The NFL was hoping to start training camp on July 28, but the league and the players' union have not agreed on dates of reporting to camp or prior dates for testing of COVID-19, according to a source. Most importantly, the two sides need to agree on what the testing protocols will be as players arrive to their respective training sites. As we've seen with Major League Baseball, there have been some hiccups related to testing protocols and in getting test results back in a timely manner so that players can continue working out. There will surely be players that aren't comfortable with playing a season during a pandemic, which will lead to notable players opting out of the 2020 campaign.
The New England Patriots were down to less than $500,000 in salary cap space earlier this week, but they now stand at $7.794 million with flexibility for in-season roster moves. They achieved that by reaching settlements in compensation grievances with wide receiver Antonio Brown ($4 million) and tight end Aaron Hernandez ($2.55 million). For a New England team trying to remain competitive after watching future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady defect to the Buccaneers in free agency, this is huge. A team-friendly, incentive-based deal with former MVP QB Cam Newton will also allow the Pats to do some in-season roster maneuvering in 2020.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry isn't expecting a long-term contract extension before the deadline of Wednesday, July 15, so he expects to play the 2020 season under the $10.6 million franchise tag. The 25-year-old doesn't seem to be too worried about it, though, and he's focused on the 2020 season. He views this year as a prove-it deal because he hasn't played a full season in his four-year career due to injuries. Henry spent May and June working out with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and recently had throwing sessions with Tyrod Taylor. Henry had career highs with 55 catches and 652 receiving yards in 2019. Among tight ends, Henry has the best passer rating when targeted at 132.3 since 2016. He's surely a top-10 fantasy tight end, but injuries and a downgrade at QB limit his overall ceiling.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell had a "great talk" with disgruntled All-Pro safety Jamal Adams on Thursday and came away with the impression that Adams wants to stay in New York if he gets a new contract. Bell doesn't oppose Adams' hard-line stance in negotiations. Adams formally requested a trade last month and has two years remaining on his rookie contract. He's making $3.6 million in 2020 and $9.9 million in 2021 under the fifth-year team option. Adams is believed to be looking to become the highest-paid safety in the league, and the Jets continue to say they want to make him a "Jet for life," but they aren't putting a timetable on it. Bell doesn't want Adams to be traded and doesn't think he will. Adams hasn't had a ton of interceptions, but his ability to play the run and rush the passer makes him unique and the top overall IDP defensive back.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Friday that they fined wide receiver DeSean Jackson "for conduct detrimental to the team," which included controversial posts on Instagram and sharing an image of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler earlier this week. Jackson has since offered multiple apologies, but he "must also commit to supporting his words with actions" in order to remain with the team. The 33-year-old missed all but three games in 2019 because of an injury and is now desperately trying to repair his image before the season. If healthy, D-Jax should be the team's primary deep threat, but as usual, he'll be a boom-or-bust WR3 for fantasy owners.
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell has tested positive for COVID-19. The team thinks he contracted the virus while traveling and spending time on the East Coast for several weeks. Bidwell's doctor recommended that he admit himself to the hospital. His symptoms have subsided and he's expected to be released from the hospital sometime this weekend. Bidwell has been working remotely since the team's facility was first shut down in March due to the coronavirus, and he hasn't had any in-person contact with coaches, players or football staff.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett is signing his franchise tender on Friday and has filed a grievance against the team that he should be tagged as a defensive end and not as a linebacker. The franchise tag for a linebacker pays around $15.8 million, while the tag for a defensive end pays around $17.8 million this year. Barrett and the Bucs are not close to a long-term extension and the hope is that they can find common ground on a one-year deal moving forward. Most teams aren't looking to shell out tons of cash on extensions with COVID-19 potentially negatively affecting the salary cap in 2021 and beyond. The 27-year-old was fantasy relevant for the first time in his career in 2019, recording a whopping 19.5 sacks, 58 tackles and 81 total pressures. But can the pass-rushing linebacker do it again? He had 14 combined sacks in four seasons with the Broncos prior to last year. Barrett will need to continue being a sack monster in order to maintain relevance in IDP leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rusher Bud Dupree has filed a grievance in hopes that he will be paid as a defensive end instead of as a linebacker for the 2020 season. The Steelers placed the franchise tag on Dupree earlier in the offseason, designating him as a linebacker. The franchise tag for a linebacker pays roughly $15.8 million, while the franchise tag for a defensive end will pay around $17.8 million. There was talk of Dupree signing a long-term deal with the Steelers this offseason, but the two sides are not currently close to a deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Dupree racked up 11.5 sacks for the Steelers in 2019.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who is currently in the middle of an armed-robbery case, is allowed to be at training camp and is expected to report later this month. Dunbar recently hired a second attorney for his case despite the team hinting at positive developments for Dunbar's case in June. He has pled not guilty to his armed-robbery charges, and his lawyer has claimed that Dunbar had no involvement in a robbery during his night out with DeAndre Baker in Florida. Even though Dunbar will be a allowed to take part in training camp, there's no guarantee that he'll be available for the entire 2020 season, depending on how his case plays out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith expressed his concerns about playing football during the coronavirus pandemic. Expecting his first child in three weeks, Smith is rightfully questioning how the league will keep players and their families safe. These concerns are warranted, considering that social distancing is effectively impossible on a football field. In addition to concerns about safety, Smith called for salary raises, considering the risks the players will be undertaking. The veteran tackle isn't the only player feeling this way. It will be interesting to see what the league does to assuage the players. If Smith chooses not to play this year, it will be a downgrade on quarterback Tom Brady's blind side in his first year in Tampa.
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a one-year deal to re-sign backup quarterback Matt Moore on Friday, according to a source. The Chiefs hope they won't need Moore or Chad Henne after signing superstar QB Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year, record-breaking extension this week, but Moore will provide valuable depth. Moore is heading into his age-36 season and made two starts for the Chiefs in his first season in KC in 2019 when Mahomes was dealing with a knee ailment. The veteran completed 59 of his 91 pass attempts for 659 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. You can ignore him for fantasy purposes obviously.
Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift, a second-round pick in April, is "ready to compete" with Kerryon Johnson and wants to start in 2020. Head coach Matt Patricia won't shy away from the idea of listing both Swift and Johnson as starters in the backfield this year. Johnson has run for more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns through 18 games in two seasons, and he also has 340 receiving yards and two TDs, but he's dealt with knee injuries in both seasons. Swift had more than 2,800 rushing yards and 20 TDs, adding 600-plus receiving yards and five TDs in his three years at Georgia. The 21-year-old was one of the top running backs in this year's draft class and has considerable upside. He'll be slightly more attractive than Johnson in fantasy drafts as a high-end RB3.
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons accepted his franchise tender on Friday and is expected to sign it this weekend, according to sources. A third-round pick in 2016, the 26-year-old played at a Pro Bowl level in 2019 and was tied for second on the team with 93 tackles. Simmons led the team with four interceptions and 15 passes defensed and was named an All-Pro for his efforts. Re-signing Simmons to a long-term deal will require elite money, with the five highest-paid safeties in the league all having contracts that average between $14 million and $14.6 million. He could be just as good or better in his second season with Vic Fangio at the helm, and Simmons is in the picture as a starting defensive back in IDP leagues.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry is eager to begin working with his new quarterback. Cam Newton and Harry were seen working out together for roughly two hours. They were reportedly running plays from the Patriots playbook. Harry is likely going to be the No. 3 receiver to start the season behind Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu Sr. on the depth chart. Last season, Harry hauled in seven receptions, 105 yards, and two touchdowns through seven games. His fantasy value should be on the rise, assuming he's able to stay healthy. Harry likely won't have much standard league value, but could be a decent deep league option. It's going to depend on what kind of chemistry the two of them can develop.
Seattle Seahawks third-year linebacker Shaquem Griffin is one of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta's "bubble" players for training camp this summer. He has yet to carve out a role as a starting linebacker after being a fifth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2018. Seattle has also added three draft picks in the last two years -- Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven -- at the position, in addition to starters Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Veteran Bruce Irvin is also in the picture. Griffin will likely need to add something as a pass-rusher in order to have a shot at making the regular season roster out of camp. His salary cap number also continues to go up ($829,405) this year, but with practice squads likely being increased to 16 in 2020, there's a chance he sticks with the team even if he doesn't make the roster.
The Miami Dolphins have yet to discuss a contract extension with running back Matt Breida after giving up the No. 153 overall pick in April's draft to acquire him from the 49ers. The running back is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2020 season and is scheduled to make $3.3 million in the final year of his deal. Breida's career highs of 153 carries and 814 yards came with San Francisco in 2018. He is expected to share the backfield load with free-agent pickup Jordan Howard. Miami has understandably held off on extensions with uncertainty over how COVID-19 will affect the 2021 salary cap. The 25-year-old had 623 rushing yards in 2019 and is the better and cheaper fantasy option over Howard if he can just stay healthy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed second-round wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. to his rookie deal on Thursday. When fully healthy, Shenault can end up being one of the most explosive receivers in a stacked class at the position. Shenault played at Colorado and was the 42nd overall pick in the draft. He was twice an All-Pac 12 player and is expected to make an immediate impact in Jacksonville's passing attack in 2020. The 21-year-old is versatile and could fill a variety of offensive roles with the Jags right away, but that typically hurts the development of young players like Shenault. He does have injury concerns and will have one of the weaker QBs in the NFL throwing to him, Shenault can put up big numbers if he's given the opportunity. Consider him a late-round flier in redraft leagues with DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook ahead of him.
The New York Jets announced on Thursday that they signed rookie running back Lamical Perine to his rookie contract after they selected him in the fourth round (120th overall) back in April. The Florida product became the fourth of the team's nine draft picks to sign. He rushed for a team-high 826 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and ran for 676 yards and six touchdowns in 13 starts in 2019. Perine also added a career-high 40 catches for 262 yards and five touchdowns. There's upside in the long-term in New York once Le'Veon Bell is out of the picture, but there's not a lot of 2020 upside with Bell and veteran Frank Gore in the backfield. The rookie could factor in on some third downs in his first season, but he's way more attractive in dynasty/keeper affairs.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been negotiating a long-term deal with the team, but the two sides still differ on the length of the contract as the extension deadline looms. The Cowboys have a contract offer on the table, but it is reportedly longer than Prescott wants. Prescott is scheduled to make $31.4 million under the franchise tag this year, but both sides have expressed a desire to keep the Mississippi State Bulldog in Dallas long-term. Franchise-tagged players have until July 15 to work out a contract extension. Only two quarterbacks have played under the franchise tag --Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins-- and both signed with new teams in their ensuing free agency, which could affect Prescott's dynasty value if the sides cannot agree on a new deal by next week.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II is ready to get back to playing football, but he also wants to make sure it is in a safe environment. In a short interview clip that aired on NFL Total Access on Wednesday, Ingram said, "I'm basically just listening to the updates from the team, from the [players association], from the league and, I want to play ball, but I think it needs to be in a safe, effective and efficient way. I know there's standards and protocols and guidelines and all that to make sure everybody's healthy and safe. And we're doing everything to make sure nobody's at risk. I'm hopeful that we'll be playing." The concern for safety has been shared by several of Ingram's colleagues of late and will be a frequent topic of discussion as training camps are scheduled to begin at the end of July. Ingram faces increased competition for backfield touches with second-round rookie J.K. Dobbins in the fold, rendering the veteran as more of a flex option in fantasy for 2020.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert requested a trade on Wednesday, per his agent, Brett Tessler. Mostert and his representation simply want to bring him in line with the highest-paid running backs on the team. Tevin Coleman will make $4.55 million in 2020. Mostert has two years left on his deal, which initially paid him as mainly a special teams player. He became the team's lead back down the stretch last year, helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance and led the NFL in yards per carry. It's likely that the two sides work something out, but if not, Tevin Coleman would become a lot more interesting. Even though he's set to be San Fran's lead back in 2020, Mostert could lose touches to Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, making him more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs tweeted on Tuesday that he'd "be lying if I said I was comfortable starting back up" amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL has plenty of questions to answer regarding safety protocols for player health before training camps and the regular season begins, and it's possible that players will decide to opt out of playing altogether. If Diggs ultimately decides to play in 2020, he'll be the No. 1 wideout in his first year in Buffalo, but his fantasy ceiling might depend on how much Buffalo throws the ball and whether quarterback Josh Allen can make strides as a passer. John Brown and Cole Beasley will take targets away and give Diggs a lower ceiling as more of a low-end WR2 in fantasy.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson said the team will consider free-agent kicker Stephen Gostkowski. A left hip injury cost Gostkowski most of his final season with the Patriots, but his .874 field-goal percentage is the fifth-best all time. "We certainly have confidence in Greg Joseph, I thought Greg did a great job for us, came in there at the end of last year and did a great job for us and helped us," Robinson said. "Itd be his job to lose but we want as competitive a position there as possible." Joseph has only attempted four field goals in the NFL, and they all came in 2018 with the Browns. He did make all nine of his extra points in two games with Tennessee last year, but if the Titans signed Gostkowski and he proves to be fully healthy, the veteran could easily take over and become fantasy relevant once again.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson said that he would like to see free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in-person before he would consider signing him. However, the Titans still can't bring Clowney in for a physical after the pass-rusher had core muscle surgery in the offseason. With the Browns likely out of the running for Clowney's services, it could be just Tennessee, Seattle and Las Vegas in the running. The oft-injured Clowney will have to settle for a one-year deal before testing free agency again next offseason, but he'd definitely bring an added pass-rushing dimension to the Titans Defense. Clowney would prefer to sign with a team before training camps get underway later this month.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson has continued discussions with running back Derrick Henry's representation on a long-term contract extension with just one week left to reach an agreement before the July 15 deadline. If the sides can't agree, Henry will play 2020 on the $10.278 million franchise tag. Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019. He led the team to the AFC Championship game and added 446 rushing yards in three playoff games. The former Alabama star had six 100-yard rushing games in the regular season and two more in the postseason. The bruising 25-year-old back will continue to be featured in this run-first offense, which makes him a top-five fantasy football running back that will come off the board in the first round.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jalen Hurd is expected to play the big-slot role for the 49ers this season. Hurd was a third-round pick in last year's draft, but he never saw the field in his rookie season because of an injury. But the 24-year-old out of Baylor is one of those weapons that head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to utilize all over the field and at different positions. With Deebo Samuel (foot) potentially missing the beginning of the season, Hurd could make even more of an impact in the passing game. Hurd played running back in college, and it's clear that the Niners would like to get him involved as a playmaker in 2020. He's certainly a name to keep an eye on as we approach training camp this month.
Knowing that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is under contract with the team for the next 12 years, 62-year-old head coach Andy Reid isn't even considering retirement anytime soon. If Reid were to stick around until the end of Mahomes' extension, he'd be 74 years old. Bills great Marv Levy and Bears founder George Halas coached when they were 72 years old. The combination of Reid and Mahomes could be great for a long time to come, and some are discussing their names with the likes of great coach/quarterback couplings such as Belichick and Brady, Payton and Brees and Walsh and Montana.
The National Football League Players Association informed its board of representatives on Tuesday that the league proposed 35 percent of player salaries be held in escrow to help manage costs during the 2020 season, according to sources. It comes as COVID-19 has created uncertainty for the upcoming season, with the league and players undecided on aspects of testing, preseason games and training camp structure. The league's proposal wasn't well-received by the players, with NFLPA executive Don Davis saying, "Basically, we told them to kick rocks." The NFLPA's stance is that any escrow deal would need to be collectively bargained. The NFL has a lot to work out before training camps and the regular season can start on time amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The odds have likely increased that free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will re-sign with the Seattle Seahawks, in the opinion of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta. The Browns reportedly offered Clowney as much as $17 million at one point, but they're likely out of the picture now after they restructured Olivier Vernon's deal on Tuesday. The Raiders reportedly made an offer to Clowney this week, but it's considered to be the third-best offer he's received. Seattle won't offer him $15-16 million a year, but he doesn't have much to choose from at this point and would benefit from the familiarity of returning to the Seahawks. The 27-year-old is a pass-rushing force when healthy, but his lack of production (zero double-digit sack seasons) and lengthy injury history give pause to owners in IDP leagues. Expect Clowney to sign soon with training camp quickly approaching.
There's not much optimism that the Washington Redskins will reach a long-term deal with right guard Brandon Scherff before the July 15 deadline to sign players on the franchise tag, according to a source. If he plays the 2020 season on the tag, he'll make $15.03 million. Washington would like to keep Scherff around for the long haul, though, especially after he has made three Pro Bowls in his five-year career. Especially with teams being more hesitant to shell out long-term deals amid the coronavirus pandemic, it doesn't appear to be in the cards for Scherff this year. Another reason the team isn't stoked on handing him a big extension is the fact that he's played in just 19 games the last two seasons and hasn't played a full season since 2016.
The Cleveland Browns signed No. 10 overall pick Jedrick Wills to his rookie contract on Tuesday. Wills and the team agreed upon a four-year, $19.7 million deal with a team option for a fifth year. The entire contract is fully guaranteed and the rookie tackle will take home an $11.889 million signing bonus. With Wills under contract, Cleveland has all but two of their draft picks signed as they gear up to begin training camp later in the month. Wills has plenty of work ahead of him as he will be asked to switch from right tackle, which he played in college, to left tackle. All reports about Wills' switch have been positive up until this point as the protector of Baker Mayfield's blind side.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson got himself into trouble with several anti-Semitic messages on his Instagram and could see himself released from his contract because of it. Jackson claims he feels no hatred toward the Jewish community, but he posted a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler and tried to say it was taken "the wrong way." The official statement by the Eagles said, "We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action." ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Jackson has already received a $2 million player option this year and has $4.8 million guaranteed. His release could come down to whether or not the Eagles are able to get their money back. If Jackson does end up released, Alshon Jeffery and Marquise Goodwin would benefit the most.
After restructuring Olivier Vernon's contract on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns are now unlikely to sign free-agent Jadeveon Clowney. Cleveland had been one of the teams often brought up as potential suitors for Clowney's services but the new contract for Vernon fully guarantees $11 million, money that likely would have gone into a deal with Clowney. Of course there were reports earlier in the offseason that Clowney didn't want to play for the Browns. Vernon will book-end star pass rusher Myles Garrett on the Cleveland defense for at least another season.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has agreed to restructure his deal for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. His base salary will drop from $2.5 million to $1.05 million and includes a $550,000 signing bonus in 2020. The 30-year-old running back is entering his final year of his deal with the Pats. Sony Michel, James White, and possibly Damien Harris will all be above Burkhead on the depth chart. He won't carry much value in most fantasy formats, but a couple of injuries could open up an opportunity for Burkhead. However, until that happens, Burkhead will be stuck towards the bottom of the depth chart.
The Cleveland Browns and edge rusher Olivier Vernon have agreed to a restructured deal for the 2020 season. Vernon was originally owed $15.25 million non-guaranteed and will now bring home $11 million guaranteed for this upcoming season, with a $3.75 base salary and a $7 million signing bonus. The team and the pass-rusher were originally expected to part ways earlier in the offseason but he will stick around to bookend star defender Myles Garrett at least for another year.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III thinks Denver's backfield in 2020 will be explosive with himself and Phillip Lindsay. Gordon realizes that both he and Lindsay will be fighting to be the No. 1 back, regardless of the balance in the play-calling. "I hope it's electric, man, just cause it's crazy that his numbers [are what they are]; I just had a season with Austin Ekeler phenomenal player. Their game is about the same. And I think Lindsay is a great, phenomenal back," Gordon said. The former Bolts back acknowledged that the two will be competing for top-dog duties, but the Broncos didn't sign Gordon in free agency for him to be the No. 2. The two-time Pro Bowler should see plenty of work and is an RB2 with upside in an offense more suited to his strengths.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ended last year as one of the league's most dominant players. He finished with 3,127 passing yards and 36 touchdowns (six interceptions) while maintaining an exceptional 66.1 completion percentage. He also added 1,206 yards and seven additional scores on the ground and finished second with 867 rushing yards before contact. Though it is reasonable to think that the 23-year-old will regress this season, analyst Marcellus Wiley believes the opposite. While conversing on Fox Sports "Speak for Yourself," the former defensive end stated that he feels the young signal-caller will be "greater than great" in 2020, which is a scary declaration considering his statistical output through 15 games last season. He also indicated that a second consecutive MVP award is on the horizon. Whether fantasy managers agree or not, they should expect Jackson to be the first or second quarterback off the draft boards for the upcoming campaign.
The San Francisco 49ers have signed journeyman cornerback Jamar Taylor and waived cornerback Teez Tabor in a deep roster move on Monday. Taylor has bounced around the league for seven years, and he's likely to serve as nothing more than some depth at DB on the off chance that the team needs it. With COVID-19 cutting a swath through rosters this season though, depth players may find themselves in starring roles if push comes to shove. Hopefully, Taylor won't have to be leaned on very hard.
The Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to a 10-year contract extension on Monday, according to a league source. The deal that ties Mahomes to Kansas City through the 2031 season will be the richest contract in NFL history. Last year's Super Bowl MVP had two years remaining on his contract, so it's essentially a 12-year contract in total. Mahomes' extension is worth over $400 million in total, and sources think it will be tied to a percentage of the salary cap for each season. Cha ching. Mahomes cashes in after winning MVP in 2018 with 50 regular season touchdowns and leading the Chiefs to a Super Bowl title last season. His dual-threat ability makes him extremely dangerous on the football field in KC's explosive offense. Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are the top two fantasy signal-callers in 2020.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase was looking to trade safety Marcus Maye prior to the start of last season, and general manager Joe Douglas has been fielding offers for him for almost a year. Maye is in the final year of his rookie deal and isn't believed to be in the team's long-term plans, especially since the Jets would prefer to extend All-Pro safety Jamal Adams instead. New York also selected safety Ashtyn Davis in the third round this year. The 27-year-old had 65 combined tackles and an interception over a full season in 2019, but he has only four interceptions and half a sack in his three seasons in the NFL. You can ignore Maye in IDP leagues.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku demanded a trade from the team several days ago, but the team may not be so quick to accommodate him. ESPN's Josina Anderson tweeted on Monday that she believes that Njoku is still a big part of the Browns plans going forward. Anderson went on to state that the Chicago Bears have been monitoring the situation, signaling that they may be a potential trade partner if Njoku is moved. The Browns signed Austin Hooper earlier in the offseason, prompting Njoku to want out of town. If he stays in Cleveland, he'll be an unattractive low-end TE2 for fantasy owners.
San Francisco 49ers George Kittle remains without a new contract. While some reports suggest that the 26-year-old could land a deal that would pay him around $17 million per year, Matt Barrows from the Athletic was the latest to chime in, with the reporter hinting that Kittle would instead receive $13 million per year. The 2017 fifth-round pick has been one of the most consistent producers for the team over the years and finished the 2019 regular season with 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. Fantasy managers should prepare for him to be the first or second tight end selected in fantasy drafts for 2020.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs could be in line for a breakout year, a sentiment that was echoed by ESPN's Mike Clay, who predicted the sophomore back to total 1,400 yards from scrimmage this season. The 22-year-old finished 2019 with 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns but was hindered by a shoulder issue that cost him three games while impacting him in others. With the Raiders having some potent weapons on the receiving end, things may open up more for Jacobs in 2020. Look for him to fly off the draft boards within the first round the majority of fantasy drafts for the upcoming campaign.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon could lead the league in rushing this season, according to MSN's Matt Johnson. Johnson stated that with the team's enhanced offensive line and the arrival of rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, he wouldn't be surprised if the 23-year-old accumulated nearly 1,400 yards on the ground this year. Mixon finished last season with 1,137 yards and five touchdowns off of a career-high 278 attempts. He also pulled in 35 catches for three additional scores and ranked seventh in rushing yards after contact. Fantasy managers will want to plan accordingly as he should be one of the first backs off the boards in fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley could be in line for his best season yet under new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. According to NFL Network's Kimberly Jones, the team "may run an offense that's similar to the Cowboy's scheme under Garrett." Dallas was ranked in the top 10 in rush attempts under Garrett between 2016 and 2019, during which time, Ezekiel Elliott won two rushing titles. Despite being hindered by a high ankle sprain last season, Barkley still ran for over 1,000 yards and had six touchdowns in 13 appearances while also catching 51 receptions for an additional two scores. Look for him to come off the board within the first three picks in fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign, especially in PPR formats.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku demanded a trade on Friday, per his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Soon after, reports surfaced that the Dallas Cowboys were a "potential suitor" for Njoku. "That," one source said Friday as the news broke, "sounds like an agent creation." The Cowboys made a commitment to Blake Jarwin and also signed blocking tight end Blake Bell. They also have Dalton Schultz on the roster, which means Njoku wouldn't necessarily represent an upgrade. The Browns could be asking for a first-rounder in return. All of the Njoku rumors to Dallas were new to the Cowboys. Njoku is blocked by Austin Hooper in Cleveland and is looking for a team that can give him the targets he desires. That probably wouldn't happen in Dallas, but Njoku could become a TE2 with upside if he's traded and lands in the right situation.
According to a Tweet by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has demanded that the team trade him before training camp. The Browns responded by telling Njoku that they would like to keep him, but Njoku is "intent" on being moved to another team. Njoku's request is most likely a result of Cleveland signing tight end Austin Hooper to a large contract his offseason to be their starter. Drew Rosenhaus, Njoku's agent, stated that "it is in David's best interest to find a new team at this time." If Njoku is moved, his fantasy value would be mostly dependent on his new team. That would also represent a playing-time bump for rookie Harrison Bryant. Bryant was the Browns fourth-round draft pick in April's draft.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (foot) was sent to Injured Reserve last year with a Lisfranc injury a year after a turf toe injury limited him to 13 games. Between Davenport and Cameron Jordan, the Saints starting defensive ends had 19.5 sacks in the first 12 games. The Saints are being patient with their 2018 first-rounder heading into his third season. Davenport has been "busting his butt" this offseason in his rehab and is "putting the work in to come back in the best shape that he's ever been in," according to defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen. The young pass-rusher had six sacks last year and career highs in tackles (31), forced fumbles (three) and quarterback hits (16). While Davenport is a rising young defender, he's not quite in play as a starter in IDP leagues, and he must stay healthy moving forward. But the combination of him and Jordan on the Saints defensive line could be nasty in 2020.
Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee hopes to have a bigger role in 2020 despite the additions of Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb after the team traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. "Very hungry, very hungry," Coutee said. "Not a lot of talking, just ready to work. Results speak for themselves in 2020." Coutee had 11 catches for 109 yards in his rookie season in 2018, but injuries have held him to just 15 games in two seasons. He had 22 receptions for 254 yards and no touchdowns in nine games in 2019. Will Fuller V, Cooks and Cobb figure to be the starters, but Fuller and Cooks have injury concerns and Cobb turns 30 in August. But with Kenny Stills also in the fold, Coutee might be the odd man out in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II finished the 2019 campaign with 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns and was also one of the league's most prolific threats inside the red zone. However, with Lamar Jackson back in the mix and likely to resume his dominance on the rushing end this season in addition to the team's selection of J.K. Dobbins in this year's NFL Draft, the 30-year-old could see some notable regression. While Ingram still has a chance to produce some adequate numbers on occasion in 2020, fantasy managers run the risk that he will fall short of surpassing his ADP expectations.