Note: Contract numbers are based on initial reports, but they are often revised downward once made official by the league.
The Ravens restructured RB Gus Edwards' contract and re-signed RB Justice Hill to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Edwards will stick around for at least another year as the Ravens are making moves to open up cap room to accommodate Lamar Jackson’s franchise tag. He was due $4.4 million in 2023 before this move. Hill was inexpensive enough to bring back as the speed element in the Ravens' backfield. Look for a Dobbins/Edwards/Hill backfield split in Baltimore again this season.
The Bills restructured RB Nyheim Hines' contract.
Why It Matters: Hines was due $4.79 million, which is cap-cut territory for a situational back/return man, so it wasn’t certain he would be a Bill this year, even though the team traded for him last season. Don’t be surprised if Hines and James Cook are joined by another back, perhaps even one of the many big names rumored to be on the trade market or consensus #1 back in the draft Bijan Robinson.
The Bills signed OL Connor McGovern (Dallas) to a three-year, $23 million deal.
Why It Matters: McGovern will replace the aging Rodger Saffold. After starting 15 games, more than he had in his first three years in the league, McGovern couldn’t have had better timing cueing up his best season. This leaves the Cowboys one man short on the line, but if Tyron Smith and the team can work out a contract restructure and Smith stays healthy at left tackle, 2022 first-round pick and rookie standout Tyler Smith could play left guard in place of McGovern.
The Bills signed WR Deonte Harty (New Orleans) to a two-year, $9.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Harty gives the Bills a true field-stretcher that will create more room for the whole offense to operate. Even though he’s not a well-known player and probably won’t have standalone fantasy value, adding Harty should improve the already very good Saints offense.
The Bills re-signed S Jordan Poyer.
Why It Matters: The Bills lost Tremaine Edmunds but were able to preserve part of the backbone of their defense by keeping Poyer. He missed five games last year, but Poyer still picked off four passes and went to the Pro Bowl. He’ll be 32 when the season kicks off.
The Bengals re-signed LB Germaine Pratt.
Why It Matters: The Bengals lost two key performers in the secondary with Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates leaving, but they were able to keep Pratt and preserve their excellent off-ball linebacker duo, with Logan Wilson providing the other half. Pratt’s IDP value might have grown with a move elsewhere, as Wilson remains the more valuable of the duo.
The Bengals signed OT Orlando Brown (Kansas City) to a four-year, $64 million deal.
Why It Matters: Brown should be an improvement at left tackle, although that will necessitate a move for Jonah Williams to right tackle. The Bengals continue to go against their reputation as a franchise that is too frugal when it comes to spending on moves that will improve the team.
The Browns signed EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to a three-year, $19 million deal, S Juan Thornhill (Kansas City) to a three-year, $21 million deal, and DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Minnesota) to a four-year, $57 million deal.
Why It Matters: None of these guys are household names, but they represent upgrades for pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett, safety opposite Grant Delpit, and interior run stuffer role on the Browns' defensive line. Okoronkwo’s arrow is pointing up after a strong 2022 for the Rams. Minnesota extended the void date of Tomlinson’s contract in a bid to strike a new deal with him, but they couldn’t afford to go as high as the Browns did. Thornhill was hurt early in his career, but his arrow is pointing up. The Browns appear to have a plan to fix their defense.
The Broncos released RB Chase Edmonds and signed RB Samaje Perine to a two-year, $7.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Edmonds was never going to get the $5+ million he was due under the contract Miami signed him to before releasing him midseason, but the Broncos did claim him, so there was some chance that they would try to get a pay cut or restructure his deal to keep him for 2023. Javonte Williams is no sure thing for Week 1, and Mike Boone signed with the Texans. So Perine could easily start Week 1 and get a large share of the backfield touches for a team committed to the run. He was one of the biggest fantasy winners of the first wave of free agency.
The Broncos signed OT Mike McGlinchey (San Francisco) to a five-year, $87.5 million deal, OG Ben Powers (Baltimore) to a four-year, $52 million deal, and TE Chris Manhertz (Jacksonville) to a two-year, $6 million deal
Why It Matters: The Bears were in on McGlinchey, but the Broncos swooped in to try to solve their problem right tackle position. The team clearly set a priority to upgrade the line that matches Payton’s success story with the Saints. Powers is an excellent left guard and potentially more impactful and better bang for your buck signing. Manhertz is a top blocking tight end. Both Powers and McGlinchey are good run blockers. The Broncos will establish the run, so don’t expect a run/pass split that helps Russell Wilson or the Broncos receivers' fantasy value.
The Broncos signed QB Jarrett Stidham (Las Vegas) to a two-year, $10 million deal.
Why It Matters: It’s surprising that the Raiders wouldn’t give him this deal with Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury history and Stidham’s head-turning performance late last season. The Broncos upgraded their backup quarterback from Brett Rypien just in case Russell Wilson falters.
The Broncos re-signed LB Alex Singleton to a three-year, $18 million deal.
Why It Matters: In an unexpected development, the off-ball linebacker position was one of the most action-packed in the first wave of free agency. Singleton was a valuable IDP in 2022, especially in tackle-heavy leagues, and this looks like a starter contract that will preserve that value.
The Broncos signed DL Zach Allen (Arizona) to a three-year, $45.8 million deal.
Why It Matters: Allen will replace Dre’Mont Jones, who left for Seattle in free agency. The contract was about two million per season cheaper than Jones, and they are comparable players, so the Broncos saved some cash and possibly did not lose anything on the defensive line. The Cardinals didn’t have much to work with on defense to begin with, and now they’ve lost their best defensive lineman.
The Texans signed WR Robert Woods to a two-year, $15 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Texans signed a good veteran wide receiver to anchor their young group and give the quarterback they will take at #2 a go-to receiver on third down. He’s also an excellent blocker and should instantly become one of the leaders of this rebuilding team.
The Texans signed S Jimmie Ward (San Francisco) to a two-year, $13 million deal and DT Sheldon Rankins (New York Jets) to a one-year, $10.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Ward’s role shrunk in an ultra-talented 49ers defense, but he’s still an excellent piece for a rebuilding team, and he came at a very reasonable price. Rankins should be an instant improvement for the Texans line. These moves indicate the team is trying to compete in the short term after hibernating for a few years.
The Colts re-signed LB E.J. Speed to a two-year, $9 million deal.
Why It Matters: This one should interest IDP players, with Speed likely to replace Bobby Okereke, who left for the Giants in free agency. Zaire Franklin and Shaquille Leonard are still the more valuable Colts linebackers, but Leonard’s health is a major question mark.
The Colts signed K Matt Gay (Los Angeles Rams) to a four-year, $22.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: This is notable because it’s the largest kicker contract in NFL history. Starting kickers are getting paid about the same as starting running backs now, and the direction of running back pay is only going down.
The Jaguars are in line to get three compensatory draft picks in 2024 after the first three days of free agency.
Why It Matters: The Jaguars have not gotten a compensatory draft pick in 13 years. Teams that make the value of their players increase while they are on the roster tend to get compensatory free agents the most often, so this is a great sign for the direction of the franchise. They got 68 of a possible 68 starts from Jawaan Taylor on a second-round rookie contract before recouping a third-round compensatory after Kansas City signed him to a huge deal. They are also in line to get a sixth for Arden Key after signing him on a one-year, $4 million prove-it deal last year. The Jaguars also didn’t sign anyone in the first three days of free agency, which is also a big change from years past and preserves those compensatory picks. It’s a good time to be a Jaguars fan.
Kansas City signed OT Jawaan Taylor (Jacksonville) to a four-year, $80 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Chiefs preferred Taylor at about four million per year more than Orlando Brown, who left for Cincinnati in free agency. Taylor hasn’t missed a game so far in his career and didn’t miss a snap until 2022 after starting from day one for the Jaguars as a second-round draft pick in 2019. The Chiefs plan on making him their left tackle, but he has been almost exclusively a right tackle in Jacksonville.
Kansas City signed DL Charles Omenihu (San Francisco) to a two-year, $16 million deal.
Why It Matters: Omenihu looked like a player on the rise as a part-time contributor to the elite 49ers defense last year. He should help replace Frank Clark, who was released before free agency. Omenihu has an unresolved domestic violence allegation from January, but no charges have been filed.
The Raiders signed QB Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco) to a three-year, $67.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Garoppolo is reunited with Josh McDaniels, which is hopeful for the Raiders offense if only because they showed flashes with Jarrett Stidham at the helm last year, who only had familiarity with McDaniels system going for him. Garoppolo won’t be more than a bye week filler in 1QB leagues and low-end QB2 in Superflex leagues, but he’s at least not the worst-case scenario for Davante Adams, although Garoppolo’s tendency not to throw deep outside the numbers could neuter some of Adams biggest plays from last season.
The Raiders signed WR Jakobi Meyers (New England) to a three-year, $33 million deal.
Why It Matters: Meyers’ strengths overlap with Hunter Renfrow, but he can also play outside, where he could replace Mack Hollins. Meyers is familiar with Josh Mcdaniels' system but hasn’t played with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. There were worse destinations for fantasy than Las Vegas for Meyers, but not many.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers gave RB Austin Ekeler permission to seek a trade after the two sides could not agree on a contract extension.
Why It Matters: Ekeler joins Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook as starting running backs who could be on the market for teams willing to pay for proven production at a position with a diminishing pay scale. Don’t expect anyone to trade for Ekeler if he insists on getting an extension as part of the deal. Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller are the top backups to Ekeler, but the Chargers would make a move at running back if they lose Ekeler.
The Chargers signed LB Eric Kendricks (Minnesota) to a two-year, $13.25 million deal.
Why It Matters: Kendricks won’t hurt the Chargers' compensatory free agent ledger because Minnesota released him, but the team also hasn’t had any compensatory free agents signed as of Thursday. He’ll replace Drue Tranquill, who had 95 solo tackles and 51 assists last year, so expect Kendricks to remain a strong IDP option on his new team.
The Dolphins picked up the fifth-year option on QB Tua Tagovailoa’s contract.
Why It Matters: There was some question about Tagovailoa’s future - not just with the Dolphins - after he suffered multiple concussions last year. The Dolphins know more about his condition than we do, and they decided to commit $23.2 million to him in 2024. That’s still very reasonable by current quarterback play standards, and he earned the commitment with his play last year. Hopefully, this is a good sign that the Dolphins' internal findings on Tagovailoa’s brain health are positive.
The Dolphins re-signed RB Raheem Mostert to a two-year, $7.6 million deal and re-signed RB Jeff Wilson to a two-year, $6 million deal.
Why It Matters: This running game was good enough to make both Mostert and Wilson fantasy-relevant last year, and it should be again in 2023. Both are good late-round Best Ball and redraft dart throws because of their familiarity with the system and likelihood that the Mike McDaniel running game is even better in year two. The team also brought back Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin in the name of continuity on the depth chart, but they are also reportedly monitoring Dalvin Cook’s status in Minnesota.
The Dolphins acquired CB Jalen Ramsey from the Rams for TE Hunter Long and a third-round pick.
Why It Matters: Ramsey isn’t the elite corner he was when the Rams acquired him from the Jaguars, but he should be a defensive weapon in the hands of Vic Fangio in an aggressive scheme. The Rams will get the #77 pick and a tight end who is ready for a bigger role entering his third year. Ramsey’s salary for the next two seasons has been guaranteed as part of the trade.
The Dolphins signed QB Mike White (New York Jets).
Why It Matters: White will be in line to start if Tua Tagovailoa has any further concussion or injury issues, which could be a valuable fantasy role for Superflex leagues. White had moments as a fantasy quarterback at the helm for the Jets, and the Dolphins sought him out early in free agency, so he’s worth carrying in Superflex dynasty leagues on this news.
The Dolphins signed LB David Long (Tennessee) to a two-year, $11 million deal.
Why It Matters: Long slots in as a starter next to Jerome Baker, although the team also has talented 2022 third-round pick Channing Tindall developing at off-ball linebacker. Long has been an underrated player for Tennessee and should be a solid IDP commodity in Miami.
The Patriots traded TE Jonnu Smith to the Falcons for a seventh-round pick.
Why It Matters: Smith has turned into a salary dump two years after he was one of the prize acquisitions of free agency for the Patriots. Hunter Henry’s role could grow as the more successful of the two splashy 2021 tight end signings. The Patriots will save $4.4 million but eat over 12 million in dead cap.
The Patriots re-signed CB Jonathan Jones to a two-year deal.
Why It Matters: The team lost J.C. Jackson in free agency last year, and he ended up being an injury bust for the Chargers, but they didn’t feel they had the luxury to let another talented corner walk. Jones filled Jackson’s outside corner role admirably last year after being a slot corner for the first six years of his career. The former undrafted free agent will get 13 million guaranteed on his new deal.
The Patriots signed WR Juju Smith-Schuster (Kansas City) to a three-year, $25.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Smith-Schuster could have solid WR3/flex PPR value in an offense devoid of reliable targets. He still hasn’t broken the bank the way many expected after he put up big numbers as Robin to Antonio Brown’s Batman in Pittsburgh, but he also hasn’t produced up to those previous levels. He’ll be the most frequent target in new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s offense.
The Patriots signed RB James Robinson (New York Jets) to a two-year, $8 million deal.
Why It Matters: After the Jets gave up a fifth-round pick for Robinson, only to decide not to tender him as a restricted free agent at any level, this was a bit of a surprise. Robinson will take over Damien Harris’ role as a between-the-tackles pounder to complement Rhamondre Stevenson, but he’s less of a threat to Stevenson’s value than some of the other backs signed early in free agency would have been.
New York Jets
The Jets re-signed LB Quincy Williams to a three-year, $18 million deal.
Why It Matters: Williams will remain on the same roster as his big brother Quinnen. He’s not quite the IDP fantasy force that big brother has turned into, but he has had over 100 total tackles for the Jets each of the last two years, making the team look smart for claiming him after the Jaguars gave up on the third-round pick two years into his rookie deal.
The Jets signed WR Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million deal.
Why It Matters: This signing seems to be a precursor to trading for Aaron Rodgers, which hasn’t officially happened yet. Lazard will block Elijah Moore from getting a role as an outside receiver but probably isn’t formidable enough to change the outlook of Garrett Wilson. Corey Davis could be a cut candidate at a $10.5 million price tag with no guaranteed money. Denzel Mims will just have to wait until he hits free agency next year to have more opportunity.
The Steelers signed CB Patrick Peterson (Minnesota).
Why It Matters: The Steelers believe they can still get some good football out of him, as Peterson is entering his 13th season. The move from Cam Sutton (who signed with Detroit) to Peterson is probably net negative for a defense lacking good cover corners.
The Steelers re-signed DT Larry Ogunjobi to a three-year, $28.75 million deal.
Why It Matters: Ogunjobi has worked out as a reclamation project for a defense that relies on its defensive lineman to tie up blockers and be difficult to move in the trenches. He comes at a reasonable price in a defensive tackle market that was hot to open free agency.
The Titans signed OT Andre Dillard (Philadelphia) to a three-year, $29 million deal.
Why It Matters: Dillard made more headlines with injuries than quality play, as his status as the team’s left tackle of the future after they took him in the 2019 first round was usurped by rugby convert Jordan Mailata. They’ll still recoup a compensatory pick, as the Titans gave him an aspirational contract with the hopes that he outproduces it while replacing franchise stalwart Taylor Lewan.
The Titans signed EDGE Arden Key (Jacksonville) to a three-year, $21 million deal.
Why It Matters: After releasing Bud Dupree, the Titans need an edge rusher opposite Harold Landry, who missed 2022 with an ACL tear. Key was once a highly-regarded prospect out of LSU, and he upped his profile with the ascendent Jaguars last season.
The Cardinals re-signed WR Greg Dortch.
Why It Matters: The Cardinals offense is a question mark with Kyler Murray’s Week 1 status uncertain and new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing likely installing a version of the Kevin Stefanski offense (which will be more balanced than Kliff Kingsbury’s offense), but we know Dortch had chemistry with Murray and Rondale Moore has trouble staying healthy. DeAndre Hopkins is also seeking a trade, so there are multiple paths for Dortch to have fantasy value again this season.
The Cardinals signed LB Kyzir White (Philadelphia) to a two-year, $10 million deal.
Why It Matters: White is reunited with Jonathan Gannon, now the Cardinals head coach, after they were together in Gannon’s Philadelphia defense last year. White will have some IDP fantasy value playing inside linebacker for a team likely to lose more games than they win this season.
The Falcons acquired Jonnu Smith from New England.
Why It Matters: Smith is likely to be a blocking tight end, so his acquisition could help Kyle Pitts, although the quarterback situation is still one of the worst in the league. Head coach Arthur Smith was once Jonnu Smith’s position coach and then offensive coordinator, so maybe he’ll be able to get more out of the tight end than the Patriots did.
The Falcons re-signed OG Chris Lindstrom to a five-year, $105 million deal and re-signed OL Kaleb McGary to a three-year, $34.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Falcons may not get their quarterback of the future this year, but they did make moves to solidify the offensive line that he’ll be playing behind… eventually. Lindstrom and McGary were both first-round picks for the team in 2019, and it’s a good sign that a new regime wanted to retain them at market value, especially after they didn’t pick up McGary’s fifth-year option but were still able to retain him.
The Falcons signed DT David Onyemata (New Orleans) and LB Kaden Elliss (New Orleans).
Why It Matters: New defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen was Dennis Allen’s right-hand man in New Orleans, and he’s doing his best to leave Allen shorthanded this season. Onyemata was a key performer on the interior defensive line (and Shy Tuttle, who left for Carolina in free agency, was also a solid contributor), but the Saints replaced them with Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders, cheaper, but probably less effective options. Elliss was an IDP wonder for a few weeks after Pete Werner went down last year. Elliss is getting $21.5 million over three years, so he projects as a starter whose main value will be his pass rush, but he should also have the opportunity to rack up tackles lining up next to rising star Troy Andersen.
The Falcons signed S Jessie Bates to a four-year, $64 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Falcons are still in rebuilding mode, but you wouldn’t know it by this signing. Bates was the marquee safety available in free agency, and the Falcons sorely needed help at the position. The Bengals also lost Vonn Bell at safety, so a lot will be on the plate of their 2022 first-round pick Dax Hill.
The Falcons signed QB Taylor Heinicke (Washington).
Why It Matters: It’s still possible that the Falcons take a quarterback at #8 or even move up for one, but this makes it more likely that they go into the season with Heinicke as the backup and 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder piloting the offense. Heinicke is at least a bold downfield passer. He would be a fantasy upgrade from Ridder for Drake London and Kyle Pitts if the second-year quarterback falters or gets hurt, but that’s not saying much.
The Panthers traded the #9 and #61 picks in the 2023 draft, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick, and WR D.J. Moore for the #1 pick in the 2023 draft.
Why It Matters: The Panthers are going up to get their guy at quarterback after years of desperation moves since David Tepper bought the team. It’s unclear whether it is Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud or Alabama’s Bryce Young, but most early reports are that Stroud is likely the pick. The Texans at #2 will get whomever the Panthers don’t take, and the Cardinals have already said the #3 pick is available. The Colts at #4 could be getting nervous, so we could see them move up a spot to pre-empt another team from jumping in front of them. The Panthers' new quarterback will be throwing to Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault, and Shi Smith with Moore gone, so the Panthers will need to address wide receiver sooner or later. But no one will care that Moore was dealt if the quarterback hits.
The Panthers signed S Vonn Bell (Cincinnati).
Why It Matters: Bell gives the Panthers a good centerfielder to allow Jeremy Chinn to do even more damage in his safety/linebacker hybrid role. The Panthers kept Brian Burns and have some talent up front, so this defense should be on the upswing with Ejiro Evero taking over after a very successful 2022 calling the shots for the Broncos defense.
The Panthers signed QB Andy Dalton (New Orleans) to a two-year, $11 million deal.
Why It Matters: Dalton will be the bridge to the #1 pick - if they even need a veteran to start Week 1. He played well for the Saints last year and could be trade bait for a contender that loses their starter before the trade deadline. Dalton would have been the best quarterback on the team in each of the last two seasons.
The Panthers signed RB Miles Sanders (Philadelphia) to a four-year, $25 million deal (Duce).
Why It Matters: Sanders is reunited with Duce Staley after Staley spent time on the Lions coaching staff. Sanders will be the lead back, but Staley has said you need three good players at the position. Chuba Hubbard will share with Sanders, and the team could still bring in another back - with D’Onta Foreman still unsigned as of Thursday. Sanders probably won’t have as much value as he had with the Eagles last year, but this is still a good landing spot for fantasy.
The Panthers signed TE Hayden Hurst (Cincinnati) to three-year, $21 million deal.
Why It Matters: Poor Tommy Tremble. After Frank Reich was hired as head coach, there was hope that the tight end position would be used more as a receiver, focusing on Ian Thomas and Tremble, the 2021 third-round pick out of Notre Dame, but the addition of Hurst torpedoes any fantasy value for Tremble or Thomas. The Bengals are set up to receive a compensatory pick after enhancing Hurst’s value last year on a $3.5 million one-year prove-it deal.
The Bears acquired the #9 and #61 picks in the 2023 draft, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick, and WR D.J. Moore from the Panthers for the #1 pick.
Why It Matters: The Bears owe former head coach Lovie Smith one for winning in Week 18 and pushing the Texans down to the #2 pick. The haul is considerable, with a true #1 receiver coming over in Moore, plus picks that should have a good chance to turn into four future starters. None of that will matter if Justin Fields is a bust, but he showed growth as a passer last year and now will have Moore, Chase Claypool, and Darnell Mooney to throw to.
The Bears signed LB T.J. Edwards (Philadelphia) to a three-year, $19.5 million deal and LB Tremaine Edmunds (Buffalo) to a four-year, $72 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Bears traded Roquan Smith for a second-round pick last year, but apparently, it was not because they didn’t want to pay off-ball linebackers. Edmunds is a force but not as versatile as Smith. Edwards has been developing well on the Eagles defense and will likely net them a compensatory pick. Jack Sanborn had a nice run of IDP fantasy relevance, but it is probably over with these acquisitions.
The Bears signed OL Nate Davis (Tennessee) to a three-year deal and DL Demarcus Walker (Tennessee) to a three-year, $21 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Bears had as much money to spend as anyone in this free agency period but showed some restraint and made smart mid-level signings like these two. Davis will be a good run blocker after helping open holes for Derrick Henry, and Walker will start on a defensive line devoid of established producers. The Titans have lost a lot more than they gained in free agency.
The Bears signed RB Travis Homer (Seattle) to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: Homer is only a third-down back, so unless the Bears take one early in the draft, Khalil Herbert is set to be the lead back in what should be a good run offense. Herbert has shown enough in his first two years to earn this opportunity. Whether this is a sell high or buy high moment is in the eye of the beholder, but the market will probably overreact on the sell high. You can probably get Herbert for a mid-second-round pick in your dynasty league (hat tip to our Alfredo Brown).
The Cowboys re-signed S Donovan Wilson to a three-year, $24 million deal and re-signed LB Leighton Vander Esch to a two-year, $11 million deal.
Why It Matters: Wilson and Vander Esch will return as starters on reasonable contracts. Wilson had 77 solo tackles and five sacks last year and should be a starter in IDP leagues. Vander Esch’s impact won’t be as large in fantasy leagues, but he’ll provide continuity for a strong defense.
The Cowboys acquired CB Stephon Gilmore from the Colts for a fifth-round pick.
Why It Matters: Gilmore’s experience will help opposite risk/reward corner, Trevon Diggs. This is a material improvement for an already good defense. Gilmore is only due $7.9 million this year with a $1 million roster bonus coming on May 20, so he is affordable after the Colts paid the larger part of the two-year, $23 million deal he signed last year.
The Cowboys released RB Ezekiel Elliott.
Why It Matters: Tony Pollard is set for liftoff, assuming he is fully over the leg injury and surgery that ended his season. The Cowboys could still add a running back of consequence in the draft or free agency or even via trade, but Pollard’s status as the lead back should not change. Via Overthecap.com, Elliott cost over 37 million over the last two seasons, while two franchise tags would have only cost $24 million. With the cost of the running back franchise tag only going down, fewer top backs will get second contracts right away. Elliott might wait a while before catching on elsewhere.
The Lions signed CB Cameron Sutton (Pittsburgh) to a three-year, $33 million deal and Emmanuel Moseley (San Francisco) to a one-year, $6 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Lions addressed their deficiencies at corner with two very good players. Sutton can play inside and outside and was the Steelers' best cover corner last year. Moseley was a very strong #2 corner opposite Charvarius Ward in the outstanding 49ers defense, but had his season ended by a torn ACL. The Lions should be in position to re-sign Moseley or at least get a solid compensatory pick next year if Moseley can return to form.
The Lions signed RB David Montgomery (Chicago) to a three-year, $18 million deal.
Why It Matters: Montgomery will take over the role that Jamaal Williams turned into 17 touchdowns last year. He has Williams' power but is a craftier runner and should be the most valuable back for fantasy on the Lions roster now that it appears the team has D’Andre Swift pigeonholed as a role player. Montgomery’s fantasy value is up with this signing.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said he intends to play and to play for the New York Jets.
Why It Matters: We continue to wait for the Packers and Jets to agree on trade terms, but it appears Rodgers' part as a holdup to a resolution of this saga is done. He could be in decline, but he could also be revived by a Jets pass offense that was very productive when anyone other than Zach Wilson was at quarterback. Rodgers will probably be worth a pick at a discount as your QB2.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams traded CB Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins for TE Hunter Long and a third-round pick.
Why It Matters: If it isn’t clear yet, the Rams are rebuilding. Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Sean McVay remain, along with maybe Allen Robinson if the team can’t find a trade partner.
The Vikings released WR Adam Thielen and restructured the contract of S Harrison Smith.
Why It Matters: K.J. Osborn is set to be a starter after a strong finish to the season, and T.J. Hockenson’s outsized role in the passing game should remain intact with Thielen’s departure. Smith was also a candidate for release, but he was able to work out a deal with the team to stay on the roster as the Vikings are doing a rolling rebuild despite coming off of a division-winning season
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports “multiple teams believe” Minnesota has had trade talks involving RB Dalvin Cook. The team also re-signed RB Alexander Mattison to a two-year, $7 million deal.
Why It Matters: No team seems happy with having a top running back play out a second contract at market value. Cook is probably available, but with the Mattison signing, the Vikings have tipped their hand and may not get much for him, with the Dolphins, one of the teams connected to Cook, bringing back all four of their 2022 backs this week. Cook could be a release candidate, but the team would have to pay him a $2 million injury guarantee after he had off-season shoulder surgery.
The Vikings signed TE Josh Oliver (Baltimore) to a three-year, $21 million deal.
Why It Matters: Oliver was a third-round pick by Jacksonville in 2019, but they flipped him to Baltimore for a conditional seventh in 2021, where Oliver became a strong blocking tight end. That’s what he’ll mostly be doing with T.J. Hockenson also on the roster in Minnesota. Expect two tight ends to be the most common personnel set in Kevin O’Connell’s offense.
The Vikings signed DE Marcus Davenport (New Orleans) to a one-year, $13 million deal and CB Byron Murphy (Arizona) to a two-year, $17.5 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Vikings moved on from Eric Kendricks and Adam Thielen, but these moves look like a team trying to rebuild while remaining competitive. Davenport has been a disappointment since the Saints traded an extra first-round pick to move up for him in 2018. But the Vikings need a pass rush force opposite Danielle Hunter on the edge, so they took the risk on the somewhat expensive prove-it deal. Murphy will replace Patrick Peterson in what should be an upgrade, as Murphy was consistently the best corner on the Arizona roster.
The Saints re-signed TE Juwan Johnson to a two-year contract.
Why It Matters: Johnson’s return to New Orleans became less exciting for fantasy when Michael Thomas agreed to stay with the team, but Thomas’s durability record as of late indicates that he might not be an obstacle to the fantasy value of the other pass catchers on the team for very long. We’ll watch OTA and training camp reports to see how Derek Carr is riffing with Johnson and the rest of his new targets.
The Saints signed WR Michael Thomas to a one-year, $10 million deal.
Why It Matters: Thomas was going to get a $31 million roster bonus on Friday, March 17, so many thought he’d be released, but he and the team worked out a deal that was amenable to both and avoided the salary cap landmine. Thomas should be the leading receiver for the team for as long as he can stay on the field, but as we’ve seen lately, that usually isn’t long. Still, if his ADP doesn’t move up much from the 10th round price he cost in early Underdog drafts, he’ll be a viable boom/bust pick.
The Saints re-signed QB Jameis Winston to a one-year deal.
Why It Matters: Derek Carr is durable, but if he falters in his new offense, the Saints still have a quarterback they know well, who was pretty good before Sean Payton left. Winston could have tried for a spot that offered more promise of playing time elsewhere but chose to stay in New Orleans.
The Saints signed RB Jamaal Williams (Detroit) to a three-year, $12 million deal.
Why It Matters: Williams should be the lead back if Alvin Kamara is suspended to begin the season, and there’s no guarantee that Kamara will even be on the roster come Week 1. While this won’t be nearly as valuable a role as the one Williams had in Detroit, it’s still a validation of his production and steady play and should keep his ADP around the 10th-round level it was at before he changed teams.
New York Giants
The Giants re-signed RB Matt Breida.
Why It Matters: The Giants went cheap and familiar at backup running back with Saquon Barkley returning on the franchise tag. Breida will have some deep league value if Barkley misses any time.
The Giants signed LB Bobby Okereke (Indianapolis) to a four-year, $40 million deal.
Why It Matters: Okereke instantly becomes the best linebacker on a team that cycled through a lot of players at the position last year. He won’t have nearly as good competition for tackles and should see his IDP value peak this year.
The Giants acquired TE Darren Waller from the Raiders for the #100 pick in the draft.
Why It Matters: The Giants must have surveyed the wide receiver market and decided that Waller was a better alternative to what else was out there. Daniel Bellinger had a good rookie season, but he will probably be cast as a blocking tight end, while Waller will be a big slot. With so little talent and proven production on the roster at wide receiver, there’s an argument that Waller should be the #2 tight end taken in fantasy drafts this year.
The Giants signed WR Parris Campbell to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Why It Matters: Obviously, Campbell wasn’t highly regarded around the league after suffering so many injuries after the Colts took him in the 2019 second round, but the Giants have a ton of targets up for grabs at wide receiver, and as of Thursday, only Isaiah Hodgins on the roster as a possible starter. Campbell’s contract says role player, but the rest of the depth chart says he’ll be a player the Giants depend on and one that is worth a late-round pick in fantasy drafts, pending additional moves at wide receiver by the team.
The Eagles reworked the contract of CB Darius Slay and re-signed CB James Bradberry to a three-year, $38 million deal.
Why It Matters: Earlier in the week, it appeared that Slay was going to be released, but a change of heart by one or both parties led to an arrangement that kept their top-end cornerback duo together. The Eagles pass defense should have a chip on their shoulders after how the season ended.
The Eagles signed C Jason Kelce to a one-year, $14.3 million deal.
Why It Matters: This team has unfinished business, and the return of Kelce, along with Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, shows that they want to keep the band together and try to avenge their narrow Super Bowl loss.
The Eagles signed RB Rashaad Penny (Seattle) and re-signed RB Boston Scott.
Why It Matters: We can pencil Penny into Miles Sanders' role last year, with Scott and Kenneth Gainwell reprising their 2022 roles. Penny’s speculative value is way up on this move, but we’ve heard this story before. Still, as long as he doesn’t get more expensive than he was last year - a 9th/10th round pick - Penny and, more importantly, the Eagles running game’s upside merits the modest cost.
The 49ers signed DT Javon Hargrave (Philadelphia) to a four-year, $80 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Eagles ran all over the 49ers defense in the NFC Championship game, so the 49ers signed away one of the Eagles' best players vs. the run. Hargrave makes an already scary defense even scarier. They should be the #1 D/ST taken in 2023 drafts where the position is still used.
The 49ers signed QB Sam Darnold (Carolina).
Why It Matters: This is a mutually beneficial arrangement for Darnold, who is looking to rehabilitate how the league views him, and the 49ers, who might need a backup to Trey Lance if Brock Purdy isn’t ready to return from elbow surgery in Week 1. The 49ers' offensive system tends to elevate any quarterback who plays in it, so Darnold was smart to sign here, even if he took less money than others were offering to do it.
The Seahawks signed DL Dre’Mont Jones (Denver) to a three-year, $51 million deal.
Why It Matters: The Seahawks got a very strong player on the defensive line vs. the run and pass at a position lacking for a long time. Jones should be an anchor of the defense at end on run downs, and he has pass-rush upside.
The Buccaneers re-signed CB Jamel Dean to a four-year, $52 million deal and re-signed LB Lavonte David to a one-year, $7 million deal.
Why It Matters: Many have wondered if the Bucs would be in the Caleb Williams sweepstakes after they appeared to be going forward with Kyle Trask at quarterback, but these moves indicate the team is trying to stay competitive in a weak NFC South by bringing back their best corner at a surprisingly reasonable deal, and bringing back one of the best linebackers in team history - and they’ve had some good ones.
The Buccaneers signed QB Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal.
Why It Matters: Will Mayfield be an upgrade from Kyle Trask? Probably. Can he keep the Bucs out of the cellar of the division? That’s a larger ask, but within the range of outcomes after a late-season stint with the Rams seemed to rejuvenate the failed former #1 overall pick. He has been fantasy kryptonite for his receivers, so this isn’t good news for Mike Evans or Chris Godwin. Expect the Bucs to be hyper-conservative on offense this year.
The Buccaneers signed RB Chase Edmonds (Denver).
Why It Matters: Edmonds’ star has fallen after the Dolphins brought him in last year on what appeared to be a starter deal. He didn’t last the season, and the Broncos didn’t keep him after claiming him on waivers. Still, there is opportunity here with second-year back Rachaad White as the projected starter and the enigmatic Ke’Shawn Vaughn behind him.
The Commanders DT Daron Payne to a four-year, $90 million deal.
Why It Matters: Washington used the franchise tag on Payne, but they see him as a franchise cornerstone and wanted to lock him up long-term. The defensive line is the team's strength and should be important against the strong Cowboys and Eagles running games.
The Commanders signed OT Andrew Wylie (Kansas City) to a three-year, $24 million deal.
Why It Matters: Wylie is reunited with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who was reportedly a “driving factor” behind the signing. He can play guard and tackle, so his role in not determined yet, but he’ll likely be a big part of acclimating his teammates to Bieniemy’s system.
The Commanders signed QB Jacoby Brissett to a one-year, $8 million deal.
Why It Matters: Brissett was better than expected for the Browns last year and should be able to keep the Commanders as or more competitive than Carson Wentz did last year. He didn’t cost much for a quarterback who isn’t a liability as a starter, and he could benefit from a revamped offensive system under Eric Bieniemy.