The Week in NFL News - 4/4

A look at the week in news around the NFL and possible fantasy impact

AFC

Cleveland - traded EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah to Kansas City for DB Eric Murray, the Texans, Jets and Eagles are interested in acquiring RB Duke Johnson Jr, who did not show for voluntary team activities and has asked to be traded according to Mary Kay Cabot from the Plain Dealer

Why it Matters: Ogbah was once a coveted high second-round pick, but has fallen out of favor in Cleveland since they acquired Olivier Vernon. John Dorsey continues his roster churn to replace picks of the previous regimes and will rely on free agent journeymen Chris Smith and Anthony Zettel, 2018 third-round pick Chad Thomas, and versatile linebacker Genard Avery to provide snaps behind Vernon and Myles Garrett. Murray was needed after Jabrill Peppers was traded to the Giants and he should start for the Browns. A weakness was made less weak, but still appears to be a spot to attack in the Browns secondary. Johnson should have more fantasy value elsewhere, especially if its Houston that trades for him, as it appears he is on the outs in Cleveland, and wouldn’t get much work once Kareem Hunt is active again.

Denver - CB Chris Harris Jr did not report for the open of the offseason program

Why It Matters: Harris is still one of the best corners in the league, but his $7.8 million dollar salary is laughable compared to his peers. He signed a five-year $42.5 million dollar extension near the end of his rookie deal in 2014 before hitting free agency, and the Broncos have profited greatly from that move. With only one year left on his contract, Harris isn’t out of line asking to be paid closer to the actual value he provides to the team.

Indianapolis - the Indianapolis Star reports that head coach Frank Reich expects TE Jack Doyle to return to form by training camp, GM Chris Ballard thinks RB Marlon Mack “can play all three downs”

Why It Matters: Doyle’s surgery didn’t have an initial return timeline, so this news is a relief. His presence will cut into Eric Ebron’s upside as long as Doyle stays healthy. He’ll be underrated in fantasy drafts. Mack was strong when healthy, but he wasn’t healthy until Week 6 last year and was on the injury report later in the season. Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines both showed a lot last year and will be ready if Mack has another injury-riddled season. The statement of confidence in Mack is a good thing for his value, but he needs to hold up under a heavy workload to deliver on it.

Jacksonville - signed RB Alfred Blue (Houston) and Benny Cunningham (Chicago)

Why It Matters: The Jaguars are going for a limited inside runner over more versatile or dynamic backs that remain unsigned. Blue is durable and rugged, and well that’s about it. Cunningham will help on special teams and he’s a solid passing down back, but there’s nothing to be excited about from a fantasy standpoint if Leonard Fournette goes down, and there might not be much to be excited about in this static offense in general.

Kansas City - traded DB Eric Murray to Cleveland for EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah

Why It Matters: This looks like a huge win for the Chiefs on paper. They were lacking edge rush presence after dealing Dee Ford and releasing Justin Houston. Now they have Alex Okafor and Ogbah to present credible players at the position - at least on run downs for Ogbah. Ogbah had a down 2018, but showed promise in 2017 and plays a position with more scarcity of quality than Murray. Ogbah will help on the edge against the run, and his power pass rush will probably work better as a tackle on passing downs next to Chris Jones, than on the edge, where looked very limited opposite Myles Garrett. Murray was a sometimes starter out of necessity for Kansas City last year but the team added Tyrann Mathieu and will have Daniel Sorensen, Jordan Lucas and Armani Watts as the other starter and depth in the secondary, so Murray will not be missed.

Miami - according to Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, he “would not be surprised” if the team trades S Reshad Jones before the season

Why It Matters: Short of signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami is jettisoning players that will make them more competitive this season in favor of adding cap room for a long-term rebuilding plan. Jones would save the team 13 million if they trade him after June 1, and he had some rocky moments last year. He is playing at a position where Miami already has Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Mcdonald, and they have been trading away big salaries at positions where they have less depth. Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Denver, Dallas, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay should all be interested.

New England - signed DL Michael Bennett to reworked two-year $16.75 million dollar deal with a four million dollar signing bonus

Why It Matters: Bennett wanted more money when he asked to be dealt from the Eagles, and he did get about 1.5 million more than the salary plus roster bonuses he was due under his previous contract, but that is a small amount and indicates that some of the extra “value” Bennett was seeking came in the form of playing for the Patriots.

Oakland - signed TE Luke Willson (Detroit) to a one-year deal, signed LB Brandon Marshall (Denver) to a one-year deal, released WR Seth Roberts and signed WR Ryan Grant

Why It Matters: The Raiders currently have only size-speed specimen and oft-suspended Darren Waller at tight end, so Willson could push to start. Marshall will start in a weak linebacker group and might lead the team in tackles if he can hold up for the whole season, which has happened once in the last three years. Roberts was going to be way too expensive for his mediocre contribution at $4.65 million. Grant is simply depth, but cheaper depth at a maximum cost of $2.5 million this year.

Pittsburgh - re-signed OT Matt Feiler to a one-year deal

Why It Matters: Feiler was strong at right tackle as a starter in 2018 and the team will get him for a rock bottom price as an ERFA. When starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva was in a similar situation, the team signed him to a long-term deal that looks like a steal now. Impact nickel back Mike Hilton is at the same crossroads and hasn’t signed his ERFA tender in an effort to get a new deal. The Steelers would be smart to sign him long term before the market resets the value of slot corners even higher than it did this offseason. Feiler’s emergence last year was a big reason the team could trade Marcus Gilbert to Arizona for a late round pick. He’ll battle Chuks Okorafor to start at right tackle, and he’ll be valuable depth at worst. The Steelers offensive line remains one of the strengths of the team and it should help the offense deal with the loss of Antonio Brown.

Tennessee - head coach Mike Vrabel said he would like to build the offense around RB Derrick Henry

Why It Matters: Henry should be in a career high in carries this year after his strong finish to 2018. He’s still available in the third/fourth round of drafts, but may not be for much longer. Dion Lewis might have been an acquisition favored more by now Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur, and Vrabel could have more say in the offense now that LaFleur has been replaced by an in-house candidate, Arthur Smith, their former tight end coach.

NFC

Arizona - signed CB Tramaine Brock (Denver) to a one-year deal

Why It Matters: The spot opposite Patrick Peterson in the secondary continues to be a sore one. Brock was with Vance Joseph in Denver and could log a lot of snaps for a vulnerable pass defense - especially if they pass on Nick Bosa to take Kyler Murray.

Chicago - traded RB Jordan Howard to the Eagles for a 2020 sixth-round pick

Why It Matters: Soon after saying Howard still had a role, the team traded him for a pick that might become a fifth, but doesn’t really represent the contributions he had made during his first three seasons with the Bears. New signing Mike Davis gets a big boost in value, and look for the Bears to draft or sign another back to replace Howard, likely one with strong passing game skills.

Dallas - signed DE Randy Gregory to a one-year extension

Why It Matters: It appears the Cowboys still expect Gregory to play football in the future. This might be irrational, but the Patriots have also been handling Josh Gordon as if they expect him to return, so it’s not that outlandish when a player can contribute a valuable element to a team that relies on it to win.

Detroit - signed RB C.J. Anderson (Los Angeles Rams) to a one-year deal

Why It Matters: Matt Patricia and the Lions seem hellbent on not featuring Kerryon Johnson. We all saw Anderson still has it late last year, and the Lions should use him as a #2 in the base running game, which should be the centerpiece of the offense. Anderson doesn’t have a lot of standalone value unless Johnson goes down, and Johnson did miss the last six games last year.

Minnesota - re-signed OL Brett Jones to a one-year, $950,000 contract

Why It Matters: The Vikings gave up a seventh-round pick to the Giants for Jones last year when their offensive line depth was evaporating. He’ll be about two million dollars cheaper than he was last year and likely be a key interior offensive line backup in a group that sorely needs help from this year’s draft class.

New York Giants - according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, the team isn’t sure they prefer Arizona QB Josh Rosen to this year’s draft class of quarterbacks, they will likely select an edge rusher at #6, and they aren’t “kidding” about starting Eli Manning in 2020.

Why It Matters: Is this Gettleman’s plan? Rosen might be available for a second-round pick and acquiring him would allow them to spend both firsts on non-quarterbacks. If they are going edge at #6 (Mississippi State monster Montez Sweat is a name that often comes up), and are still looking at quarterback at #17, Daniel Jones from Duke is a name that often comes up. If Manning is still esteemed highly enough by Gettleman and company to be seen as an option in 2020, perhaps they may not even address quarterback this year.

Philadelphia - traded a 2020 sixth-round pick to the Bears for RB Jordan Howard

Why It Matters: The Eagles early-down running game gets a massive boost from Howard, who is only 24 and a proven NFL runner. Philadelphia also gets another asset without hurting their compensatory pick haul, and could recoup a comp pick next year if they let Howard walk. He won’t approach his peak numbers in Chicago, but Howard should be a solid play when the Eagles are favored and get a lot of short yardage touchdown opportunities. Josh Adams cinderella story with the team is on hold for now.

San Francisco - head coach Kyle Shanahan expects QB Jimmy Garoppolo to be fully cleared for the open of training camp and lauded RB Tevin Coleman’s ability to run “hard” and play “like a big back”

Why It Matters: Garoppolo’s recovery has been uneventful, which is a good thing. He needs to build more chemistry with the emerging 49ers passcatchers. The team doesn’t seem to have a true short yardage back, but Shanahan’s statement about Coleman indicates he could be the first choice at the goal line, which would give him an inside track to be the most valuable fantasy back, even if the team employs a committee or hot hand approach.

Seattle - head coach Pete Carroll said WR Doug Baldwin’s upcoming hernia surgery will sideline him 6-8 weeks, QB Russell Wilson has given the team until April 15 to extend his contract

Why It Matters: Let’s rule Baldwin out of OTAs if he haven’t already. He has also had shoulder and knee surgeries and we can’t be sure that we’ll see something resembling typical Baldwin with so much wear and tear built up on his body. We will watch the Seahawks moves closely for signs about their confidence in Baldwin’s ability to contribute this season. Some around the team believe Wilson’s deal will get down, but there have been murmurs about the team possibly moving on from him because of the 35 million or more per year price tag he might demand on an extension. What happens with his contract over the the 11 days is crucial for his 2020 outlook. If it doesn’t get done, it will increase speculation that Wilson is available via trade. We’ll watch the Seahawks moves in the draft closely, as they haven’t invested in a good backup to prepare a possible Wilson departure.

Washington - head coach Jay Gruden said WR Trey Quinn can “jump into the slot role and dominate the position”

Why It Matters: In an offense that could be limited with Case Keenum or Colt McCoy passing the ball and not too much at outside receiver, plus an injury-prone tight end, Quinn could lead the team in targets and receptions. His name should be filed away in deep PPR leagues.