Oh my goodness you guys, NFL free agency is just around the corner and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, we are in for a wild, wild ride.
Sure maybe none of the biggest names of free agency will test the open market—Le’Veon Bell is more than certainly getting the franchise tag and I have a hard time envisioning a world where Drew Brees isn’t playing in New Orleans—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big names who could still give the fantasy world an ol’ shake up. Plus, everyone seems to be thinking that the NFL is about to go full NBA this offseason and trade like mad men which I am one hundred percent onboard with.
But seriously NFL GM’s who are undoubtedly reading this article, with the rising cap and contracts being mostly front loaded these days, let’s start putting together massive NFL altering trades. Everyone witnessed first hand how successful a big time trade can be just this past year when the Patriots sent off a first round pick for Brandin Cooks. That worked pretty good for New England. Trades have long been associated with the NBA—the NBA trade deadline is still one of, if not the, most Twitter melting day ever—but bringing it to the NFL would be awesome. There’s a whole generation of Madden players out there who have been raised to think that trading players is a part of the gig. NFL general managers, be more like Madden!
In preparation for NFL free agency, I figured I’d run through SB Nation’s list of top 100 free agents and brainstorm some top landing spots for some of the best offensive free agents (since this is a fantasy website and IDP leagues are crazy and insane and completely foreign to me). For each free agent, I’ll give three different landing spots: my favorite for fantasy reasons, my favorite for just football/life reasons and finally what I think will actually happen. Sometimes those might all line up but more than likely they will be widely spread around the NFL and will have no similarity at all.
Let us start with the prize of this year’s free agency class: quarterback Mr. Kirkland Cousins.
Kirk Cousins, QB
Best team for fantasy reasons: Minnesota Vikings
Duh. Everyone is on the #KirkCousins2Minnesota bandwagon and you should be too. Don’t let the fact that Washington refused to sign Cousins to a long term contract fool you into thinking Kirk is a very good starting quarterback. He is. In the last three years, Cousins is top 10 in completion percentage (7th, 66.46%), passing yards (10th, 14,886), quarterback rating (10th, 96.3) and yards per attempt (6th, 7.86). Putting him in an offense with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook would be a fantasy dream come true. It’s pretty clear this is the best choice.
Best team for football/life reasons: Vikings
Like I said, sometimes the planets align. The Vikings are a Super Bowl team with a quarterback need and that’s literally their only need. Cousins joins the purple and gold and now the Vikings are back in the NFC North driver seat.
What team will he actually play for: New York Jets
Call me a cynic but I don’t trust Cousins to make the right decision here. This could be a clean sweep here as there is a really real chance Cousins plays in Minnesota next season but there’s a nagging voice in the back of my head that’s like “Whenever there’s a “right”choice, the player usually makes the wrong one”. Who knows what the Jets will offer Cousins but I just feel they’re going to give him everything he could possibly want in an attempt to sign him. Maybe that means trading for a legit number one receiver... who knows....
Dion Lewis, RB
Best team for fantasy reasons: San Francisco 49ers
Not only are you pairing Lewis with his former teammate in Jimmy Garoppolo, but you’re giving the brilliant mind of Kyle Shanahan one of the most explosive, elusive running backs in the NFL. Oh, and he’s exceptional catching the ball out of the backfield. Before writing this, I hadn’t really thought too much about Lewis landing spots but in the three minutes since I’ve thought of this pairing, I have fallen madly in love with it and just NEED it to happen.
Best team for football/life reasons: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks need a running back, that much is true. I also think they need to move on from the Marshawn Lynch powerback ideal and move to a smaller, shifter back a la Lewis. Just imagine the fun you could have with Lewis and Russell Wilson sharing a backfield. A consistent running game is exactly what the Hawks are missing.
What team will he actually play for: New England Patriots
Everyone thinks that the Patriots don’t want Lewis or that he’ll be easily replaceable in the Patriots system. Maybe he will be but I can tell you that the Patriots love Dion and would love to bring him back. They might not offer him as much money as other teams—in fact I can say for a fact they will not—but Patriots free agents have a history of dipping their toes into the free agency waters only to find them freezing and return to the warm sauna of New England for cheap.
Jimmy Graham, TE
Best team for fantasy reasons: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are going to be a very sexy destination for free agents this offseason now that they’ve got the greatest quarterback to ever play the game on their roster. Adding an end zone threat like Graham would be a huge get for this offense and give them a go-to scoring option in the red zone. Graham was surprisingly one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends last year and pairing him with Shanahan and Garoppolo makes a ton of fantasy sense to me.
Best team for football/life reasons: New England Patriots
No this is not just the Patriots fan boy in me trying to give New England all the players. This is the football person in me trying to pair Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski on the same team because WHO DOESN’T WANT TO SEE THAT?? Just imagine all the crazy formations the Patriots could roll out as soon as they hit the 20-yard line. I bet this is what Robert Kraft promised Josh McDaniels to keep him in New England: the opportunity to bring back the two tight end sets and this time one of them won’t be a murderer. That’s a win in my book.
What team will he actually play for: New Orleans Saints
Jordan alluded to this on the podcast but I think a reunion is certainly in place. Graham is not going to demade as much money as maybe his name would entail and who knows Graham and how to use him better than Sean Payton and Drew Brees (assuming of course Brees is in New Orleans).
Allen Robinson, WR
Best team for fantasy reasons: Green Bay Packers
Out with the old, in with the new. The Packers are going to overhaul their offense this offseason—just you wait—and that starts with the receiver position. My guess is they cut Randall Cobb and restructure Jordy Nelson’s contract to make it much more cap friendly. That opens up Robinson to come in and be the second dynamic playmaker to pair with Davante Adams. Robinson catching balls from Aaron Rodgers? Yes please.
Best team for football/life reasons: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are a playoff team and were just a game away from the Super Bowl this year. It doesn’t make sense to let your best wide receiver, regardless of the fact that he’s coming off ACL surgery, walk in free agency. You’re now adding a big play threat down the sideline to go with Leonard Fournette destroying human lives in the middle of the field.
What team will he actually play for: Jaguars
I bet they get him on a cheap contract.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB
Best team for fantasy reasons: Arizona Cardinals
First, I just want Bridgewater to get a chance. The fact that he’s come back from this knee injury is amazing and the fact that I still really don’t know medically what happened to his knee makes me all the more impressed. The Cardinals need a quarterback badly so any QB there instantly has fantasy value. Plus, added bonus for Teddy, you have David Johnson in your backfield. Win.
Best team for football/life reasons: Minnesota Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater resigns with the Vikings, the team that drafted him and helped him through his whole knee injury, and he repays them by leading them to their first Super Bowl win. It’s a Football Life show waiting to happen. It’s a freaking movie waiting to happen. It’d be called something like “Recovery” or “A Bridgewater To Safety”. Something inspiring like that. The life reasons win here.
What team will he actually play for: Cleveland Browns
The Browns will undoubtedly spend one of their first two first rounders on a quarterback but why not take a risk on Bridgewater. The team needs all the help he can get and I have a feeling that they’ll be willing to overpay for a quarterback who hasn’t played in a year and a half but has name recognition.
Tyler Eifert, TE
Best team for fantasy reasons: Green Bay Packers
Pairing any halfway decent receiver with Aaron Rodgers is instantly fantasy gold so I’ll accept minor complaints about cheating here. That being said, if Eifert can stay healthy—and I recognize that’s a big if—he suddenly gives the Packers a serious tight end threat, something that’s been missing since the days of... Jermichael Finley?
Best team for football/life reasons: Los Angeles Rams
This is also an amazing fantasy pairing but I had to go with the Packers because Rodgers is a cheat code. But Sean McVay might not be too far off in the cheat code department. Regardless if the Rams resign Sammy Watkins, they have a talented offense with Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Adding Eifert would give the Rams a new weapon across the middle and in the red zone.
What team will he actually play for: Atlanta Falcons
Where Eifert will actually end up is tough because I haven’t heard of any rumors so there’s nothing I can use to form an educated guess. So instead I’ll go with another team that could use a tight end and might be willing to take a risk on a player with a bad injury record. Plus, maybe with defense’s attention being paid to Eifert in the endzone, Julio Jones might finally catch touchdowns.
Which pairing would you love to see next year?
This poll is closed
Kirk Cousins to Minnesota
Dion Lewis to San Francisco
Jimmy Graham to New Orleans
Allen Robinson to Green Bay
Tyler Eifert to Los Angeles
Teddy Bridgewater to Arizona