NFL Free Agency: Tuesday Thread

NFL Free Agency: Tuesday Thread

This article is part of our NFL Free Agency series.

This article will update throughout Tuesday as more free agency news and rumors make their way through the wire. Be sure to read Jerry's breakdown of all of Monday's events, as well as RotoWire's other offseason football reports.

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Tuesday News

-Hunter Henry agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Patriots, which set off a wave of panic through the previously elated Jonnu Smithsphere. It didn't seem to inspire much optimism in Henry investors, either. The concerns for both groups are understandable – it seems like both players are entering situations as crowded as the prior ones we hoped they'd escape from – but it would also be a mistake to take either player's arrival for a definite downgrade. Certain upside scenarios are no longer plausible, but these two are the most qualified pass catchers in the New England offense generally, and we already know from the Gronkowski/Hernandez days that it's absolutely possible for two tight ends in the same offense to be worth those contracts. Adding two credible pass-catching threats with TE-level blocking ability is a great way to further leverage Cam Newton's rushing ability, which can open up dives between the tackles, which opens up playaction deep to Nelson Agholor, and so on.

The 2021 New England offense largely will not resemble the 2020 one, both because it's going to be better and because the Patriots pretty much didn't use the tight end position last year. Ryan Izzo, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene combined for just 979 snaps last year, but Henry and Smith alone could combine for at least 1,500 this year. If New England does that by using their Gronkowski/Hernandez blueprint then it would probably be Smith to get the move tight end functions while Henry handles most of the in-line stuff. As Gronk showed, that could still be a profitable role for Henry.

Bill Belichick mentioned immediately after the 2020 draft that it would be difficult for Keene to see the field as a rookie third-round pick, and it's not clear whether Belichick had already factored the pandemic into that dreary outlook. Keene and fellow third-round 2020 pick Devin Asiasi obviously won't see the field much with Henry and Smith around, but neither was expected to be anything close to Henry/Smith at this point in their careers anyway, so we should probably consider them both delayed rather than dismissed at this point. If either of their roster spots are in jeopardy I would probably guess it's Asiasi first. Keene isn't even 22 yet and was known to potentially need more development time because of his age and lack of in-line TE focus in his Virginia Tech reps. Keene is also a better athlete than Asiasi, who didn't catch his seventh reception at UCLA until he was older than Keene is right now.
 

-Tyrod Taylor agreed to a one-year, $12.5 million deal with Houston, a dollar figure that sure seems to call into question whether Houston expects to have Deshaun Watson available in 2021. If Watson is gone, Taylor would likely be unchallenged for the role. It probably would be a bad offense, but Tyrod would at least have Brandin Cooks at receiver and could boost his fantasy utility with rushing production.

-According to NFL.com's Albert Breer, both the Seahawks and Buccaneers are in pursuit of Leonard Fournette. NFL Network's Mike Giardi reports the Patriots have also been in contact with Fournette, as well as Chris Carson. It seems like the Patriots are zeroing in on another power back, which would seem to push aside at least one of Sony Michel or Damien Harris. But we also don't know what's to happen with James White, who has been in contact with the Buccaneers according to Adam Schefter.

- CB Shaquill Griffin agreed to a three-year, $44.5 million deal with Jacksonville. The Jaguars still have a lot of questions on the defensive line and safety, but with Griffin opposite C.J. Henderson they have two intimidating press corners with the speed and height to run alone on the sideline. Sidney Jones was promising in the slot last year and is a good bet to get a second audition there in 2021. Seattle's cornerback personnel looks like it could be dangerously bad, meanwhile.

-Chicago Tribune writer Brad Biggs reports that Andy Dalton might be the top remaining quarterback target for the Bears.  Update: Dalton agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with Chicago. It's not really the greatest news for either side, but at least it all but locks Dalton into the Week 1 starter role. It could get worse for Dalton if the Bears don't manage to bring back Allen Robinson, who is currently franchise tagged.

-The Packers extended second-round restricted free agent tenders to Robert Tonyan and Chandon Sullivan, which should be enough to keep both around for another year.

-The Broncos chose to keep Von Miller's contract, for which he'll count $22.125 million against the cap this year, according to OverTheCap.com. Miller seems on a clear downward trajectory at this point, but he should still prove better than Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attaochu opposite Bradley Chubb.

-Darrel Williams re-signed with Kansas City on a one-year deal. Williams is basically a fullback and shouldn't see many snaps if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is healthy, but the release of Damien Williams on Tuesday definitely opens things up for Darrel in the meantime.

-Kicker Michael Badgley agreed to a one-year deal with the Chargers. Badgley struggled in 2020 and might see competition in training camp, but he made 28 of 32 field goals over the prior two years. It would be particularly concerning for Badgley if the Chargers add competition with 50-plus range, as Badgley is only 3-of-9 from that distance in his career.

-The Titans cut Adoree' Jackson, leaving them without both of last year's top two corners. To replace Jackson the Titans signed the 33-year-old Janoris Jenkins to a one-year deal. Perhaps the Titans will look to corner again early in the draft. It's safe to say they need more help.

-John Ross agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants, which probably is one of the less exciting places Ross could have landed. Daniel Jones has shown a general willingness to throw the ball downfield, but Ross doesn't figure to be as good at that as Darius Slayton, meaning Ross might be more of a decoy.

-Leonard Williams is definitely a good player, but hopefully the Giants aren't inviting unreasonably high expectations with his three-year, $63 million deal to stay in New York.

-The Jaguars made their second-most interesting move Tuesday afternoon when Marvin Jones agreed to terms with Jacksonville. It's not clear what this means for Jacksonville's plans at wide receiver otherwise, but if Jones can avoid decline in his age-31 season then he should provide Jacksonville with quality routes in the intermediate range, be it from the slot or outside.

-Jacoby Brissett and Malcolm Brown (RB) signed one-year deals with the Dolphins. Both will be backups, assuming Brown makes the roster.

-Emmanuel Sanders agreed to sign with Buffalo, which perhaps marks a setback for the stock of Gabriel Davis. It's also possible the two compete for snaps, and the outcome of that would be difficult to call given how strong both the 34-year-old Sanders and the second-year Davis were in 2020.

-The Broncos placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on Tim Patrick, which gives Utah two proven taller receivers on the outside with Courtland Sutton's expected return. Although Patrick is probably the underdog to both Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, the former Utah standout was legitimately productive in Sutton's place last year. Denver's pass-catching upside is probably overlooked. 

-William Jackson agreed to a three-year deal with Washington, giving them a possible upgrade over free agent departure Ronald Darby. Darby was bad before he played well for Washington in 2020, but Jackson was good even when playing in Cincinnati. The Washington pass rush should provide Jackson more opportunities to get his hands on the ball.

-The Colts placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on Mo Alie-Cox, which was probably the right move. Alie-Cox is an underrated athlete and pass-catching threat, but in the meantime he's universally regarded as a standout blocker.

-Jamaal Williams agreed to a two-year deal with Detroit, which might make him the favorite to back up D'Andre Swift. It also might just set up a competition between Williams and Kerryon Johnson. Williams doesn't fumble and is trusted in pass blocking situations but few runners are less talented from scrimmage.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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