Update: The deal is worth up to $3 million over two years, with incentives.
McFadden turns 28 in August and he hasn't cracked 3.5 YPC since 2011 (when he rushed for 5.4 YPC). It's an interesting signing given the Dallas offensive line, which may be the best run-blocking unit in the league. But 2014 was the first time that McFadden played a full season; he has missed 26% of his team's games in his seven-year career. We'll see what else the Cowboys do at running back before going down this road once again.
The Denver Post, which first reported the news Monday night, said the multiyear contract is worth around $9 million a season.
Thomas was the #3 TE in 2013, but struggled to a #10 finish last season after dealing with torn ligaments in his ankle. He has considerable talent as a pass-catcher, but this is a huge system downgrade from Denver to Jacksonville. He'll no longer enjoy the benefits of playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense and will instead be relying on Blake Bortles to deliver the ball. If the Jaguars feature him in the passing game -- and why wouldn't they? -- he has the potential to finish as a fantasy TE1 provided he can stay healthy. It's certainly an upgrade for Bortles and a downgrade for Manning, though whomever wins the starting tight end job in Denver will be on the fantasy radar.
Jones-Drew was a minor threat to Latavius Murray's upside in 2015, but now the path is clear. Murray rushed 82 times for 424 yards (a 5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, including an incredible four-carry, 112-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs in Week 12. He still averaged a solid (if unspectacular) 4.0 YPC when that game is excluded. With good size (6'2", 223 lbs) and great speed (4.38 40-yard dash), Murray has all the physical tools to succeed at the position. He even showed solid hands with 17 receptions on 23 targets. Per beat writer Jerry McDonald, Murray will be “given every chance” to win the starting job, though the glut of running backs on the free agent market may lead to a veteran or two being brought in to shore up the Oakland RB corps.
If they can bring back Justin Forsett, the Ravens are expected to pair him with a young running back. They met with Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), David Johnson (Northern Iowa) and Duke Johnson (Miami) at the NFL scouting combine.
"He doesn’t have the wear and tear, and Justin did a very good job of coming in, competing and then being our bell cow," GM Ozzie Newsome said. "We would like to retain Justin, but I’ve learned something since the end of the season about Justin that I didn’t really know. He has mentored some very good, young backs, starting with Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew when he was in Jacksonville.
"Having Justin here, and with the opportunity also bringing in hopefully another young running back, to have Justin be around that guy would be an asset also. So, we will work to try to retain Justin.”
Under OC Marc Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore. If the Ravens draft a running back early, it would certainly damper Forsett's outlook in 2015.
By season's end, Anderson was a Pro Bowler. But Anderson started the final eight games with John Fox as head coach. Gary Kubiak is the Broncos' coach now.
"He's got to go earn that," Kubiak said. "When he walked off the field last year he was playing that way. He's a young player. I told him that when I talked to him. I said, "C.J. when you come back for the offseason you need to handle yourself like you're the starter. ... I think he's ready to do that."
This is a common motivational tactic that coaches use with young, less-established players, but Anderson should be the team's RB1 in 2015 provided he doesn't report to OTAs out of shape. He began to see starter-type touches in Week 10 with 17 touches for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 24.0 touches for 132 yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 RB in that span. If the Broncos commit to Anderson, he should thrive under new Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett. Provided QB Peyton Manning returns for another season, Anderson’s production should continue.
Raiders RB Latavius Murray will be given every chance to show he can be a feature back, but HC Jack Del Rio said it's far from a done deal. He'll give Maurice Jones-Drew a chance to rejuvenate his legs, but he's a question mark based on last season's 2.2 yards per carry average. Darren McFadden is an unrestricted free agent.
We don't think that Murray will need extra chances to prove he's a feature back. He rushed 82 times for 424 yards (a 5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, including an incredible four-carry, 112-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs in Week 12. He still averaged a solid (if unspectacular) 4.0 YPC when that game is excluded. With good size (6'2", 223 lbs) and great speed (4.38 40-yard dash), Murray has all the physical tools to succeed at the position. He even showed solid hands with 17 receptions on 23 targets.
Cosell: Raiders QB Derek Carr has 'best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement' of rookie QB classThursday, February 12, 2015, 1:34pm
I think Carr has the best combination of arm strength, pocket play and movement. He has a really good arm. There are times he snaps it off like Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.
Carr’s tendency to get rid of the ball short isn’t a bad thing. The Raiders’ sack numbers were way down. He didn’t stand there and hold the ball with a deer-in-the-headlights look. That tells me his processing was functioning. He didn’t always throw to the right guy, but he didn’t get stuck in the pocket. He struggled at times with lower body mechanics, but he had the instincts and feel of a pocket quarterback. And he showed progress with his lower body mechanics as the season went on.
Carr played well as a rookie, and as long as he progresses as he should in seeing things at the intermediate level, there’s a lot to like with him going forward.
Carr finished the season as the #20 QB in fantasy and averaged 12.5 FP per game. He'll be in the mix for QBBC and streaming strategies heading into the 2015 season.
With the Broncos' return to zone blocking in 2015 under Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison, C.J. Anderson's rampage through opposing defenses could be just the beginning. Kubiak and Dennison's penchant for extracting career seasons from running backs continued last year in Baltimore, when they helped craft an offense that turned Justin Forsett loose.
"I just can't wait to get to work, to be honest," Anderson said.
Anderson began to see starter-type touches in Week 10 with 17 touches for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 24.0 touches for 132 yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 RB in that span. If the Broncos commit to Anderson (and why wouldn’t they?), he should thrive under new Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett. Provided QB Peyton Manning returns for another season, Anderson’s production should continue.
Asked OC Bill Musgrave impression of Latavius Murray: "Very positive. Tremendous size & speed. Going to tailor run game so it's right up his alley."
Murray's dynasty/keeper league owners can rejoice. It sounds as if the new regime is a fan of Murray, so at this point we can pencil him in as the starter in Week 1. We'll continue to monitor the Oakland backfield throughout the offseason. From Week 12 on, Murray was the #17 RB in fantasy football, racking up 478 total yards and two touchdowns in five games.
The Jaguars are hiring Greg Olson to be their offensive coordinator.
Musgrave was previously the offensive coordinator for Carolina (20th in yards; 21st in points), Jacksonville (12th and 21st in yards; 25th and 29th in points) and Minnesota (18th, 20th and 13th in yards; 19th, 14th and 14th in points) prior to serving as the QB coach for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. His offenses tend to perform better in the running game, but that probably has more to do with the personnel (Fred Taylor, Adrian Peterson) that he was working with. We see this as a decent hire for Derek Carr and Latavius Murray.
Jack Del Rio is expected to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning, citing two sources informed of the team's thinking, that signs point to the former Broncos defensive coordinator and Jaguars head coach being the next man tapped to lead the middling franchise out of a playoff drought that began in 2002. Rapoport adds that the Raiders decided Tuesday against sticking with interim coach Tony Sparano.