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This Week in NFL News - 4/21

Sigmund Bloom goes over this week in NFL News

AFC

Baltimore - WR Breshad Perriman participated in running drills for the Ravens when they opened their offseason program on Monday, April 18.

Why It Matters: Perriman's knee injury and subsequent surgery had seemed worse than originally reported, and the team's signing of Mike Wallace was even more ominous. This is a great long-term sign for Perriman, but he will still likely have to earn his playing time this year with Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken also back.

Cleveland - The Browns traded the #2 pick in the 2016 draft and a 2017 fourth-round pick the Eagles for the #8 overall pick, #77 and #100 in the 2016 draft, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft and a second-round pick in the 2018 draft.

Why It Matters: Head coach Hue Jackson hinted that the team might prefer Memphis's Paxton Lynch anyway, so they could still be in the first-round quarterback hunt. It made sense for an analytics-based front office to prefer multiple early picks to the #2. Don't be surprised if the Browns trade down again in the first round.

Denver - The Broncos signed RB Ronnie Hillman to a one-year, two million dollar contract with $600,000 guaranteed.

Why It Matters: CJ Anderson might have Hillman nipping at his heels again, and the Broncos could still add a running back in the draft. The Broncos played Hillman a ton last year despite Anderson looking better, so this isn't great news for Anderson's fantasy ceiling, but he will still enter the season as the uncontested starter. 

Denver - The Broncos had free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer in for a visit this week.

Why It Matters: Hoyer left without signing a contract, but the Broncos are covering all the bases at quarterback if their potential trade with the 49ers for Colin Kaepernick doesn't come to fruition. Whoever plays quarterback for the Broncos this year, don't expect a robust passing offense.

Houston - The Texans released 2015 starting QB Brian Hoyer.

Why It Matters: This move was a long time coming after Brock Osweiler was signed to a massive free agent deal. The quarterback situation in the NFL is so bad that Hoyer is drawing interest from multiple teams and could even start again after blowing a playoff game in spectacular fashion earlier this year.

New York Jets - NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Jets and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick are not expected to have a deal before the draft

Why It Matters: The Jets were considered a possible landing spot for Paxton Lynch at #20, but that will harder now with quarterbacks going one and two in the draft. Rich Cimini of ESPN reports that Ryan Fitzpatrick is still the #1 priority for the Jets, but now it seems like we will have to wait even longer to see a resolution here. It still seems like the smart bet is Fitzpatrick opening the season as the Jets' starter.

New York Jets - Free agent QB Brian Hoyer visited the Jets for two days and had a physical before going on to visit Denver.

Why It Matters: If the Jets are trying to bluff Ryan Fitzpatrick into signing a deal, Hoyer is not going to be much of a threat. That being said, they need to explore all non-Geno Smith options in case nothing works out with Fitzpatrick.

San Diego - Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the Chargers are receiving "plenty of interest" in the #3 pick.

Why It Matters: With the #1 and #2 picks now slated to be quarterbacks, the Chargers hold the de facto #1 pick. LT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss) is probably many teams #1 player on the board, but the Chargers have seemed more interested in players like Oregon DL DeForest Buckner. A team such as the Ravens could trade up to get Tunsil, or perhaps the #3 quarterback, Memphis's Paxton Lynch could garner some trade up interest with the quarterback inflation in the wake of the #1 and #2 picks being traded.

NFC

Carolina - The Panthers rescinded the franchise tag for CB Josh Norman, making him a free agent.

Why It Matters: Norman would have been the top name at the open of free agency. He is the best cornerback in the game and should command 14-15 million a year, with Washington and San Francisco early frontrunners for his services. The Panthers elite defense drew a lot of swagger from Norman, and they will miss him sorely. While the team seemed to reject the idea of catering to a player who thought he was bigger than the team, in most of these cases, a player will not walk away from franchise tag money. This could represent the high water mark for the Panthers passing in 2015.

Chicago - ESPN's Jeff Dickerson wrote that RB Jeremy Langford will remain "the clear cut favorite" for the most touches in the Bears backfield, even if they draft a running back.

Why It Matters: Langford wasn't impressive by most observation and measures, but the Bears seem willing to stick with him. That could change if Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State) falls to #11. The Bears would have trouble passing on the running back, and now that the Eagles are no longer sitting at #8, he could fall to them.

Dallas - QB Tony Romo is throwing fully after his March collarbone surgery.

Why It Matters: The Cowboys lost their shot at taking one of the top two quarterbacks, and Jerry Jones has shown a ton of interest in draft quarterbacks. At least Romo will be healthy for this year, but the team still seems open to selecting his possible replacement this year.

Detroit - LB DeAndre Levy was present and participated in the first day of offseason workouts for the Lions.

Why It Matters: Levy was a linchpin for a top defense in 2014, and the Lions sorely missed him in 2015. He should be an IDP stud and help the Lions defense return to prominence as long as he can stay healthy this year. 

Green Bay - A source told ESPN's Rob Demovsky that RB Eddie Lacy has lost 15-18 pounds this offseason. Teammates Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Mike Daniels all had positive things to say about his progress.

Why It Matters: There has been a steady drumbeat of positive news on Lacy during the offseason. He continues to present a possible big value as a third-round pick in early drafts.

Green Bay - ESPN's Rob Demovsky reports that WR Jordy Nelson was able to do everything in the Packers first offseason workout on Monday, April 18. Running routes is the next step according to Nelson.

Why It Matters: Nelson is falling to the late second in some early drafts, but there's no reason to think he won't provide the mid WR1 production he had shown in the past before tearing his ACL last August. Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb could also be values based on the boost Nelson's return will provide.

Philadelphia - The Eagles traded the #8, #77, and #100 picks in the 2016 draft, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, and a second-round pick in the 2018 draft to Cleveland for the #2 overall pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick.

Why It Matters: The Eagles might be satisfied with either of the draft's top two quarterbacks Carson Wentz (North Dakota State) and Jared Goff (California), but chances are they know who the Rams want (reports are split) and had the other quarterback #1 and their target when they were also trying to trade up for #1. Sam Bradford may request a trade, according to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole. The Broncos and Jets could have their quarterback choices complicated even more. The Eagles at 8 seemed like a likely match for Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, but now the Giants (#10), Bears (#11), and Dolphins (#13) are in play. The Eagles won't have a first-round pick next year, so if Bradford is traded, they could be in for a long rebuilding process after losing a top 10 pick for 2017.