News & Info/Headlines

Free-Agency Roundup: D-Jax To Bucs, Britt To Browns And More
The start of the NFL's free agent signing period officially begins later today, but business is getting done during the legal tampering period leading up it.

That being the case, all the deals I'm about to run through could possibly change -- remember Frank Gore two years ago. When he was an Eagle right up until he was a Colt. It happens and we'll have you covered if it does.

In the meantime, wide receivers have been in the crosshairs early today, starting with DeSean Jackson doing the expected. And the expected is heading for Tampa Bay to join the Buccaneers and give a serious boost to passing attack featuring Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries.

As noted this morning, Winston was eighth in passing touchdowns and 16th in attempts last season. Look for both those numbers to go up with the Jackson suddenly adding a very dangerous deep threat component to the mix. Jackson, who caught 56 balls for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns last year, averaged 17.9 yards per catch in the process.

Evans benefits as well. Yes, his 173 targets were something fantasy owners appreciated last year and it's likely that number will diminish some. But this should be a case of addition by subtraction with D-Jax keeping opposing secondaries from focusing all their attention on the gigantic Evans.

Worth noting: Neither Evans, who only hauled in slightly more than half of the passes thrown his way, and the 30-year old Jackson, who has caught between 50 and 60 percent of the attempts launched at him, both need to improve in that regard. If they can, and if Brate continues to provide the kind of dangerous red zone threat he emerged as last season, expect a more productive Winston and a more consistently productive Buccaneers offense.

Things got interesting in Cleveland as well this morning, with the Browns agreeing to terms with Rams free agent Kenny Britt, who at 28, is coming off the best NFL season of his eight-year career.

Britt was projected to be among the top free-agent options at wideout with the Eagles, Redskins and Titans all said to be interested. He set personal bests with 68 receptions, 1,002 yards and 111 targets along with five touchdowns in 2016.

The question now is whether this is in indication the Cleveland front office believes Terrelle Pryor, also an unrestricted free agent, will be fielding offers greater than they're willing to match. That seems to be the direction things are heading and if so, Pryor's destination will be of great interest. Remember, we're talking about a top-20 fantasy scorer in his first season as the top threat at his position.

And he did it in Cleveland, which makes it that much more impressive -- and reminds us of what Britt is up against.

Again, the Titans and Redskins still have major needs at wideout. Philadelphia could as well, but Torry Smith has agreed to terms with the Eagles this morning.

I know, Smith hasn't been a fantasy factor since his departure from the Ravens. His two seasons in San Francisco were dismal. Last season, Smith was limited to Smith 12 games, catching just 20 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. But that might have been as much a function of a dysfunctional offense and a franchise without a franchise quarterback as it was anything Smith did or didn't do.

The Eagles entered this offseason looking to upgrade their receiving corps across the board -- and with good reason. Job one was finding a deep threat for second-year QB Carson Wentz. Don't be surprised if this is just the first move for Philly with Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham clearly not the answer and with recent rumors suggesting the team's best wideout, Jordan Matthews, might be available via trade.

The rebuild is just starting and Smith is only the first piece of the puzzle. Is he a good piece for fantasy owners? I like value and considering Smith has only one 1,000-yard season to his credit, nobody is going to be paying up for him as an Eagle. Make a note of him for later in your drafts.

Also this morning, the Rams have agreed to terms with Bills free agent Robert Woods, best known as one of top run-blocking wideouts in the game.

His numbers tend to reflect that. Woods has 203 catches, 2,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in 57 career games. Nobody should get overly excited about his prospects playing alongside Jared Goff.

Also worth noting, there's some talk about the Patriots trading for Brandin Cooks, who we learned has been on the block since last month. New England, who dealt for Colts tight end Dwayne Allen on Wednesday, are considering sending Malcolm Butler to New Orleans in exchange for Cooks. Along those lines, the Patriots agreed to terms with former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore on a five-year contract.

And yes. Adding Cooks to this offense would be a big deal. His speed and ability to stretch the field, will add another dimension to an already dangerous passing attack.

Meanwhile, we got a sign that Cooks might indeed be heading out when the Saints agreed to terms with Ted Ginn Jr.

As notes, Ginn has only really looked like a professional wide receiver when in Charlotte. Two years ago, he parlayed some good numbers with Cam Newton into a pay day with the Cardinals, but the Cardinals had buyer’s remorse after a year and Ginn returned to Charlotte.

Because the Panthers were willing to throw deep and often and budget for Ginn’s drops, he worked there but they weren’t going to overpay for him (either time).

Bringing Ginn in gives them a speed threat who could help cover them if Cooks moves on and who has some return ability as well.

The biggest name on the free agent wideout list, Alshon Jeffery, continues to talk to the Bears, who are said to be well-positioned to retain him although there are other teams -- with the Eagles most prominently mentioned -- in the mix. His destination will obviously be of great interest to all of us.

Stay tuned and assume all the above signings hold up until we tell you otherwise.