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This Week in NFL News - 3/31

Sigmund Bloom runs down this week in NFL news

AFC

Cincinnati - The Bengals signed WR Brandon LaFell.

Why It Matters: LaFell should have every chance to start with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu gone to greener pastures. He might be fourth in the pecking order for targets, but if injuries strike one of the Bengals main pass catchers, LaFell could be a resurgent player in fantasy circles. His 2015 was marred by an early mystery injury that landed him on PUP and a second half of the season that resembled his problem years in Carolina.

Denver - Mike Klis of KUSA reports that the Broncos "remain interested" in acquiring San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick.

Why It Matters: The 49ers appear set on keeping Kaepernick even with a 11.9 million guaranteed salary, plus another 2.4 million in roster/workout bonuses. The Broncos are reluctant to enter the season with Mark Sanchez no matter what they say. The Broncos will try to get Kaepernick to cut his salary and they will have to give up draft picks, so this story is far from over. If Kaepernick does go to Denver, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas's values take yet another hit.

Denver - Head coach Gary Kubiak said TE Jeff Heuerman will be counted on "big time".

Why It Matters: Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis won't be back, and Virgil Green is more of a blocking tight end. It is asking a lot for any tight end to be fantasy relevant in this offense, even though Kubiak features the tight end, but if there is one this year, it will be Heuerman. 

Kansas City - The Chiefs signed RB Spencer Ware and RB Charcandrick West to extensions, and they are "working" to trade RB Knile Davis, according to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.

Why It Matters: Davis has been linked to Miami, and the size/speed tease could figure into the unsettled backfield if he is traded there. West and Ware were a solid duo once Charles went down, and the team seems content to have them backing up Charles this year and playing potentially larger roles in 2017 if Charles starts to slow down.

Miami - The Dolphins signed RB Daniel Thomas and RB Isaiah Pead, and had Arian Foster in for a visit, but did not sign him to a contract.

Why It Matters: The Dolphins are collecting disappointing second round picks while starting their file on the best free agent back left who is still months from being ready to play, which probably means months from being ready to sign. It seems very unlikely that Jay Ajayi (who former head coach Dan Campbell reportedly thought was better than Lamar Miller last year) will have the backfield all to himself, but the identity of his main competition is still unknown.

Oakland - Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the Raiders want to expand TE Clive Walford's role going forward.

Why It Matters: The Raiders have maybe the best interior offensive line in the league, and a very strong wide receiver duo. Walford can work the middle of the field and showed more explosive athleticism than expected in his rookie year. He'll be a late round flier or early season waiver wire watch list candidate who could pay big dividends in his second year.

NFC

Detroit - The Lions signed OL Geoff Schwartz.

Why It Matters: The Lions offensive line was an issue last year, and Schwartz can help. He at worst can back up their young guard duo of Larry Warford and Laken Tomlinson, and if necessary, push Michael Ola at right tackle. 

Green Bay - The Packers signed TE Jared Cook to a one-year, 2.75 million dollar deal.

Why It Matters: Despite his hail mary heroics, Richard Rodgers is just a guy. Cook is at the opposite end of the athleticism spectrum, but has always disappointed. Aaron Rodgers is easily the best quarterback he has played with in his career, so Cook could be that receiving tight end the Packers have missed since Jermichael Finley had to prematurely retire.

San Francisco - QB Colin Kaepernick's 11.9 million dollar 2016 salary is now fully guaranteed.

Why It Matters: Not a bad haul for a quarterback who seemed to lose the confidence of his teammates last year. New head coach Chip Kelly's system would highlight Kaepernick's legs, but his slow decision-making might stunt the structured passing game of Kelly's offense. This story isn't over yet, with Kaepernick still a potential trade target for the Broncos.

Washington - Head coach Jay Gruden said the team let Alfred Morris walk in part because they are "very excited" about Matt Jones.

Why It Matters: Jones should get first crack at the starting job, and a very valuable fantasy workload. Jones had fumble issues, got banged up, and wasn't really that impressive outside of one game against the Rams, but his opportunity in a very productive second half of the season offense are difficult to ignore if he's still there in the 6th or 7th round of drafts. Washington could still take one of a very deep second tier of backs in the upcoming draft.