $7.5 million.
WR Breshad Perriman: Signing a one-year, $3 million contract with the Lions.
WR Tyrell Williams: Signed a one-year, $4.7 million contract that has a max value of $6.2 million.
TE Josh Hill: Terms of the contract have not been disclosed.

Jared Goff has fallen off a cliff after posting back-to-back solid campaigns in 2017 and 2018. About the only thing working in his favor from a fantasy standpoint is the reality that the Lions have a weak defense, meaning volume should be plentiful in this passing game. The problem is (with all due respect to Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman), that there isn’t a weaker WR room in the league that I can think of. Goff’s lack of a rushing floor gives him a scary-low range of potential weekly outcomes. I am avoiding Goff in 1QB leagues and would be comfortable rostering him as my QB2 in a Super-flex or 2QB leagues. 

There isn’t a lot to like about the 2021 Lions offense other than Swift and TE T.J. Hockenson at the moment. The presence of a new coaching staff warrants some cause for concern in regard to Swift’s chances of obtaining a three-down workload, but we’ve seen Anthony Lynn lean on the likes of LeSean McCoy, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to great success over the years. Swift if afforded the work has top-12 upside and should have a RB2 floor provided he stays healthy.

Green Bay Packers
Cap Space: $-3,600,973
Draft Slot: Pick 29

RB Aaron Jones: Re-signing on a four-year contract worth $48 million that includes a $13 million signing bonus. Jones’ deal includes $20 million over the first two years. A $7 million roster bonus is due on the third day of the league year in 2023, with $16 million due in 2023 and $12 million in 2024.

The Packers surprisingly paid up to keep Aaron Jones. The 26-year-old back averaged a career-high 3.5 yards after contact per attempt in 2020 and doesn’t seem to be falling off a cliff athletically. You do have to be careful before putting too much faith in any second contract back, but Jones’ reassertion into the league’s No. 1 scoring offense makes him an upside RB1 in fantasy.  I’ll have him ranked just outside my top-12.

I do not think that Jones coming back is the death blow to AJ Dillion that some do. The Packers will give Dillion a decent amount of work, Aaron Jones has never been a bell-cow and he never will be.  Dillion should get a good chunk of early down carries and be on the field more than not in the red zone.

Minnesota Vikings
Cap Space: $8,694,209
Draft Slot: Pick 14

WR Chad Beebe: Agreed to terms on a contract.
OL Rashod Hill: Re-signing on a one-year, $2,377,500 million deal that is fully guaranteed.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson: Signing a two-year, $22 million deal that includes $16 million fully guaranteed.
CB Patrick Peterson: Signing a one-year, $10 million contract.

The Chad Beebe signing does little for me as a Vikings fan. The additions of Tomlinson and Peterson should help but also don’t really wow me much. The Vikings should prioritize their offensive line, secondary and pass rush in the draft, I don’t expect much out of them in terms of free agents. Losing Harris to the Eagles doesn’t help, but if 2020 opt out Michael Pierce returns, and Tomlinson is as advertised and Danielle Hunter can return to form (man that’s a lot of ands), the Vikings may have an improved defense.

An improved defense likely translates into less Kirk Cousins passes, which is no beuno for Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, and its muy beuno for Dalvin Cook.  Kyle Rudolph being released give Irv Smith Jr. managers what they have been looking for, time will tell if the 3rd year TE takes the leap most believe he will.

3. NFC South

2021 Buy Sell Take the Flyer Series – NFC South.
132- NFC Free Agency Recap

Atlanta Falcons
Cap Space: -$2,272,796
Draft Slot: Pick 4

TE Lee Smith: Acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a late-round 2022 draft pick.

Has anyone let the Falcons know that the season has started?  They have a new head coach in Author Smith,  who when in Tennessee leaned heavily on his running game. Well as of now that running game is Brian Hill, Ito Smith, and Quadree Ollison, and Tony Brooks-James.  Not exactly a feared backfield.  I did feel that the Falcons were a potential landing spot for Chris Carson, and I certainly feel they are a candidate to address the RB situation via the draft. 

The team will continue to be led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley.  Hayden Hurst is viable, and Russell Gage showed us he can have a good game or two as well.

The defense has holes all over it, their offense line is weak, and they are widely rumored to be looking to add their future QB in the draft.  If that is the case that is likely where they go with the 4th overall pick.

Carolina Panthers
Cap Space: $32,386,344
Draft Slot: Pick 8

WR David Moore: Agreed to a two-year contract worth $4.75 million with $1.25 million guaranteed.
TE: Dan Arnold: Agreed to a two-year contract
OT Cam Erving: Signed a free-agent deal with the Panthers.
OT Taylor Moton: Received the franchise tag.
OG Pat Elflein: Agreed to a three-year, $11.5 million deal that includes $6 million guaranteed.

Not much happening in Carolina at the moment.  They lost Curtis Samuel to the WFT and added David Moore.  Not great.  They also added TE Dan Arnold, also not so great.

They have been looking for a QB all offseason and could be a team to watch come draft day.  The Panthers used all their picks a year ago on defense and they could try and move up to grab a QB after reported failed attempts to acquire Deshaun Watson.  The Panthers are still years away from contending and this season will be a lot of CMC and DJ Moore. 

New Orleans Saints
Cap Space: $-1,296,771
Draft Slot: Pick 28

QB Jameis Winston: Re-signed on a one-year, $5.5 million deal that includes a $4.5 million signing bonus, $1 million fully guaranteed base salary and has a max value of $12.5 million with incentives.
RB Ty Montgomery: Re-signed on a one-year contract that included a $137,500 signing bonus.

The fact that the Saints are a measly 1.29M over the cap at the moment is remarkable.  A week ago, they were $65M over.  Drew Brees has retired, and Jameis Winston has signed back up on a 1-year deal. Winston and Taysom Hill according to Head Coach Sean Payton will enter camp to battle for the starting job.

My take is Winston will win that battle and be the QB 70% of the time and Hill 30%.  The problem for Winston is the bulk of Hill’s 30% likely come in the red zone. Winston is a gunslinger equally capable of throwing the worst pick-six you have ever seen one minute and a dime down the filed in tight coverage the next. Winston’s last full season in 2019, he ranked dead last in turnover plays with 39.  

To be fair to Winston, we saw Carson Palmer and Andrew Luck have similar issues with limiting mistakes in coach Bruce Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” attack. Winston has regularly ranked near the top of the league in average target depth. There’s always a chance that Taysom Hill remains far too involved for anybody other than Sean Payton’s liking, but ultimately Year 2 in a system that has consistently ranked atop the league in production seems like a great spot for Jameis to succeed.

The Alvin Kamara with Taysom Hill fears need to stop IMO, if Hill is indeed the QB, Kamara will be just fine.  Kamara worked thru an ankle injury the same time as Hill was starting for the Saints, his diminished productivity had more to do with the injury than his QB.  Michael Thomas will also be fine regardless of his QB.  The hate for MT is ridiculous this offseason and he has t be one of my top buys this offseason. Emmanuel sanders off to Buffalo doesn’t do much in my opinion but could lead to a little boost from Tre’Quan Smith. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cap Space: $9,018,733
Draft Slot: Pick 32

WR Chris Godwin: Received the franchise tag.
TE Rob Gronkowski: Re-signing on a one-year, $8 million deal worth up to $10 million.

Godwin won’t be going anywhere until 2022 at the earliest. The Buccaneers’ slot receiver dealt with some early-season injuries last season before coming on strong during the final month. Godwin continued to show off an elite blend of run-after-the-reception and contested-catch ability in 2020.

The problem for both Godwin and Evans in 2020 was a stark decrease in high-end opportunity. Tom Brady generally refrained from force feeding either of his top two receivers. Overall, Godwin had at least eight targets in just six games in 2020 after having 10 such contests in 2019 in two fewer games. Evans had more games with fewer than five targets in 2020 (7) than he did in 2014-2019 (5) combined.

Godwin and Evans were the WR15 and WR16 in PPR per game in 2020. Both are legit No. 1 WRs that are putting up WR2 production due to their lack of relative high-end volume. If Antonio Brown isn’t back would help both in 2021, but even then, we should keep our overall target expectations in check.

4. NFC West

132- NFC Free Agency Recap
132- NFC Free Agency Recap

Arizona Cardinals
Cap Space: $624,869
Draft Slot
: Pick 16

WR A.J. Green: Agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Cardinals, with a base value of $6 million.
DE J.J. Watt: Signed a two-year, $31 million deal that includes $23 million guaranteed.

The addition of AJ Green is ok, I guess.  He hasn’t been the AJ Green we became accustomed to in fantasy since his WR10 2017.  Since then, he has a 2018 finish at WR44 in 9 games, took 2019 off with a so-called ankle injury, and finished last season as WR68 in 16 games.

Arizona isn’t done IMO, they likely add to the backfield to lessen the burden on Chase Edmonds, and they are linked to another WR in the draft. JJ Watt is a nice add and if he can stay healthy will be a boost, just not as big of a boost as one would expect from a Watt.  Pick 16 is an interesting spot for Arizona to be in, depending on the first 15 picks, I wouldn’t rule out Kyle Pitts landing their either.

Los Angeles Rams
Cap Space: -$18,747,665
Draft Slot: Pick 57.  Traded first round pick (25) to Jacksonville.

QB Matthew Stafford: Acquired in a trade with the Detroit Lions for QB Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and ’23.
LB Leonard Floyd: Signed a four-year, $64 million contract that includes $32.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. The guaranteed money includes a $14 million signing bonus, a $2 million salary in 2021 and a $16.5 million salary in 2022. The contract also includes $15.5 million in 2023 and $16 million in 2024.

Stafford turned in 11-5 and 9-7 records during his only two seasons with a  defense ranked higher than 15th in 12 seasons with the Lions. His performance hasn’t consistently been elite, but clearly the surrounding cast has been suspect, to put it nicely. The 2019 season produced the best year of Stafford’s career in pretty much any efficiency metric, while 2020’s drop-off can at least somewhat be attributed to No. 1 WR Kenny Golladay being healthy enough to suit up for just four and a half games.

We already know that Stafford has a cannon for a throwing arm but there’s a case to be made that the 33-year-old’s ceiling remains untapped. The Rams have consistently utilized a more QB-friendly offense since Sean McVay took over in 2017:the stat that jumps out the most to me is play action rate.  The Rams finished No.1 and the Lions No.27. Giving Stafford time and a little space will do wonders for Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, perhaps Van Jefferson, and of course Matthew Stafford himself. Stafford will be a top-tier QB2 in my dynasty rankings and my targeted QB in redraft this season.

Tyler Higbee is a big offseason winner now that Gerald Everett has gone north to Seattle. Higbee should probably be considered the favorite to function as this improved offense’s No. 3 pass-game option.

There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about everyone involved in this Rams offense. Stafford shouldn’t be prioritized as a true high-end fantasy asset due to his lack of a rushing floor, but he’s worthy of low-end upside QB1 treatment. Now all the Rams need to do is shed $20 million of thier cap.

San Francisco 49ers
Cap Space: $10,618,127
Draft Slot: Pick 12

FB Kyle Juszczyk: Re-signed to a five-year contract worth $27 million.
WR Trent Sherfield: Signing a one-year deal.
OT Trent Williams: Re-signed to a six-year, $138.06 million contract ($32.4 million in Year 1) that is broken up into two parts: three years, $60.75 million to start, with a three-year, $77.31 million option the 49ers can exercise by April 1, 2023. If exercised, Williams’ 2023 pay becomes mostly guaranteed.

The Trent Sherfield signing should excite nobody, other than Sherfield and his family.  The Kyle Juszczyk re-signing should excite each and every San Francisco 49er fan. He is a keg cog in the Kyle Shanahan offense.  Unfortunately for those that play fantasy football like us, it doesn’t translate directly.

Wondering of the Niners checked Trent Williams birth certificate before signing that deal. Man, that’s a long deal for a player that will be 33 when the season starts.

The biggest need the Niners have in 2021 is health.  They must have sold their soul to the devil to reach the Super Bowl in 2020.  George Kittle was missed on offense and Nick Bosa was missed on defense.  In addition to those key contributors, Jimmy Garoppolo was limited to 6 games, Raheem Mostert 8, Deebo Samuel 8, and Brandon Aiyuk 12.  Jeff Wilson Jr. looked good a season ago, but he too dealt with injury and missed 4 games.  How weird was 2020 for San Francisco? Well, Jerrick McKinnon played in all 16 games, you tell me.

There are not a lot of holes on this team, and the one area of opportunity apparently is at QB, and they could use a little secondary help as well I suppose. The Niners were rumored to be interested in Deshaun Watson but that has quieted down, and Kyle Shanahan has loved Kirk Cousins since their Washington days, but I don’t see that deal happening either.

The Niners could draft their next QB at 12, If one of the big 3 in Zach Wilson, Try Lance, or Justin Fields is there I think they do. The odds of one being there is slim the odds of two of them being there at 12 is almost none. 

Regardless of their draft selection this offense is more than fine with Mostert, Wilson, Deebo, Aiyuk, and Kittle.  We might even get to see what Jalen Hurd brings to the table now that Kendrick Bourne is off to New England. Sorry to exclude you Trent Sherfield my bad.

Seattle Seahawks
Cap Space: $426,987
Draft Slot: Pick 56.  Traded first round pick (25) to New York Jets.

RB Chris Carson: Re-Signed 3-year deal three-year deal worth $24.625 million. The third year is voidable, making this a two-year value is $14.625 million.
TE Gerald Everett: Signing a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, including $6 million guaranteed.
OG Gabe Jackson: Acquired in a trade with the Raiders in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

Bringing back Chris Carson is great FOR Chris Carson and his fantasy managers and for Seattle the biggest bonus is, Russell Wilson is happy.  Making Russell Wilson happy is not a common occurrence in Seattle these days.

The Seahawks came close to dealing their franchise QB to the Bears last week.  Trading Russell Wilson would be a death blow for this organization as anyone that has watched the Seahawks knows, when Wilson struggles the Seahawks struggle.  Translation, Russell Wilson is that entire team.

The deal with the Bears was said to be 3 firsts, a third and two defensive starters.  It was very close but in the end the Seahawks realized of they made that move they would be the Chicago Bears. A solid football team desperate for a decent starting QB. Big benefactors of a Wilson staying put, (other than the entire Seattle organization) are DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett.  David Moore to Carolina should give second year Freddie Swain a boost but be clear this team needs another WR or two.

I am a big Gerald Everett fan, and I do believe that I am higher on him than most.  Seattle isn’t where I wanted him to land but its not a bad spot at all. Everett is similar to Jonnu Smith in that he simply hasn’t ever been afforded enough opportunity to put up big numbers. The Rams’ athletically gifted TE isn’t afraid to help block, but his receiving ability is the cause for so much optimism with this pairing. The fit is hardly seamless: Will Dissly isn’t going anywhere. We haven’t seen a single player function as this offense’s undisputed lead TE since Russell Wilson managed to get 10 scores out of Jimmy Graham back in 2017.

The Seahawks boast the sixth-highest TD rate on targets to the TE over the past three seasons; there have just been too many TEs involved any of us to notice. Everett’s true fantasy value will depend mightily on how the public views this landing spot. If priced outside of the top 12 players at the position: Give me all the Everett I can get.

That’s going to do it for today’s episode Thank you for listening to Episode 132- NFC Free Agency Recap.

If you have yet to subscribe to Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast you can do so by searching for it pretty much anywhere podcasts can be found. In addition, you can find me on twitter @RotoHeatSully, in both the RotoHeat Dynasty Fantasy Football Community , and RotoHeat Redraft Fantasy Football Community on Facebook and I am @Sully in our Discord chat as well.

I will be back next week, with a view of the key additions AFC.  Until then stay safe and stay healthy heat seekers take care!

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