The week before free agency was action-packed as usual, and we knew most of the headlines from the massive period of player movement before the start of the new league year, but not everything. Let’s run down the recent player movement news, division by division and team by team.
Buffalo - Signed WR Cole Beasley (Dallas) to a four-year, $29 million dollar deal, signed WR John Brown (Baltimore) to a three-year, $27 million dollar deal, signed TE Tyler Kroft (Cincinnati) to a three-year, $18.75 million dollar deal, signed C Mitch Morse (Kansas City) to a four-year, $44.5 million dollar deal, signed RB Frank Gore (Miami) to a one-year, $2 million dollar deal, signed CB Kevin Johnson (Houston) to a one-year, $2 million dollar deal, signed OL Ty Nsekhe (Washington) to a two-year, $14.5 million dollar deal
So much for all of the noise about Buffalo being a bad destination for players after Antonio Brown and Anquan Boldin spurned them. Brown is the most important fantasy addition, giving the Bills two speed receivers (along with 2018 UDFA Robert Foster, who broke out in the second half of the season) who can harness Josh Allen’s arm strength and talent combined with his ability to extend plays. Beasley will be a reliable option for high percentage targets from the slot, getting open early in plays, but this signing doesn’t dovetail with an Allen strength, as his short-area accuracy can be spotty. Kroft has been held back by injuries and with have competition for tight end targets from converted wide receiver Jason Croom, who had a few big plays last year. Croom’s arrow is pointing up and he shouldn’t be forgotten. Morse stops the bleeding from Eric Wood’s unexpected retirement last year, Nsekhe gives the team a reasonbly priced option to start at right tackle, and Gore will give the team a hard-nosed runner to spell LeSean McCoy in what should be a run-heavy attack. Johnson is an underrated under the radar signing. He was a first-round pick in 2014, is only 26, was held back by injuries more than poor play, and will be reunited with position coach John Butler, who was with him in Houston.
Miami - re-signed WR DeVante Parker to a two-year, $13 million dollar deal
The Dolphins released guard Josh Sitton and slot receiver Danny Amendola (signed by Detroit), and lost Gore, defensive end Cameron Wake (to Tennessee), and tackle Ju’Wuan James (to Denver) in free agency to accompany the quiet start to free agency for the usually active team. Parker is getting a fresh start with Adam Gase gone, but who is going to play quarterback? Certainly not Ryan Tannehill. Albert Wilson has a path to leading this team in targets with Amendola gone and 2018 fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage should be the #2 back, if not 1A with Gore flying north. This should be one of the most underwhelming offenses in the league.
New England - re-signed WR Phillip Dorsett to a one-year deal, re-signed DB Jason McCourty to a two-year deal, assigned original round tender to WR Josh Gordon, acquired DL Michael Bennett and a 2020 seventh-round pick for a 2020 fifth-round pick, signed WRs Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris to one-year deals
It was a typical open of free agency for Bill Belichick. The team will likely recoup compensatory picks in the third round for losing Trey Flowers (to Detroit) and Trent Brown (to Oakland), and certainly wasn’t going to break the bank for anyone to derail those gains. Dorsett could get more snaps next year with his return, and the team might be expecting Gordon back if they don’t make any significant moves at wide receiver. They were also in on slot receiver Adam Humphries, who ended up in Tennessee. It’s notable that Tennessee and Detroit, with former members of the Patriots organization at general manager and head coach, signed the Patriots biggest free agency prize and outbid them for their top target. Getting Bennett for couch cushion change (just like the Eagles did last year) is a smart move to get out ahead of losing Flowers. He was making noise about wanting a raise after Brandon Graham was re-signed by the Eagles, but might quiet down with a chance to get a ring under Belichick. Ellington could be productive in this offense if he stays healthy, which is a big if. Harris had some moments with Washington and could make the team if Josh Gordon isn't reinstated.
New York Jets - signed WR Jamison Crowder (Washington) to a three-year, $28.5 million dollar deal, signed RB Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh) to a four-year, $52.5 million dollar deal, signed LB CJ Mosley (Baltimore) to a five-year, $85 million dollar deal, acquired OL Kelechi Osemele and a 2019 sixth-round from Oakland for a 2019 fifth-round pick
The Jets made some noise with their copious cap room. Bell will raise the level of an offense that now has three complementary receivers entering their primes with the addition of Crowder, who has been slowed by injuries the last two years (the team also extended Quincy Enunwa late last year and gave Robby Anderson a second-round tender that probably won’t draw an offer). Sam Darnold also has a young receiving tight end in Chris Herndon, so the offense has no shortage of targets. Mosley will pair with Avery Williamson as the team is admitting their mistake of drafting Darron Lee in the first round in 2016. Mosley isn’t as good as his contract suggests, but he’ll still be a big jump up from Lee. Osemele will shore up the interior line if healthy, another use of the gobs of cap room to hopefully immediately improve the offense. The Jets also had signed Anthony Barr before he had a change of heart and returned to Minnesota instead.
The Texans mostly sat on the sidelines, with the exception of some shuffling of the secondary. Roby will start opposite Johnathan Joseph and Gipson will replace Tyrann Mathieu, who like Roby signed a one-year prove it deal with the team last year. Interestingly, the team didn’t upgrade at running back or on the offensive line, and they appear to be sticking with Lamar Miller, although there’s still the second wave of free agency and the draft ahead.
Indianapolis - signed WR Devin Funchess (Carolina), to a one-year, $13 million dollar deal, re-signed CB Pierre Desir to a three-year, $22.5 million dollar deal, re-signed DL Margus Hunt to a two-year, $9 million dollar deal
Despite having among the biggest amounts of cap room in the league, the Colts sat back and only added Funchess, who gives them another big target for Andrew Luck. He should have some fantasy relevance if he can wrestle red zone targets away from Eric Ebron. The team focused on retaining key 2018 performers at reasonable prices. Desir stopped the bleeding in a ragtag cornerback room, Hunt was a revelation after never delivering on his immense potential in Cincinnati, and the team also re-signed OL Mark Glowinski earlier in the offseason after he gelled with one of the most improved offensive lines in the league. Chris Ballard is smartly slow-playing the surplus of money and staying the course to build on 2018’s success.
The Jaguars spending sprees in free agency are over. Recent big signings Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson Sr, and Jeremy Parnell were all released before free agency to make room for Foles contract. Carlos Hyde was also let go as it appears the team threw away a fifth-round pick to acquire his services in a lost season last year. Foles will certainly improve the teams quarterback play and provide leadership, but unless the defense gets their swagger and weekly impact back, this team is still probably going to back to the familiar bottom dweller surroundings.
Tennessee - signed DE Cameron Wake (Miami) to a three-year, $23 million dollar deal, signed WR Adam Humphries (Tampa Bay) to a four-year, $36 million dollar deal, signed OL Rodger Saffold (Los Angeles Rams) to a four-year, $44 million dollar deal, re-signed S Kenny Vaccaro to a four-year, $26 million dollar deal
The Titans actually beat out Belichick for Humphries, in a move that could be a clue to new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s priorities. He’ll provide Marcus Mariota with high percentage throws from the slot. Wake helps a defense that has struggled to get consistent play from the edge and pair with 2018 second-round pick Harold Landry on passing downs. Saffold patches a hole on the line and is extra sweet for the team because they beat out the division rival and winning Texans, who have one of the league’s worst lines, for him. The Titans were smart to lock up Vaccaro before a hot safety market set his price higher than the bargain they got after picking him as a reclamation project last year.
Baltimore - signed RB Mark Ingram II (New Orleans) to a three-year, $15 million dollar deal, signed S Earl Thomas (Seattle) to a four-year, $55 million dollar deal, re-signed TE Nick Boyle to a three-year, $18 million dollar deal
The Ravens lost John Brown, Eric Weddle, Za’Darius Smith, Terrell Suggs, and CJ Mosley before making a move during the free agency period, but that was forgotten when they landed Thomas to replace and upgrade from Weddle and provide more back end help when the team sends blitzes at the opposing quarterback. Ingram will become the instant #1 on the run-heaviest team in the league and could not have landed in a better spot for his fantasy stock. Boyle will help as a top blocking tight end and his price didn’t look nearly as bad once lesser tight ends got as much or similar amounts in free agency.
Cincinnati - re-signed OT Bobby Hart to a three-year, $21 million dollar deal, re-signed TE CJ Uzomah to a three-year, $18 million dollar deal, signed CB BW Webb (New York Giants) to a three-year deal.
The Bengals return one of the worst right tackles in the league and a decent tight end. Yawn. This team is about to go through some hard times. Their first new signing, Webb is actually underrated and should upgrade the Bengals secondary.
Cleveland - traded the #17 and #95 picks in the 2019 draft, and S Jabrill Peppers to the Giants for WR Odell Beckham Jr, traded OG Kevin Zeitler to the Giants for EDGE Olivier Vernon, signed DL Sheldon Richardson (Seattle) to a three-year, $36 million dollar deal
No team made more of a move on their divisional foes than the Browns did by acquiring Beckham. Obviously it greatly expands the potential of their offense and creates a ton of fantasy ripple effect that will we examine in a soon-to-come roundtable. They have 2018 second-round pick Austin Corbett to replace Zeitler and adding Vernon and Richardson makes their pass rush ridiculously good on paper. Browns fans are already excited, and now their legion should grow.
Pittsburgh - signed CB Steven Nelson (Kansas City) to a three-year, $25.5 million dollar deal, signed WR Donte Moncrief (Jacksonville) to a two-year deal, traded WR Antonio Brown to Oakland for the #66 and #142 picks in the 2019 draft
The reign may be over for the Steelers. Brown’s loss will surely affect the offense. If Moncrief can stay healthy, he could help their downfield passing game recover from the loss, but Brown’s impact on the offense can’t be overstated. Juju Smith-Schuster will get more targets and more attention from defenses. Nelson should start in a beleaguered secondary that continues to search for solutions. Jesse James was allowed to walk in free agency, which should help Vance McDonald get more targets.
Denver - signed OT Ja’Wuan James (Miami) to a four-year, $51 million dollar deal, signed DB Kareem Jackson (Houston) to three-year, $33 million dollar deal, traded a 2020 seventh-round pick and QB Case Keenum to Washington for a 2020 sixth-round pick, traded a 2019 fourth-round pick to Baltimore for QB Joe Flacco
John Elway appears to have rose-colored glasses on when it comes to evaluating Joe Flacco, but he could be an improvement as a downfield passer compared to Keenum. James should benefit from new offensive line coach Mike Munchak, although the Broncos also lost Billy Turner and Matt Paradis from their offensive line in free agency. Jackson has versatility to play just about anywhere in the secondary. The Broncos are treading water in a division that is getting tougher by the year.
Kansas City - signed DB Tyrann Mathieu (Houston) to a three-year, $42 million dollar deal, signed RB Carlos Hyde (Jacksonville) to a one-year, $2.8 million dollar deal, released S Eric Berry and OLB Justin Houston, traded OLB Dee Ford to San Francisco for a 2020 second-round pick, signed EDGE Alex Okafor (New Orleans) to a three-year, $18 million dollar deal
The Chiefs lost the two best edge rusher from the 31st ranked defense in the league, although that’s not really their blueprint for winning games. It’s still hard to know how they will generate pressure from the edge, but they did at least add Okafor, who had a renaissance in New Orleans. Hyde gives them a banger to pair with Damien Williams in a move that makes it less likely that they will draft a running back high in April, a win for Williams fantasy stock. For the second straight year, they were in on a big name that some didn’t see coming. Berry’s run with the team is over and Mathieu should be a boost to a secondary that struggled to stop opposing passing games last year. The team will probably look to Austin Reiter to replace starting center after he signed with Buffalo.
Los Angeles Chargers - signed QB Tyrod Taylor (Cleveland) to a two-year deal, signed LB Thomas Davis (Carolina) to a two-year, $10.5 million dollar deal, re-signed LB Denzel Perryman to a two-year deal
The Chargers approached this free agency period like a team that is settled and not looking to make a splash. They did lose Tyrell Williams as expected, but have 2017 first-round pick Mike Williams waiting the wings. Davis and Perryman will shore up and stability a linebacker group that has had some turnover in recent years. Taylor backs up one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league and is unlikely to see much playing time in a blow to the Dolphins plans to find a starting quarterback for this season.
Oakland - traded the #66 and #142 picks in the 2019 draft to Pittsburgh for WR Antonio Brown, signed WR Tyrell Williams (Los Angeles Chargers) to a four-year, $44 million dollar deal, signed DB Lamarcus Joyner (Los Angeles Rams) to a four-year, $42 million dollar deal, signed OT Trent Brown (New England) to a four-year, $66 million dollar deal, released WR Jordy Nelson
The Raiders got Brown for a laughably low price because they were willing to give him new money. He should rack up short catches with Derek Carr’s penchant for the safe play. Williams can be a complementary deep threat if the line gels after losing Kelechi Osemele in a cap relief trade to the Jets while adding Brown to replace Donald Penn, all under the tutelage of Tom Cable. Joyner will pair with Karl Joseph in the middle of the secondary. Oakland is not sitting back after trading two of their best players for draft picks last year, but are still a ways behind the Chiefs and Chargers.
The Cowboys are treading water. They will get some contributions from Austin, and Hurns could help replace Cole Beasley in the slot. Fleming gives them a top-end swing tackle. The biggest story of the offseason is the still the push to get Demarcus Lawrence signed long-term. Earlier this offseason, the team restructured Sean Lee’s contract to basically become backup money to open up more room for the huge deal that will be necessary to secure Lawrence’s services long term.
New York Giants - traded EDGE Olivier Vernon and WR Odell Beckham Jr to Cleveland for OG Kevin Zeitler, S Jabrill Peppers, #17 and #95 picks in the 2019 draft, signed S Antoine Bethea (Arizona) to a two-year deal, gave WR Corey Coleman an original-round RFA tender, paid QB Eli Manning a five million dollar roster bonus, signed WR Golden Tate to a four-year, $37.5 million dollar deal, signed EDGE Markus Golden (Arizona) to a one-year deal
What is Dave Gettleman thinking? The team seems to be rebuild mode with the trade of Beckham, but they are keeping Manning and signed an aging safety (who does at least reunite with his defensive coordinator in Arizona). Golden could provide sorely needed pressure from outside at a bargain price if he's all the way back from his 2017 ACL tear, and he also played under defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona. Coleman is notable because he was picked up after being a street free agent and now appears to be the replacement for Beckham. Saquon Barkley is clearly going to be the focus of opposing defenses, although Tate will help on passing downs with his steady game. Tate’s addition throws a little cold water on Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram’s bump in fantasy value after Beckham was dealt. The team also let Landon Collins walk with no tag applied. He signed with a division rival in Washington.
Philadelphia - traded a 2019 sixth-round pick to Tampa for WR Desean Jackson and a 2020 seventh-round pick, re-signed OT Jason Peters, signed DL Malik Jackson (Jacksonville) to a three-year, $30 million dollar deal, traded DL Michael Bennett and a 2020 seventh-round pick to New England for a 2020 fifth-round pick, re-signed DE Brandon Graham to a three-year, $40 million dollar deal
The Eagles masterfully navigated their decisions to preserve 2020 comp picks coming for Nick Foles and Jordan Hicks by trading to reunite with Desean Jackson and signing Malik Jackson after he was released. Bennett became expendable after Graham was extended. The offense gains a legitimate field stretcher, which was sorely needed and they chose to keep Nelson Agholor on his 9+ million dollar fifth-year option even after acquiring Jackson. Peters is back for another year after being a stalwart on one of the best lines in the league. Howie Roseman probably isn’t done yet, but he is demonstrating higher level thinking among NFL decision makers yet again.
Washington - traded a 2020 sixth-round pick to Denver for QB Case Keenum and a 2020 seventh-round pick, signed S Landon Collins to a six-year, $84 million dollar deal, signed RB Adrian Peterson to a two-year deal
The Broncos also picked up half of Keenum’s seven million dollar salary, so Washington gets a cheap option to compete with Colt McCoy and a possible rookie pick at quarterback. Collins will be a strong presence as a box safety, although the team didn’t retain Ha-ha Clinton-Dix after giving up a fourth-round pick for him. Peterson was excellent and fits the team’s attitude on offense, which takes even more wind out of Derrius Guice’s sails (not this offense was going to get him out of doldrums.
Chicago - signed CB Buster Skrine (New York Jets) to a three-year deal, signed RB Mike Davis (Seattle) to a two-year, $6 million dollar deal, signed WR Cordarrelle Patterson (New England) to a two-year, $10 million dollar deal, signed S Ha-ha Clinton-Dix (Washington) to a one-year deal.
The Bears made only minor moves, replacing Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos with Skrine and Clinton-Dix in moves that could downgrades in an otherwise stacked defense, adding Patterson’s kick return chops and possible contributions as a package player in a creative offense, and signing a more versatile back in Davis than Jordan Howard, who could be dealt in an “waiting for the other shoe to drop” scenario. They are in the mix to go deep in the playoff if Mitchell Trubisky takes a step forward and didn’t need to make the kind of dramatic moves than typified their 2018 offseason and preseason.
Detroit - signed DE Trey Flowers (New England) to a five-year, $90 million dollar deal, signed TE Jesse James (Pittsburgh) to a four-year, $25 million dollar deal, signed WR Danny Amendola to a one-year, $4.5 million dollar deal, signed DB Justin Coleman (Seattle) to a four-year, $36 million dollar deal
The Lions at least addressed a huge weakness on defense when they added Flowers, who head coach Matt Patricia knows well from their time together in New England. Amendola was also a Patriot when Patricia was there and he plugs the hole left by the Golden Tate deal. Coleman also fills a big hole at slot corner, and James at tight end, but the Lions aren’t really that much closer to catching the Bears than they were a week ago despite the additions.
Green Bay - signed EDGE Za’Darius Smith (Baltimore) to a four-year, $66 million dollar deal, signed EDGE Preston Smith (Washington) to a four-year, $52 million dollar deal, signed S Adrian Amos (Chicago) to a four-year, $37 million dollar deal, signed OL Billy Turner (Denver) to a four-year, $28 million dollar deal, released EDGE Nick Perry, tendered WRs Jake Kumerow and Geronimo Allison
Brian Gutekunst continues to make to tenure of Ted Thompson a distant memory with his free agent spending. The team gets two edge rushers who might have their best football ahead of them, an upgrade from Ha-ha Clinton-Dix (who ironically will replace Amos in Chicago), and a starter at guard for a reasonable price. Kumerow and Allison will compete with the trio of draft picks from last year to win the snaps at wide receiver under Davante Adams on the depth chart.
Minnesota - re-signed LB Anthony Barr to a five-year, $67.5 million dollar deal
One year after Kirk Cousins led a very active offseason in personnel moves for the Vikings, the only real noise was a last second decision by Barr to return to the team after originally agreeing to sign with the Jets. Barr hasn’t been the impact player envisioned when he went in the top 10 in 2014, but Minnesota doesn’t really anyone developing behind him to take his place. They could be at a crossroads after advancing the NFC title game in 2017. Look for 2018 UDFA Mike Boone to replace Latavius Murray after he left for New Orleans in free agency.
Atlanta - signed OG Jamon Brown to a three-year, $18.75 million dollar deal, signed OG James Carpenter to four-year, $21 million dollar deal
The Falcons are continuing to tinker with their roster in hopes that they can get back to the pinnacle after the Super Bowl collapse. Brown and Carpenter should help at sore spots on the offensive line. Tevin Coleman is gone to San Francisco, but the team kept DT Grady Jarrett from getting to free agency with a franchise tag.
Carolina - released OT Matt Kalil, picked up the option for WR Torrey Smith, signed C Matt Paradis (Denver) to a three-year, $27 million dollar deal, re-signed OT Daryl Williams to a one-year, $7 million dollar deal
The Panthers offensive line is now Kalil-less, but at least they got a replacement for Ryan for a very good price. Matt will cost almost five million in cap room this year and ten next year. Williams is a solid right tackle, although the team might not have needed him with the emergence of Taylor Moton. Smith will be a field stretcher, but Devin Funchess is gone to the Colts, so DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel should see their snaps increase. It also looks like Greg Olsen will be back for another season.
New Orleans - signed RB Latavius Murray (Minnesota) to a four-year, $14.4 million dollar deal, signed DT Malcom Brown (New England) to a three-year, $15 million dollar deal, re-signed QB Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year, $7.25 million dollar deal
Team favorite Mark Ingram II is gone for similar money in a bit of a headscratcher, but apparently he was telling the Saints he wanted more money to return than the Ravens ended up giving him. Murray will replace what Ingram provided as a runner, but can’t contribute as much in the passing game. Brown will bolster a solid defensive tackle rotation. The Saints were so close last year and aren’t looking to change much with Drew Brees still keeping them in a Super Bowl window. They brought back Teddy Bridgewater (who spurned a chance to start in Miami) and are trying to sign Jared Cook at the time of this writing.
Tampa Bay - traded WR Desean Jackson and a 2020 seventh-round pick to Philadelphia for a 2019 sixth-round pick, signed WR Breshad Perriman to a one-year, $4 million dollar deal, re-signed RB Peyton Barber to a one-year deal, $2.125 million dollar deal, signed LB Deone Bucannon to a one-year, $2.5 million dollar deal
After the signing of Jackson brought a lot of excitement to the offense two years ago, he’s headed back to Philly. Perriman had a change of heart about going back to Cleveland after the Odell Beckham Jr trade and will replace the deep speed Jackson brought to the offense. Chris Godwin should also see a bigger role in his third year. Barber will play a role in the backfield, but so will 2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones and the Bucs look like a prime candidate to take a back high in the draft for a second straight year. Bucannon was out of place with Steve Wilks in Arizona last year, but Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles will know what to do with him.
Arizona - signed EDGE Terrell Suggs (Baltimore) to a one-year, $7 million dollar deal, signed LB Jordan Hicks (Philadelphia) to a four-year, $36 million dollar deal, traded a sixth-round pick to Pittsburgh for OT Marcus Gilbert
While we all wait to see what the Cardinals do at quarterback, they added a few pieces to a defense left in shambles after the preparation to switch to Steve Wilks scheme for him to only last a year as head coach. Suggs will be a great partner for Chandler Jones and Hicks will help with the problems at off-ball linebacker if he can stay healthy. The offensive line is still in bad shape, but Gilbert is a proven starter if he can stay healthy. The team also added Max Garcia and JR Sweezy as bandaids for the line and swapped out Brett Hundley for Mike Glennon as backup quarterback in minor moves.
Los Angeles Rams - re-signed EDGE Dante Fowler to a one-year, $14 million dollar deal, signed S Eric Weddle (Baltimore) to a two-year, $10.5 million dollar deal
The Rams lost a lot more in free agency (Lamarcus Joyner, Ndamukong Suh, Rodger Saffold) than the gained, but Weddle should be suitable in Wade Phillips defense to replace Joyner, and Fowler is the team’s best edge rusher. Malcolm Brown was given an original round tender in something to watch as we monitor Todd Gurley’s knee and the depth chart at running back for the Rams.
San Francisco - traded a 2020 second-round pick to Kansas City for EDGE Dee Ford, signed RB Tevin Coleman (Atlanta) to a two-year, $8.5 million dollar deal, signed CB Jason Verrett to a one-year, $3.6 million dollar deal, re-signed DB Jimmie Ward to a one-year, $5 million dollar deal, signed LB Kwon Alexander to a four-year, $54 million dollar deal
Coleman is reunited with Kyle Shanahan after the head coach reportedly hand-picked him for Atlanta’s backfield in 2015. Jerick McKinnon could be released and none of the backs in San Francisco are known for their durability, so his range of outcomes is wide. Ford gives the team their best edge rusher by far at a reasonable cost, although he will get a hefty new deal from his new team. Alexander continues a trend of throwing a lot of resources at off ball linebacker, although he and Fred Warner should solve the position for them this season. Verrett is a good gamble as a top corner when healthy, although it has been a long time since he has been healthy for any extended period of time. Ward will be a versatile gap filler in a mostly young secondary.
Seattle - re-signed OL DJ Fluker to a two-year deal, signed OL Mike Iupati (Arizona) to a one-year deal, re-signed LB KJ Wright to a two-year deal, signed LB Mychal Kendricks to a one-year, $4 million dollar deal
The Seahawks are keeping their strong run-blocking line profile and their linebacker corps should be good and deeper with the retention of Kendricks. They’ll need to replace nickel back Justin Coleman from within and still have to get DE Frank Clark signed long-term or he’ll end up playing on the one-year franchise tag deal.