Owner / Lead Fantasy Scribbler
As the 2018 fantasy season ends there is only one thing to do. Look ahead way too early to 2019. While it is still too early to do initial rankings, it is the perfect time to let speculation start. What free agent will end up where, who might be traded, and as a little bonus, who might be moving in or out as head coaches? We are going to have some fun here and look at all of these questions and give our best shot at answering them correctly.
Le’Veon Bell- obviously the biggest prize on the free agent market, he is also the biggest worry as no one will know what he will take after sitting out the entire season in a show of force with the Steelers which fell flatter than Wiley E. Coyote when he tries to run through the tunnel after the roadrunner.
There are still going to be any number of teams lining up to open their wallet to him and some of the favorites are going to be a lot of bad teams with bad team money. The likes of the Bills, Jets, Browns and 49ers have money to spend and no care on who they use it on or how they fit in the locker room. Cleveland would be very interesting for Bell as it is likely they may have Bruce Arians as head coach and he has a track record of using David Johnson in the same manner Bell was used in Pittsburgh. On the other hands, if he goes to any of the other teams, I am less optimistic about his results save the 49ers and Kyle Channahon. If he were to take over the full-time role, which I don’t see happening with McKinnon being there as well as Matt Breita who has done a great job as a starter by default after the McKinnon injury, he could thrive in the bay area.
One other possible consideration and it is for sure a long shot is the Eagles spending their limited cap space to bring him in and help them try to get back to the Super Bowl with Carson Wentz and company in their primes. If he goes to a team like Cleveland or Philadelphia he is going to remain, in all certainty a high end running back one. If he follows the money to the swamps of New Jersey, he will slide a little to a low end running back one or a very high end running back two.
Most likely: New York Jets Long Shot: Philadelphia Eagles
Tevin Coleman– He has shown this season he is not a bell cow back and needs to be part of a committee. But does this mean he is going to realize it and go to a situation which puts him in the best position for success? Probably not. His best bet truly is to stay in Atlanta and keep the backfield intact when Freeman comes back healthy in 2019. The Falcons will most likely try to limit Freeman a little bit more meaning Coleman can get more and more work and build his value on a one or two-year deal before cashing in after a few seasons of good production.
If he does truly want to test the free agent market and finds a suitor, it will not be a solo role but instead will be on a team like the Patriots or Ravens where he is one of many and not one of one. Sometimes when you leave home, you find out the grass is not always greener. If he stays in Atlanta, he could be a high end running back two. If he goes to try and be a lead back somewhere, he will at best be a low end running back two and maybe even a running back three.
Most Likely: Atlanta Falcons Long Shot: Washington Redskins
Amari Cooper– Technically he is a free agent but after giving up a first-round draft pick for him, there is no way Jerry Jones lets him out the door. There is already talk of a six-year $95 million extension and it will most likely be done as soon as legally allowed. Or maybe before. Cooper has given life to a Dallas offense which was dead in the water and also brought life to Dak Prescott who after a good rookie season was starting to look more like Robert Griffin and less like Andrew Luck in terms of career trajectory. Look for him to take over the wide receiver one role for good in Dallas and return to the top 15 type receiver he was his first two seasons in the league.
Dallas needed Cooper and as it turns out Cooper needed Dallas. This is going to be a marriage which will be mutually beneficial for both parties for the foreseeable future and don’t expect him to go anywhere.
Most Likely: Dallas Cowboys Long Shot: Dallas Cowboys
Josh Gordon– Since leaving Cleveland he has proven two things. His groin was fine, and he can stay on the straight and narrow. Hopefully, the latter stays throughout the summer and he can sign with a team who can give him the healthy environment he needs to be around. While my feeling is, he will re-sign with New England on a two-year contract in hopes of playing with Tom Brady for the remainder of his great career, there will surely be other teams interested in the receiver after seeing his re-emergence with the Patriots in 2018. A team like the Jets or even the 49ers who need receivers and have money will likely throw an over-inflated contract offer to land him. If he is smart, he will stay with the Patriots but if he chases the money, anything is possible for 2019. Either way, he should remain at worst a wide receiver two if healthy.
Golden Tate– A slot receiver in a league in which Jarvis Landry just got $17 million a season. This is a good position for Golden Tate to be in and with the price tag coming, the Eagles will not be re-signing him despite giving up a second-round pick to secure him. With Nelson Agholor on the team and still on his rookie contract, it would be remarkable if the Eagles made such a stupid move of signing him unless he wants to take a one year prove it deal the likes of which Alshon Jeffrey did before last season. If this is the way Golden Tate wants to ho he could get $14 to $16 on a one year deal before trying to cash in one last time after the 2019 season and this would be great for the Eagles but if he wants to go get the money he would fit great in the 49ers offense as a replacement for Pierre Garcon or as an option in Buffalo to give Josh Allen a weapon he and the team so desperately need. Either way if he stays with the Eagles or goes to the highest bidder, his PPR ability makes him an incredible value again in drafts next season and his durability make him a wide receiver two at his floor and a possible wide receiver one at his ceiling.
Most Likely: San Francisco 49ers Long Shot Arizona Cardinals
T.J. Yeldon– Another running back like Tevin Coleman who is going to want to be a bell cow and does not belong as such. In the case of T.J. Yeldon, he is stuck behind a player in Leonard Fournette who truly limits his production. While Coleman can coexist in the Atlanta backfield with Freeman Yeldon is the odd man out when it comes to Fournette and Corey Grant when he comes back healthy next season. Yeldon needs to get out of Jacksonville and get to a team which can use him as part of a committee. A team like the Texan to pair him with Foreman or in Atlanta if Coleman were to leave would be a perfect fit for Yeldon who has shown in the absence of Fournette this season and last that he can catch the ball as well as be a solid running back option. With most teams going to the committee back approach he will not be in line to get a lot of money but if he gets in the right situation, he could flourish none the less. If he gets out of Jacksonville and on a team, which uses him he looks to be a contender of a running back two or a weekly flex play with his new team.
Most Likely: Houston Texans Long Shot: Minnesota Vikings
Chris Carson– He has proven this season to be the best running back in Seattle but with the draft price of Rashaad Penny they absolutely have to get him on the field with Russell Wilson in 2019 to see if he was worth it. The answer is no by the way. Saying this there will be a lot of interest in either Chris Carson or Mike Davis if the Seahawks decide to trade one. Carson would seemingly be the back with the higher value making him the most likely to go somewhere else.
Behind what was considered before the season to be a bottom level offensive line, Carson has put up an average of 4.4 yards per attempt running for 635 yards and four touchdowns on 144 attempts in nine games including one game in which he only played the first half before leaving with an injury against the Chargers.
As talked about with Le’Veon Bell and other runners, Carson would be interesting on a team like the Eagles or even the Bills as a possible replacement for LeSean McCoy.
Running backs are not priority in the NFL anymore and it is quite unlikely many, if any get traded this offseason, but if one does Carson would make perfect sense for another team as he is only going to be 25 before next season and does not have a lot of mileage as he was a part of the air it out attack at Oklahoma State in College making him fresher than a lot of third-year runners. Not to mention to this point in his career he has only rushed the ball 190 times which is less than many top back to in one season let alone two.
It would not be a smart move as all three running backs in Seattle are on team friendly contracts but with all three jockeying for playing time, one will have to be the odd man out and Carson would be the most likely. If he is able to land on a new team you can expect a solid season from him as he should finish as a high end running back two depending on the team he is traded to. If he stays in Seattle for another season, expect his value to be closer to a running back three or flex as he will lose a lot of play to Rashaad Penny.
Most Likely: Stays with Seattle Long Shot: Buffalo Bills
Carlos Hyde– There is not much trade value here but the fact he is under contract for five million dollars next season makes him intriguing for a team who needs a cheap running back on a rental in 2019. We saw the Jaguars give a fifth-round pick to the Browns this season and this is the price you could get him for, if not less this offseason.
Should they miss out on the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes, the Philadelphia Eagles make sense as a landing spot as they are not sure to bring back Jay Ajayi in 2019 and although Josh Adams has looked good lately, he is unproven making it likely the Eagles add a veteran running back to the mix and possibly not only cut ties with Ajayi but also Wendall Smallwood leaving a backfield of Adams, Clemente, and Hyde.
Another team who may want to trade for him is his former team the 49ers. With Jerick McKinnon not a beacon of health the 49ers may want to pair him up with Matt Breita to form a solid backfield for Kyle Shannahan as he tries to get the team over the hump in a weakened NFC West.
If he ends up in Philadelphia or San Francisco, he could return to a high end running back two. If he stays in Jacksonville, well, there is always 2020.
Most Likely: Stay as Backup Long Shot: Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Mullens– Did you expect me to say Jimmy Garoppolo would be the man out in San Francisco? While it would behoove the 49ers to keep him as the backup and they probably will, he has more value as a trade option than C.J. Beathard and everyone loves to trade for quarterbacks. Not likely to happen but still possible for the right price. Mullens, the man, the myth, the man who got twitter verified and a Wikipedia page during his first game could be on the move and there a few teams which make sense. To me anyway.
While a bit of a long shot, he could end up in Cincinnati to finally replace Andy Daulton if Marvin Lewis is finally fired after the season. Hugh Jackson is said to be in contention to take over if this happens and if this happens, and the stadium is not burnt down, Mullens is a fresh start quarterback with weapons in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon surrounding him on offense.
The other team which I can see happening more realistically is the Washington Redskins. With the gruesome injury to Alex Smith making his return highly iffy the Washington Redskins may not want to turn over the reigns for 2019 to Colt McCoy making it likely they trade for a quarterback as not to financially strap themselves with a second starting quarterback salary. This shines the light squarely on Mullens as one of the players who may be available for a possible promotion to starting quarterback of the Redskins. With not many other options out there the Redskins should make the move to trade a third-round pick to the 49ers for Mullens and show the fans they are not giving up just because Alex Smith is not there anymore. I am not sure if that is really a bad thing or not either.
Most Likely: Nothing Long Shot: Washington Redskins
Emmanuel Sanders– Coming back from a lost season in 2017 Emmanuel Sanders has been the wide receiver one for Denver this season but his salary makes him a prime candidate for either a trade or to be outright released this offseason. The likelihood of him being traded with his contract is unlikely as there are few teams who can afford him but if he is traded it will be to a team as mentioned with many other players, like the Bills or Browns who have money burning a hole in their pockets and no one who wants it. If he is released, on the other hand, he will have many more suitors as he will command a somewhat lower salary in the range of six to eight million compared to his $14 million current salary.
Another team who could find interest in him is the Oakland Raiders as they will start next season with possibly a new quarterback, but surely an entirely new receiving group with Amari Cooper gone, Jordy Nelson set to retire and Martavis Bryant becoming a free agent himself after the 2018 season.
Most Likely: Waived Long Shot: Oakland Raiders
Bruce Arians to Browns– This seems like the easiest call to make. Unless Condoleezza Rice really wants the job and I don’t think she does. Just because she has gone to some games doesn’t make her qualified to be a head coach and neither does her time on the CFB playoff committee, so this is just a publicity stunt by the Browns. On the other hand, Bruce Arians is a great coach, he has a great offensive mind which will help in the development of not only Baker Mayfield, but also Nick Chubb and to some extent Jarvis Landry as he had great success working with David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. Already stating twice, he wants to coach the Browns and would not even consider another team shows his commitment to the organization and he should get the job and they should show him the same commitment to winning in return.
If Arians does get the job, look for the chance Cliff Kingsbury gets the job as offensive coordinator to work with Backer Mayfield again after having him at Texas Tech for a season. Otherwise, expect Byron Leftwich to get the position and move to Cleveland from Arizona.
Most Likely: Cleveland Browns Head Coach Long Shot: Stay with CBS
Dirk Koetter out with Buccaneers- Almost as certain to happen as Arians to the Browns are Dirk Koetter out in Tampa and the next one, Adam Gase out in Miami. Both of these coaches came into their positions as coveted men and both will leave showing they should have remained offensive coordinators somewhere and should go back to the position in the future. Dirk Koetter was dealt a bad hand as he was given an immature Jameis Winston to try to mold into a productive NFL quarterback and while he is productive, he is even more immature than when he came into the league and this is also on Cutter. The wishy-washy way in which he has handled the quarterback position this season shows his not only lack of trust in his quarterbacks but also in himself. This is not a good trait for a head coach and he needs someone to be accountable to in hopes of getting his career back on track. If he can get a job as an offensive coordinator somewhere, perhaps Arizona if Leftwich leaves, he could be a great coach. We have seen his prolific offense this season and if he were to go somewhere like Arizona, he would also have one of the best running backs in the league to work with while helping Josh Rosen become the next great young talent.
If he is headstrong and has his heart set on staying a head coach my feeling is, he will find it hard to find a job and may end up in the college ranks.
Most Likely: Offensive Coordinator somewhere Long Shot: College Coach
Adam Gase out with Dolphins– Despite some theories to the opposite, I do not control, nor do I like Adam Gase. In fact, the feeling he is overrated as a coach and was lucky to have Peyton Manning to build his profile floats freely in my mind.
One thing we see with Adam Gase and is a trait with some good coaches, but usually bad ones like Chip Kelly, is the lack of both accountability and especially refusal to change when things do not work over and over. The definition of stupidity is trying something over and over expecting different results and this is the issue with Gase. He doesn’t like someone, he trades them and says he has a better running back on the roster. Ok, fine. We give him the benefit of the doubt. So, what happens this season? He refuses to use this player to his fullest potential to allow an aging albeit great running back to get to much work thereby diminishing the value for both players almost to the point of irrelevance.
Unlike Cutter, Gase seems to be a person who will never find the value in taking a step back and looking at the whole picture. If he gets another head coaching position it is because someone is giving him a last chance or someone so far down in the dumps that any improvement is a good improvement. Maybe he ends up taking over with the Buccaneers if they keep Winston or, and this would be terrible, the Packers bring him in to fix the offense around Aaron Rodgers as head coach in Green Bay.
Most Likely: No Job Long Shot: Green Bay Offensive Coordinator
Mike McCarthy out with Packers- The time has come. The time came three years ago but not it has to happen. If you are doing this bad, with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, you don’t deserve to keep your job. Not to mention it took you seven games to release Aaron Jones to freedom and let him run and catch all over teams. I know McCarthy has gotten the Packers to a Super Bowl win against the Steelers, but a Super Bowl only buys so much time. Ask John Gruden, Brian Billick and this season possibly John Harbaugh.
Sometimes a change just needs to be made because something is not working anymore with one team which will work in a new situation. Like Andy Reid leaving Philadelphia for Kansas City sometimes all it takes is a new place to call home to bring back the success. Of all the coaches who could get fired, McCarthy and Harbaugh are the two who I feel the best about making a success in a new locale. McCarthy needs to find a good offensive coordinator to lead the offense thus allowing him to concentrate on other areas. If Pete Carroll leaves Seattle, stay tuned, He would make a good fit there in the pacific northwest. Although even as I write this Adam Inman is putting a hit out on me for even suggesting it. Glad I won’t see it coming.
Most Likely: No Job Long Shot: Seattle Seahawks Head Coach
Pete Carroll out with Seahawks- If we know one thing about Pete Carroll it is, he knows how to abandon a sinking ship just before it disappears under the water. He ruined the USC program to the point they are still trying to recover before taking off for Seattle and a second chance in the NFL. Now he sees the writing on the wall in Seattle and may find it a perfect time to do the same thing here. Although this may not be likely to happen, it also needs to be said he is the oldest head coach in the league and may just think the time has come now that he has the Super Bowl which every coach covets as well as a college national championship. He really has nothing more to prove in the coaching ranks and with the Seahawks on the other side of their contention window, this is the perfect time for not only him to leave, but also to get some new blood in there to rejuvenate things.
Most Likely: Stays put Long Shot: Retirement
Jason Garrett stays with Cowboys- This one was just a throw-in for fun. He is not going anywhere. Jerry Jones does not make mistakes. Or at least he will never admit to them by firing a coach. He is more loyal to bad coaches than the Bengals and less loyal to good coaches than anyone I have ever seen. It is sad really, but as an Eagles fan, it could not happen to a better fan base.
Most Likely: Contract Extension with Cowboys Long Shot: Married the Daughter of Jerry Jones to engrain himself further
John Gruden with Raiders- Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ok, sorry Raiders fans I had to do it. Good Luck.
Most Likely: He stays, and everyone continues to laugh Long Shot: Gruden realizes he sucks and agrees to leave and repay money already stolen
In what would only be described as a major shakeup in Green Bay after Mike McCarthy is fired and takes the job in Seattle, my thought not Adam’s, the Packers will replace him with not one, but two head coaches. Not at the head coaching position, but on the staff. With McCarthy gone the Packers will clean house on the coaching staff. This will make room for Bruce Arians to take over as head coach despite his interest in Cleveland, Green Bay would truly be a better job with much more job security, so he would have to consider it. Adding to Bruce Arians taking over the head coaching and offensive side of the ball, we can see a reunion of sorts as it is quite possible Todd Bowles gets let go by the Jets and comes aboard as the new defensive coordinator to try to rekindle the magic the pair once had in Arizona.
With Aaron Jones in the backfield and Adams and MVS at wide receiver the weapons in Green Bay will be comparable to those Arians had with the Cardinals not to mention Aaron Rodgers is not only better than Carson Palmer, but he is also better than any other quarterback in the league.
The Packers have wasted the prime of Rodgers for far too long and with Arians coming in, Rodgers would finally have an offensive mind befitting his skills to get him and the team back to a second Super Bowl.
After the debacle which has been the past seasons in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers will have and should have, a lot of say in the next head coach of the team. He is going to want someone who knows offense, knows how to use his best players correctly and can bring energy to the team. Bruce Arians checks all of these boxes with a solid yes making him a perfect fit for the frozen tundra.
Most people Arians age are looking to become snowbirds and get away from the cold and into Arizona or Florida. Arians, on the other hand, is looking to move somewhere cold whether it be Ohio or Wisconsin. He will have his pick of either job should Mike McCarthy be let go and it would be very difficult for him to pass on a chance to work with a team that is already a contender with Aaron Rodgers. Although I can see him wanting to groom Baker Mayfield into the next Drew Brees and this will still keep Cleveland in the mix.