2017 Fantasy Free Agency Tracker
Free agency begins Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET, though teams can start negotiating with free agents at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 7. Be sure to check this page throughout the week for a summary of all of the big news along with my take on how each signing will impact your fantasy team.
Before we get into the news, here's a quick refresher on the NFL's (oftentimes convoluted) free agency rules.
- An unrestricted free agent (UFA) can sign with whomever he wants with no compensation going to his old team.
- A restricted free agent (RFA) has three years of service in the NFL and an expired contract. He's free to negotiate with other teams, but once he signs an offer sheet, his old team has seven days to match the deal and retain the player. If his old team declines to match, his new team may have to send a draft pick as compensation, depending on what type of RFA tender the old team offered the player.
- A team can apply a franchise tag on a player in order to guarantee that the team retains the player's rights for another season in the hopes that the two sides can work out a long-term deal. The price is steep -- it's a formula based on a certain percentage of the salary cap and the salaries of the top five players at the position.
Note: Of the so-called “skill position” players, LeVeon Bell (Steelers) and Kirk Cousins (Redskins) were tagged this year, so they are staying put. The Steelers hope to lock Bell up long term. The same is true for Cousins, but this is the second time he’s been slapped with the franchise tag. It’s possible that he’ll be traded this spring. Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor were NOT tagged, so they’ll hit free agency.
- Under the franchise tag, a player can be labeled an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise player. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. Like restricted free agents, a non-exclusive franchise player can sign an offer sheet from another team. If his old team declines to match, they'll receive two first round picks as compensation.
- If a team doesn't apply a franchise tag, it can elect to apply a transition tag instead. The tender is cheaper because it uses the top 10 salaries at the position, but if another team negotiates a deal and his old team elects not to match, they won't get any draft picks as compensation. In previous years, teams could use both the franchise and transition tags, but under the new CBA, a team can use one or the other, but not both. The transition tag is rarely used in the NFL.
As the week progresses, be sure to check 4for4’s Fantasy News feed to stay on top of all the major signings.
I’ll continue to update this page through late April and I hope to jump on Facebook Live or Periscope to provide real-time reaction to the biggest moves.
Also, check out the Offseason Player Movement page to stay on top of everything.
Saints to sign RB Adrian Peterson (4/25)
After a 1,485-yard season in 2015, Peterson gained just 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 YPC) in 2016 while his season was interrupted by meniscus surgery. He’s 32 years old and doesn’t run well out of the shotgun, which has become the norm in today’s NFL. We don't believe he'll usurp Ingram as the starter, though he should see a significant role a la Tim Hightower. Ingram may become a draft day value if his ADP takes a hit after this signing.
Patriots sign RFA RB Mike Gillislee (4/24)
Over the past two seasons, he has gained 844 yards on 148 carries (5.7 YPC) and found the end zone 12 times (11 rush, 1 rec). In fact, among running backs with at least eight rush attempts inside the opponent's 5-yard line over the past two seasons, Gillislee is tied with LeVeon Bell for the highest touchdown conversion rate (70.0%) in the league. He should take the bulk of the work left by the departed LeGarrette Blount, so double-digit touchdowns are a distinct possibility.
Redskins sign WR Brian Quick (3/24)
Quick is only 27 and has been playing in the league's worst passing offense of the last few years. Still, he has had his moments. Over the last four seasons, in the 17 games where he was targeted at least five times, he averaged 3.4 catches for 51 yards and 0.24 TD per game (9.9 PPG in PPR formats). When the threshold is bumped up to six-plus targets (11 games), his averages are 3.6-62-0.36 (12.0 PPG). In 2014, he averaged 54 yards per game (on 5.6 targets) in seven games with Austin Davis at quarterback. Given the number of targets available in Washington after the departure of both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, it's not inconceivable that Quick carves out a significant role in a much better passing game than the one he's been a part of over the last few seasons.
Jets sign QB Josh McCown (3/20)
McCown had the best stint of his career playing for Marc Trestman in Chicago in 2013. That year, he posted a 13-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio and averaged 8.2 YPA, a career high. In his 74 other career appearances, he averaged 6.54 YPA and posted a 66-to-68 TD-to-INT ratio. Don't expect any miracles in New York, but Eric Decker and the other Jet receivers could have done worse than McCown.
Bills sign WR Andre Holmes (3/18)
This is an intriguing signing for a couple of reasons. Holmes had a semi-breakout season in 2014 (his third year) with 47 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns. Then, both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree joined the team and he even fell behind Seth Roberts on the depth chart. His targets dropped from 99 in '14 to 33 in '15 and then to 25 last year. Still, even with just 58 targets, he caught seven touchdowns in the last two years, so his 6-5 frame is useful around the end zone. The Bills are struggling to put a receiving corps together, so it's feasible that Holmes could ultimately start opposite Sammy Watkins. Warning: his career catch rate (48.3%) is terrible.
Rapaport: Raiders to sign TE Jared Cook (3/16)
Once Cook returned from his high-ankle sprain in Week 10, the Packers made a concerted effort to involve him in the offense. Over the final 10 games (including the playoffs) he averaged 4.2 catches for 55 yards and 0.30 touchdowns per game. That equates to 11.5 PPG, or low-end TE1 numbers. It's a nice signing for the Raiders, who seemingly want to involve the position more in their passing attack. Derek Carr gets a bump and Cook is in the mix as a late-round tight end.
Saints RB Travaris Cadet (3/16)
Cadet set a career high for receptions (40) last season and caught four touchdown passes. He'll continue to play in a pass-catching role behind starter Mark Ingram. (Tim Hightower is a free agent.)
Rams sign RB Lance Dunbar (3/16)
Benny Cunningham is a free agent, so this signing may be in preparation of his departure. Dunbar is a solid pass-catching back, but he has missed 15 games in the last two seasons.
Vikings sign RB Latavius Murray (3/16)
Murray wasn't particularly good last season, averaging 4.0 YPC behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. (Oakland's two other running backs, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, averaged a combined 5.6 YPC.) He joins a Minnesota offense that struggled mightily in the running game -- their running backs averaged 3.2 YPC -- so this does not look like a good match. Murray's arrival hurts Jerick McKinnon, who was otherwise shaping up to be a nice middle round value. In Oakland, the Raiders are left with DeAndre Washington (104 touches, 582 yards, 2 TD) and Jalen Richard (112 touches, 685 yards, 3 TD). Washington probably has the edge since he saw 24 carries (for 165 yards and two scores) in the final three games while Richard toted the ball just 15 times in the same span. The Raiders are likely to address the position in the offseason, but it's possible that they go into the season with a plan to use Washington and Richard in a committee. The two youngsters have proven capable.
Vikings re-sign RFA Adam Thielen (3/15)
Thielen broke out in his third season with 69 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns. He scored more fantasy points than Stefon Diggs, yet he's going seven rounds later in early MFL10s. In fairness, Diggs missed three games, but these two are closer in value than their ADPs would indicate. Thielen's role should continue to grow, so he's a great value in the later rounds.
Steelers sign WR Justin Hunter (3/15)
Hunter finished with 10 catches for 189 yards and four touchdowns for the Bills last year. He caught the four touchdowns in his first seven games, but also had three goose eggs after his team's Week 10 bye. Hunter replaces Markus Wheaton, who signed with the Bears.
Patriots sign RB Rex Burkhead (3/14)
One of my favorite tactics is to target talented free agent backups when they land in good situations with new teams. It has worked in the past with Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, LaMont Jordan and Chester Taylor, and Burkhead jumps out as a possibility this year. With Giovani Bernard sidelined, Burkhead averaged 10.8 touches for 56 yards as the change-of-pace back. Then, in Week 17 with Jeremy Hill also out, Burkhead turned in an epic 29-touch, 144-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Ravens. As a junior at Nebraska, Burkhead rushed for 1,357 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns. Burkhead is similar in skillset to Dion Lewis and James White, though he's bigger. Even though LeGarrette Blount is 40 lbs heavier, Burkhead could assume some or most of Blount's work on early downs.
Seahawks sign RB Eddie Lacy to a one-year deal (3/14)
In 20 games over the last two years, Lacy has averaged 67 total yards on 14.1 touches (4.33 YPC) and 0.25 touchdowns, for a per game average of 9.4 FP in PPR formats. He was significantly better (16.8 PPG) in his first two seasons, though his YPC (4.37) was similar. Prior to undergoing ankle surgery, Lacy was running well (5.1 YPC, 72 yards per game). His arrival in Seattle submarines any budding value for Thomas Rawls or C.J. Prosise. He's not a shoo-in to win the RB1 job, however. In Green Bay, Ty Montgomery looks safe as the team's RB1, though they may still address the position in the draft (likely) or free agency (less likely).
Cardinals sign WR Andre Roberts (3/13)
Roberts was trending up through his third season, when he caught 64 passes for 759 yards and five touchdowns. He took a step back in his fourth season, and then the Cardinals let him walk. He spent last year in Detroit, where he caught 14 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.
Raiders sign WR Cordarrelle Patterson (3/13)
Patterson gained 344 total yards and scored five touchdowns in his final four games as a rookie, but was a big disappointment in his second season. Last year, he contributed with 453 yards on 52 catches, finishing fourth on the team in total targets. He led the league in yards per kickoff return (31.7), so he will bring some punch to the Oakland return game.
Bears sign WR Kendall Wright (3/11)
Wright had 94 catches for 1079 yards and two touchdowns on 139 targets in his second season, but it’s been pretty downhill since then. He gained 715 yards in 2014, 408 yards in 2015 and finally 416 yards last year. He’ll provide depth behind presumed starters Cameron Meredith and Kevin White.
Panthers sign WR Russell Shepard (3/11)
Shepard was a role player for most of the season, finishing with 23 catches for 341 yards and two touchdowns on 40 targets. He played a larger role in the final five games, though he caught just eight passes for 141 yards on 20 targets playing 67% to 94% of the snaps.
Cowboys re-sign WR Terrance Williams (3/10)
Williams was the #62 fantasy receiver (PPR) last year despite the fact that Dez Bryant essentially missed four games. Expect more of the same from Williams in 2017.
Patriots trade for WR Brandin Cooks (3/10)
The Patriots love receivers who can turn a short catch into a long gainer and with his speed, Cooks fits the bill. The signing is great for Tom Brady, but it's a downgrade for Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. Cooks figures to rank as a WR2 in early projections since the Patriots have several mouths to feed. In New Orleans, it's a small downgrade for Drew Brees while Michael Thomas, Willie Snead and newcomer Ted Ginn will pick up the slack.
Packers sign TE Martellus Bennett (3/10)
When the Packers broke off negotiations with Jared Cook earlier today, it looked like Green Bay would be without a dynamic presence at tight end. Not so fast. Ted Thompson is indeed awake and working the phones. Bennett finished the season as the #10 fantasy tight end, but he was pretty nicked up for most the season, which possibly limited his production. He still needs to undergo surgery to clean up his ankle, but provided he makes a full recovery, this is a great pickup for the Packers. Bennett should be a solid TE1 in 2017.
Redskins sign WR Terrelle Pryor to a one-year deal (3/10)
Pryor finished the season as the #21 receiver, though his numbers dipped over the final month of the season. Still, his production in the first 12 games -- 5.2 catches for 71 yards and 0.33 TD, #11 WR -- is very encouraging. He’d certainly benefit from an upgrade at quarterback, and should get one if Kirk Cousins remains in Washington.
Bears sign WR Markus Wheaton (3/9)
Wheaton showed promise in 2014-15 with a total of 97 catches for 1393 yards and seven touchdowns. He struggled with injury last year and the Steelers gave up on him. He'll provide depth in the Chicago receiving corps.
Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon suspended for four games due to PED use (3/9)
This may explain why Ravens decided to sign Danny Woodhead. The suspension puts a big dent in Dixon's stock, though his price may come down enough to make him an attractive pick as a fantasy RB3. Woodhead and Terrance West get a bump.
Buccaneers re-sign Jacquizz Rodgers (3/9)
Rodgers has seen at least 12 carries in seven games over the past four years. In those games, he averaged 97 total yards and 0.57 TD on 22.2 touches (4.25 YPC). Due to his size (5-7, 190 lbs), Rodgers is not considered an every-down back, but he’s certainly capable of carrying the load when called upon. Still only 27, Rodgers should have plenty of tread left on his tires. His value is tied to Doug Martin's status as the team's starter, so Rodgers could be a great sleeper if Martin and the Bucs part ways.
Eagles agree to terms with WR Alshon Jeffery (3/9)
It's reportedly a one-year deal worth $14 million. In 53 games since his sophomore season, Jeffery has averaged 5.3 receptions for 79 yards and 0.43 touchdowns, or 16.0 PPG (PPR). That’s about what Doug Baldwin averaged last year as the league’s #8 fantasy receiver. Jeffery’s numbers are down a bit over the last two years (5.1-78-0.29 in just 21 games), but he still has plenty of potential. The signing is a clear upgrade for Carson Wentz, who now has a receiving corps of Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Matthews' stock certainly takes a hit with the acquisition of Jeffery, who is likely to be ranked as a fantasy WR2 in our preseason projections.
Browns get a second round pick and Brock Osweiler from the Texans (3/9)
Essentially, the Browns are taking on Osweiler's contract to get a second round pick from the Texans. Rumor has it that they may cut him after the trade. Meanwhile, the Texans clear enough cap space to make a run at Tony Romo.
Russini: Saints to sign WR Ted Ginn (3/9)
Ginn finished the season as the #48 WR (PPR) after finishing #33 the year before. Even with Kelvin Benjamin back, Ginn’s targets remained remarkably consistent; he saw 95 targets in 2016 after getting 97 targets in 2015. Still one of the fastest receivers in the league, Ginn is being brought to New Orleans to stretch the field since it looks like Brandin Cooks is on his way out of town. The Saints’ three starting receivers each saw at least 104 targets, so Ginn could post similar (or better) numbers in 2017, provided he enjoys a smooth transition.
Rams to sign WR Robert Woods (3/9)
With Kenny Britt out of the picture, there are a ton of (poor quality) targets available with the Rams, and Woods is still just 24 years old. (He's turning 25 in April.) Woods has at least 550 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons and is a solid real-world WR2. He has a reputation for being a great blocker, so this signing should be a boost for Todd Gurley. His departure leaves a hole in Buffalo, so the Bills have some work to do to surround Tyrod Taylor with capable pass-catchers.
WR Torrey Smith to sign with the Eagles (3/9)
Smith was a poor fit in San Francisco given the 49ers' QB woes. Prior to leaving Baltimore, he was remarkably consistent, finishing in the #23-#30 range (PPR) in each of his first four seasons. He's only 28, and he can still fly, but it remains to be seen if he's a good fit for Carson Wentz's inconsistent deep ball. One thing's for sure -- he should have plenty of opportunity to play in Philadelphia. It's clearly an upgrade for Wentz.
Bears 'on the verge' of signing QB Mike Glennon (3/9)
In 18 starts, Glennon has averaged 217 passing yards, 1.6 touchdowns and 0.8 interceptions per game en route to a 6.56 YPA (not good) and 13.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Trevor Siemian posted last season. In his defense, 13 of those starts were during his rookie year, and rookie quarterbacks are generally not very good. Still, his 19-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a rookie, and his improved YPA (6.98) as a sophomore has put him in the mix as a starting NFL quarterback in 2017. The Bears are probably not done at the position, though Glennon is now the odds-on favorite to be the starter.
Schefter: Buccaneers set to sign WR DeSean Jackson (3/9)
If Jackson has lost a step, it’s hard to tell. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch last year, which was his second highest average of his last six seasons. In 24 games over the last two seasons, he has averaged 3.6 catches for 64 yards and 0.33 TD, or 12.0 PPG in PPR formats. He’s been a little hit or miss fantasy-wise, but should see consistent targets as the complement to Mike Evans in Tampa, though his fantasy value is largely unchanged. This is an upgrade for Jameis Winston, Evans (who won't see quite as much defensive attention) and Cameron Brate. In Washington, Kirk Cousins has lost his top two receivers.
Rapaport: Browns expected to sign WR Kenny Britt (3/9)
The deal is reportedly for four years and $32.5 million. The Browns started with over $100 M in cap space, so this does not preclude the team from re-signing Terrelle Pryor. Given is situation, Britt had a great 2016. He averaged 4.5 catches for 67 yards and 0.33 touchdowns in 2016 with Case Keenum and Jared Goff throwing him the ball. The Rams had the worst passing game in the league, and Britt still managed decent numbers. He turns 29 in September. We'll see what the Browns are able to do at quarterback, but this isn't a bad landing spot from him considering where he spent the last few seasons.
Rapaport: Ravens to sign RB Danny Woodhead (3/8)
Well, this puts a dent in Kenneth Dixon's budding value. Woodhead is an elite pass-catcher and an underrated runner. He's likely to form a committee with Dixon, who will serve as the team's primary back. Both players look like PPR RB2/RB3 types at this point. The signing is good news for Melvin Gordon, who will have virtually no competition for touches. It's also good for C.J. Anderson, since it was rumored that the Broncos were interested in reuniting Woodhead with OC Mike McCoy.
Dolphins re-sign WR Kenny Stills (3/8)
Stills finished the season as the #46 fantasy receiver (PPR), but he caught six of his nine touchdowns in the final eight weeks of the season, and was the #24 receiver in that span. He averaged 5.6 targets per game in the back half of the season after averaging 4.4 targets in the first eight games. Given his big-play ability, he’s always been a high FP/target player. In the 19 career games where he’s seen at least six targets, he has averaged 4.3 catches for 65 yards and 0.37 TD (on 7.4 targets), or 13.1 PPG. He's an ideal pick in best ball formats given his propensity for the deep ball and low cost. (He's currently the 58th receiver off the board in the 11th round.)
Bengals re-sign WR Brandon LaFell (3/8)
LaFell finished the year as the #35 receiver (PPR), though he was significantly more productive in the six games that A.J. Green missed (5.2-74-.33 on 8.7 targets per game) than he was in the 10 games in which Green played (3.3-42-.40 on 5.5 targets per game). LaFell is more of a fantasy WR4/WR5 with a healthy Green on the field.
Schefter: Patriots trading for TE Dwayne Allen (3/8)
The Patriots probably looked at Martellus Bennett's asking price and decided instead to trade for Allen, who was disappointing in the first year of the $29 M deal he struck with the Colts last offseason. Allen will serve as the Patriots' second tight end, assuming Rob Gronkowski is healthy. Bennett finished as the #10 TE in that role, though he was actually more productive with Gronk in the lineup. For the Colts, this is big news for the newly re-signed Jack Doyle, who will graduate to starter's snaps. Given Andrew Luck's propensity to throw to his tight end in the red zone, Doyle will be an appealing sleeper in 2017 fantasy drafts. Erik Swoope should also see an increase in snaps.
49ers to sign QB Brian Hoyer (3/8)
This is a good landing spot for Hoyer, who is a fringe starter in the league at this point in his career. He's playing for a sharp offensive mind (HC Kyle Shanahan) and the 49ers figure to throw a lot as they try to stay competitive during a rebuilding year. In 25 career games where Hoyer has started and attempted at least 25 passes, he has a 12-13 record while averaging 268 yards passing (59.6 Cmp %), 1.48 TD and 0.84 interceptions (or 15.1 fantasy points per game). That's a bit more than what Sam Bradford and Alex Smith averaged last year. If he's the starter, he'll be in the streaming conversation in 2017.
Bills announce that they're keeping QB Tyrod Taylor (3/8)
Taylor was a 4for4 favorite in 2016 until Sammy Watkins’ injury and he still produced top 8 numbers with Watkins in and out of the lineup. He was also a top 8 quarterback on a per game basis in 2015, so he has now produced starter-caliber numbers in two straight seasons. The question in Buffalo is what sort of receiving corps will Taylor have to throw to? If Sammy Watkins can stay healthy it would be a big boost, but the promising (and still only 24-year-old) Robert Woods is a free agent. Taylor is currently the 18th quarterback off the board in early fantasy drafts. If that holds, he will be my primary QB target in 2017.
49ers expected to sign WR Pierre Garcon (3/8)
Garcon turns 31 in August, but is coming off a season where he caught 79 passes for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, he has at least 68 catches in four straight seasons. In San Francisco, he’ll be reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. In Shanahan’s last year in Washington (2013), Garcon caught 113 passes for 1,346 yards and five scores. He’s four years older now, but should still see heavy volume playing for Shanahan.
Giants agree to terms on a two-year deal with WR Brandon Marshall (3/8)
In his age-32 season, Marshall struggled with injury and inefficiency en route to 59 catches for 788 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn't all his fault, however, as the Jets struggled to throw the ball all year. One year removed from a 109-catch, 1500-yard and 14-touchdown season, he might benefit from a move to the slot, a la Larry Fitzgerald. Eli Manning is an upgrade for Marshall and vice versa. The Giants were 8th in the league in pass attempts, so Marshall should have an opportunity to bounce back. The signing is not great news for Sterling Shepard, who is unlikely to see 105 targets again with a healthy Marshall in the mix. As for Odell Beckham, he'll benefit from the defensive attention Marshall will draw, but may see a drop in targets as well.
Redskins re-sign TE Vernon Davis to a three-year deal (3/8)
Davis had 44 catches for 583 yards and two touchdowns on 59 targets. When he played 60% or more of the snaps -- typically when Jordan Reed was out or limited -- Davis averaged 3.4 catches for 40 yards and 0.14 TD, or 8.3 fantasy points (PPR). Those are low-end TE2-type numbers. Davis is already 33 years old, so a three-year contract is a bit surprising.
Garafolo: Colts will re-sign TE Jack Doyle (3/7)
Doyle finished with 59 catches for 584 yards and five touchdowns, and played especially well when Dwayne Allen missed Week 7, posting nine catches for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Titans. He finished as the #13 TE (PPR) in 2016, but with Allen still around, his upside is capped. Update: With the news that Allen will be traded to the Patriots, Doyle's stock is on the rise. He should play starter's snaps and see plenty of targets in the red zone. Erik Swoope will also see a bump in snaps.
Cardinals re-sign TE Jermaine Gresham (3/7)
Gresham began to see starter's snaps in Week 5, and while he never made a major fantasy impact, he gained at least 32 yards in eight straight games and even caught a couple of touchdowns in that stretch.
49ers re-sign Jeremy Kerley (3/4)
Last year, Kerley finished with 64 catches for 667 yards and three touchdowns. He had at least five catches in eight games. He'll man the slot for new HC Kyle Shanahan.
Jets to release WR Brandon Marshall (3/2)
In his age-32 season, Marshall struggled with injury and inefficiency en route to 59 catches for 788 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn't all his fault, however, as the Jets struggled to throw the ball all year. One year removed from a 109-catch, 1500-yard and 14-touchdown season, he might benefit from a move to the slot, a la Larry Fitzgerald.
Chiefs release RB Jamaal Charles (2/28)
Charles is on the wrong side of 30 and is coming off of two knee surgeries. Still, other than 2016, he has averaged at least 5.0 YPC every season and should receive a good amount of attention on the free agent market. The move boosts Spencer Ware's stock, as he's the likely RB1 in Kansas City, pending the draft and free agency.
Vikings decline Adrian Peterson's option, making him a free agent (2/28)
Peterson turns 32 in March, so it remains to be seen how much gas he has left in the tank at this point in his career. He gained just 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 YPC) in 2016, but gained 1,485 yards (4.5 YPC) the year before.