Early Look at Free Agency Part One!
In Part One of this series, I'm going to take an early look at a few players who are set to become Free Agents at the March 2021 deadline. For this week's edition, we are going to look at Aaron Jones (RB), Corey Davis (WR), and Will Fuller V (WR).
Aaron Jones is one of many Free Agent RBs in 2021, but he's definitely at the top of that list. The former 5th Rounder really established himself as the alpha in Green Bay during his time, including back to back years with 1,000+ Yards on the ground as well as over 10+ TD from scrimmage.
But with the addition of A.J. Dillon and an ongoing sense that teams do not want to pay up for RBs (see Todd Gurley as to why), teams would rather just draft a new one. It still is very possible Jones comes back to Green Bay, but considering he's come this far without a deal, it's also possible he leaves.
So if he does leave, what are his options, and as fantasy managers, where do we WANT him to land. Some team's with obvious RB Vacancies are the Jets and Falcons, while teams like the Steelers, Seahawks, and Bills might also be on the hunt.
With Arthur Smith in Atlanta (former Titans OC), as well as their offensive talent and very limited RB competition, Aaron Jones as a Falcon would easily be a Top 5-10 Fantasy Asset. But, according to overthecap.com, the Falcons currently are sitting at roughly NEGATIVE $32 Million, and considering they all but likely in rebuild mode, I would hardly say they are buyers. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to draft a RB in the first three rounds. This would be the PERFECT situation for Jones, but unfortunately it's unlikely it happens.
The other team who might be looking to add a RB through free agency is the New York Jets. Now this situation may look bad from the outside, but he would have a clear path to being a workhorse, it's a team trending in the right direction with Robert Saleh, AND he would be playing with the brother of his current HC with Mike LaFleur as his offensive coordinator. Have to imagine his offensive philosophy is in line with Matt LaFleur, and Saleh will busy manning the defense, as he should. The Jets also have about $66 Million in Cap Space, and could be buyers in March.
Now, Seattle would be next on my list, assuming both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde leave in free agency. While the Steelers and Bills are likely to take a different route.
Corey Davis is one of those guys who we have all just been waiting on to break out, and I don't think anything thought THIS of all years would be the year. Regardless, he's a former Top 5 overall pick with a ton of talent and the ability to be an alpha WR for another team.
Considering the Titans just extended Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill, with the thought that they will one day need to pay A.J. Brown, plus the fact that they declined Corey Davis' 5th Year option, it's likely that Davis will be playing elsewhere in 2021. Teams like the Patriots, Eagles, Ravens, Packers, and Raiders are what I would consider good fits for Davis. But with all the recent and upcoming LOADED WR Draft classes, it's unlikely Davis will become a true Alpha WR.
The Patriots and Eagles are both intriguing spots, and likely his best options to become an alpha for a team.
The Patriots WR Depth consists of a soon-to-be 35 Year Old Julian Edelman with knee issues, a former first rounder in N'Keal Harry who has somehow been the 4th Best receiver on the team, and an un-drafted free agent named Jakobi Meyers who has actually played well (when given the chance).
Dating back to his rookie year, Davis has had some of his best games against the Patriots. Including this catch against the Patriots in the playoffs.
Bill Belichick notices these type of things, and I'm sure he's upset that his price tag has gone up. Fortunately for Bill, the Patriots are sitting at a healthy $58 Million in cap space. For whatever reason, the Patriots just can't draft a good WR, and Davis will be cheaper than going after a big name like Allen Robinson.
I understand that the QB Situation may not be ideal for fantasy, but if they do draft a Mac Jones or make a trade for someone like Matthew Stafford, Davis could easily be a Top 20 WR. Even with Cam, Meyers had a span where he was averaging over 15 Fantasy PPG!
As for the Eagles, they are another team that has struggled with WRs lately, and whether it's Jalen Hurts or Carson Went starting, there will be plenty of targets available for a guy like Davis. Did you know the Eagles have had ONE WR of the last two seasons catch over 500 Yards (in a single season). That was Travis Fulgham, who quickly fizzled out in the last portion of the year.
Unfortunately for the Eagles they have a whopping Negative $51 Million in Cap Space for 2021. They do have guys they can cut (like Ertz) that will put them back into healthy shape, but with where they are drafting they are also in a good spot to land a DeVonta Smith or Ja'Marr Chase.
Also, I do understand Jalen Reagor is there, but he's not someone I view as a true WR1, but more as a very solid WR2.
I mentioned some other options like the Raiders, Packers, and Ravens as well. The Ravens and Raiders use a guy like Davis, and he would be a good fit for those systems, but for Fantasy, it not be ideal at all. As for the Packers, he could reunite with Matt LaFleur and operate as the Packers WR2, but I've got someone else in mind for that role..
Will Fuller in such a short span of time really just exploded on to the scene and took advantage of the departure of DeAndre Hopkins. But, his season was cut short thanks the use of PEDs, which Fuller claims helped with his rehab and believed to be cleared by the NFL prior to use. He was handed a 6-Game suspension, which mean he will be suspended for Week 1 of the 2021 Season following the 5 games he missed in 2020.
It's unknown whether he will be back with the Texans in 2021, but considering they tried really hard to sell him at the trade deadline, I'd think they are ok letting him walk.
Now Fuller is definitely a guy who can operate as a team's #1 WR, but he's also a REALLY good #2 and can be deadly against one on one coverage. Some teams that come to mind are the Eagles, Washington, Saints, and most importantly the Green Bay Packers.
I mentioned that the Texans were trying to sell Will Fuller, and their biggest buyer at the time was the Green Bay Packers. Fuller actually was coached under Matt LaFleur for one year at Notre Dame, and LaFleur has not forgotten.
In an article linked here , you can see multiple sources and rumors that the Packers were looking to acquire Will Fuller prior to the deadline. It's unknown if the possible suspension came up and it deterred the Packers from executing the trade, but regardless Matt LaFleur has said he's "A big Will Fuller fan", and when asked about acquiring Fuller, LaFleur said "If the right opportunity presents itself, I’m sure Gutey [the GM] will be all over it,".
So we know the interest is there, and while Fuller would clearly not be the #1 WR, he would have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball and he would be seeing easy coverage. The Packers are another team sitting at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to Cap Space (currently sitting at Roughly Negative $23 Million), but it sounds like one way or another, they would make it work.
I already spoke about the Eagles, and for Washington, I don't see a guy like Will Fuller as a priority, especially with Logan Thomas being an up and comer. As for Saints, I mean they are sitting at NEGATIVE $95 MILLION! I'm not even sure how that's allowed but I have a feeling they won't be buyers.
Let me know what players you want me to talk about for next week's article!