Fantasy Football Free Agency Recap for Wednesday, July 27
SIGNINGS (NOT OFFICIAL UNTIL FRIDAY)
While Tuesday featured a number of cuts, Wednesday was filled with joy and optimism, at least for Santonio Holmes, who agreed to a monster five-year deal that includes $24 million in guaranteed money (the most ever for a WR). Holmes was outstanding down the stretch for the Jets, posting borderline WR1 numbers over his final 12 games, including the postseason. He'll make a fine WR2 in the 4th round and represents terrific value in the 5th. The Seahawks plucked Sidney Rice away from the Vikings with a five-year deal worth $41 million (pending a physical). This probably downgrades Rice as he joins a new offense and has Tarvaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst throwing to him. Mike X Williams will now have to battle with Rice for targets.
DeAngelo Williams also hit paydirt, coaxing $43 million out of the Panthers, who already had a very good RB in Jonathan Stewart on the roster. The signing puts a big dent in Stewart's value and limits Williams's upside. However, it is good news for Knowshon Moreno and Daniel Thomas, who are safe...at least for now.
In two other notable WR signings, Lance Moore is returning to the Saints on a five-year deal while Steve Breaston joins the Chiefs. Moore is a nice sleeper in the 9th or 10th round in PPR formats, especially if the Saints cut Reggie Bush, as expected. Breaston is injury-prone and the Chiefs are run-oriented, so it's not clear how much value he has at this point. His arrival certainly puts a damper on Jonathan Baldwin's chances to start and limits Dwayne Bowe's upside.
The Redskins were finally able to part ways with Donovan McNabb. The Vikings & McNabb were able to restructure Donovan's deal in a trade that sends a 6th round pick and a conditional pick to the Redskins. Donovan McNabb will start the season for the Vikings and should continue to get the starts as long as the Vikings are competitive with rookie Christian Ponder waiting in the wings. McNabb's upside is hurt by the loss off Sidney Rice, but Percy Harvin now presents a nice value in the 5th or 6th round. Adrian Peterson will benefit from a veteran under center.
Matt Hasselbeck is the new QB for the Tennessee Titans. He has low-end QB2 value, but his arrival certainly helps Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt. If the latter can avoid a suspension, he'll enter the season as a high upside WR2/WR3. Many believe that the NFL is going to have a tough time enforcing the personal conduct policy for incidents that occurred during the lockout, so Britt may be safe. (He's still a knucklehead, so buyer beware.)
Finally, Bruce Gradkowski agreed to a two-year deal with the Bengals. Worst-case scenario for A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson was Andy Dalton under center to start the season, so Gradkowski is an upgrade. He's scrappy and should be able to post numbers late in games while the Bengals inevitably trail. He has the potential to be the Ryan Fitzpatrick of the AFC North. (That's actually a good thing.)
Ruh-roh. Frank Gore and DeSean Jackson are both planning to skip the start of camp until they can work out new deals, while 2010's breakout TE Marcedes Lewis is also a no-show as he negotiates a long-term contract. The Jaguars slapped him with the franchise tag, so they intend to work something out, but any holdout is worrisome.
Ahmad Bradshaw is asking too much of the Dolphins and is likely to return to the Giants. If he does, he'll be a solid value as a RB2 in the 3rd round. The Dolphins continue to negotiate with Kyle Orton, who would be an upgrade for Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess. The Cardinals are working on a trade with the Eagles for Kevin Kolb, but with Orton's possible move, Arizona is losing leverage. The Eagles are asking a lot for Kolb, and if the Cardinals balk, he could very well end up back in Philly as insurance for Michael Vick. (Wouldn't that be funny?) For now, he's not planning to report to camp Thursday morning.