© 2020 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.
Five-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Trai Turner finished up his visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, according to a source. The Steelers had the worst rushing offense in the league last year thanks to a bad offensive line, so it makes sense that they’re searching for more help up front. Pittsburgh is replacing three of their five starters along the offensive line this year. Second-year guard Kevin Dotson is currently projected to be the team’s starting left guard, with three-time All-Pro David DeCastro locked into the right guard spot. The 28-year-old Turner would create competition on the interior and would bring valuable experience in front of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is likely heading into his final season. Turner made just nine starts with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020 and hasn’t played a full season in five years thanks to injuries.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that he’s confident the team will get a long-term contract extension worked out with All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who was excused from mandatory minicamp this week for personal reasons. Carroll also said the team expects Adams to be present for training camp at the end of July. Adams is due $9.86 million in the final year of his deal in 2021. The 25-year-old has been regarded as one of the top safeties in the league because of his versatility, and he has been named to three straight Pro Bowls in his four NFL seasons. Adams is an elite pass-rushing defensive back, which is why he should be the top defensive back off the board in IDP drafts.
The Green Bay Packers are not expected to have any negotiations with quarterback Aaron Rodgers over the course of the next couple of weeks. Rodgers, the reigning MVP sat out of the team’s entire offseason program. “To me, and based on the people I’ve spoken with, this is really something that will be wrapped up either way, if they do find the solution that Green Bay has wanted, if Aaron Rodgers does get the security that he wants potentially in the form of a new contract, probably not going to happen until the start of training camp,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said. Most people expect some sort of resolution to the drama to take place, but if Rodgers holds out of training camp, it would be a sign that he might not be back. Although Rodgers doesn’t appear to be slowing down at 37 years old, fantasy managers shouldn’t expect another MVP season in 2021, even if he stays in Green Bay. If you can get him as a midrange QB1, that’s fine, but let someone else pay the high-end QB1 price.
New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, has had his ups and downs in offseason practices, but the Jets coaching staff has been impressed with how he’s handled things so far. “He’s unflappable in the sense that he doesn’t care whether something went good or bad, he wants to know why it went good or bad. He wants to learn from it. He is wired exactly the way you want all players to be wired,” head coach Robert Saleh said. Wilson has developed a reputation for having a hunger for watching film, and he thinks he’s made improvements in his timing and going through his progressions. The 21-year-old has been a quick study and has the talent to succeed in the NFL with an improved receiving corps in New York, but fantasy managers should be patient with him in single-season leagues as a low-end QB2 with upside.
The Chicago Bears signed former Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt to an undisclosed deal on Friday. The Bears also added offensive lineman Tyrone Wheatley Jr., the son of former NFL running back Tyrone Wheatley. Offensive lineman Gunnar Vogel and defensive lineman Thomas Schaffer were released. Butt is only 25 years old, but he’s played in only eight games in two seasons in the NFL and missed the entire 2017 and 2019 seasons due to injuries. He fell to the fifth round in 2017 due to a torn ACL. Butt will join a tight end group that includes Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet, among others. He projects as an in-line tight end who will provide some depth behind Graham and Kmet, so he won’t have any fantasy value to begin the year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free-agent wide receiver Laquon Treadwell to an undisclosed deal on Friday after he tried out for the team at minicamp. In a corresponding move, wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson was waived. Treadwell was a first-round pick (23rd overall) by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 out of Mississippi, but he never lived up to his first-round billing catching just 65 of his 107 targets for 701 yards and two touchdowns in 53 games (16 starts) over his four years with the team. The 26-year-old caught just six passes for 49 yards in five games with the Atlanta Falcons last season, but he did produce a career-high two touchdowns. With a crowded wide receiver room in Jacksonville, Treadwell will have to prove himself in training camp in order to make the final roster. He can be ignored in fantasy.
Houston Texans offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (knee) recently underwent minor knee surgery following organized team activities, according to a source. Cannon is feeling good, and the scope is unlikely to affect his participation in training camp next month. The 33-year-old had played his entire career with the New England Patriots before being traded to the Texans in March. Cannon, who is a cancer survivor, opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about COVID-19. He had been a reliable contributor on New England’s offensive line in his previous four seasons, though, earning offensive grades of 70 or better in that span. Houston will need Cannon to contribute to help improve their running game and protect quarterback Deshaun Watson, if he sticks around.
The Chicago Bears signed free-agent defensive tackle Mike Pennel to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to his agent, Andy Simms. Pennel served a two-game suspension to open last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he played in the other 14 games (one start) and recorded 29 tackles (13 solo) and one QB hit. The 30-year-old began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers and spent his first three seasons with them. He also spent two years with the New York Jets before joining the Chiefs in 2019. In 91 career games (16 starts), Pennel has 155 tackles (90 solo), 13 QB hits, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and two sacks. He will strictly serve as defensive line depth in Chicago if he makes the final roster out of training camp.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Jordan Willis has been suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2021 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Despite the suspension, Willis will be able to participate in all offseason practices and all three preseason games. He’ll be eligible to return on Monday, Oct. 25, after the team’s Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts. The 26-year-old backup was acquired from the New York Jets in a trade last year and re-signed this offseason for one year. In seven games, he had 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2020 for the Niners. Willis is expected to compete for a spot on the team’s roster in training camp as an edge rusher.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed former New York Jets first-round linebacker Darron Lee to an undisclosed deal on Thursday. The Raiders also added cornerback De’Vante Bausby to their roster and waived cornerback TJ Morrison in a corresponding move. Lee, 26, was the 20th overall pick in 2016. He spent three seasons with the Jets before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 and the Buffalo Bills for two games last year. Lee will provide the Raiders with some veteran depth at the position in training camp, and he’ll have a decent chance at making the final roster heading into the regular season. In 58 career games (38 starts) over five seasons, Lee has 273 tackles (178 solo), 11 QB hits, three interceptions (one for a touchdown), 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and four sacks.
Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said on Thursday that it’s at the top of his priority list to finish his career with the team. “It’s been everything I’ve asked for,” said Mathieu. “I feel I can play football anywhere, but when you develop relationships with certain people, these people become a part of your life.” Mathieu was previously pessimistic about receiving a contract extension from the Chiefs, but he’s recently changed his tune and is now optimistic about getting a new deal. The three-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler has been with the Chiefs the last two seasons, recording 111 solo tackles, 10 interceptions (one for a touchdown), 21 passes defensed, one fumble recovery and two sacks in 31 regular season starts in that span. The 29-year-old’s greatest asset to the Chiefs is his versatility in the secondary.
The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to sign defensive lineman Willie Yarbary, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound Wake Forest product who recently played for the Massachusetts Pirates of the National Arena League and in the Spring League. Yarbary is one of four Spring League participants that could be signed by the Chargers for depth purposes. He’ll strictly be providing depth for the team’s defensive line during training camp, and he won’t be guaranteed a spot on the active roster to begin the season, although he could stick around on the practice squad if he doesn’t make the team.
New York Jets rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore has been impressing the coaches so far at organized team activities and minicamp. The Ole Miss star has been a standout of the team’s offseason practices after being taken 34th overall in this year’s draft. Head coach Robert Saleh said Moore’s “work ethic is off the charts.” He’s undersized at 5-foot-9, but he’s smooth, sure-handed and runs precise routes. The Jets are using Moore in a variety of roles, and he could be used in tandem with slot receiver Jamison Crowder. The coaches love his versatility, so he’ll also get a chance to audition for the punt-return job because of his ability to produce yards after the catch. Crowder’s return will hurt Moore’s upside in his rookie season, and it won’t help that he’ll also be working with a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson. Temper expectations in single-year leagues, but those in dynasty/keeper formats should absolutely circle Moore on their cheat sheets.
New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (hamstring) was limited at the team’s minicamp practice on Wednesday due to what head coach Robert Saleh said was “a little bit of tightness” in his hamstring. However, Saleh said that Herndon is “perfectly fine.” It doesn’t sound like an injury that should impact Herndon’s availability for training camp at the end of July. The 25-year-old had a fine rookie season in 2018 when he caught 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games (12 starts), but he played in only one game in 2019 and caught 31 passes for only 287 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (13 starts) in 2020. With a new coaching staff in place, Herndon could be more productive, but he’ll also have a rookie quarterback under center in Zach Wilson. Don’t write off Herndon just yet, but he should go undrafted in standard-sized leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (toe) said that he doesn’t “see any problems moving forward” with his surgically repaired toe. Mahomes was able to move around well, which included some scrambling, during the team’s mandatory minicamp this week. It was reported around a month ago that the former MVP was ahead of schedule, so it looks like nothing has changed. Mahomes should be a full-go for training camp next month with the toe issue in the rearview mirror. Although the offensive line remains somewhat of a question mark after the Super Bowl loss, Mahomes should once again be the first quarterback selected in the early rounds of fantasy drafts in 2021. He’s posted QB1 numbers in 69.6 percent of his 46 career games to this point.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett said that offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s new scheme gives him and the other receivers more freedom. “I think with the offense Shane brings in, it gives us more freedom. More freedom to be able to be the receivers that we can be. We got free range to do a lot of stuff,” Lockett said. The pass-catcher also used the word “sophisticated” when describing the new offense. It remains to be seen if Waldron can get Seattle’s offense out of the funk that they experienced in the second half of last season, but they certainly have the weapons to do it with Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Russell Wilson. Lockett will have big games, but his fantasy managers last year were all too familiar with the fact that he would disappear for stretches, too. 48.7 percent of his production in 2020 came from just three games. It’s fun to think about how good this offense can be, but targeting Lockett as anything more than a WR2 could be foolish.
The Denver Broncos are signing wide receiver/return specialist De’Mornay Pierson-El to an undisclosed deal on Thursday. Pierson-El was with the Las Vegas Raiders the last two seasons as a member of their practice squad, but he has never appeared in a regular season NFL game. He also spent time in both the AAF and XFL before both leagues folded. He’ll be fighting for a spot on the final roster in training camp next month, and he’ll have a better shot at making the squad if he can prove something in the return game. Pierson-El had 100 catches and also returned three punts for touchdowns in his time at Nebraska in college.
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said that both quarterbacks Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, who are expected to share repetitions evenly in training camp next month, have both improved at minicamp this week. The two signal-callers had 29 snaps apiece in practice on Wednesday. “I’ve seen improvement in Drew’s decision-making, timing and accuracy and for Teddy, it’s more about getting up to speed on what we’ve done and he’s right on-board with the things we’re doing,” Shurmur said. While it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be the starter in Week 1 against the New York Giants, Lock probably has the slight edge since he was the guy in 2020. But now that he’ll have a much shorter leash, he’ll need to improve drastically to win and keep the job. Whoever wins the job will have plenty of receiving weapons at their disposal, but they’ll be a low-end QB2 option until they prove otherwise.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) looked “great” on Wednesday at mandatory minicamp. Beckham suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 last year and missed the rest of the 2020 season. “It looks really great,” Mayfield said. “After seeing him run and really just talking to him, as well. He feels comfortable. He’s still getting used to some of these cuts and certain motions. You’re talking about seven months since the (knee) surgery, so it’s pretty impressive how quickly he’s come back.” OBJ has become an injury risk in a run-first offense, so fantasy managers should no longer treat him as a top-15 wideout. But he’s currently healthy and his price will be much lower this year, making him a fine high-end WR3 target.
Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (knee) took part in nearly every drill in minicamp on Tuesday and plans to be full go for the rest of minicamp. The three-time Pro Bowler said he “felt great” after surgery on his left meniscus ended his season early in 2020. “I felt great coming in, and I feel great now. I hope I continue on that phase into the next six-week phase and just keep getting stronger and faster for training camp,” Clowney said. The 28-year-old pass-rusher played in just eight games for the Tennessee Titans and failed to record a sack. In 13 games for the Seattle Seahawks the year prior, Clowney managed just three sacks. The former No. 1 overall pick has played in just one full season in his seven years in the NFL, but he can be a game-wrecking force when healthy. If he can stay on the field in 2021, Cleveland’s defense could be nasty.
Jacksonville Jaguars passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said the team hasn’t settled on a starting quarterback despite taking Clemson star Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in this year’s draft. Schottenheimer cautioned against assuming that Gardner Minshew II was entrenched as Lawrence’s backup. The Jags also have C.J. Beathard and Jake Luton in the QB room. “We’re letting them all roll. Everybody’s getting reps. We want this thing to be really competitive. Ultimately, when we name a starter, we’ll name a starter,” Schottenheimer said. Lawrence, who was drafted to be the franchise QB, will most likely be the Week 1 starter, but he must first earn it this summer. While it’s not technically official yet, the best bet is for Minshew to back up Lawrence from the get-go. With all the makings of a stud NFL QB, Lawrence will have some high-end QB2 upside in his rookie season.
Retired quarterback and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees took in the Los Angeles Chargers minicamp practice on Wednesday and was very impressed with second-year signal-caller Justin Herbert. “I think his physical tools are as good as anybody I’ve ever seen,” Brees said. “By all accounts, he’s a great worker. He’s got great leadership qualities, he’s got a lot of intangibles. So I think the sky’s the limit for a guy like him.” Herbert threw 31 touchdown passes, completed 396 passes and had eight 300-yard games last year, all rookie records. He also ran for 234 yards and five touchdowns while winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. The 23-year-old former sixth overall pick is learning a new offense under a new head coach and new offensive coordinator, but Brees is right, the sky is the limit for this kid. Herbert isn’t quite an elite QB1, but he’s a solid target as a midrange QB1 with upside for more in just his second season.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II said he doesn’t have any contract-extension updates and sounded resigned to possibly playing the 2021 season on his one-year franchise tag. The deadline to sign franchise-tagged players to long-term deals is on July 15. Robinson will make $17.98 million if he plays on the franchise tag after leading the team with 102 catches for 1,250 yards last year. The 27-year-old skipped voluntary workouts but reported to the mandatory minicamp this week. He plans on reporting to training camp next month on time. Robinson has finished as a top-12 receiver in the last two years despite shoddy quarterback play. Veteran Andy Dalton might be an upgrade for A-Rob, giving him some more upside as a very safe low-end WR1.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is learning new offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s scheme in his 18th NFL season. Canada intends to build off the strengths of Roethlisberger while also placing a renewed emphasis on a running game that is expected to feature rookie first-round running back Najee Harris after the team finished last in rushing in 2020. “We are going to do what Ben wants to do and how Ben wants to do it. Our job is putting every player in a position to make plays,” Canada said. Pittsburgh is expected to continue running an up-tempo offense with Big Ben at the helm. If the ground game improves, Roethlisberger could continue to produce for fantasy managers after he threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 games last year. But at 39 years old in what is likely his last season, fantasy managers will probably prefer a younger signal-caller with more upside as their QB2.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that defensive end Danielle Hunter (neck) “looks fantastic” after having surgery on a herniated disc in his neck last October and missing all of the 2020 season. The Vikings are hoping that Hunter can return to his Pro Bowl form and stay healthy after a disappointing year on defense last season. The 26-year-old had 14.5 sacks apiece in both 2018 and 2019. Hunter isn’t taking part in mandatory minicamp, but the Vikings are just happy that he’s healthy and back in the building as training camp approaches next month. If he can stay healthy all season and return to his pre-injury form, Hunter will be an excellent value pick in IDP leagues in 2021.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson, who spent two seasons with quarterback Sam Darnold with the New York Jets, said that Darnold has a different “aura” about him with his new squad. “I saw like a new energy out of him, a glowing charisma that I didn’t really see in New York,” said Anderson. Darnold is trying to resurrect his career in Carolina after they traded three draft picks for the former No. 3 overall pick in 2018. Carolina also exercised the 24-year-old signal-caller’s fifth-year option, signaling that they are fully committed to him. Head coach Matt Rhule’s system could unlock Darnold’s talent, and having a familiar face in Anderson won’t hurt. However, fantasy managers want to see it to believe it, and Darnold will be more of a low-end QB2 until he proves otherwise.
Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell, who will turn 35 on Sept. 1, is contemplating retirement after the 2021 season, which will be his 14th NFL season. The six-time Pro Bowler is taking things year-to-year at this juncture. Campbell was traded to the Ravens from the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, and he managed 28 tackles (five for loss), 10 QB hits, six passes defensed and four sacks in 12 games in his first year in Baltimore. He missed two games with a calf injury and also missed time due to COVID-19. Along with names like Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe and Justin Madubuike, the Ravens defense could once again be formidable, but Campbell shouldn’t be high on your IDP radar at his age.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, who is heading into the final season of his rookie contract, said that he wants to remain in Cleveland long-term. “Cleveland drafted me and trusted me and put their faith in me to help build this culture and this team I’m a part of. Cleveland is where I want to be. Hopefully everything can work out in that direction,” Chubb said. The Pro Bowler said his agent and the team have already discussed a potential extension this offseason. The 25-year-old has averaged 5.25 yards per carry the last two seasons and finished 47 yards behind rushing leader Derrick Henry in 2019. He finished seventh in the league with 1,070 rushing yards in 2020 despite missing four games with a knee injury. Kareem Hunt’s presence limits Chubb’s overall ceiling, but behind this offensive line, Chubb should still be a strong midrange RB1 for fantasy managers.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who was once again the subject of trade rumors this offseason, reasserted his desire to remain with the team on Tuesday. “I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” Carr said. He was briefly the highest-paid player in the history of football when he signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the Raiders in 2017. The 30-year-old posted career-highs in passing yards (4,103) and passer rating (101.4) last year, and the Raiders remain committed to him as their starter. Carr also has franchise records for passing yards (26,896) and touchdown passes (170) and could be in line for a new extension. Despite looking better last year and having the full support of the coaching staff and front office, Carr just doesn’t have much fantasy upside and is a middle-of-the-pack, uninspiring QB2.
The Minnesota Vikings signed third-round quarterback Kellen Mond to his four-year rookie deal on Tuesday. The four-year deal is worth $5.2 million. Mond was taken with the 66th overall pick of this year’s draft and is expected to back up starter Kirk Cousins in 2021. The dual-threat signal-caller will strictly be a dynasty/keeper league asset in his rookie season, as the Vikings plan is to have him sit and learn behind Cousins for a year or two. Mond will only see action in his rookie season if Cousins is forced to miss time due to injury, and even then, he would be more of a low-end QB2. The 21-year-old from Texas A&M has good arm strength, mobility and accuracy and will put pressure on the incumbent in the near future if he develops quickly.