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Early FA Winners And Losers; Cousins, McKinnon Win; Henry, Not So Much
We're a full 48 hours into the official NFL free-agent signing period, and five days into it if you count the "legal tampering period" that began Monday. We can't possibly know how things will play out come September, but that doesn't mean it's too soon to start picking some early winners and losers based on the information currently on hand.

We'll start with some winners.

Let's get the obvious out of the way. ... Kirk Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million deal with the Vikings that is fully guaranteed. It not only makes him the highest paid player in football history, but he's also the first quarterback to sign a multi-year, fully guaranteed deal.

And since Cousins made $44 million over the past two years with his franchise tags, he'll make $128 million over five seasons.

That's a huge win. But will it be as big a win for fantasy owners?

Cousins has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in each of the last three seasons, but there's a lot of moving pieces here, with Cousins in a new scheme that isn't being run by Pat Shurmur. That said, former Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo is a strong replacement and the Vikings strong supporting cast led by Adam Thielen, Stephon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and hopefully a healthy Dalvin Cook, seems to be an upgrade over the Redskins. ...

Also in terms of money, Sammy Watkins, with just a single 1,000-yard receiving season in the four years since being drafted No. 4 overall, gets $30 million guaranteed from the Chiefs. He'll make $34 million over the first two years of the three-year deal.

Fantasy owners will want to take a more cautious approach here than Kansas City did. ...

The same goes for former Seahawk Paul Richardson, whose deal with the Redskins includes a $10 million signing bonus, along with a fully guaranteed base salary of $1.5 million in 2018. His 2019 base salary of $5 million is guaranteed for injury, and $1 million of that amount is fully guaranteed. The balance becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2019 league year. The 2020 base salary of $5 million includes a $3.5 million injury guarantee, $2 million of which is fully guaranteed.

In 2021 and 2022, Richardson has base salaries of $7.5 million each year. The contract also has per-game roster bonuses of $500,000 each year, along with $150,000 in de-escalators based on participation in the offseason workout program.

As's Mike Florio understates, that’s a great deal, given that Richardson’s best season in Seattle came last year, with 44 catches, 703 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. In three seasons before that, the former second-round pick had 51 catches for 599 yards and two touchdowns. Combined.

Florio added: "A year after the team signed Terrelle Pryor to a one-year deal based on the hope that he’d take off in their offense (and didn’t), Washington to rolling the dice with a much longer commitment, and a much bigger investment."

It's both pricey, and from a fantasy perspective, pretty dicey. ...

Moving on to Chicago. ... We've seen this act before. Remember when the Rams hired a bright young offensive mind to replace a stodgy old school coach, brought in some new weapons to work around Jared Goff and made an effort to better protect their young QB?

So let's review what the Bears have done: They hired an up-and-coming offensive-minded coach in Matt Nagy to handle the Sean McVay role; they added a viable -- and potentially high-end -- WR1 in Allen Robinson; and they added some ancillary play-making talent in promising young tight end Trey Burton and speedy touchdown specialist Taylor Gabriel.

Combine those newcomers with an already fully-loaded backfield featuring Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, and Mitchell Trubisky suddenly has something going for him.

As for Nagy?

I'll go ahead and suggest that Jeff Fisher would have looked downright cutting edge compared to John Fox, so modernization on the offensive ball won't be a heavy lift here. Don't expect many of those 12 and 14 attempt outings we saw from Trubisky last year this fall. ...

In San Francisco, not only does Jerick McKinnon become the fourth highest-paid back in the NFL (behind only Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy), but Kyle Shanahan seems to have a serious thing for him. In fact, the coach told reporters on Thursday that he immersed himself in McKinnon's game film, and in his words, got "lost" in what he saw.

Think about the success Shanahan has had with smaller, quicker running backs -- dating back to Steve Slaton in Houston and it's easy to see how McKinnon comes out ahead here.

McKinnon certainly sees it.

“Things that coach Shanahan has done with the backs like he did in Atlanta with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, I see myself doing those kinds of things," he said. "For me, I feel like the scheme is right. The fit was just perfect for me. I feel like I can’t be in a better situation as a player. ...”

In case you missed it, Eli Manning was sacked 31 times last year. He was hit and hurried on the regular. So new general manager Dave Gettleman's focus on landing the best left tackle on the free agent market, Nate Solder, who has served as Tom Brady's personal protector the past seven seasons, puts the veteran signal caller my list of winners.

And if Odell Beckham keeps his head on straight and Gettleman rolls with Saquon Barkley or Quenton Nelson at No. 2 overall, Manning's outlook gets even brighter...

Head coach Hue Jackson has already named Tyrod Taylor his 2018 starter. We'll see how long that holds up, but the additions of Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde have to give hope to Browns fans everywhere. Fantasy owners might hold the same hopes with Hyde, Landry, Duke Johnson, Josh Gordon and David Njoku in position to deliver more.

I mean, the bar isn't very high, right? They have to improve, don't they?

Okay. We’ll revisit this one after the season and see if they haven't moved to the list of losers. ...

For now, that list starts in Tennessee. ... After the euphoric high that came with DeMarco Murray's release the week before, the arrival of Dion Lewis has to be a huge blow to those who briefly believed Derrick Henry was going to get the bell-cow role he seems to be destined to fill -- and one the Titans' offensive line seems built for.

But with Lewis in the mix, all bets are off.

Sure, Henry could come on strong as the early-down hammer here. But Lewis is capable of handling more than just the receiving and change of pace work -- perhaps of handling even more of the workload than Murray was last season. ...

I still love Larry Fitzgerald, but it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realize his chances of extending that streak of 100-catch seasons to three took a bit of a hit when the Cardinals signed Sam Bradford as their starter.

I mean Bradford could be fine, but the fact that Arizona decided to back up the guy who couldn't make it through two games in Minnesota last year with Mike Glennon, who couldn't fend off Trubisky (a player the Bears were determined to redshirt as a rookie) for more than four games last year isn't very comforting. ...

And the biggest loser to date?

Ryan Grant agree to terms on a $29 million deal with the Ravens, but failed his physical voiding the contract. This despite the fact that Grant played all 16 games last year before spraining an ankle in Week 17. In addition, the wideout's agent claims Grant has been fully cleared (including by renowned specialist Dr. Robert Anderson) leading many to suspect that Michael Crabtree's timely (or untimely for Grant) release by Oakland -- and the Ravens' interest in Crabtree (who subsequently got a $21 million deal from the team) -- had more to do with Grant losing out on that money than his injury.

Whatever the case, that's a serious loss.