133- AFC Free Agency Recap
Hello Heat Seekers, welcome to episode 133 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.
Last week we ran through the key player moves in the NFC and this week we are back to take a look at the key moves in the AFC.
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, lets drive right in!
1. AFC East
Cap Space: $8,088,625
Draft Slot: Pick 30
QB Mitchell Trubisky: Agreed to a one-year contract worth $2.5 million.
RB Taiwan Jones: Agreed to a one-year deal.
RB Matt Brieda: Agreed to a one-year deal.
WR Emmanuel Sanders: Agreed to a one-year contract.
TE Jacob Hollister: Agreed to a one-year deal.
The Sanders signing isn’t great news for Gabriel Davis, who was expected to function as the Bills’ clear-cut No. 2 outside WR after John Brown was released last week. This is suddenly a wide receiver room considering Cole Beasley has seen 106 and 107 targets over the past two seasons.
The good news for everyone involved is that this is truly a fantasy-friendly offense. Josh Allen ranked eighth in drop backs last season and second with at least four wide receivers on the field. The 2019 No. 2 scoring offense clearly is capable of enabling more than one high-end fantasy receiver; it’s just not clear who that will be.
I believe that we will see Sanders and Davis rotate, making Beasley the No. 2 target in this offense. Beasley is worthy of low-end WR3 consideration as his floor, while Diggs should continue to be drafted among fantasy’s top-five players at his position. Davis is the primary loser here; treat both him and Sanders as boom-or-bust WR4 options until we have any sort of confidence that one or the other has the edge in playing time.
The one thing that doesn’t change here is that Josh Allen remains a top fantasy QB will weapons all over the field to utilize in addition to his legs.
Cap Space: $10,444,876
Draft Slot: Pick 6, Pick 18
The Dolphins sent the number three overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to San Francisco in exchange for San Francisco’s 2021 first round (12th overall) draft choice, along with the 49ers 2022 and 2023 first-round picks and a 2022 compensatory third-round draft pick.
Miami sends the 12th overall selection to Philadelphia for the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, and a 2022 first-round pick. The Eagles will also ship the 156th overall pick to Miami and get the 123rd overall pick in the deal.
QB Jacoby Brissett: Signed a one-year, $5 million contract with a max value of $7.5 million.
RB Malcolm Brown: Signed a one-year deal with $1.75 million fully guaranteed.
WR Will Fuller: Signing a one-year deal worth $10.625 million fully guaranteed that includes another $3 million in incentives.
OT Adam Pankey: Re-signed on a contract.
OT Isaiah Wilson: Acquired in a trade with the Tennessee Titans (along with a 2022 seventh-round pick) in exchange for a 2021 seventh-round selection
C Matt Skura: Signing a one-year deal.
OK, so I have to say I was writing up the trade with the Niners for our website and the Fish made the move with the Eagles before I could finish it.
These trades should put to bed any notion that Miami was going to Josh Rosen Tua. Clearly, he is the QB of the future there and now they get to work on surrounding him with talent. Miami could use an upgrade on the O-line, a running back and maybe another WR.
I love the Will Fuller signing for the Dolphins. Fuller was on fire until his suspension last season. How the HGH impacted those results remains to be seen.
It’s easy to see how Fuller’s field-stretching speed can immediately elevate this offense. Deshaun Watson has averaged 8.8 yards per attempt vs. 7.6 and 26.1 fantasy points per game vs. 23.1 with Fuller compared to without since 2017.Everyone involved in the Dolphins offense is better with Fuller on the field. He’ll be active in Week 2 after serving the final game of his six-game suspension, and he’s fully expected to start opposite DeVante Parker in two-WR sets.
The addition of Fuller leads me to believe that the WR the Dolphins covet in the draft is Alabama Devonte Smith. Reunite him with his college QB and run him our of the slot. It remains to be seen how the target totals will shake out; just don’t underestimate what this trio is capable if Tua takes a step forward. I would be happy if I was a Dolphins fan these days.
New England Patriots
Cap Space: $11,924,622
Draft Slot: Pick 15
QB Cam Newton: Re-signing on a one-year deal worth up to $13.6 million, Newton’s deal has a base value of $5.1 million — $2 million signing bonus, $1.5 million guaranteed base salary, $1.5 million total in per-game roster bonuses, $100,000 workout bonus — and $8.5 million in incentives.
RB James White: Re-Signing on a one-year $2.5 million fully guaranteed.
WR Nelson Agholor: Agreed to a two-year contract worth $26 million. His deal has an annual base salary of $11 million with $2 million in incentives per year.
WR Kendrick Bourne: Signing a three-year deal worth $22.5 million.
TE Hunter Henry: Agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million contract that includes $25 million fully guaranteed.
TE Jonnu Smith: Agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal that includes $31.25 million fully guaranteed.
OT Trent Brown: Acquired in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders (along with a 2022 seventh-round pick) in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round pick,
C David Andrews: Signing a four-year deal.
New England Patriots Head Coach apparently doesn’t like losing very much and it is also clear he doesn’t give a flip about fantasy football.
James White is depth in a very crowed backfield at this point in his career. Nelson Agholor was reborn in Vegas a year ago, in Philly he appeared to be allergic to the football. Kendrick Bourne is another WR upgrade for New England but that says more about the WRs in New England than it does Kendrick Bourne. It would appear that WR N’Keal Harry is in danger of a trade or a release. Simply put he has been a bust.
Where things get very interesting for fantasy is the TE position. Two of the hottest free agents at the TE position both landed in New England. I like this for both of them to be honest, they both compliment what QB Cam Newton can do and that is short yard passes.
They will cannibalize each other in the red zone and that hurts their overall value. In addition, when ever the Pats get into the red zone, Cam will look to tuck it and run. I like both these TE’s to be top 10-15, likely just outside the top-12 when all is said and done. So much for the Kyle Pitts to NE at No. 15.
New York Jets
Cap Space: $34,076,833
Draft Slot: Pick 2
RB Josh Adams: Re-signed a contract.
RB Tevin Coleman: 1-year $1.1 million deal with $400,000 guaranteed.
WR Keelan Cole: Signing a one-year deal worth $5.5 million.
WR Corey Davis: Signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract.
TE Tyler Kroft: Signed a one-year, $2 million deal with $1.5 million guaranteed. It has a max value of $3 million with incentives.
The Jets have a new coaching staff in place and its a good place to be. Nowhere to go but up and the 2nd overall pick is staring you in the face. The Jets are almost certainly taking a QB at 2. I think it is a mistake, but I’m also not expecting a call from Robert Saleh anytime soon.
The additions the Jets have made certainly will improve the offense, regardless of who the QB is in 2021. Josh Adams is a depth signing that has next to no fantasy implications. Tevin Coleman is an interesting addition. He isn’t a back that I want on my rosters even though he’s on a ton of them. His upside here is this is an offense he knows.
In addition to adding Saleh as the Head Coach, they also added Mike Lafleur formerly of the San Francisco 49ers as their new Offensive Coordinator. Coleman is likely the lead back in a room full of mediocre NFL talent. The Jets will be adding a RB in the early rounds in my opinion.
Keelan Cole and Corey Davis join Jameson Crowder and Denzel Mims. The signings are nice but nothing special. Where you had all these WRs ranked a year ago is likely where they should be ranked now. Changing the QB or not, doesn’t change my mind a ton.
The Jets need to fix the offensive line, and roll with Sam Darnold for another season, drafting Penei Sewell is what they should do but hey, that is just my 2 cents I suppose.
2. AFC North
Cap Space: $17,063,950
Draft Slot: Pick 27
WR Sammy Watkins: agreed to a one-year deal
TE Josh Oliver: Acquired in a trade with the Jaguars in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
OG Kevin Zeitler: Agreed to a three-year deal worth $22 million that includes $16 million fully guaranteed.
Fairly uneventful offseason thus far for the Ravens. The addition of Zeitler is a solid addition for a team that runs more than they pass. They swung and missed on Kenny Golladay and Juju Smith-Shuster and landed on often injured WR Sammy Watkins.
2021 will be more ground and pound most likely. I would anticipate that the Ravens grab a WR with pick 27, and in this draft, they should get a good one.
I am still pretty happy with shares of Lamar Jackson, JK Dobbins, Mark Andrews and to a lesser degree Hollywood Brown and Gus Edwards should he stick around. Adding Sammy Watkins does nothing for me as a fantasy manager, he has missed at least six games three of the last five years.
Cap Space: $23,005,966
Draft Slot: Pick 5
QB Brandon Allen: Re-signed to a one-year contract.
RB Samaje Perine: Re-signed to a two-year contract.
OT Riley Reiff: Signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal that includes a $5.5 million signing bonus.
OG Quinton Spain: Finalizing a one-year deal to remain in Cincy.
The Bengals have been fairly busy on the defensive side of the football as they should be. In addition to the lower-level defensive additions, they added Riley Reiff a much-needed addition to a horrible offensive line. Picking at 5 it would appear that Penei Sewell will be there for them and if they don’t make that pick, they deserve to lose their franchise. They have to protect Joe Burrow before he gets killed.
There are a lot of folks linking the Bengals to Ja’Marr Chase at 5, and if you ask me that is a massive error in judgement should the Bengals go that route.
Draft Slot: 26
WR Rashard Higgins: Re-signed on a one-year deal.
WR JoJo Natson: Signed a free-agent deal.
OT Greg Senat: Signed a contract.
It would appear that the Browns are comfortable rolling with the team that had their fairy-tale season end in the Divisional Round of the playoffs a season ago. A game they should have won by the way.
They bring back Rashard Higgins in a deal that makes sense for team and player. The big question is WR Odell Beckham Jr. Widely rumoured to be traded this offseason, OBJ remains a Brown and coming in off yet another disappointing injury plagued season.
I like OBJ more than most, and at his current value I will be buying a lot more than I will be selling. The player on the Browns I am the most excited about in 2021, is QB Baker Mayfield. I think he takes a big step forward this season.
Another season under stable coaching will do Baker wonders, and despite popular belief this team is better with OBJ on the field not worse.
Cap Space: $8,692,586
Draft Slot: Pick 24
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: Signed a one-year deal worth $8 million. The deal includes a $7 million signing bonus, $1 million base salary and four voidable years, lowering his 2021 cap number to $1.6 million.
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: Agreed to re-sign on a one-year deal.
OT Zach Banner: Re-signs with the team on a two-year, $9.5 million deal, including a $3.25 million signing bonus.
OL B.J. Finney: Signed a one-year contract.
OL Joe Haeg: Signed a two-year deal.
The biggest move the Steelers made in all honesty was restructuring QB Ben Roethlisberger’s contract. Without that move they were in a world of hurt.
In one of the more surprising moves of free agency, the Steelers are bringing WR Juju Smith-Shuster back. JuJu turned down more money from other teams in order to stay with the Steelers. From a production standpoint, he made the right decision; there likely isn’t another offense in the league willing to feed him the sort of 128-target workload that he saw in 2020.
Smith-Schuster is one of just 11 WRs in NFL history with at least 3,500 receiving yards before turning 25. He’s shown the ability to operate as one of the league’s most productive receivers. He has also invested in himself and that is something I like to see. Juju should (if Ben can hold up), be a top 15-20 WR again this season.
The need for a three-down RB remains glaring, while this passing game should consist of enough volume to continue to enable three fantasy-viable WRs in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Juju. It remains very possible that Pittsburgh adds a RB with pick 24.
3. AFC South
Cap Space: $5,757,140
Draft Slot: Pick 67, Traded pick 3 and pick 36 to Miami.
QB Tyrod Taylor: Signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal ($2.5 million guaranteed) that could be worth up to $12.5 million.
RB Mark Ingram: Signed a one-year deal worth up to $3 million that included a $500,000 signing bonus. Ingram will have a $1.5 million base salary, $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses and $500,000 in incentives tied to total yards.
RB Phillip Lindsay: base salary of $2.25 million, a signing bonus of $500,000 and a roster bonus of $343,750. That gives him a 2021 salary cap hit of $3,093,750.
WR Andre Roberts: Agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth up to $5.95 million.
WR Alex Erickson: Signing a one-year deal.
WR Donte Moncrief: Signing a one-year deal.
TE Pharaoh Brown: Re-signing on a one-year, $2.2 million deal.
TE Ryan Izzo: Acquired in a trade with the Patriots in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round pick.
The biggest question mark surrounding the circus that is the Houston Texans in QB Deshaun Watson. Watson is done with the Texans, and the Texans are up to now refusing to deal him. Add in the current off-filed circumstances surrounding Watson and its anyone’s guess when we see him play again, let alone where.
The Texans have seemed to operate this offseason with the mindset that the requirements to be a Houston Texan are two feet and a heartbeat. I mean what are they doing? Mark Ingram, Alex Erickson, Pharaoh Brown, Andre Roberts, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Izzo and Tyrod Taylor? These are not players that anyone should covet.
It will be a very long season for Brandin Cooks and the Houston Texans. Personally, I hope Phillip Lindsay becomes the main back but honestly, he might be too good for them.
Cap Space: $31,232,364
Draft Slot: Pick 21
QB Carson Wentz: Acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round selection.
RB Marlon Mack: Re-signing a one-year, $2 million contract.
WR T.Y. Hilton: Re-signing on a one-year deal worth $10 million with $8 million guaranteed.
OT Sam Tevi: Signed a contract with the Colts.
Wentz was brutal for the majority of the 2020 season. It is also true that he wasn’t given much help between the Eagles’ banged-up offensive line and underwhelming receiving core. The former No. 2 overall pick wasn’t a complete disaster in 2020, only because he rushed for 276 yards and scored five rushing TDs.
Wentz shouldn’t be prioritized in single-QB fantasy leagues. He’s also not a prime target in two-QB leagues as he enters a run-first offense that isn’t exactly overflowing with skill-position talent. The good news is Frank Reich and the Colts’ offensive line presents Wentz with a great opportunity to get back to his 2017 form. The bad news is that it’s been three-plus years and counting since we’ve seen that player, a player that I believe is gone for good.
Bringing TY Hilton was if nothing else save, and Jonathan Taylor remains the key to this offense. It’s a bonus of Wentz can breathe some life into Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman. If he can look out for the Colts in 2021.
Cap Space: $42,042,486
Draft Slot: Pick 1, Pick 25 acquired from Los Angeles.
QB C.J. Beathard: Signed a two-year, $5 million deal plus incentives.
RB Carlos Hyde: Agreed to a two-year, $6 million contract.
WR Jamal Agnew: Agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $21 million.
WR Phillip Dorsett: Agreed to sign with the Jaguars.
WR Marvin Jones: Signing a short-term deal worth $7 million.
OT Cam Robinson: Received the franchise tag.
OG Tyler Shatley: Terms of the contract have not been disclosed.
In previous free agency podcasts I had a lot of guys heading to Jacksonville. In the end none of them landed here and considering the cap space that the Jags have I would classify their offseason as disappointing.
The addition of CJ Beathard seems to single the Gardner Minshew relationship is frayed at best. Look for Minshew to be elsewhere in 2021 and for Beathard to back up No.1 overall phenom Trevor Lawrence.
Carlos Hyde reunites with his college coach and the move has to been seen as a positive for James Robinson. Hyde won’t take much of his workload and the addition of Hyde should take the Jags out of the early RB conversation in the draft.
The WR group in Jacksonville is interesting after the addition of Marvin Jones. Jones joins Laviska Shenault, Collin Johnson and they up and down DJ Chark. Jacksonville could certainly use another WR IMO, but they have bigger needs at this time.
I am interested to see Lawrence at this level and see if he can get DJ Chark to live up to the expectations people have for him. I have my doubts thus the need for another WR.
Cap Space: $10,698,291
Draft Slot: Pick 22
WR Josh Reynolds: Agreed to terms on a one-year deal.
TE Anthony Firkser: Agreed to terms on a one-year deal.
TE Geoff Swaim: Re-signed on a one-year, $2.5 million deal with $2.25 million guaranteed.
OT Kendall Lamm: Agreed to a two-year contract worth up to $8.5 million.
OT Ty Sambrailo: Re-signing on a contract.
LB Bud Dupree: Signing a five-year contract worth up to $85 million with $35 million guaranteed.
The Titans went into the start of free agency with one pass catcher under contract, AJ Brown. Now I suppose if you are only going to have one guy under contract, Brown is a good one to have. They brought back TE Anthony Firkser, and Geoff Swaim and added former Ram Josh Reynolds. I like the Firkser signing, he showed he can excel in limited opportunities a season ago.
Reynolds is in a great spot, taking over for Corey Davis. I have long been a fan of Josh Reynolds and my multiple shares may finally pay off. Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis leave 171 targets behind and Reynolds should capitalize.
The big signing for the Titans thus far is Bud Dupree. The Titans had one of the worst pass rushes in the league a year ago, hopefully he can come back the same as he was prior to his torn ACL a year ago.
This team will continue to run through Derrick Henry as long as the big man can keep it on the tracks.
4. AFC West
Cap Space: $30,659,494
Draft Slot: Pick 9
RB Mike Boone: Agreed to a two-year contract with $2.6 million guaranteed, including a $1.6 million signing bonus.
CB Kyle Fuller for one year, $9.5 Million
The Broncos apparently value Mike Boone more than Phillip Lindsay. It seems unlikely Boone takes over this backfield, but weekly touches are not out of the question. This offense is missing an explosive element in the run game, and Boone made the most out of his opportunities with the Vikings. Overall, Boone’s average of 3.5 yards after contact per carry is tied for the sixth-highest mark among 121 RBs with at least 50 carries over the past three seasons. Boone is a stash with a upside.
There are questions at the QB position, as the Broncos are reported to nit be in love with Drew Lock. I remain high on Lock and he is a QB that I want to buy. I still see potential here in an offense with Melvin Gordan, KJ Hamler, Noah Fant, Jerry Jeudy, and the retuning Courtland Sutton.
Kansas City Chiefs
Cap Space: $16,890,324
Draft Slot: Pick 31
WR Demarcus Robinson: Re-signing on a one-year deal.
TE Blake Bell: Signing a free-agent deal with the Chiefs.
OG Kyle Long: Signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal that could be worth up to $5 million with incentives.
OG Joe Thuney: Signed a five-year contract worth $80 million that includes $32.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. The third year of the contract is only guaranteed for injury; however, it converts to full in 2022, which brings the practical guarantee at signing to $48 million.
OT Mike Remmers: Re-signed on a one-year contract with a max value of $7 million, including $3.5 million in guarantees.
Anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows that the offensive line needed to be a priority of the Chiefs. They added Kyle Long who came out of retirement to sign, gave a big deal to former Patriots Joe Thuney, and will be getting Laurent Duvernay-Tardif back. Tardif opted out of the 2020 season to help battle the Covid-19 outbreak in his native Quebec.
The line will be better, and the offense hasn’t lost anything other than Sammy Watkins, and Damien Williams. One they didn’t have at all last year and the other might as well have not been there.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is yet again in another advantageous spot to take the next step to becoming an every week top-12 fantasy RB.
Las Vegas Raiders
Cap Space: $3,196,305
Draft Slot: Pick 17
RB Kenyan Drake: Signed a two-year, $11 million deal that has a max value of $14.5 million.
RB Theo Riddick: Re-signed on a one-year, $1.175 million.
WR John Brown: Signing a one-year, $3.75 million deal worth up to $5.5 million.
WR Zay Jones: Expected to re-sign with the Raiders.
WR Willie Snead: Agreed to a one-year deal
TE Derek Carrier: Agreed to a one-year deal.
OG Richie Incognito: Re-signing on a one-year deal worth up to $2.62 million, including $1.1 million guaranteed.
C Nick Martin: Signing with the Raiders.
OL Denzelle Good: Re-signing on a two-year deal worth $8.36 million, including $3.19 million guaranteed.
DE Yannick Ngakoue: Signing a two-year contract worth $26 million.
The addition of Drake is bad news for Jacobs’ fantasy stock. There’s little reason to believe Jacobs’ touches as both a rusher and receiver will go up and there are a lot of reasons to think they go down, and there’s a better than decent chance this offense regresses badly due to their offensive line turnover.
It’s not out of the question that Drake winds up taking over at some point. Drake was one of the league’s most efficient backs with the Dolphins from 2016-2018 before he was traded to the Cardinals halfway through the 2019 season. He was awesome in his first eight games in Arizona. 2020 was not as successful for Drake. He did play thru a painful ankle injury with moderate success during the second half of the year.
John Brown is a nice upgrade over Nelson Agholor and could help bring along 2020 first round pick Henry Ruggs. Darren Waller is still the key to this offense regardless of any offseason moves they make.
Los Angeles Chargers
Cap Space: $26,587,474
Draft Slot: Pick 13
TE Jared Cook: Signing a one-year deal worth $6 million with $4.5 million guaranteed.
OT Matt Feiler: Signed to a multi-year contract with the Chargers.
C Corey Linsley: Signing a five-year, $62.5 million deal that will pay him $26 million over the first two years.
Biggest news in LA is likely the loss of Hunter Henry, more than anything they have added, no offense to Jared Cook. The Chargers will still be a top offense with Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen.
LA picking at 13, has Kyle Pitts written all over it, if he lasts that long in the draft. They have some legit defensive needs as well, so we shall see how it all plays out.
Top Remaining Free Agents
Antonio Brown (33) – A.B. was more productive than you might remember (483 yards in eight regular-season games) but still wasn’t the old Antonio Brown. The risk-reward ratio now looks out of whack unless your team employs Tom Brady at quarterback.
James Conner (25) – Conner has struggled to stay healthy in his career. Conner assumed the Steelers backfield when Le’Veon Bell decided to sit the 2018 season out. Conner put up 1470 yards that season and 1651 yards in the two years since. Still a serviceable asset in my opinion and one I would expect to sign sooner rather than later.
Cordarrelle Patterson (30) – Patterson is one of the best special teams players in NFL history, he’s not however an efficient offensive weapon, no matter how much Matt Nagy wanted him to be.
Duke Johnson (27) – I remain convinced Johnson can be one of the best third-down backs in football, we just need teams that employ him to stop hating him.
There are a lot of skilled defensive players still available, Jadeveon Clowney, Casey Heyward, and Justin Houston.
If you are interested in the defensive players for your IDP leagues, I recommend following Brad Menendez and Kraig Reuth over on twitter and make sure you tune into the IDP Heat Seekers live stream on YouTube hosted by Brad Menendez on Thursday nights.
That’s going to do it for today’s episode Thank you for listening to my AFC Free Agency Recap.
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