NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports Seahawks QB Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year, $87.6 million extension, per a source involved in the negotiations. The deal includes a $31 million signing bonus and $60 million in guarantees.
By signing just a four-year extension, Wilson will enter the final year of his deal at just 30 years old, giving him an opportunity for another big payday. The shorter deal was a concession by the Seahawks.
Now that his contract negotiations are behind him, Wilson can once again focus fully on football. He has finished #9, #8 and #3 in his first three seasons, and the Seahawks are slowly letting him throw the ball more. They traded for tight end Jimmy Graham, who will serve as the best weapon that Wilson has had since he entered the NFL.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on TE Josh Hill:
As I've written before, the best statistical season by a Saints tight end other than Jimmy Graham in Sean Payton's offense was Jeremy Shockey's 2009 season (48 catches, 569 yards, three touchdowns). That's a realistic target for Hill, with maybe a few more TDs thrown in. I'll be curious to see how much of a red zone target Hill is -- and if defenses pay more attention to him than they did last year, when most of his TDs came as the result of being the open man.
We have Hill projected for 52-627-5.1, so we're slightly more optimistic than Triplett about Hill's production this season. The Saints need playmakers in the passing game, and Hill brings more to the table than Watson. But he needs to get (and stay) on the field to make a significant impact.
After Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston is where it really gets interesting for the Saints WRs. The Saints will have two relative newcomers in their top-four rotation after trading away TE Jimmy Graham and receiver Kenny Stills and opting not to re-sign Robert Meachem.
Fourth-year pro Nick Toon will get the first crack at the No. 3 job since he’s been waiting in line the longest. Toon helped his case with a solid finish to last season when he finally got an extended opportunity -- 17 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown over the final six games.
Brandon Coleman’s massive size (6-foot-6, 225) makes him the most intriguing roster contender since he could develop into a red-zone monster. Coleman seemed to be playing faster and more at ease this summer after struggling last summer -- a good sign that he’s on the rise.
Seantavius Jones shouldn’t get lost in Coleman’s shadow. The 6-3, 200-pounder has flashed a great combination of size and athleticism. And he was actually promoted to the active roster ahead of Coleman late last season when the Saints needed injury reinforcements.
The author thinks both Jones and Coleman make the roster while the team parts ways with Josh Morgan and Joe Morgan. The article said Toon (6-4, 218) can help his case even more if he proves to be a strong blocker (a valued skill that used to be one of Meachem’s specialties). Also mentioned was the possibility Colston becomes a red zone threat, taking over for the departed Graham. However, we think C.J. Spiller also takes on a huge role in the passing game from the running back position.
In May the Seahawks sent four picks to Washington to move from the bottom of the third round to the top, so they could draft Tyler Lockett from Kansas State. Coach Pete Carroll has already proclaimed Lockett the Seahawks’ punt and kickoff returner; at least its his job to lose in training camp, after Seattle suffered with poor returns and lesser starting field positions all last season. Yet Lockett has also impressed his new team with his polished and subtly skilled route running. Expect him to get many chances during exhibition games to catch passes from the slot and outside.
At 5-10, 182 pounds Lockett isn’t the big, physical receiver the Seahawks appear to need as a true wide receiver. Chris Matthews is. He’s 6-5 and 218, coming off his NFL breakout game in Super Bowl 49 with his first catches, first 100-yard game and first touchdown of his career.
Carroll says training camp and the upcoming preseason are the former Canadian Football League man’s chances to prove he is the big, physical wide receiver everyone thought Seattle had to draft in May.
There are plenty of ways to break down just how bad the Jaguars' offense has been the past several seasons, but the best way to illustrate the ineptness is by looking at how the unit has performed in the red zone.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Jaguars scored an NFL-low 13 touchdowns and completed an NFL-worst 39.1 percent of passes on an NFL-low 85 snaps in 32 red zone possessions in 2014. They were still last in TDs and completion percentage if you include the 2013 season, too.
The blame is spread between the quarterbacks, offensive line, backs and receivers, and play calling. Not much the Jaguars have tried the past two seasons has worked consistently and as a result the team has averaged just 15.5 points per game the past two seasons.
Things could be significantly better in 2015, though, thanks to the addition of tight end Julius Thomas. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was not only one of the league's better tight ends the past two seasons – catching 108 passes, including 24 for touchdowns – he was one of the NFL's most effective players in the red zone.
Thomas had 13 catches in the red zone in 2014, including nine for touchdowns. Only Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb had more (10) and Thomas had the same number as New England's Rob Gronkowski, Miami's Mike Wallace, New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, and San Diego's Antonio Gates, the story said. Obviously potential owners of Thomas need to keep in mind the situation is now a little bit different. The Jags don't have the same weapons Denver had a year ago that also needed to be accounted for in the red zone, and don't forget about Peyton Manning as the QB. Still, Thomas will be looked at as a big red zone option, and if the Jag WRs can step up as threats, that should also help Thomas' chances to continue his success. Thomas is ranked eighth among our TEs and is available in the middle of drafts.
Nick Toon, who spent his first three years at the X receiver spot, has moved to the Z in the Saints’ base offense. Toon will line up off the ball more often, and he’ll be lining up on the strong side of the formation, as opposed to the weak side. Toon, at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, has become one of New Orleans’ better run blockers at receiver, an ability that can come in handy as an extra blocker outside the tight end.
For Toon, the key is putting it all together. He should have plenty of chances.
“We saw at times last year in practice, even though he’s not receiving reps in the games, certainly we’ve seen his progression, he understands the system well and he’s working hard,” Payton said. “I think the key is just getting snaps, but I think we’ll see his snaps go way up.”
Toon figures to serve as the WR3 behind Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston. The role hasn't traditionally been a big fantasy producer, but Jimmy Graham is gone so the team figures to get less production out of the tight end position. If anything happens to Cooks or Colston, fantasy owners should have Toon on speed dial.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 9:31am
Per Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Seahawks may begin to groom Gary Gilliam at left tackle as the season progresses, given that Russell Okung is in the last year of his contract. Also, rookie Mark Glowinski eventually could push J.R. Sweezy at right guard.
Regardless of who plays in 2015, they’ll need to play better than they have.
The story pointed out some who could be directly affected by poor line play if it continues, mentioning quarterback Russell Wilson has faced consistent pressure in passing situations, which could make it difficult for the Seahawks to take full advantage of tight end Jimmy Graham. And it could make running back Marshawn Lynch more likely to call it quits following a season of getting banged around by defenders that the offensive line fails to keep away from him.
He may not see the same type of usage on the ground, but he is going to fill a role that is very similar to the one that Darren Sproles had during his tenure with the Saints. As Robert Cobb of TheInscriberMag.com stated, Spiller’s ability to be a receiver out of the backfield is going to be a major help for the Saints’ offense.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton loved what Sproles brought to the field, and it was obvious that they missed him last season after trading him. Signing a player like Spiller shows exactly how much the Saints wanted to bring back a player who is similar to Sproles.
Unfortunately, Spiller has struggled with quite a few injury issues throughout his career. He has only played an entire season as a workhorse in one of his five NFL seasons, and he was an absolute star in that season, the story said. Other than that, Spiller has been inconsistent at best or simply wasn’t used much. Spiller should help to fill a void left by TE Jimmy Graham, so Spiller's value should come in PPR leagues as Mark Ingram is expected to get a bulk of the carries. We forecast Spiller for 68 catches, the most among RBs.
Monday, June 29, 2015, 8:58pm
The Eagles signed guard John Moffitt on Monday, adding a former third-round pick with starting experience who abruptly retired in 2013 and faced legal problems while out of the league. Moffitt, 28, agreed to a one-year deal. The Eagles released undrafted rookie Cole Manhart to make room for Moffitt.
Moffitt was a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. He started 15 games during his first two years in the league before a trade to the Broncos. Moffitt played two games for Denver in 2013, then retired in midseason after losing interest in the game and worrying about his health.
Moffitt was arrested in March 2014 for allegedly punching a man and was charged with assault, public urination and possession of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. The drug charges were later dismissed and he pleaded guilty to the other charge after enrolling in a rehabilitation clinic in Malibu, according to a November 2014 Now York Times article.
The 6-foot-4, 319-pound Wisconsin product presents the Eagles with a potential starting option at guard, a position that lacks depth after the team released long-time starters Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis this offseason. Allen Barbre is expected to start at left guard. Moffitt could compete with Matthew Tobin, Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, and Kevin Graf for the starting job at right guard.
He stayed on the field on third downs as a pass protector and receiving outlet for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was solid in blitz pickup, and he boosted his pass-catching numbers considerably, from 257 yards and no touchdowns in 2013 to 427 yards and four scores last year.
All the while, he improved his per-carry rushing average a full half yard, from 4.1 to 4.6, without missing a single game and never touching the ball fewer than a dozen times per contest.
It’s a heavy workload that isn’t likely to diminish in the upcoming season, but the third-year running back is fine with his extensive every-down responsibilities.
“I don’t feel I have too much on my plate,” Lacy said last week as the offseason program wrapped up. “I really think it’s the perfect amount. You can see the chemistry between me and the offensive line, and me and the quarterback. We’re just all on the same page and we’re rolling.”
Lacy will certainly be a major factor again this season, and the coaching staff has emphasized it wants to get clicking from the get-go this year, the story said. That's something Lacy didn't do last season, thanks in part to a tough, early schedule. But we preached to stay patient with Lacy as his schedule eased. It paid off as he finished in the top-eight in both PPR and standard formats. This year Lacy is ranked third among our running backs heading into drafts, but with an ADP of 1.3, he's actually going before Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, who we have ahead of him here in late June.
Sunday, June 28, 2015, 9:34am
When the offseason program ended Thursday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed to two players who stood out to him through the rookie camp and organized team activities (OTAs).
The first one is rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett, the team’s third-round draft choice.
“It’s been really fun to learn about Tyler," Carroll said. “He’s got a lot of responsibilities. He’s going after this return job, he’s inside playing in the slot in the receiver position, and he’s been outside.
“We’ve just thrown everything at him because he seems to be able to handle it. He studies really hard. You don’t really know until you get these guys how dedicated they will be, but he’s been an exciting addition to the team.”
The other standout for Carroll is tight end Jimmy Graham, the Pro-Bowl player who should make a big impact on the offense this season.
“Jimmy coming in with the big history and all the accomplishments that he had, he could have been all kinds of things,” Carroll said. “He’s a great kid. He’s as hard a worker as we could hope to get. He loves the game. He loves the challenge and he loves coming to a new setting and having to prove himself. He’s feeding off that.”
Lockett is listed fourth our Seattle WR depth chart and isn't expected to be a typical fantasy league option - at least to start the season. Graham, on the other hand, is second among our TEs heading into fantasy drafts and projects as a third round pick. We think his value takes a little hit in a Seahawk, run-oriented offense, but given there isn't really a standout among the WRs, Graham should still get his targets.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 11:15am
Cimini: I'll tell you what I've seen from Bryce Petty: arm talent. His arm is good enough to make all the throws. But, as you know from watching Geno Smith, it takes more than a good arm to be an effective quarterback. We won't know about Petty's intangibles until we see him in game conditions, facing a live pass rush. Some fans might be hoping he pulls a Russell Wilson, a middle-round pick who blows away everyone from day one. The Jets would love to see that happen, but Wilson's advantage was that he already was well-versed in the Seattle Seahawks' offense, having played in a West Coast system in college. That's not the case with Petty, who played in an up-tempo spread at Baylor. There will be a steep learning curve.
Seahawks beat writer Bob Condotta (of the Seattle Times) was asked to predict the pecking order at receiver:
If you go with just two receivers, then I’d still go with Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse being the two starters for the opening game. They are the two most experienced and proven receivers on the team and also excel at a really underrated aspect of the game that is hugely important to the coaches — blocking. That’s one reason you rarely saw those two come off the field last season. Teams obviously often run three-receiver sets. And if what we saw in OTAs and mini-caps is any indication, then the starting 3-WR sets would well include Baldwin, Kearse and Chris Matthews. Tyler Lockett projects as Baldwin’s backup, with the other spots sort of a jumble at the moment. But as of now, I’d go with Kevin Norwood and Ricardo Lockette as the other backups. As you note, Paul Richardson could well being the year on the PUP list. If he’s healthy by opening day, I’d put him on the second unit. As for the Kearse and Matthews, there’s no question that what Matthews did in the Super Bowl creates a lot of excitement going forward. But Kearse is one of the team’s most versatile receivers and as noted, also excels at blocking. For now, I think he holds on to a role as being more of an every down receiver.
Matthews is a deep sleeper this year despite a great performance in the Super Bowl. Baldwin should be usable in fantasy leagues, but with the addition of TE Jimmy Graham, there will be fewer targets available to the Seattle receivers.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on the Saints' TE situation:
I've written a lot about Josh Hill this summer, as well. I think he'll pop up on the fantasy radar since he'll get an opportunity at more touches with Graham gone. But I'm not expecting a major breakthrough. I think Hill's 5 TDs last year were a bit misleading since he was usually benefitting from being the "open man" on those plays instead of a red-zone monster. He had only 14 catches overall. I actually think tight end Ben Watson could be a sleeper late-round pickup in deeper leagues and during bye weeks, etc. Watson might have led the Saints in catches during the OTA and minicamp practices that were open to the media. He won't have a breakout year at age 34, but he'll be regularly involved.
Jimmy Graham, Hill and Watson combined for 1,634 snaps last year, with Watson playing 50 percent of the team's snaps. Sean Payton said that Watson's role won't change in 2015, but didn't say if that meant he would play about the same number of snaps. Hill's snaps should at least double (to 50 percent) and he even has upside from there since Jimmy Graham played on 68 percent of the snaps. It was worrisome that Payton mentioned "two-TE sets" when discussing Hill's potential playing time, since it indicates that he's not going to start. At the end of the day, the Saints are looking for playmakers in the passing game, so while we're not as bullish as we were a month ago on Hill's upside, he's still looking like a nice pick in the later rounds of fantasy drafts. If he's producing, he'll play.
Saints HC Sean Payton indicated that he is experimenting with plays specifically with C.J. Spiller in mind.
"When you sign a player like that ... you are anxious to see how it fits with what you are doing and you begin to expand some things," Payton said.
Quarterback Drew Brees said he envisioned plenty of snaps for Spiller, not only because of his explosiveness, but also because at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he's sturdy enough to run inside and even block in pass protection, as former Saints running back Pierre Thomas did.
"He's got some of the quickness and the speed and kind of that slash element like a Sproles," Brees said of Spiller. "But he's bigger in stature like a Pierre, and so there's really not anything he can't do."
While New Orleans may not be an ideal landing spot in the carries department, Spiller should have a big role in the passing game with Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills no longer on the roster. He’ll likely take over the role of Thomas, who averaged 11.6 touches in the last two seasons. Thomas finished with a top 30 PPG (PPR) in six of the last seven seasons, so that's a reasonable baseline for Spiller. New Orleans running backs caught 275 passes in the last two seasons, so there are plenty of catches to go around. In short, he has significant PPR upside in this offense, but his workload will be somewhat limited since he'll be part of a committee.
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