NFL Offseason Recap: Part 2

NFL Offseason Recap: Part 2

This article is part of our NFL Free Agency series.

This article will run through free agent/trade developments from the past couple weeks in anticipation of the ADP changes they might bring. The ADP cited is from NFFC data in 12-team leagues drafted from March onward.

This is a two-part series, and this series will pair with an upcoming Rookie Top 50 ranking to hopefully make a useful Offseason Kit for anyone looking to catch up on all the new developments of the past two months. That should be up Wednesday morning, and in the meantime Part 1 of this series can be read here.

LA CHARGERS

Justin Herbert could use an improved group of route runners, ideally with an increased speed emphasis. Tight end free agent signing Gerald Everett (229.94 ADP) is misunderstood as a standout athlete but his 4.62 40 is not truly impressive 239 pounds – he's a potential downgrade from Jared Cook and is definitely a downgrade on the speed question. Cook, by contrast, ran a 4.49 at 246 pounds – that is a standout athlete at tight end. Everett probably has better focus and might be a more useful blocker, but it's hard to see swapping Cook for Everett as a meaningful change for Herbert's interests or the projections of the broader Chargers offense. Moreover, the Chargers used a committee approach at tight end last year, giving Cook 605 snaps while Donald Parham (368), Stephen Anderson (323) and Tre McKitty 

The Chargers could draft a wide receiver as early as the first round in the 2022 draft, but in the meantime Mike Williams (71.31 ADP)is looking golden now that his fortunes have been tied to Herbert with a three-year, $60 million deal. If the Chargers are generally sticking with a three-wide base, then there's room for all of Williams, Keenan Allen (36.0 ADP) and a rookie first-round pick to thrive.

Aside from re-signing Williams, the most notable move for the Chargers this offseason was the signing of cornerback J.C. Jackson from New England. Jackson isn't a true shutdown corner, but he's totally good in coverage and an absolute menace when the ball is in the air. There's a chance Jackson alone gives Herbert a few extra drives next year, and he could be a game-changer for the Chargers DST (217.5 ADP) too.

LA RAMS

The void from Robert Woods' exit is fully accounted for by the signing of Allen Robinson (94.25 ADP), who offers the Rams a bigger target more threatening downfield in Woods' former place. The tradeoff is that Robinson is less of a horizontal threat and less capable after the catch, but Matthew Stafford is at his best moving the ball downfield rather than underneath and sideways. Woods is a good player, but Robinson could be a noticeable upgrade for Stafford's style of play.

Meanwhile, the Rams reportedly still would like to bring back free agent Odell Beckham (194.0 ADP), though his Super Bowl ACL tear has his availability for the first half of the season in some question. Van Jefferson (160.88 ADP) might need to serve as the WR3 while Beckham gets up to speed. The Rams need some amount of vertical speed to keep the safeties honest, and great as they otherwise might be Robinson and Cooper Kupp don't have that speed.

LAS VEGAS

That Davante Adams (9.0 ADP) trade certainly moves the needle for the Raiders' playoff ambitions, but as a fantasy destination it might be a downgrade from Green Bay. If there's an exception it might be in PPR scoring – Adams will see a lot of targets, and less than 100 catches would be a major disappointment. The question is how far he goes with those receptions, and how many of them occur near the end zone. Adams' arrival is of course great news for Derek Carr, and the two already worked well together at Fresno State. A stronger Raiders passing game can only help Josh Jacobs (37.38 ADP), too.

Of course, the hiring of Josh McDaniels at head coach is another source of change for the Raiders' offense, be it good or bad. McDaniels generally seems competent at running uptempo, low-ADOT offenses, which certainly fits well with Carr's style, as well as wideouts Adams and Hunter Renfrow (62.75 ADP).. Someone's target volume might get pinched a bit between Renfrow and Darren Waller (54.69 ADP), but it should generally be the outside receiver opposite Adams – Bryan Edwards (331.5 ADP) perhaps – who gets left with not much to do.

MIAMI

The stunning Tyreek Hill (12.63 ADP) trade is great news for the Miami offense, especially Tua Tagovailoa, but probably bad news for Hill's fantasy interests. The size of the pie just got a lot smaller, and the Dolphins arguably have more target competition than the Chiefs did. Jaylen Waddle (27.13 ADP) probably lost some value with the trade, but only because of the small pie issue. Waddle is a star talent, and players like franchise-tagged Mike Gesicki (116.31 ADP) and free agent pickup Cedrick Wilson (182.38 ADP) merit some significant level of usage, too. It's hard to see what room there remains for DeVante Parker (187.94 ADP) on the Miami roster in light of the Hill and Wilson pickups, but nothing has happened with him yet.

The Dolphins also completely remade their backfield, signing Chase Edmonds (111.06 ADP) and Raheem Mostert (196.56 ADP) in free agency. The workload split between the two is unclear, but Edmonds seems much more qualified in passing situations than Mostert, which might lead Mostert to function more as an early-down specialist. It's hard to see the move as an upgrade for Edmonds after previously playing in Arizona, but it might not be a downgrade, either. Mostert needed the change of scenery after Eli Mitchell's emergence in San Francisco. Myles Gaskin (178.88 ADP) seems just about toast for fantasy relevance.

MINNESOTA

With Kirk Cousins and nearly all relevant starters returning, the Vikings appear poised to compete again in 2022 even with new head coach Kevin O'Connell. They're one of the teams with the least turnover going into next year, giving us little to fret or wonder about.

NEW ENGLAND

Mac Jones needs more help from his receivers, so it's somewhat disappointing that New England's main offseason activity was losing star corner J.C. Jackson in free agency while otherwise bringing in Leonard Fournette for a workout. The Fournette workout might have meant nothing, but the last thing fantasy investors of Damien Harris (74.81 ADP) or Rhamondre Stevenson (99.81 ADP) need is another qualified candidate for carries causing a traffic jam in the backfield. And really, it's pretty low on the list of things Jones needs given that his best pass catcher is Hunter Henry (125.94 ADP). The Patriots also traded away standout guard Shaq Mason, which doesn't seem helpful for anyone. They otherwise only signed RB/WR Ty Montgomery (267.0 ADP), though he's generally not expected to intrude upon the passing down workload of James White (214.94 ADP).

NEW ORLEANS

Jameis Winston re-signed with New Orleans on a two-year, $28 million deal. The Saints' starting quarterback role is less enviable in light of Sean Payton's exit, but perhaps the dropoff from Payton to Pete Carmichael can be offset by having Michael Thomas (73.06 ADP) available at receiver after missing the 2021 season. The offensive line is a new concern, however, with standout left tackle Terron Armstead gone to Miami, and the secondary might lose something with cover safety Marcus Williams leaving for Baltimore.

It's not a player acquisition but it warrants mentioning that Taysom Hill (328.81 ADP) is apparently moving to tight end, where he might become more interesting as a fantasy option. Although he's due to slow down with age 32 up in August, Hill had impressive workout numbers out of BYU, logging a 4.46-second pro day 40 at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds. If he manages to draw regular targets he could become a mainstream fantasy option in an offense with few qualified route runners.

NY GIANTS

Rather than bringing in Mitchell Trubisky, as was widely expected going into the offseason, new coach Brian Daboll let Trubisky go to Pittsburgh, seemingly locking in Daniel Jones as the Giants' expected starting quarterback for the 2022 season. Jones has his issues as a passer, but his dual-threat abilities are convincing and he's willing to take risks. Bad as Jones has been, this will be the first time he's been coached by someone who is potentially not a fool.

Aside from Daboll's arrival the main change to the Giants offense would be the departure of tight end Evan Engram. For now Ricky Seals-Jones (284.38 ADP) is the top tight end on the depth chart, but it would be easy for the Giants to find an upgrade. They also signed Matt Breida (302.75 ADP) to compete for the backup role behind Saquon Barkley (29.94 ADP).

NY JETS

The Jets found themselves in a bidding contest with the division rival Dolphins for the rights to Tyreek Hill, but they were unable to put together a winning offer. Having missed out, there's probably a good chance the Jets spend an early pick at receiver in the draft despite having all of Elijah Moore (56.0 ADP), Corey Davis (147.13 ADP), Braxton Berrios (249.13 ADP) and Denzel Mims (261.13 ADP) already around. The Jets have shown an urgent focus on adding talent around Zach Wilson this offseason, both with the Hill trade attempt and the signings of tight ends C.J. Uzomah (195.75 ADP) and Tyler Conklin (312.81 ADP). Both players are solid starters, but they might have a frustrating playing time split if the Jets have to play catch-up, forcing them to go with more three- and four-wide looks.

PHILADELPHIA

The Eagles re-signed Boston Scott (293.5 ADP) to keep the Eagles backfield crowded between himself, Miles Sanders (92.75 ADP) and Kenneth Gainwell (136.0 ADP). The three should sort out the work in 2022 about the same as they did in 2021 – with Sanders the rushing specialist, and the Gainwell/Scott duo splitting the passing down and hurryup work for the most part. The most noteworthy development for the Eagles offense otherwise might be the signing of free agent Zach Pascal (270.81 ADP), but Pascal is unlikely to improve any aspects of the Eagles wide receiver rotation, dubious as it might otherwise appear.

PITTSBURGH

Ben Roethlisberger is finally done, so now we move on to a quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. It should be a lively competition and Rudolph can't be counted out entirely, but Trubisky is easily the better prospect between the two and probably should be considered the favorite. Particularly if Chase Claypool (104.56 ADP) is still in the doghouse, the Steelers have reason to pursue more wide receiver talent after giving too many snaps to Ray-Ray McCloud last year.

SEATTLE

What was arguably the most important era of Seahawks history has ended with Russell Wilson's departure to Denver, and while unclear on specifics whatever comes next cannot be great. Drew Lock was acquired in the Wilson trade but is not a serious quarterback prospect at this point, and there's little reason to think QB1 Malik Willis is within their range at the ninth overall selection. Lock can run a bit and might be an interesting punt consideration at quarterback if he ends up starting, but that would be bad news for DK Metcalf (30.44 ADP) and Tyler Lockett (71.94 ADP) relative to the high standards of production they established with Wilson.

Rashaad Penny (81.31 ADP) re-signing with Seattle on a one-year deal is another important development in their offseason, though a frustrating landing spot for the fantasy purposes of Penny and incumbent starter Chris Carson (132.88 ADP). Penny went nuts last year when Carson was out with a season-ending neck injury, but if Carson is available in 2022 then it's not clear whether he will start. With that said, Pete Carroll offered the assurance that Penny will get "the first shot" to start, whatever that means.

SAN FRANCISCO

Kyle Shanahan continues to stand by Jimmy Garoppolo despite poor on-field results and a mammoth team investment in Trey Lance, so it's not clear who will start at quarterback for the 49ers in 2022. The lack of trade market around Garoppolo is an acknowledgment of his weakness, but Shanahan is a stubborn person and in a way he seems to take Garoppolo criticisms as criticisms of himself. If Shanahan feels the need to prove something with Garoppolo at quarterback then no one will convince him otherwise.

The question of which quarterback starts holds major fantasy repercussions, because if Lance is on the field he will run much more often than Garoppolo and steal usage from the running backs and receivers as a result. The offense might improve overall, leading to better efficiency and scoring frequency for stars like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, but their target projections would drop relative to Garoppolo or some other mostly immobile quarterback.

TAMPA BAY

Tom Brady and his false retirement might have been the headlining story of a more normal offseason, but in 2022 it barely moves the needle. Brady's return is a momentous change from what the Buccaneers were looking at previously – the difference between a dreary rebuild and an immediate ability to compete for a Super Bowl. Brady's return probably made it easier for Chris Godwin (58.56 ADP) to agree to a three-year, $60 million deal with Tampa Bay, and he should reestablish himself as one of the league's best receivers once he recovers from the ACL tear he suffered in Week 15. When Godwin is healthy he might play outside wide receiver more than in the past, because free agent signing Russell Gage (141.5 ADP) has no history of producing outside of the slot. If Godwin needs to play outside then that should be fine – Godwin is one of the NFL's most athletic receivers and he never needed to play the slot, it was sort of just his default position once he was drafted because the Buccaneers already had Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson playing outside.

Not only do the Buccaneers bring back Brady and Godwin, they also re-signed Leonard Fournette (59.69 ADP) to presumably remain their three-down running back. Fournette might have been a bust in Jacksonville, but with Tampa's strong offensive line he looks more like the player he was at LSU. More importantly, Brady seems to absolutely love Fournette. Three-down running backs in top NFL offenses don't need to be good to be productive in fantasy.

The return of free agent Rob Gronkowski (118.44 ADP) has not yet been announced for Tampa Bay, but that's believed to be only a matter of time. If Gronkowski surprisingly is not back then the Buccaneers will need to reimagine their TE usage, and might even need to add a player there with O.J. Howard gone to Buffalo.

TENNESSEE

Julio Jones has already left town, even though it seems like he never actually arrived. His replacement, though a totally different type of player, is Robert Woods (97.25 ADP), who's attempting to return from a Week 10 ACL tear. Woods gives the Titans a credible WR2 and a player who can offer a YAC threat underneath, but it's not clear yet how well Ryan Tannehill might work with Woods. Tannehill gets another new pass catcher in former Browns and Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (257.0 ADP), who signed with the team upon his release from Cleveland. Hooper badly struggled with the Browns after initially enjoying a productive start to his career with Atlanta, and it's not clear whether the Titans are the right setup for Hooper to produce more like he did with the Falcons. Tennessee could presumably still use more pass catchers, as their route runner rotation remains thin and their lack of depth there hurt them in 2021.

Aside from that, the Titans' main offseason development of note might be the exit of D'Onta Foreman, who headed to Carolina after showing promise for the Titans in 2021. With Foreman and Jeremy McNichols both gone, Dontrell Hilliard (289.5 ADP) appears the heavy current favorite to back up Derrick Henry (4.38 ADP).

WASHINGTON

Carson Wentz is not a guaranteed upgrade over Taylor Heinicke, but the Commanders went out of their way to add the former Eagles starter in a trade. Wentz might be slightly better for the fantasy fortunes of the Washington pass catchers since he's less likely to run than Heinicke, but a functional offense is nearly out of the question. Terry McLaurin (43.75 ADP) is capable of much more than his NFL production to this point, but it's not clear whether the Washington offense is setting up to give him a legitimate shot at proving it. Nor is it clear how much Curtis Samuel (179.81 ADP) might be able to contribute in his second season in Washington following a debut season that was wiped out by a lingering offseason groin injury.

Otherwise, Washington's most notable offseason development might be the re-signing of pass-catching specialist J.D. McKissic (162.0 ADP), which could prevent Antonio Gibson (25.75 ADP) from reaching his full potential.

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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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