Yesterday was the cut off for franchise tags which makes the free agency picture a little bit clearer. Free agency is coming up next week so I suppose we should talk about the players on the market. What teams plan on doing in the draft seems as relevant as ever when it comes to free agency this year. There are a lot of teams in need of a quarterback. If you’ve been paying attention to mock draft related things, you’re well aware that there is a good chance that 5-7 quarterbacks go in the first round. Of these 5-7, my guess is 3 see more than a handful of starts this season depending on their landing spots. That leaves a few teams who need starters from the free agency pool.
In this free agency running back class, I don’t see much more than running back by committee contributors. The running back class is very deep as far as this upcoming draft goes, so I’m doubting anyone makes a huge financial splash. Wide receiver is going to be interesting. There are a couple of big playmakers whose services are available. Speculating is all that we can really do here, so let’s run through some of the players and talk about ideal landing spots.
- Kirk Cousins is probably going to be a Viking. There is a rumor that the Vikings offered Cousins over 90 million, all guaranteed for the next three years. If you’re keeping score at home, this is the first contract of this magnitude that has been fully guaranteed in the history of NFL football. If this deal is made, Cousins will see a big boost to his fantasy value. In Washington, Cousins didn’t play with anyone of the caliber of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, or Dalvin Cook. One of the best defenses in the NFL will take pressure off of Cousins and could often leave him with a shorter field. It doesn’t hurt that the Vikings hired John DeFilippo who is the great quarterback mind behind Carson Wentz and the resurgent Nick Foles.
- Teddy Bridgewater wants to be a starter and probably deserves a shot to do so. He will surely have to go through a lot of doctor’s visits and physicals before a team throws him the playbook. The Jets seem like a good fit for Bridgewater since they are not likely to land Cousins or pursue Case Keenum. More on him later. The Jets might be in the running for drafting a quarterback but they may want a rookie like Josh Allen to sit for a year. Even if they don’t draft a quarterback, Bridgewater is a cheaper option and probably won’t require a long-term deal.
- A.J. McCarron is probably going to be a Cleveland Brown. Hell, they better bring him in after the trade fiasco from last year. The Browns probably want to break camp with a veteran as the QB1 instead of a rookie. Whether he wins the job or not is up to the talent that we have yet to see.
- I can see Case Keenum being a Bronco, but the Cardinals will also be in play. If you are a Case Keenum owner in dynasty formats, I think the Broncos is probably the ideal landing spot, at least in the short term.
- Dion Lewis leads the pack among free agent running backs after the comeback of a lifetime last season. I can see Tampa paying for his services as a change of pace back leading up to them drafting the future back of the team in the second round. Doug Martin was a nightmare and this team needs a running game to take pressure off of Jameis.
- Speaking of Doug Martin, I think the Giants are in play to keep up the tradition of a terrible running game. With Frank Gore walking away, I can see him landing in Indianapolis.
- Carlos Hyde is the three down back that the Detroit Lions need. He did not get enough credit for how productive he was in San Francisco when he was on the field.
- I could see the Houston Texans bringing in Jerick McKinnon as a replacement to the underwhelming and expensive Lamar Miller. I could see him splitting work with D’Onta Foreman in 2018.
- Isaiah Crowell seems like a nice cheap fit for the New York Jets. The Jets probably realize Saquon Barkley isn’t falling to the 6th spot in the draft so they bring in a cheap Matt Forte replacement to compete with Bilal Powell.
- I think Legarrette Blount resigns with the Eagles. He likes it there, he is cheap, and he is a solid change of pace back in that offense.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
- The Bears need to bring in Allen Robinson. Mitch Trubisky needs a stud wide receiver. Kevin White probably isn’t going to pan out and Cameron Meredith is a solid WR2 when he’s healthy. If Nagy can land Robinson and he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit.
- The Los Angeles Rams are going to make a run at resigning Sammy Watkins and I think they end up landing him for a reasonable price. Robert Woods is the clear number one in L.A. but I can see Sean McDermott trying to bring more consistency out of Watkins in the future.
- The Jaguars need to resign Marqise Lee. He will be affordable and Allen Robinson isn’t walking back through that door.
- Terrelle Pryor isn’t a bad option for the Jaguars either. Things just didn’t shake out for him in Washington and a lot of his inefficiencies were exposed. Another fresh start might be what Pryor needs.
- Danny Amendola should resign with the Patriots.
- I want to see a Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees reunion. Jimmy Graham didn’t see his best days in Seattle but was still very effective in the red zone. Graham still has a couple of good years left in the tank and deserves to be somewhere where he is utilized.
- I can see Tyler Eifert playing second fiddle to Gronkowski in New England. He’s cheap and talented and they don’t need a lot of volume out of him when the Pats are at full strength.