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Free Agency Dose

Bucs Bring Back Fournette, Tyreek to Dolphins, and Ryan to Colts

by Nick Mensio
Updated On: March 25, 2022, 3:33 pm ET

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Early Wednesday, reports surfaced that the Chiefs had permitted Tyreek Hill to seek a trade. Apparently, over the course of the previous days, long-term contract talks between Kansas City and Hill had fizzled out, and it was clear the two sides weren’t going to come to an agreement with Hill wanting to be the league’s highest-paid wideout.

Things moved quickly Wednesday, and the Chiefs had agreements in place with the Jets and Dolphins, allowing Hill to choose his destination. Hill said picking the Dolphins was an easy choice, and the teams agreed to swap Hill for five picks, including picks 29 and 50 in this year’s draft. The trade sent shockwaves through the NFL; nobody saw the Chiefs trading Hill this year, especially with the AFC West loading up around Kansas City.

In Miami, Hill will pair with Jaylen Waddle in two-wide sets, giving the Dolphins the league’s fastest receiver duo. Fellow newcomer Cedrick Wilson will play in the slot after signing a three-year, $22.05 million contract. Mike Gesicki is back on the franchise tag, and the Dolphins added playmaking RBs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in free agency. Miami is now expected to shop DeVante Parker’s $8.7 million cap number via trade. The new-look Dolphins figure to make a run at the Bills in the AFC East, but it will all come down to quarterback play. Tua Tagovailoa has to take multiple steps forward, and GM Chris Grier and new coach Mike McDaniel are banking on the infusion of talent around him.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, trading Hill cleared over $20 million in cap space and now gives the Chiefs a league-high 12 picks in next month’s draft. With the newfound money available, the Chiefs added Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a three-year, $30 million deal Thursday. He gives Patrick Mahomes a deep threat, but MVS is no one-for-one replacement for Hill, who is just a different specimen. Kansas City previously added JuJu Smith-Schuster on a one-year, prove-it deal last week. After losing Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson in free agency and Hill in the trade, this team still needs several receivers. A report surfaced via Jordan Schultz that the Chiefs have inquired about Laviska Shenault in Jacksonville after the Jaguars signed Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency. Travis Kelce looks like the big fantasy winner here.

Fournette Back to the Bucs on Three-Year Deal
Early in the free agency process, when Tom Brady was still retired, it was believed the Bucs would let both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones walk as free agents. Fournette was said to be seeking $12 million per year after a career year in 2021 as the Bucs’ lead back. Fournette’s market, however, was nonexistent during the opening week of free agency. He ended up visiting the Patriots on Monday; New England had shown interest in Fournette after he was let go from Jacksonville in 2020. It might have been an agent-driven favor for Fournette, as the Patriots obviously don’t need Fournette with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson already in tow. But later that same afternoon, Fournette inked a three-year, $21 million deal to come back to the Bucs. Jones and Giovani Bernard are still free agents and likely won’t be back in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have 128 unaccounted for carries from last season, solidifying Fournette as a clear RB1 for fantasy. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is in line to take on a larger role as Fournette’s No. 2.

Colts Land Matt Ryan as Wentz Replacement
The Colts got the Commanders to take on Carson Wentz’s full salary while also giving Indianapolis two third-round picks earlier this offseason. That was a miracle in and of itself. But it left the Colts seriously looking for their next quarterback. In Atlanta, the Falcons had been courting Deshaun Watson, but Watson ended up choosing the Browns over Atlanta. That courting of Watson made Matt Ryan’s return to the Falcons unlikely, even if he was going to count over $40 million against the salary cap. On Monday, the Colts decided to flip one of the third-rounders they got in the Wentz trade in exchange for Ryan. At 37 years old (in May), Ryan doesn’t move the needle dramatically for the Colts in the AFC arms race, but it puts Indy in position to make a move on the Titans in the weak AFC South. Ryan also figures to make Michael Pittman a more reliable WR2 with some upside, especially with T.Y. Hilton still unsigned and Jack Doyle retiring. Ryan has been written off by some following his down 2021, but his supporting cast in Atlanta was among the most brutal. Ryan could get back to mid-QB2 status.

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Quarterback and Running Back Quick Slants
A second grand jury in Texas declined to indict Deshaun Watson on criminal charges related to his sexual misconduct cases, which are still being pursued at the civil level. The Browns will introduce Watson to the Cleveland media Friday. … The Bills re-signed special teamer and RB Taiwan Jones to a one-year contract. … Free agent QB Trevor Siemian visited the Raiders and Bears this week, eventually signing a two-year deal with Chicago. Nick Foles is now expected to be shopped. … With Darrel Williams still unsigned, the Chiefs brought in Ronald Jones for a free-agent visit this week. … The 49ers re-signed RB Jeff Wilson to come back for backup work behind Elijah Mitchell with Raheem Mostert now in Miami. … John Wolford re-signed his one-year ERFA deal with the Rams to return as Matthew Stafford’s clipboard-holder. … Free agent RB Marlon Mack visited the Texans, who still need some semblance of a No. 1 back. … The Panthers and Baker Mayfield have a mutual disinterest in each other. Desperate for a quarterback, even Carolina wants nothing to do with Mayfield. … The Vikings re-signed veteran QB Sean Mannion to be in the backup mix behind Kirk Cousins. … New Orleans, after missing out on Deshaun Watson, re-signed Jameis Winston to a two-year, $28 million deal. … Buffalo signed RB Duke Johnson to a one-year contract after J.D. McKissic backed out of a two-year deal last week to return to Washington. … The Giants signed ex-Bills RB Matt Breida to a one-year deal to take the veteran place of Devontae Booker behind Saquon Barkley. … The Bills signed veteran QB Matt Barkley to a one-year deal. He’ll compete for No. 3 duties behind Josh Allen and newcomer Case Keenum.

Wide Receiver and Tight End Quick Slants
Free agent Rob Gronkowski is allegedly “truly undecided” if he’ll return in 2022. If he does play, it will almost certainly be with the Bucs now that Tom Brady is back. … The Chiefs brought back veteran reserve TE Blake Bell on a one-year contract. … The Dolphins released veteran WR Allen Hurns with a failed physical. … Still a free agent, WR Odell Beckham is reportedly “open” to returning to the Browns now that Baker Mayfield won’t be the quarterback, though the reunion is viewed as a long shot. … Despite trading Russell Wilson earlier this offseason, coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks will “do everything we can” to sign DK Metcalf to a long-term extension. Metcalf is set to enter the final year of his rookie deal at just under $4 million. He’s going to get over $20 million per year on a new deal. … The Raiders signed ex-Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson to a one-year deal. He’ll compete for scraps behind Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller in Vegas. … The Chiefs took a flier on former first-round WR Corey Coleman, who was suspended for the entirety of the 2021 season. … Las Vegas signed TE Jacob Hollister to a one-year deal. He’ll look for snaps behind Waller and Foster Moreau. … The Bengals re-signed special teams ace and WR Stanley Morgan Jr. to a two-year pact. … The Bills inked veteran slot WR Jamison Crowder to a one-year, $2 million deal. He and Isaiah McKenzie will likely compete for inside targets with Cole Beasley released. … Dalton Schultz signed his one-year, $10.931 million franchise tag, The two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal. … The Eagles inked WR Zach Pascal to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. He could compete for No. 2 or 3 duties behind DeVonta Smith and possibly even Quez Watkins. … Jacksonville re-signed WR Laquon Treadwell to compete for a depth job this summer. … The Giants signed WR/KR Richie James to a one-year deal.