Free Agency In Review (Day 1)
By Sigmund Bloom
July 27th, 2011

While it wasn't as hectic as expected, there was a lot of action on the opening day of free agency. Here are some highlights.

Quarterback

Neither of Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton were traded, but there was movement on both situations. Orton might be headed to Miami (or Arizona), but he is almost certainly going to get traded. This is hurting the market for Kevin Kolb, which is already on life support if the Eagles are really asking for a first-round pick AND Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, which could mean that Kolb just stays in Philadelphia as a backup to Michael Vick.

Fantasy Winner: Tim Tebow - he'll start and he presents as much upside as any QB2 because of his legs and the way he finished 2010, putting up QB1 numbers in three games as a rookie, albeit against weak defenses.
Fantasy Loser: Kolb - we know he isn't thought of as highly around the league.

Seattle signed Tarvaris Jackson, and they are considering former Pete Carroll pupil Matt Leinart - which officially marks the end of the Matt Hasselbeck era. Jackson and Leinart will compete with Charlie Whitehurst to start for the Seahawks.

Fantasy Winners: Jackson, Whitehurst, Leinart - from no value to almost no value
Fantasy Losers: Marshawn Lynch, Mike Williams - they are saddled with probably the worst opening day QB situation in the league.

Hasselbeck was linked to the 49ers in recent days, but they ended up re-signing Alex Smith for one year as expected. That leaves Tennessee and Arizona as the most likely places for Hasselbeck to land.

Fantasy Losers: San Francisco fans who have to endure another year of Smith.

Jay Glazer is reporting that the Redskins have a deal in place with Minnesota getting one or possibly two sixth-round picks for Donovan McNabb if the team can come to agreement with McNabb about his compensation for this season.

Fantasy Winners: Percy Harvin, maybe Sidney Rice - could be a lot worse than McNabb throwing to you

ESPN's Chris Mortensen said the Eagles and Dolphins have done a lot evaluation work on Vince Young. There's no sign of movement in the Carson Palmer-Mike Brown staring contest.

Running Back

The DeAngelo Williams derby is down to Denver and Carolina by all accounts. The Panthers just gave Charles Johnson 30 million dollars guaranteed, so they are in a spending mood.

Fantasy Winners and Losers: Pins and needles here folks. Knowshon Moreno and Jonathan Stewart's ADP probably move multiple rounds on the news either way, and all the other RB dominoes in free agency will fall differently depending on the answer. Stay tuned.

Trusted Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer Joe Reedy says the Bengals are still making re-signing Cedric Benson a top priority in free agency.

Fantasy Winners and Losers: Benson might get a slight bump because some expected him to lose his sway over Cincinnati, but he's still an avoid in my book. Bernard Scott remains the best RB on the roster and better fit for what Jay Gruden wants to do on offense.

The Broncos are interested in Willis McGahee. We'll have to see what else they do at RB before we can judge whether this is a good or bad destination for him. The Broncos also signed UDFA Mario Fannin (Auburn), who is a Mike Tolbert-esque bowling ball with 4.4 speed. Remember his name if injuries hit the Denver backfield hard this year and he makes the team.

Marion Barber was released, which should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. He was due.

Wide Receiver

Most sources say the Seahawks and Vikings are the two main contenders for Sidney Rice's services.

Fantasy Losers: Well, this isn't making me any more optimistic about Sidney Rice's prospects this year. His owners should pray for a Vikings win and McNabb trade to join Rice in Minnesota. Percy Harvin gets a nice bump if Rice leaves and Big Mike Williams gets a ding if Rice goes to Seattle.

Santana Moss re-signed in Washington for a three-year, 15 million dollar deal, six million guaranteed.

Fantasy Fallout: Moss actually put up great PPR numbers with Rex Grossman last year. He's a value in 8th or later in PPR leagues as long as the team re-signs Sexy Rexy. I'm not sure he would have had a brighter outlook in Chicago, a possibility commonly brought up in connection with Moss lately, even though the QB play would be better.

The Jets have made an offer to Santonio Holmes.

Fantasy Winner: You, if you draft Holmes in the fifth. He'll put up top 15 numbers as the Jets #1 receiver

Lots of reports have DeSean Jackson holding out.

Fantasy Loser: You, if you draft Jackson in the third or fourth. He never really looked the same after the big hit he took. A protracted holdout would push him out of the top 20. He's already unreliable in PPR leagues.

Steve Smith (Car) is available on the trade market and the Chargers are interested according to Charlotte Observer beat writer Charles Chandler. It is virtually certain that the Chargers will not re-sign Malcom Floyd according to Kevin Acee from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Fantasy Winners and Losers: I don't see how you have Smith outside of your top 25 WRs if Philip Rivers is throwing to him. Rivers becomes a real candidate for third QB off the board. Vincent Jackson takes a small hit if Smith joins the Chargers, I would project with very similar numbers. Floyd takes a huge hit just about anywhere else, last year was a fantasy perfect storm for his owners.

Derrick Mason said he would re-join the Ravens if they want him. It was also reported that the Ravens intend to sign Mason and fellow veteran cap cut Todd Heap to cheaper contracts. .

Fantasy Fallout: Joe Flacco needs a reliable #2 receiver as defenses took away Anquan Boldin with double teams at times last year. Without Mason (and Heap), he could struggle.

Aaron Rodgers made a heartfelt plea for the Packers to keep James Jones. They'll still likely let him walk.

Roy Williams was released, which was only a slightly bigger surprise than Marion Barber being released. Williams had his career year under Mike Martz, the Bears WR coach Darryl Drake has connections to Williams, and the Bears need size at WR. I still don't think Williams will do anything, but he did flash early last year before Tony Romo got hurt. Dez Bryant will start, but you knew that already anyway.

Everyone is interested in Plaxico Burress, which means no one probably is.

Chad Ochocinco is still a Bengal, but he'll likely go the way of Carson Palmer.

The Vikings signed Devin Aromashodu. If they don't re-sign Rice or get a startable wide receiver in free agency, he could get on the field this year.

Undrafted Free Agents (UDFAs)

Many intriguing UDFAs were signed to intriguing situations:

  • Big, strong Tori Gurley (South Carolina) to Green Bay
  • Harvin-esque speedster Jeremy Ross (Cal) to New England
  • Underachieving top talent Terrence Toliver (LSU) to Houston
  • Cam Newton college teammate and downfield playmaker Darvin Adams (Auburn) to Carolina
  • Other notables:

  • Cameron Kenney (Oklahoma) to San Diego
  • Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State) and Kris Adams (UTEP) to Chicago
  • Armon Binns (Cincinnati) to Jacksonville
  • DeAndre Brown (Southern Miss) to Philadelphia
  • Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to bloom@footballguys.com.

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