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We last looked at our half-PPR overall rankings, and now we're taking one last look at what was certainly an eventful offseason. From high-profile free agent signings to blockbuster trades, there was no shortage of noteworthy transactions. This preview highlights eight of Patrick Daugherty's top offseason transactions.
Have a look:
1. Rams finally get in the quarterback game with Matthew Stafford
Speaking in the days following the Rams’ Divisional Round loss, Sean McVay offered proof of life and little else for Jared Goff. That’s when it became clear that the Rams would be moving on under center, but it was still stunning when Stafford’s acquisition was reported just 14 days later. Tired of holding Goff’s hand and unwilling to go through the developmental process with a rookie, McVay splurged on the best veteran available. It might have been an overpay — Goff, two first-rounders and a third — but Stafford does things Goff is simply not capable of. Goff needs a permission slip to go down the field. Stafford hunts for it. Stafford’s deep game will make McVay’s offense more dangerous than ever in 2021.
2. Colts take Carson Wentz off the Eagles’ hands
Wentz led the NFL in fumbles, interceptions and sacks taken last season. The $33.8 million in dead money he left behind in Philadelphia is the most in NFL history. Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln. Any way you slice it, Wentz was one of the worst players in football in 2020. If multiple reports are to be believed, he was also one of the surliest. The Colts’ acquisition was a major gamble, though one based on a shrewd underpinning. Wentz is reuniting with ex-Eagles OC Frank Reich in Indianapolis, seemingly the only coach he’s ever gotten along with. The two nearly won an MVP together. The reward is just as evident as the risk.
3. Bears trade up for Justin Fields after signing Andy Dalton
It’s hard to say exactly what the Bears’ plan was, but it resulted in their two best quarterbacks since Jay Cutler. That, of course, tells you just how low the bar is in Chicago. Head coach Matt Nagy will spend the offseason claiming Dalton will be the starter, but big-play hunter Fields will be given every opportunity to steal the gig in training camp. Fields was one of the best possible solutions to one of the longest-lasting problems in North American sports: Bears quarterback.
4. 49ers trade up to make Trey Lance new face of the franchise
Tired of scheming around Jimmy Garoppolo instead of with him, the 49ers have gone in the complete opposite direction, giving head coach Kyle Shanahan an opportunity to reprise his Robert Griffin III magic with a gifted, young dual-threat. Shanny’s San Francisco play designs have been works of art, but that doesn’t amount to as much as you might expect if you don’t have the skill to turn it into big plays. Lance is the archetype of a modern quarterback, with Shanny the consummate modern coach. Together they will try to put the finishing touches on one of the league’s top rosters.
5. G-Men bring Kenny Golladay in from the cold with four-year deal
No one wanted one of the best down-field receivers in the NFL, so the Giants swooped in with $40 million guaranteed. Besides getting paid, it’s an awful landing spot for Golladay. He’s a sideline dominator, and Daniel Jones has been one of the league’s least-aggressive passers despite what his torrent of turnovers might suggest. If there’s a sliver of hope, it’s that Jones has been efficient when he actually does venture down the field, checking in with PlayerProfiler’s seventh-best deep ball completion percentage at 46.7 in 2020. Golladay’s WR1 days are gone, but his ADP could depress to the point that he ends up a bargain WR2.
6. Patriots sign the top-two tight ends available in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith
All the comparisons have been to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez when they should really be to Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd. That’s who led the Patriots in 2020 receiving. The Pats needed anyone who could catch the ball, and Henry and Smith do so in unique and dynamic ways. Henry is a red zone dominator, Smith a YAC machine. Of course, the Patriots’ gain was fantasy’s loss, as the tight ends are sure to cannibalize each other’s production. Henry finds himself on the TE1 borderline, with Smith checking in as a matchup-based TE2.
7. Panthers make aggressive move for Sam Darnold
The trendiest coaching staff in the league is planting its flag with a quarterback who threw more interceptions than touchdowns as a third-year starter in 2020. That’s one way to go about things for a team that passed on Justin Fields in the draft. Compared to Fields, this move could end up a disaster. Compared to last year’s starter Teddy Bridgewater, it’s a risk worth taking. Darnold at least still teases untapped upside. Bridgewater’s ceiling has long been hard-capped.
8. Bucs keep the Super Bowl band together
Chris Godwin was franchise tagged, while Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette and Rob Gronkowski were all re-signed. You should never “run it back” just for the sake of doing so, but these were the right moves for an offense that peaked at the right time in 2020. With better health and improved chemistry with Tom Brady, Godwin will be well-positioned to better last year’s WR32 finish by total points in half PPR.
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