Dynasty: Over the Hill or Undervalued? Three Running Backs You Can Get at a Discount On Due to Their Age

Buy These RBs Now!

By: CJ Krause

Just because a Running Back is past his prime doesn’t mean he is all but useless for fantasy. Here are some undervalued older Rbs that you can get below their value to help you in 2021.

Melvin Gordon

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once a first-round dynasty pick just a few years ago, Gordon is now seeing his ADP fall to the 7th to 8th round. This is AFTER a RB14 finish in 2020. Yes, he is turning 28 and on the last year of his deal in Denver. BUT for a winning team to lock up one of the few expected workhorses for 2021 – especially at a discount – is key. Now do not get me wrong, I feel he is more of the high end RB2 rather than an RB1. However, with Lindsay likely leaving in free agency, we can almost guarantee Gordon’s workload will increase, raising his floor and adding stability to any roster.

Raheem Mostert

Mostert has been the most productive back for the past few years for the 49ers – when he’s been healthy. That is a fact. BUT the healthy part has been few and far between. I highlighted Jeff Wilson and Jamycal Hasty in previous articles because you just want the running back in a Kyle Shanahan system, PERIOD. Now Mostert is turning 29 and it’s unlikely we can predict a full season from him (because he has never completed one). But, for the games he is in, he is a must start. Being on the last year of his deal with the 49ers, expect him to be run into the ground. So take the discount, but have a backup plan.

Damien Williams

This one is more speculative, seeing as Damien opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid concerns. Therefore, we do not know what he will look like with a year off of football. Last time we were expecting Dwill, we all thought he would be splitting carries with incoming rookie, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Now, I do not think there is a chance in hell that Damien overtakes CEH for lead role. BUT inside the best offense in the league and Clyde’s lackluster goal line efficiency, there is a lucrative role available that he could take over. In 2020, CEH had 28 rushing attempts inside the red zone, but only converted 3 into touchdowns. Damien, on the other hand, had only 15 rushing attempts in the red zone in 2019, but converted 3 of them into touchdowns – almost doubling CEH’s efficiency. Damien is almost free in drafts, trades and is possibly on your waiver wire, so go check for him. You can expect RB2/flex play potential from him week-to-week, with RB1 upside if anything happens to CEH.

Follow me on Twitter @KidFlashFF.

Top Fits For Jonnu Smith

Where Will The Titans TE Land?

By: Charlie Friar

Titans general manager, Jon Robinson, now sounds like a man who’s in search of a new tight end. The team’s 2017 third-round pick tight end, Jonnu Smith, is set to hit free agency and Robinson has told reporters, “We’ll see what we can figure out. But at the end of the day, if they (Smith and other free agents) choose to capitalize on free agency and the market, I wish them nothing but the best.”


Smith will only be 26 years old and entering his 5th season in 2021, so there’s no doubt there will be many suitors. His versatility and catching ability alone should have teams anxious to sign the free agent, but he’s also a red zone threat (5th in 2020 with 18 RZ targets) and can work well in space, which is why some reports say Smith could be one of the highest paid tight ends next season.

“File:Jonnu Smith 2019 10-13.jpg” by Chipermc is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


In 2019 Smith set career marks in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Then, in 2020 he broke all those marks and more than doubled his touchdown total from the previous season, hauling eight touchdowns. In fantasy, Smith improved as well. In 2019 he averaged just 6.5 PPR ppg, but in 2020 Smith finished 12th among tight ends with 10.0 points per game. 

The Titans used Smith as a blocker pretty often last season, so if you own Smith in fantasy or if your team is desperate for a pass-catcher, you want to see him on the move.


With the increasing demand for a quality TE, we’re only going to look at teams that can actually afford Smith. Again, he’s set to get paid, so if you’re curious if these teams have the cap space — they do. 
___________________________________________
CARDINALS

The Cardinals are by far my favorite to sign Jonnu. Arizona is in the opposite conference of the Titans and they have Kyler Murray already paired-up with a deadly receiving corp. The Cards are a nightmare to cover defensively because of Murray’s running ability and because of their ability to stretch the field with DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. That leaves plenty of space in the middle for Jonnu. 

Smith will also fill a void for the Cardinals that’s been around since they got to Arizona in 1988. In those 30+ seasons, a Cards tight end has caught at least 35 passes in a season only eight times. Smith has already caught 35 or more passes twice (2019, 2020).

Arizona has also only had one TE ever record more than 50 catches in a season. If Smith lands in the desert I can foresee him being the second in franchise history, with numbers similar to Mark Andrews in Baltimore with 50 rec. and 650 yards.  

COLTS

Indianapolis has a ton of cap space, but this could get tricky because they’re in the same division as Tennessee. If Jonnu doesn’t mind playing his former team at least twice a year, then the Colts may be the best combination of ‘getting paid’ and ‘winning now.’

Carson Wentz loves his tight ends, and the Colts could use an upgrade from Jack Doyle who’s going to be 31 yrs. old soon and just recorded his worst season since 2015. It’s well documented how much Wentz loves to target his tight ends and if the Colts want to get him back to peak form, signing Smith will certainly help. While on the Eagles, Wentz targeted TE Zach Ertz more than 100 times in four out of their five seasons together, and twice Ertz was targeted more than 130 times.  

Smith would immediately become one of the top red zone targets for Wentz. He would no doubt have a massive amount of touchdown-upside. 


BENGALS 

The Bengals are my dark horse team in the running to get Jonnu. As we mentioned, Smith is still young so he has the opportunity to grow with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. The Bengals are also in desperate need of a tight end. Quick test, can you name the Bengals starting TE? Exactly. 

Cincy needs a blocker to help protect Burrow but also a guy who can occupy the middle of the field. Smith can do both and will have plenty of opportunities with Joe Mixon in the backfield and Burrow slinging it every game. The Bengals ranked 11th last season with an average of 39.3 pass plays per game in 2020, and that’s with Burrow missing six games. Smith could also help improve Burrow’s dismal 54.5% red zone completion rate (43rd) with his 11 RZ receptions.

SEAHAWKS 

Reports are now out that Seattle will take a swing at signing Smith. Overall, I think the other three teams are better fits for fantasy value but since the Seahawks seem interested, let’s see how that would look for Smith. In 2020, Seattle’s three main TE’s combined for 106 targets which would have been good enough to rank 5th among players at the position. So Russell Wilson is looking to throw to his TE’s, and with DK Metcalf stretching the field there should be plenty of space in the middle for Jonnu to work.

Wilson could also use a true red zone threat at tight end. Seattle finished 6th in the NFL in 2020 with 85 RZ passing attempts, and 23 times tight ends were targeted – hauling in 13 catches. By himself, Jonnu was ranked 5th in the league in 2020 with 18 red zone targets and eight red zone touchdowns.  
Overall, look for Smith to go somewhere that can offer the most money and opportunity to utilize him as a receiver.

Buffalo Bills Pass Rusher Targets

Who Could Replace Trent Murphy?

By: Andy Davies

The Buffalo Bills go into the 2021 season after having a brilliant 2020 campaign, reaching the AFC Championship game but ultimately losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Head coach Sean McDermott will want to take his team one step further next season. The offense clicked all season but their defense, which was impressive in 2019, was largely inconsistent during 2020.

By: Jack Kurzenknabe

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Jordan Phillips led the Bills in sacks last season with 9.5 and Miami Dolphins defensive end Shaq Lawson was next with 6.5. Both these no longer play for the Bills and this was evident as Buffalo’s leader in sacks during the 2020 season was Linebacker A.J. Klein with 5. 

Last season, Buffalo’s sack leader Phillips was tied for 19th in the league in sacks. This season, the Bills’ sack leader Klein was tied for 56th in the league for sacks recorded. 

The Bills are missing that presence in their defense, something that could take them one step further.

Here are 5 edge rushers that the Buffalo Bills should target in the 2021 offseason.


1) Shaq Barrett (Linebacker)
This is a player every team should aim to get in free agency. He is arguably the best defensive player available in free agency. Barrett was the 2019 sack leader (19.5) and recorded another eight during the 2020 regular season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl 55. He adds something that Buffalo certainly lacked last season, being able to get to the quarterback with venom. Barrett was a force to be reckoned with in this season’s playoffs as he recorded four sacks, three of those coming against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Barrett should certainly be a player that Buffalo looks at.

2) Bud Dupree (Linebacker)
Dupree was a huge miss for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played in the Steelers’ first ten games as they went 10-0. Dupree recorded eight sacks and two forced fumbles, ending the season 21st in sacks amongst the league despite only playing ten games. Dupree has particularly excelled in the past two seasons with 19.5 sacks and 85 tackles across 2019 and 2020. Aged 28, Dupree has plenty of life left in him, and having him for a full season in 2021 would be a real bonus for Buffalo should they go out and get him. Pittsburgh won their first game without Dupree as they went 11-0 but the season would then decide to unravel. It was clear that the Pittsburgh defense was missing something as well as the offense. As we would see with any of the players on this list, Dupree would be a significant upgrade for this Buffalo roster as he will be able to record sacks that the Bills lacked in 2020. 


3) Yannick Ngakoue (Defensive End)
Ngakoue has been around the block of late, with time spent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Baltimore Ravens during the past twelve months. Despite the off-the-field issues, Ngakoue has continued to excel on the field. He managed to record eight sacks, 23 tackles, and 4 forced fumbles in 13 games during the 2020 season. Throughout his NFL career, Ngakoue has recorded 45.5 sacks across his first five seasons. The 2016 69th overall pick has an average of 9.1 sacks a season, with 138 total tackles. 


4) JJ Watt (Defensive End)
One of the true legends of the game. Watt has declined in recent years due to age and injury but is a leader. In 2020, he played in a struggling Houston Texans defense but could see a new lease of life in a team competing for the AFC Championship. 


5) Gregory Rousseau (Defensive End)
This is a left-field one as the Miami Hurricane is expected to be gone way before the 30th pick that Buffalo holds. However, the Bills should look to trade up in their attempts to get arguably the best pass rusher prospect in this year’s NFL draft. Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season but recorded 15.5 sacks in 2019, along with 54 total tackles, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles in the 13 games that he played.

Top WR Targets For Indianapolis Colts

Who Could Replace TY Hilton?

By: Joshua Perez

This year’s free-agent WR group is very deep. Now that the Colts quarterback mystery is finally ended. The next question for the team who they will get to help Wentz. Like I said this group is deep with names like Robinson, Godwin, AB, and Hilton. When you look at the Colts roster they need some help on the outside to help Wentz reach his full ability. These are some guys I’m looking at that I think would be a good addition to the team moving forward.

Chris Godwin WR Tampa

Godwin just won a super bowl and I don’t see him leaving them anytime soon. I would assume Tampa is looking to tag him in order to keep him. But with struggles in the playoffs, he may be able to avoid the tag. If he isn’t tagged I could see multiple teams offer him a very large contract. Godwin has slowly established himself as a top pass catcher in the league and is expected to pay like one. I do think this is unlikely as well. One thing you haven’t seen with the Colts is Ballard overpay for players. Godwin is a top talent in the league while he’s only had one season totaling over 1000 yards he’s still effective. This year we really saw what he could do with a top QB and he really ran with the opportunity. He only totally 840 yards and 7 touchdowns he only played 12 games this year. Getting 840 yards insignificant because that offense is stacked with talent on offense.

Juju WR Steelers

Corvette corvette! The tik tok star Juju is a number one WR in the league and the Steelers have done a poor job getting him involved in the offense. Off field distractions make me hesitant to want to give him a big check but I also know what he can do on the field. He had a solid season this year finishing with almost 100 receptions and 831 yards with 9 touch downs. We can throw the year he had without Ben out because it was his worst season to date. He’s a solid route runner and does well creating space for himself in between routes and can win contested balls.  While juju doesn’t necessarily fit Ballard’s M-O. He would be a hell of an addition for a Carson.

Godwin and Juju are more of a  “dream” signing for what I want. Now let’s get to some more realistic targets that the Colts could have interest in.

TY Hilton WR Colts

TY has been a cornerstone for the Colts during the “Luck Era”. Ballard has preached since day one produce and get paid. TY has done enough in my opinion to be paid. While he had a slow start to this season he finished very strong. Finishing with 762 yards and 5 touchdowns. While his stats weren’t the best he was a big reason the colts offense hit the stride for the playoff run. Health is a concern for me and as is age. When looking to resign TY you can’t deny the Colts record with vs without TY. It’s night and day with him on the field vs without. I do think the a colts are in a spot where they can move on from him I think it would be a mistake. He’s a great locker room guy and can be a great mentor for MPJ. The likelihood of this is high but it will depend on the market. I do not see Ballard paying him big WR money.

Corey Davis WR Tennessee

Davis a former top 5 pick and has never reached his full potential. The Titans could look to move on from the former first-rounder. He had his best season since entering the league but has yet to reach the 1000 yard mark. A career-high in touchdowns and receptions this season he could find himself a big payday elsewhere. I do think he can reach his potential with a change of scenery. If he isn’t signed back Davis could look to get back into the division to get a little revenge on his former team.  Davis is still very young and has a lot of tools to be successful. While I do not think he’s a number 1 guy he can be a solid weapon.

Sammy Watkins WR Chiefs

Watkins is a guy who’s been on the trade block in recent years and has underperformed with the Chiefs. A disappointing season for Watkins as he finished with 37 catches and a career-low 421 yards with 2 touchdowns. Injuries have derailed his young career, but if he can stay healthy he can be effective. I don’t see the chiefs bringing him back under any circumstances and do think he’ll be finding a new home. Watkins is still only 27 years old and if he can tap into his early Buffalo years Watkins could be a great fit for the Colts and would be another weapon for Carson Wentz as he looks to return to form. I don’t think he’ll be an expensive get but could be a Xavier Rhodes-type deal with the colts. Low-risk high reward.


Honorable Mentions:
Desean Jackson Eagles WR
Djax has a familiarity with both Reich and Wentz and could be a easy fit for him in Indianapolis.
Dede Westbrook Jacksonville WR
Dede has shown a ton of promise but has never been able to hit that stride since entering the league. A guy who has a lot of untapped potential and could take off if given a legit quarterback.
Zach Pascal Colts WR
Pascal in my opinion one of the MOST underrated players in the NFL. I know this coaching staff loves him. He is one of the best run blockers as a WR in the league. Wouldn’t be shocked at all of he’s bright back.

3 Potential Destinations For Adrian Peterson: Where Will AP Continue Playing?

Where Will Peterson Play in 2021?

By: Caleb Holfoth (@cmhfilm)

Adrian Peterson has had one of the best running back careers in NFL history. The 4-time First-Team All-Pro, 7-time Pro-Bowler, and future first-ballot Hall of Famer is looking for a new team after spending his 2020 season with the Detroit Lions. Peterson has already stated that he is not only looking to return but he is chasing his 1st ever Championship and going after Emmitt Smith’s Rushing Yards Record which he is 3,535 yards away from. 

Peterson is still a low-end starter/high-end backup in the NFL and his veteran presence would be valued in an NFL locker room. Peterson has slowed down throughout the past three seasons. 

  • 251 attempts, 1042 yards, 20 receptions, 208 yards, 8 total TD’s, 4.2 YP (with WFT)
  • 211 attempts, 898 yards, 17 receptions, 142 yards, 5 total TD’s, 4.3 YPC (with WFT)
  • 156 attempts, 604 yards, 12 receptions, 101 yards, 7 total TD’s, 3.9 YPC (with DET)

Adrian Peterson still has juice in the tank. Peterson averaged more yards per carry and notable NFL running backs Todd Gurley (FA), Joe Mixon (CIN), and had the same as Josh Jacobs (LVR). Teams that need an option and are limited by the lowered Salary Cap this offseason should look at Peterson alongside teams who want a veteran option to be a backup for a season. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Boasting the worst rushing offense in the NFL averaging a sad 3.6 yards per carry and 84.4 yards per game (7 yards less than 2nd worst in the NFL). The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need an upgrade at running back. The only problem is that the Steelers are already above the cap. Signs point to Ben Roethlisberger returning with a contract restructure saving the Steelers some money. 

However, that money will have to be used to resign notable players who are becoming free agents such as Bud Dupree (OLB), Alejandro Villanueva (LT), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR), and Mike Hilton (DB). Pittsburgh likely cannot afford many of the large running back names on the market. 

Peterson is an underrated option that they could pair with a back from the 2021 NFL draft. Peterson is too late in his career to change the trajectory of a franchise however he could impact the team more than many running backs on the market with his experience. There is much more wrong with the Steelers on offense than the running back position but there is no doubt that having a strong veteran player in the backfield would benefit the Steelers next season. 

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have a mediocre offense since there is little to no balance. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage continue to be one of the most explosive passing groups in the NFL. The running game led by Todd Gurley and Brian Hill was miles behind the passing game. Averaging only 95.8 yards per game the Falcons rushing offense was led by Todd Gurley who finished averaging 3.5 yards per carry and with less than 700 yards on the season. Atlanta is in a similar position to Pittsburgh due to the massive $40 million cap hit that Matt Ryan has. The Falcons are currently $12 million over the cap before free agency and the draft. In addition to that, both Todd Gurley and Brian Hill are free agents. 

The Falcons will likely draft a running back because of how strapped for cash they are. Adrian Peterson would be a good fit to be a veteran leader in the new-look Falcons running back room while also being able to handle starting duties for several weeks at a time if new coach Arthur Smith needs him too. Arthur Smith comes from Tennessee where he called plays for All-Pro running back Derrick Henry. There is not a running back that is similar to Henry in the NFL however if there is a style of running that emulates what Henry does it is Adrian Peterson.

New York Giants

The New York Giants may be a surprise to some on this list. However, after Saquon Barkley was put on Injured Reserve after suffering ACL and Meniscus injuries in a Week 2 contest against the Bears the New York Giants ran through several different running backs. Wayne Gallman, Alfred Morris, and Devonta Freeman were all underwhelmed for the Giants during weeks 3-17. All three players averaged less than 46 yards per game and led to the Giants being 2nd last in yards per game. 

While Barkley returning gives the Giants a massive boost there still should be a concern with the backup role. Peterson could come in as a one-year fix and give the Giants a reliable back behind their star. In addition to the need the Giants have, Peterson and Barkley already have a strong relationship. Barkley leaned on Peterson and his advice before and after he had surgery. Peterson could be an asset as a backup for Barkley and he would cost the veteran minimum which makes Peterson a better value than most of the running backs on the market who have unproven careers. 

I would not expect Adrian Peterson to have tons of suitors at the Beginning of free agency. However, because of his potential contract, there are not many teams that would turn down his veteran presence in their locker room. Peterson may wait to sign with a team until training camp to wait and see where other backs land this offseason through the NFL Draft and Free agency. By the time training camp comes around there will be several teams in contact with Peterson in an attempt to sign the future Hall-of-Famer.

Contract Projection: 1-year, Veteran Minimum ($1,050,000)

Honorable Mentions: Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agents: Resign or Let go

Which Players Will The Steelers Keep For a Super Bowl Push?

By: Dave Stewart

We made it to the next milepost in the NFL offseason calendar. As of February 23, teams are allowed to begin applying the franchise or transition tags to their would-be free agents. Soon, we will have a clearer picture of who is going to be available when the free-agent signing period officially kicks off.

Every team has critical decisions to make in order to form their 2021 roster. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many teams coming to grips with the turnover that free agency brings.

Let’s talk about a few crucial free agents and whether or not they are likely to be dressed in black and gold this year.

OLB Bud Dupree

Steeler fans have had a complicated relationship with Dupree since he arrived in Pittsburgh. Many viewed him as an underachiever in his first four seasons in Pittsburgh and questioned whether it was worth it for the team to exercise his fifth-year option. The Steelers chose to do so and were rewarded with Dupree’s breakout performance, in which he netted 11.5 sacks and forced four fumbles while recovering two. On pace for similar stats in 2020 before his injury, Dupree became a fearsome edge rusher in Pittsburgh. While the Steelers used the franchise tag to retain him last season, it appears the past season was his last in Pittsburgh. Look for Dupree to find new surroundings as one the prize pass rushers on the market.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Coming off his fourth year in the Steeler organization, at just 24 years old, Smith-Schuster has a lot of career left in front of him. The de facto veteran presence in the Steelers’ youthful receiving room, he has been unable to match his career 2018 season, when he worked opposite Antonio Brown. While JuJu has failed to thrive as the top target in the offense, he did catch 97 passes in 2020, nine of them for touchdowns. Over 300 receptions in four seasons, combined with his youth, will make him a desirable option for teams looking to shore up their offense with a dynamic pass catcher. Like Dupree, Smith-Schuster is all but certain to suit up for a new team in 2021.

RB James Conner

A true local product, Conner was born in western Pennsylvania and starred at the University of Pittsburgh, and he is a charismatic cancer survivor. A fan favorite, he has shouldered the majority of running back work since Le’Veon Bell elected not to report to training camp in 2018. Now, his rookie contract is ending and his next contract will be significant. Conner, like Smith-Schuster, has been unable to match his 2018 performance in the two seasons since. Still, expect him to elicit multiple offers in free agency, pricing him out of the Steelers’ future plans.

OT Alejandro Villanueva

A rock at left tackle for the Steelers over the past six years, Villanueva has yet to allow an injury to keep him out of a game. A more dependable tackle is hard to find. However, he struggled a bit this season and was one of many challenges on the offensive line. The Steelers’ line appears to be geared towards a massive overhaul this off-season, as center Maurkice Pouncey announced his retirement. Getting younger is the aim and that means Villanueva is no longer in the cards. Given his durability, he should see a handsome contract offer in free agency lure him away from the Steel City.

OT Zach Banner

Though he has been acquired by four different teams in his NFL career, Banner has actually seen the field for only two. 2020 was to be the year that he finally worked himself into the starting lineup. Unfortunately for both Banner and the organization, he went down in week one with a season-ending knee injury. Unlike the players previously mentioned, Banner seems likely to return to the Steelers on a short-term, incentive-laden contract and be given the opportunity to replace Villanueva at left tackle. Should the experiment prove a success, another new deal should be on the way for Banner in a couple of years, allowing him to be a long-term answer anchoring the line.

CB Mike Hilton

An undrafted free agent, Hilton has matured into a reliable defensive back for Pittsburgh. Primarily playing as a slot corner, he has also become a threat blitzing from his cornerback position. He has 9.5 sacks in his four seasons as a Steeler, along with 23 quarterback hits. As a restricted free agent in 2020, the team placed a second-round tender on him, and ultimately re-signed him to a one-year deal. This year, he is an unrestricted free agent, able to sell his services to the highest bidder. Amid speculation that veteran, Joe Haden, could become a salary-cap casualty, it is in the Steeler’s best interest to make a serious run at retaining Hilton. It would make sense to see him return and take over a starting corner role.

Nothing will be confirmed until after the signing period begins on March 17, but the Steelers will be bound by little cap room and are not expected to have the flexibility to make a splash in the market. A playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns seems to have slammed shut the championship window in Pittsburgh. A low-cost rebuild figures to be the right course for the immediate future, with the Steelers hanging onto younger, less expensive players supplemented with identifying talent in the draft.

Minnesota Vikings: 5 Defensive FA Targets

Who Will The Viking Sign on Defense in 2021?

By: Martin Williams

With the likes of Dalvin Cook and rookie talent Justin Jefferson making plays on a weekly basis on offense, the Minnesota Vikings were a defense short of having some success last year. 

They gave up on average 393 yards per game (per ESPN) ranking them 27th in the league. They will no doubt be looking to improve on that side of the ball in the hope of having a run at the playoffs when football returns. 

Injuries to several key players were a massive part of what went wrong, and the return of those key individuals, such as Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce and Eric Kendricks, will improve them no end. 

But the team from Minneapolis will have their eye on a stacked defensive free agency. Here’s five possible additions that could add some steel to the roster.

1. J.C Jackson (Cornerback)
Adding an experienced cornerback would certainly be a start. Last season saw several changes in the Vikings backfield, where they picked up three rookie cornerbacks in the draft. Due to injuries, each played more snaps than anticipated. That experience would’ve done them good, but adding some much-needed experience could be top of their agenda. 

Jackson is one of the best available in free agency and if he could be persuaded to leave the New England Patriots, he’d be a high quality addition. 

He’d cost some money in cap space, but if Minnesota can make room, following a season that saw J.C register nine interceptions, he’s a game winner when at his best. 

2. William Jackson III (Cornerback)
A more likely pickup in free agency, and one that wouldn’t hinder their salary cap too much, could be Jackson III. 

As a first round pick in the 2016 draft, he’s stayed in Cincy ever since. If he’s looking for a change, Minnesota might be the place. He’d add plenty of experience, and could be an ideal foil for the young guns coming through in that position. 

Not known for interceptions – he’s only made three in his four years in the league – he makes up for it by being reliable in coverage. Minnesota gave up over 4,000 passing yards during the season, a stat he could certain help improve. 

3. Marcus Williams (Safety)
Another area of concern for the Vikings will be at safety. 12 months ago, they franchise-tagged Anthony Harris after an incredible season in which, according to PFF, he was the highest-graded safety in the league. Harris went undrafted in 2015 leaving the Vikings to pick him up. After a few years as a backup, in the 2019/20 season, he made the position his own racking up six interceptions in the process.

But having been tagged last offseason, he regressed massively last term, so much so he didn’t record a single interception and allowed a career high touchdowns allowed when in coverage. 

Although Minnesota may try and bring Harris back, if they don’t, there are a couple of free agents that could fill the void, and Williams is one of them. With the Saints battling cap space, Williams could be forced out, and as one of the leagues best, he’d be a fantastic addition. He’s intelligent in the backfield and can make things happen. 

4.  Leonard Williams (DL)
The final two picks here could help the Vikings in another area where they struggled in 2020; getting pressure on opposing QBs. They recorded just 23 sacks last year, ranking 28th in the league.

As previously mentioned, injuries certainly didn’t help, but a couple of disruptive additions at the line of scrimmage wouldn’t go amiss. 

Williams is great against the run, wouldn’t cost a great deal in salary, and although not a massive name, in terms of QB pressures and sacks, he had his best season to date in 2020. 

He coupled 57 tackles with 11.5 sacks and will be a sought after target in free agency.

5. JJ Watt (DL)
It looks like an outside bet that Watt ends up in Minnesota, but he’s still worth being on this list. He might not be at the peak of his powers any more, but he will still be a top 15 player at the position wherever he ends up playing. 

A 10-year veteran in the league, he’s amassed 101 sacks in that time. With the Vikings being in a different conference too, there is an outside chance that he could find his new home in Minneapolis. 

The sort of player opposing QBs are all too aware of, he’s at the stage of his career where money won’t be everything. You could see him taking a reduced salary in order to help his new team gain some success. It would be an exciting addition to the roster and one that could have a big impact.

Top 3 Teams To Trade For Second Overall Pick

Who Will Trade For The Second Overall Pick?

As February comes to a close, the 2021 NFL Draft inches closer and closer. In the NFL Draft, the No. one overall pick and No. two overall pick often grab the spotlight — quarterbacks have notoriously been drafted back to back with first and second overall pick.

As the NFL world knows, Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the first overall pick pinned to the Jaguars. And as for the second overall pick, the Jets expectation is up in the air. The Jets plans are now more mysterious than ever after NJ.com states that there is a “growing buzz” the Jets trade the second overall pick and keep Sam Darnold.

By: Jack Kurzenknabe

If the Jets are heavily looking for trade partners with the No. two pick, the question turns to: who will trade for the second overall pick? The obvious trade partner will be a team looking to draft Zach Wilson or Justin Fields.

In this outlook, I will unfold the likely teams that see a win in a deal where they send a fortune off to New York in order to land their golden QB.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers sit in arguably the most explosive passing division in the league. Tom Brady, Alvin Kamara, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Christian McCaffrey sit steady in the NFC South division.

Panthers have the league’s most underrated WR combination and arguably the NFL’s most indispensable player in Christian McCaffrey. Yet, Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the QB to take the keys and lift their unit up.

Matter in fact, according to an SI report written by Albert Breer, the Panthers are ready to move on from Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater appears to have recieved the message as he’s unfollowed the Panthers on Instagram, too.

“Teddy Bridgewater” by Kyle Engman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It would seem more than reasonable that the Panthers know they have one of the best-supporting casts in the league and they clearly don’t believe Bridgewater is the QB to utilize it. They will only look to upgrade and the second overall pick gives them the best opportunity to do so. Fields and Wilson will likely be gone by the time they pick at eighth overall.

Panthers finished 5-11 and had four games where they lost within four points. They also have a very young defense that should see noticeable growth from a year ago. They may feel confident to risk a tradeoff of lots of draft picks to land a decade like QB in Justin Fields or Zach Wilson to utilize the skill players in CMAC, Robby Anderson, and DJ Moore right away.

Philadelphia Eagles

There’s a lot of Eagle fans optimistic about Jalen Hurts. Nonetheless, there are three facts regarding Hurts: Coach Sirianni hasn’t commit to Hurts, Hurts was below average in his four games, and he’s also not near the same prospect as Fields or Wilson coming out of college.

I believe that there’s a strong likelihood that Sirianni pushes his squad to obtain an elite QB prospect like Fields or Wilson while they have the chance. Sirianni will want his guy and it could very well be Zach Wilson, a QB that has some traits similar to Andrew Luck (coached in Indy) — great deep throw accuracy, speed on the run, and grittiness.

“Andrew Luck” by KA Sports Photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Eagles have been performing a fire sale as of late, so many question why they would trade up for a rookie QB in this chaos. Yet, it’s important to note that Philly will still boast some talent on defense and the Eagles will have an opportunity to compete right away in the NFC East, with a talent like Wilson/Hurts.

San Francisco 49ers

When the San Francisco 49ers first crossed my mind, I thought that Saleh would know better than to trade with his own mentor/genius Kyle Shanahan. Yet, Saleh doesn’t only have a strong connection to SF, but he may want to perform a transaction where he can get some of his old guys back on his side.

Kyle Shanahan could finally get his premier QB to woah defenses for ages to come. Jimmy Garappolo regressed in 2020, just after his critics came out following Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Perhaps, Saleh could get Nick Bosa in a Jets uniform and help the rebuild go underway with Saleh, Darnold, and a hefty amount of draft picks.

By: Thomson202019

The 49ers hold the 12th overall pick, so they can cross off any hope of landing a Top 3 QB in the draft. The 49ers could trade up, but all the way to second overall. But, if Kyle Shanahan sees the right deal for a QB he knows he can do wonders with, then both parties can come out with a comfortable win.

3 Potential Destinations For Willie Snead

Where Will Willie Snead Play in 2021?

The Baltimore Ravens enter a 2021 offseason where supplying Lamar Jackson with weapons is the highest priority. One of the Ravens most reliable targets for Jackson – Willie Snead, may not be part of the solution moving forward. Snead is due to be a free agent and it seems that Baltimore and the veteran WR may not envision a future together in this offseason.

Snead had 432 receiving yards, which was ranked third on the team. His presence has been felt, as he’s been a third-down magnet for the Ravens MVP QB in his career.

“File:Lamar Jackson vs. Bengals 2018.jpg” by Office of the Maryland Governor on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Even though Snead has often been the jell in the offense, there seems to be a chance that he part ways with the Ravens organization. According to CBS Fantasy, Snead said he is unsure if he will resign with the Ravens franchise this offseason.

It would make sense for the Ravens to seek an upgrade over Snead with a more explosive WR given how Snead hasn’t posted top-end success in his Ravens tenure (never exceeded 651 yards or 5 receiving touchdowns in a single season). Devin Duvernay was also a third-round pick at WR for Baltimore last year and they may not see a clear discrepancy between the two players, where they feel the need to resign Snead.

Will Baltimore decide to keep Snead’s experience and fit in the scheme in Baltimore? Or will Snead find a stronger suit elsewhere around the league? I’m going to unravel the potential destinations for the undrafted WR out of Ball State.

New Orleans Saints

When Willie Snead took the league by storm in 2015, it was with the New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton. At one point late in the season, New Orleans Saints. com captured how Snead said “It would mean everything to me” about obtaining a thousand receiving yards. Snead finished 2015 with 984 receiving yards.

The once Saints unsung hero at WR has still failed to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards. Despite Drew Brees expected to retire, I believe that Snead would feel the most comfortable back in the Saints offense orchestrated by Sean Payton.

Snead may opt to take a prove-it deal next year, so it would make sense to do so with the Saints. Michael Thomas will be taking over No. one WR duties, then Emmanuel Sanders is the No. two face ( who may be a cap casualty), but they could use competition with Tre’Quan Smith for the No. three spot.

Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas have been very familiar with the injury bug as of late (missed 11 combined games in 2021). It could be wise to invest in a familiar WR option that could come cheap, opposed to drafting a WR this year.

New England Patriots

I believe that there are two objectives for Snead when choosing a team: winning and playing time. This is exemplified in his playing time in New Orleans and decision to play in Baltimore afterwards.

The New England Patriots could give an opportunity to see significant playing time right off the bat. WR Damiere Byrd will be a free agent and it appears he will take a modest contract elsewhere. The 34-year-old WR Julian Edelman starting on the other side is coming off a season where he played six games due to injury.

“Julian Edelman” by Jeffrey Beall is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The future is very murky at WR for Belichick’s crew. It doesn’t seem like Belichick would break the bank for a WR in free agency given their QB situation and need to retool their defense. So it would be expected that the Patriots genius digs for value wideouts in the free agency pool. And Snead could be on top of Belichick’s wishlist.

Snead fits the mold of an Edelman, Welker, like player in Josh McDaniels methodical, short passing game. He also has the winning DNA from being coached under Sean Payton and John Harbaugh. And why did I mention “winning” in the first paragraph of this section? Well, who’s going to bet against Belichick two years in a row.

If the Patriots don’t make a splash move at WR via trade or FA (as they shouldn’t), fully expect the Patriots to be a team that has a stronger interest in Snead throughout February and March.

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills could be atop Willie Snead’s targets on teams to sign with this offseason. And the Bills should look to add a veteran wideout in free agency. WR Andre Roberts is a free agent for Buffalo and WR John Brown could be a cap casualty.

The last thing that Bills mafia wants is Josh Allen to regress because they fail to supply a third WR, or simply more depth at the position. Snead could be the perfect third weapon for Allen.

Buffalo could be the “dream” fit for Willie Snead. Snead’s strength is route running and being consistent for a WR3 in the red zone, along with having a knack to getting open underneath defenses.

Who would have expected Cole Beasley to be second-team All-Pro this past year? The answer is zero. The two undrafted WRs — Beasley and Snead, pose very similar skillsets in being shifty, undersized slot WRs, that outwork their opponents to be productive.

3 Teams That Should Trade For Marshon Lattimore: Colts Have The Money, Need, and Push

Will Lattimore be a Saint Long Term?

The New Orleans Saints are entering a 2021 offseason with lots of question marks. Saints are not only expecting Drew Brees to retire, but they will find themselves deep in with the money sharks.

As widely enunciated, the Saints are dead last in cap space. The team will likely lose star pass rusher Trey Hendrickson in free agency, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, linebacker Kwon Alexander, plus they could make some transactions to create cap space. One of these notorious Sean Payton blockbuster trades could be shipping talented, inconsistent Marshon Lattimore who’s contract expires in 2022.

Sean Payton has traded Jimmy Graham, Brandin Cooks, and he’s made overhauls of massive veteran cuts on defense in the past.

In an article by “Sports Illustrated”, Albert Breer explores the opportunity for the Jaguars to pull off a trade for the CB Lattimore. Breer states that the Saints could part ways with Saints No. one CB given their tight cap situation and the likelihood that Lattimore will seek a contract extension this offseason. Breer also states that Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer coached Lattimore at Ohio State University.

“File:Urban Meyer vs Michigan, 2013.jpg” by Adam Glanzman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s unclear if the Jaguars have serious interest, but they portray as a realistic landing spot if the Saints fielded offers for Lattimore. Lattimore could get interest from many teams across the league given the value of the CB position and his combination of age and talent.

In this piece, I’m going to untwine strong candidates to land Lattimore. If the Saints did in fact try to create more cap space by pardoning a star, there wouldn’t be a stronger candidate than the Ohio State CB displaying a soon-to-be massive contract and inconsistent play beneath it.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts just pulled off one blockbuster trade, why not make it two? The Colts pose an elite defense and now they just might have obtained a rejuvenated QB in Carson Wentz. They are quietly putting together a Super Bowl contending roster.

“File:Carson Wentz Signaling Cropped.jpg” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are some flaws in the Colts — particularly at CB. Xavier Rhodes is a free agent and it seems like the 30 year old will cash in for a team elsewhere. Lattimore could fill in the shoes of Rhodes and line up across from CB Kenny Moore (four ints in 2020).

The Colts could also afford Marshon Lattimore if they chose to bring him in. According to NBC Sports, the Colts are still near the top in cap space after trading for Wentz. They are sitting at fourth in cap space even after obtaining Wentz.

Colts also boast a first-round pick that isn’t too high to cough up, or too low for the Saints to scuff at — 21st overall. Lattimore would be a significant upgrade over a fourth/fifth-ranked CB in the draft at that position for Indianapolis, while the Saints could use the draft stock to have multiple first-rounders and trade up for a QB or draft a LB and CB in round one.

New York Jets

The New York Jets could look to make a lot of moves entering the 2021 offseason. Looking to fill the needs of the secondary, has to be one of the highest priorities for Robert Saleh.

The Jets will have a few key free agents on the backend of their defense. S Marcus Maye and CB Brian Poole may be out of the big apple in the near future, as their contracts expire this offseason.

Luckily, the Jets are towards the top of the league in cap space ( 67 million/second in the league) and they could/should look to make a splash move at the CB position. If they decide to draft Justin Fields or Zach Wilson, it will be imperative that their pass defense is competitive — especially when a rookie QB will likely have his growing pains.

The Jets boast nine picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and two picks are in the first round (second overall and 23rd overall). There’s also a good chance that the Jets acquire more draft picks, keep Sam Darnold, and trade back from the second overall spot. According to NJ.com, there’s “a growing buzz” that the Jets trade back from the second overall pick and stick with Darnold.

“Sam Darnold” by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Not only do the Jets have the firepower with nine draft selections to make a move for Lattimore, but they could boast even more capital to get creative with their options. If the Saints received a few early to mid-round draft picks, it may be wise for the Saints to trust their draft success and send the near hefty paid CB out the door.

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals should in strong contention to the best team that didn’t make the playoff gauntlet in 2021. Their electric offense was displayed last year with new WR DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals were a step short of reaching the playoffs and being the second NFC West wildcard squad in the dance. The offense sputtered out towards the end of the season, but the defense couldn’t point any fingers.

The Cardinals pass defense gave up three passing touchdowns to CJ Beatheard in Week 16 and the Cardinals defensive unit allowed John Wolford to compile 288 total yards in Week 17. The defense was crumbling when it mattered the most — not to mention the horrid competition at QB performed against.

It won’t be easy for AZ to bounce back on the defensive side of the ball looking ahead. Long time legend Patrick Peterson is due to be a free agent. Even if the Cardinals keep “PP” around, the 30 year old has shown signs of slowing down and it doesn’t seem like he has a long window in a Cardinals uniform.

“File:Patrick Peterson 2014.JPG” by Jeffrey Beall is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

It could be a clever move to obtain a younger and more productive player at the CB position — Especially when the Cardinals are trying to get over the hump. Cardinals could deal the 16th pick in this year’s draft for Lattimore and potentially take a huge step in the right direction on defense.

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