Posted on: March 3, 2008 4:59 pm
 

Randy Moss signs

Finally, Randy Moss returns to the Patriots. Fantasy owners in keeper leagues with Moss and Tom Brady can exhale now. But can Moss possibly duplicate his 2007 stats? I don't think so.

There's no way Moss comes close to his 98 catches, 1,493 yards and NFL-record 23 touchdowns in 2008. Teams saw in the playoffs how to take Moss out of the game, and though most non-playoff teams don't have the talent to play the same defense, they will make sure to limit what Moss can do.

There's also the motivation factor with Moss. He now got his payday with a three-year deal worth $27 million. Last year, Moss was playing on a one-year deal full of incentives and was out to resurrect his career. He did all that and helped New England go perfect in the regular season and reach the Super Bowl.

I'm not sure Moss, who worked his butt off last year, comes back and does as much and puts in as much effort. Believe me, I hope he does, but I just don't see it happening.

The good news is the Moss saga is finally over. If anyone really thought he was tying his fate to former teammate Daunte Culpepper, get a clue. That was ridiculous.

Posted on: March 3, 2008 1:33 pm
 

No Michael Turner, No

It's Monday, and the NFL new year is in full swing. It seems like all we're waiting on now is Randy Moss to officially sign with the Patriots (since we know it's a foregone conclusion), but there are other big-name players still available, including RB Julius Jones, WR D.J. Hackett, WR Bryant Johnson and WR Javon Walker.

Looking back at the first three days of moves, here are my thoughts ...

Michael Turner going to Atlanta was a bad move for Fantasy owners for a few reasons. He is not going to excel with the Falcons, at least not in 2008, and that makes him a Fantasy reserve next year. It also kills the value of Jerious Norwood. Turner would have been better off going somewhere like Houston, where he could have started ahead of Ahman Green and been a factor right away.

I love Donte Stallworth going to Cleveland. He can play well there with Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, and I expect the Browns to become a passing team. I like Jamal Lewis and what he did last year, but signing the big contract scares me. I wouldn't draft Lewis as anything more than a No. 3 Fantasy RB in 2008 even with that amazing offensive line. Stallworth has the chance to be a decent Fantasy option next year.

The Dolphins are going to remain bad in 2008. As stated in an earlier blog, Josh McCown and Ernest Wilford aren't going to do much. And if Ronnie Brown comes back at 100 percent, he still has no help around him next year.

If the Jets don't add another running back -- and with the Falcons signing Michael Turner it means Darren McFadden could fall to New York at No. 6 -- I like Thomas Jones to improve in 2008. The signing of left guard Alan Faneca means the left side of the offensive line with center Nick Mangold and tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is going to be good. I like what Jones should be able to do next year. Think of the Vikings offensive line once they added Steve Hutchinson and consider the same results possible.

Bernard Berrian going to Minnesota is terrible. He still doesn't have a good quarterback with Tarvaris Jackson still learning the position, so Berrian should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy option.

Here's a question: Is Ben Roethlisberger really worth all that money?

Ahman Green says he's healthy and ready to go this offseason with the Texans. Do you believe him?

I like Alge Crumpler going to the Titans. He's going to do well playing with Vince Young and make him a better quarterback. The Titans also are interested in Hackett and Johnson, which would help make Young a decent passer.

The Broncos replaced Javon Walker with Kerry Colbert. That's obviously a downgrade. I'd like to see Walker end up with a good quarterback, and right now a good fit would be the Eagles. Donovan McNabb could use the help.

The Falcons released Warrick Dunn, which wasn't a surprise since they signed Turner. There's talk of him going back to Tampa Bay, and I say NOOOOOOOO. Leave Earnest Graham alone.

Sleeper kicker in 2008: Josh Brown. He was good already and now he goes indoors with an explosive offense.

Posted on: February 29, 2008 4:40 pm
 

One more for the Fins

Bill Parcells must not like John Beck at all because he signed Josh McCown at quarterback.

Now McCown will compete with Beck, but the Dolphins appear to be taking anything off the scrapheap they can get on the first day of free agency.

That McCown to Wilford combination is going to set the Fantasy world on fire. Look out because here it comes.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 29, 2008 4:07 pm
 

Dolphins get Wilford

Now there's a blockbuster move.

The Dolphins offense was atrocious in 2007, and they went out and got a mediocre wide receiver in Ernest Wilford. He's not likely to make John Beck into a Fantasy stud.

Don't plan on drafting Wilford in any Fantasy leagues in 2008 unless you're in the deepest of deep leagues.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 29, 2008 1:52 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2008 4:07 pm
 

Wilkins retires

Jeff Wilkins retired today. Why would he do that?

Go kick until your leg falls off. It's the easiest and possibly best job in the NFL.

He needs to change his mind before it's too late. Wilkins could still be a valuable Fantasy kicker. He plays indoors and with a good offense.

Come on Jeff, give it one more year.

Category: NFL
Tags: Jeff Wilkins
 
Posted on: February 29, 2008 11:36 am
 

Free agent moves

NFL Free agency started today, and here's the latest news.

More to come. Check out all out updates on CBSSports.com.

Posted on: February 28, 2008 3:19 pm
 

Free Agent questions

In case you have any questions about free agency, which begins Friday, here is a brief explanation from the NFL. If you have any questions for me about specific players, drop me a line. More to come on free agency in a story I did on the site. In there, you'll see that just because a player changes teams -- Ahman Green, Thomas Jones, Darrell Jackson, etc. -- it doesn't always mean he becomes a better player. Check it out.

2008 NFL FREE AGENCY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Q – When can players start being signed in the 2008 free agency signing period?

A – Beginning at 12:01 AM ET on Friday, February 29. 

Q -- What are the categories of free agency?

A -- Players are either "restricted" or "unrestricted" free agents.  Within the categories are also "transition" and "franchise" players.

Q -- What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

A -- For restricted free agents, from February 29 to April 18; for unrestricted free agents, from February 29 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later); and for franchise players, from February 29  until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 11).

Q -- What is the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?

A -- Players become restricted free agents when they complete three accrued seasons and their contract expires.  Unrestricted free agents have completed four or more accrued seasons with an expired contract.

Q -- What constitutes an "accrued season?"

A -- Six or more regular-season games on a club's active/inactive, reserved-injured or "physically unable to perform" lists.

Q -- Other than accrued seasons, what determines a restricted free agent? 

A -- He has received a "qualifying" offer (a salary level predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club.  He can negotiate with any club through April 18.  If the restricted free agent accepts an offer sheet from a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because it has the "right of first refusal."  If the old club does not match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer.  If an offer sheet is not executed, the player’s rights revert to his old club after April 18. 

Q -- What determines an unrestricted free agent?

A – A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired.  He is free to sign with any club, with no compensation owed to his old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  On July 23, his rights revert to his old club if it made a "tender" offer (110 percent of last year's salary) to him by June 1.  His old club then has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 11) to sign him.  If he does not sign by November 11, he must sit out the season.  If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season. 

Q -- What determines a transition player?

A -- A club can designate one transition player (or one franchise player) in any given year.  The player’s club must offer a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of last season at the player's position or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater.  A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his contract expires.  If the club matches, it retains the player.  If it does not match, it receives no compensation.

Q -- What determines a franchise player?

A -- A club can designate one franchise player (or one transition player) in any given year.  The salary level offer by a player's club determines what type of franchise player he is.  An "exclusive" franchise player -- not free to sign with another club -- is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of April 18, or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, or the average of the top five salaries at his position as of the end of last season -- whichever of the three is greater.  If the player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries of last season at his position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, he becomes a “non-exclusive” franchise player and can negotiate with other clubs.  His old club can match a new club's offer, or receive two first-round draft choices if it decides not to match. 

Q -- Can a club decide to withdraw its franchise or transition designations on a player?  If so, can it then use them on other players? 

A -- A club can withdraw its franchise or transition designations and the player then automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent either immediately or when his contract expires.  The club cannot name a new franchise or transition player that year.  It can name a new franchise or transition player the next year.  

Q – What is the salary cap for 2008?

A – The salary cap is $116.0 million per club.

Category: NFL
Tags: Free Agents
 
Posted on: February 25, 2008 4:21 pm
 

Randon NFL thoughts

Some random NFL thoughts following the news of the weekend ...

Tight end shake up

So Antonio Gates is considering surgery to repair his dislocated big toe, and Kellen Winslow had minor surgery on his knee and could have surgery on his shoulder. What does this mean for Fantasy owners? First off, keep an eye on what happens with Gates. If he's out for six months, as one report states, he would be slow to start the season. And if Winslow has the shoulder surgery, since the knee reportedly is fine, he could be limited in the offseason as well. So if you were drafting now, the safe bet is to take Jason Witten as the No. 1 tight end off the board. I'd still recommend drafting Gates and Winslow high because their value is too good to pass on in most leagues. If I'm drafting, it's Winslow first, Witten second and Gates third. That's how I like them in 2008.

McFadden is fast

Darren McFadden ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Let's just say that's fast. What does this mean for his draft status? Not much because most NFL teams know how good he is from watching him at Arkansas. McFadden will likely be drafted sometime in the first five picks, with Atlanta making the most sense at No. 3 barring a team like Dallas trading up. For Fantasy owners, you should plan on drafting McFadden somewhere in the first three rounds of a standard draft. Depending on where he ends up, he has the chance to be special right away. And if you're the guy who passed on Adrian Peterson hoping to get him one round later, please don't miss on McFadden this year.

The Bears know something we don't

Rex Grossman is back in the fold. What? Have they not watched anything the past two years? I know Grossman led them to a Super Bowl, but he's not a good starting quarterback. The sad thing is he's better than Kyle Orton and Brian Griese, which means the Bears are in bad shape in 2008. They are likely going to lose Bernard Berrian and Lance Briggs as free agents, and Brian Urlacher's back could potentially keep him off the field. Outside of Cedric Benson or whoever starts at running back for the Bears next year, don't plan on drafting many players from the Bears for your Fantasy team.

More Jets-Patriots drama

The Jets and Patriots don't like each other. We know this. Since Eric Mangini left Bill Belichick to coach the Jets, the rivalry has gotten worse. Now the Jets told LB Jonathan Vilma to seek a trade but it can't be with New England. Now part of that is smart because you don't want to give talent to a division rival. But it's also petty. While the feud is childish, it's fun to watch grown men act like kids in the public eye.

Zach Thomas to the Cowboys

I covered Zach Thomas for several years when he played for the Dolphins and I was a newspaper writer. He's a good guy and a solid football player. If he's healthy, and I hope he is following his concussions, he will make an impact with the Cowboys, who signed him to a one-year deal. Thomas is the kind of player you root for because he never let his size or what people said about him stop him from putting together an excellent career. Let's hope that continues for at least one more season.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com