It looked like Blount might return to New England, but he'll join Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey in Philadelphia. Ryan Mathews is still on the roster, though the working assumption is that he'll eventually be a cap casualty. Blount is a good fit personnel-wise for the Eagles, and his arrival is bad news for Smallwood and Pumphrey, who are vying for touches alongside Sproles. In New England, the signing is very good news for Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead, who figure to replace Blount's production in the lineup. Gillislee looks like a terrific value since he's likely the goal line back.
Redskins RB Samaje Perine makes his strength and downhill running ability immediately obvious, but he can turn a corner remarkably well for someone 5-foot-11 and 234 pounds. If he can prove himself as an asset in the passing game, Perine could challenge Rob Kelley for the top running back job in the fall.
“You see him out there running around – were you impressed?” Jay Gruden asked after practice Saturday. “Yeah, so was I. I like guys who come in here and love football and he does. He’s a very smart guy. You can tell that he’s going to be a very hard worker and, of course, he runs hard.
“You can’t see that in shorts, obviously, but you could see that his pad level is always down, he’s got good vision, he’s got good feet in the hole and he caught the ball well.”
ESPN beat writer John Keim predicted that Perine would usurp Rob Kelley and be the RB1 by Week 1. If so, he'll be a terrific value at his current draft position in the 9th round.
Back on the field as the Cardinals begin preparing for the 2017 season, John Brown is out to prove he's the same receiver who had 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015. It hasn't taken long to convince coach Bruce Arians, who said Brown was running routes Tuesday that he never ran last year because of his health issues.
"He doesn't look like he looked last year," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "He just has a different energy about him. He's heavier. He's stronger. He looks more explosive than he did last year, I think, with all the health issues he had last year.
"He's got that smile to him. He's having fun. He's enjoying it. It's not a grind just getting through routes on air. I'm looking forward to having him back healthy and the way he is right now because he's a special player for us. Dealing with all the things he did last year was tough emotionally, obviously physically, but he just seems emotionally just in a better place."
Heading into the 2016 season, Brown was one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the league. He was 25 years old and coming off of a 65-1003-7 season. If he’s fully healthy again, he’s going to be a great value in the middle rounds. He’s currently going in the 9th round after having an ADP in the 5th round at this time last year.
ESPN beat writer John Keim projects that Samaji Perine will start Week 1:
Samaji Perine: Rob Kelley ended last season as the starter, but he’ll be a complementary piece to Perine, a fourth-round power back who averaged 6.0 yards per carry at Oklahoma.
Perine is a bulldozer when he gets a head of steam going and is one of the strongest running backs in the draft. He put up 30 reps on the bench press at the combine and punishes would-be tacklers. He’s had some issues with his ankles that could be concerning for him, but he flashes the ability to be a three-down back with advanced pass-blocking skills for a young player and soft hands. Perine isn’t going to be a downfield threat and won’t ever be a guy who threatens teams with his speed, but his size and natural running instincts should make him a starter in the league, and it looks like he'll have a chance to usurp Kelley this summer.
He applied in early March. He can reapply for reinstatement in the fall.
Michael Floyd's short foray into unemployment has ended.
The maligned former first-round pick is signing with the Minnesota Vikings after a quiet free agency, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the situation. Floyd, 27, most recently played with the New England Patriots. He was dismissed from the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 14 -- two days after he was arrested on drunken driving charges in Scottsdale, Arizona.
At one point, Floyd was a 24-year-old receiver with good size (6'3") and speed (4.47 40-yard dash) who was coming off of a 65-catch, 1,041-yard sophomore season with the Cardinals. Since then, his targets dropped for four consecutive seasons and the Cardinals ultimately cut him. He'll get a fresh start in Minnesota, though he'll have to compete with another first round pick (Laquon Treadwell) for playing time.
According to a report from Andy Slater of WINZ-AM, Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is being charged with resisting arrest with violence and also obstruction of justice after an incident at a music festival in Miami.
Anderson had a solid season for the Jets after making the team as an undrafted rookie from Temple. He caught 42 passes for 587 yards and two touchdowns.
Anderson is expected to play starter's snaps this year with Brandon Marshall gone. We'll have to wait and see how serious this incident turns out to be.
I think there will be a shift from last season, which is to say Bilal Powell will become the lead back.
Powell rushed for 411 yards over the final four games, third in the NFL, opening a lot of eyes around the league -- and probably some on his own coaching staff. Curiously, he was an afterthought at the start of the year as Matt Forte was used as the workhorse, but Powell -- perhaps because his legs were fresh -- came on strong when Forte went down with a knee injury.
Forte finished with more offensive touches than Powell -- 248 to 189 -- but Powell was on the field more than Forte -- 51 percent to 47 percent.
Look for the "touches" to flip in the coming season, with Powell moving ahead.
Powell was the #32 RB through Week 13, before he took over as the lead back, so he should have flex value even if Cimini's prediction doesn't come true. In the final four games, he averaged 23.7 fantasy points (PPR) and was second only to LeVeon Bell at his position. Powell is currently the 30th RB off the board, so there's quite a bit of value here.
Jay Cutler has decided to transition from the field to the broadcast booth, and will now work for Fox Sports.
John Brown’s health issues in 2016 plagued him beyond the football field. That’s where it was noticeable to the world, with his yardage falling in half from his breakout 2015 campaign and eight games where he had one or zero catches. But his problems wouldn’t even let him take walks with his daughter, which drove him crazy, and he wasn’t the happy guy his family knew him to be.
It wasn’t just exhaustion but pain that was bothering him. The long-talked about sickle cell issues figured into the equation. But then, Brown said, they found a cyst on his spine after the final game of the season. Once the cyst was taken care of, “I was back to normal,” he said.
“I most definitely feel confident,” Brown said of the upcoming season. “Since they found out the situation, my body has been feeling better. I am doing the usual, which I couldn’t do when I was going through this process.”
Heading into the 2016 season, Brown was one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the league. He was 25 years old and coming off of a 65-1003-7 season. If he’s fully healthy again, he’s going to be a great value in the middle rounds. He’s currently going in the 9th round after having an ADP in the 5th round this time last year.
Charles wasn’t too efficient in 2016 (40 yards on 12 carries in three games), but he was coming off of a torn ACL, and eventually had to undergo another operation to get the meniscus trimmed in the same knee. He also had a “clean-up” procedure on his right knee. In his previous 20 games from 2014-15, he averaged 93.6 total yards on 16.9 touches en route to 18.1 FP per game. That’s more than what Devonta Freeman averaged as last year’s #6 RB. Charles turned 30 last December. If he's reasonably healthy, he'll serve as C.J. Anderson's backup. If he's fully healthy, he could easily win the job outright.
Perkins averaged 15.4 touches for 67 total yards over the final five games of the year, and with Rashad Jennings out of the way, Perkins will have the chance to be the starter heading into 2017.
The Detroit Lions didn’t select a running back this weekend in the annual NFL draft, and after it was over, general manager Bob Quinn said third-year pro Ameer Abdullah will be the team’s starting running back this fall.
Abdullah missed all but one-and-a-half games in 2016 with a foot injury that required surgery. He won the starting job last season and gained 101 yards on 18 carries before hurting his foot against Tennessee.
“He is,” Quinn said, when asked directly if Abdullah was his starter.
Abdullah was fully cleared to return this past winter and believes he still has the capability to be a premier running back in the league, something he said at the end of the season. Quinn called Abdullah’s injury “a fluke thing,” and said he thinks Theo Riddick will be ready to go as well.
“I feel pretty good about the position,” Quinn said. “There were a couple running backs we looked at in the middle part of the draft but just no one we felt was going to come in and really unseat any of the guys that we have on our roster.
“So we feel good about that spot.”
Both Abdullah and Riddick are going in the 7th round of early MFL10 drafts, and they both represent good values at that point in the draft. Riddick's per game average of 16.2 fantasy points (PPR) was the 8th-highest at his position. Riddick may not see as many carries with Abdullah back, but he should continue to play a big role in the passing game. In the one game that Abdullah played, Riddick turned 12 touches into 108 yards and two touchdowns, so he'll be involved even with Abdullah back in the lead role.
The Bills have fired general manager Doug Whaley.
New head coach Sean McDermott is calling the shots for now.
Barnidge apparently became expendable after the Browns drafted TE David Njoku. Rookie tight ends rarely make a fantasy impact, but the Browns appear to be planning to play Njoku extensively if they were willing to part ways with Barnidge. Barnidge is entering his age 32 season, but shouldn't have a problem finding a new team.