Good Sunday to you. We've got another big day of content with three new articles you'll want to dive into. I hope you've been able to see we're intentionally writing about players that are a bit beyond the very top of everyone's list and instead digging into players that have a few questions. Plus of course we've got the News and Notes for you.
Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (toes) contract may not be renewed next season if he can't stay on the field in 2018. The Redskins would save more than $6.1 million in salary cap space by letting Reed go. On the bright side, head coach Jay Gruden said he is on track to be ready for training camp.
Back in 2016 Reed signed a six-year, $48 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. During the last two years, Reed has only appeared in 18 games...and only six last year due to injury. Everyone under the sun knows he's a talented prospect when healthy, but staying on the field has been a real problem for Reed since he came into the league as a third-round pick out of Florida in 2013. He's a TE1 when healthy, but Reed comes with a huge injury risk having never played a full 16-game season during his pro career.
Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake said he could scale back some plays this season if it's in the best interest of the team. 'I don't have this 'Everybody look at me. I must be the starter.' That's not my mentality,' Wake said. 'I want to do whatever is going to help the entirety of the team, the entirety of the defense. So, if it means me being a third-down guy, let's do it. If it means I have to start and play every down, I'll take that role on, too.'
That's the report that has been out there for a couple of days. Wake is okay playing a limited role, and that might be his best fit as he's getting up there in age. He could play a part-time role and still be an effective pass rusher for the Dolphins.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is having discussions about a long-term extension that is expected to give him the largest per-year contract in NFL history. Team president Mark Murphy said he hopes to have the deal done soon. Murphy also said Rodgers (collarbone) is healthy.
Rodgers had no problem performing during OTAs, should be full go for training camp, and come Week 1 it should be business as usual for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Matt Ryan's new deal puts him at $30 million annually (tops in the league) while Rodgers ranks 10th in the NFL with a current average annual salary of $22 million. Expect Rodgers new paycheck to be larger than Ryan's, and with both sides working to get something done we don't see anything derailing this process.
New York Giants WR Cody Latimer never played more than 34 percent of the offensive snaps while with the Denver Broncos, and Lance Medow of Giants.com believes Latimer could produce if given an expanded role.
Latimer has always flashed potential, mostly in training camp with the Broncos, but he's failed on the field for the most part during games that count. He didn't mesh well with QB Peyton Manning and couldn't produce for the Broncos after Manning retired. Latimer is strong, fast and physical...plus he's capable of making crazy catches in the air or near the sideline. He has yet to produce at the expected level, but call us crazy...we'll still monitor his progress with the Giants in deep dynasty leagues.
Woods would do more this year if he can stay healthy. Injuries limited him to only 12 games in 2017, yet he still posted career bests in receiving yardage (781) and touchdowns (5). As the second option in the Rams passing attack opposite Brandin Cooks, Woods is going off the board at WR37 (8.06) in 12-team PPR leagues.
It's going to be exciting to see Cooks haul in deep passes from QB Jared Goff this year. Fantasy owners are certainly excited about Cooks upside, and that's why he's getting drafted at WR23 (5.06) in 12-team PPR leagues.
There was some buzz about Beal being a first-round pick if he would've stayed in college, performed well and came out in the 2019 NFL draft. Beal has good size at 6'1" 190 pounds, and the Broncos corner has a nose for the ball. His length and football IQ put him around the play if it comes into his vicinity. All 32 teams were at his pro day last week, and we fully expect him to be selected in the Supplemental Draft on July 11th.
A fifth-round pick out of Maryland in the 2015 NFL draft, Diggs is in the final year of his contract in 2018 and set to make $1.9 million this year. The franchise tag for wide receivers is expected to be about $17 million, so that doesn't seem to be the best option for keeping Diggs around in the future.
Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr could become a free agent after the 2018 season if the team is unable to sign him to a contract extension, in the opinion of Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. The franchise tag for linebackers is expected to be about $16.325 million, with a salary cap of approximately $190 million, and the Vikings may have difficulty holding on to him at that price.
A first-round pick out of UCLA in the 2014 NFL draft, Barr is in the final year of his rookie contract and playing on the fifth-year option. He's spent this offseason working on his pass-rushing moves, and Barr is trying to prove that he's more than a two-down player. Barr has struggled to impact as a pass rusher (10.5 career sacks) and is not a player to rely on in coverage.
The Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had representatives present for Oregon State LB Bright Ugwoegbu's workout Thursday, June 28.
Ugwoegbu didn't show well during his workout, measuring in at less than 6'1" (6007) and weighing only 205 pounds. He is too small for linebacker play in the NFL, and his workout numbers (4.9 40-yard dash) show he may not be athletic or fast enough to play in the league either. Ugwoebu was suspended indefinitely earlier in 2018 and officially left the Oregon State program earlier this month. With these numbers it doesn't seem like he's going to be selected in the 2018 Supplemental Draft on July 11th.
Jackson was one of the most athletic players to come into the league in the 2017 NFL draft. The no.18 overall pick last year, Jackson made big plays for USC in college on offense, defense and special teams. He needs the ball in his hands, even if that means some gadget plays for the second-year player here and there. We'll see if Vrabel is receptive to Jackson's hints.
Lewis had 36 catches for the Giants last year in a reserve role. The team added WR Cody Latimer in free agency, and those two will position themselves for a spot on the depth chart behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
Hill was a big receiving threat in college at Idaho State (led the nation in receptions for a TE back in 2012 with 70 catches), but he's snared just 67 passes in five years. He's a blocker mostly now and a reserve tight end for the Saints, once again behind Ben Watson.
Penny was the team's first-round pick and we expect him to take over as the lead back ASAP. If he proves himself in pass protection, the rookie from San Diego State could be the Seahawks Week 1 starter. Penny only caught 42 passes in college (19 in 2017), but he does have soft hands and can turn it upfield quickly upon securing the catch.
Kupp was a steady performer for the Rams as a rookie in 2017. We're expecting and projecting more of the same for him. Kupp is quick and runs great routes, so he should continue to be a favorite target of QB Jared Goff. We should see Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods do the damage on the outside with Kupp cleaning things up from the slot. He's a WR4 with upside for fantasy owners, currently going at WR39 (8.10) in 12-team PPR leagues.
Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis had 96 tackles in 14 games as a rookie last year, and Gil Brandt of NFL.com expects Davis to 'excel' in the New England-like defense head coach Matt Patricia is installing.
A first-round pick out of Florida in 2017, Davis reminded many in the scouting community of Shaq Thompson (Panthers) due to his athleticism and versatility. As a rookie last year, Davis started 14 games and was a run-stuffer but he struggled in coverage. The team feels like he can do more in his second season in that department.