NFL Free Agents: Spinning the wheel of fortune

By Sean Tyler (@SeanTylerUK)

With the franchise tag deadline and free agency looming, it’s time for the @Full10Yards top 10 free agents list (five on each side of the ball) and some thoughts on where they might land ahead of the 2020 season. Thanks to Instagram, we know the 41-year-old Drew Brees is returning to the Superdome for at least another year with the Saints. So while he’s technically still a free agent, he isn’t on this list. So who is? Let’s spin the wheel…


TOP OFFENSIVE FREE AGENTS


Image result for dak prescott

Image Credit: Paul Sancya/AP

1. Dak Prescott (QB) – Dallas Cowboys


He began his time at Dallas by winning Offensive Rookie of the Year and most recently, he led one of the league’s top offenses, throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns in his best campaign yet.

But the cheap deal has run out and someone has to pay the dude. Will it be the Cowboys? It seems they’ll have to go north of $30 million a year, which begs the question “Is he actually worth that?” That’s quite a pay-out but the Cowboys seem to want to build around him. Being the franchise poster-boy for the next few years comes at a price.

Safe bet: Dallas. To quote Jerry Jones, “He’s our quarterback of the future” so it looks increasingly likely that the Cowboys will retain Prescott. He’ll want to cash in on his potential and Jones will make him a happy camper.

Long shot: Dallas. Nope, it’s still the Cowboys. Al three of the team’s most valuable players have expiring contracts (that’s Amari Cooper and Byron Jones too) and it’ll be hard to keep all three. With contract talks back up and running again, Dak seems to be the one who’s going nowhere.


Image credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

2. Amari Cooper (WR) – Dallas Cowboys


Oh boy, do the ‘Boys have free agency headaches. The former Raider filled Dez Bryant’s cleats well but well enough to get top dollar? He’s not perfect but he’s the best receiver available and by that score, he won’t come cheap. If Dallas don’t think he’s worth $20 million a year, or think that paying Prescott, Cooper and corner Byron Jones will break the bank, he might walk.

Safe bet: Dallas. Theoretically, Jerry Jones could pay Dak and tag Cooper, keeping another star in the Lone Star State and giving Coach Mike McCarthy quite the toolkit in his first season.

Long shot: Washington. The Redskins have the cap space to pull the trigger. Imagine if their divisional rivals snaffled Cooper to go alongside rising stars Terry McLaurin and Dwayne Haskins.


Image result for ryan tannehill

Image Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel

3. Ryan Tannehill (QB) – Tennessee Titans

I doubt any player boosted his reputation more in 2019 than Tannehill. His sensational second-half of the season, leading Tennessee well into the playoffs, suggests he may have more to offer than the waning old men, Brady and Rivers.

He resurrected his own career and the Titans’ season, and will probably get a tag of some sort. He obviously benefitted from Derrick Henry’s success, but he seemed pretty mobile in the pocket and kept making the throws asked of him.

Safe bet: Tennessee. The Titans shouldn’t overpay a guy who had three good months and who might not hit the same dizzy heights again but the franchise tag buys them a year’s grace.

Long shot: New England. Neither GM Jon Robinson nor HC Mike Vrabel seem that upbeat about him and the Brady-to-Nashville whispers just won’t go away. With a straight swap, could the reincarnated Tannehill continue his renaissance under Bill Belichick?

Get 10% off at NFL Europe Shop with code FULL10


Image result for derrick henry

Image Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

4. Derrick Henry (RB) – Tennessee Titans


Henry was the top rusher in the league last year, with 1,540 yards and 18 TDs. Going for over 180 yards in both his postseason games, there’s no hint of him easing up or slowing down.

Despite helping the Titans ride their late-season wave of glory, Henry is a running back. And these days, they don’t keep getting paid, especially if they’re a non-factor in the receiving game (Henry had just 28 targets all year). Like Dallas, the Titans have two big contracts to sort out. They could pay Tannehill first and then see what they can offer Henry, or vice versa.

Safe bet: Tennessee. He’s among the top RBs, on a resurgent team with a decent O-line, and in a system that clearly works for all concerned. Why leave Nashville?

Long shot: Houston. With Carlos Hyde unlikely to stay, adding a tank like Henry to the backfield could help the Texans take the next step in 2020.


Image Credit: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

5. AJ Green (WR) – Cincinnati Bengals


Valuing AJ Green is a toughie. He was an elite wideout when we last saw him but thanks to toe and ankle injuries, that was 18 months ago. Despite being 31 and without any tape from last season, Green should still have some juice in the tank. We just don’t know how much.

Green wants to stay if the price is right. If healthy, Green would be the ideal pro to help Joe Burrow ease into the NFL, having had 1,000-yard seasons in six of his eight years in the NFL. Cincy didn’t trade him during the season so it’s hard to see him going now.

Safe bet: Cincinnati. Just a few weeks ago, Green said he wanted to be a Bengal his whole career. The most likely scenario is that he stays for a prove-you’ve-still-got-it year.

Long shot: Las Vegas. If contract talks break down or Green is tagged-and-traded, the Raiders could do with a skill position upgrade. They are sorted for slot receiver, running back and tight end but a true outside track star would be the missing piece.


TOP DEFENSIVE FREE AGENTS


Image result for chris jones

Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chris Jones (DT) – Kansas City Chiefs

If Jones hits the open market, he is primed to get paid. $18 million a year is the going rate for a wrecking ball of a defensive tackle who’s notched 24.5 sacks in the last two seasons. Jones is a rare beast who can dominate games… even alongside Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.

An explosive pass rusher and Pro-Bowler who can stand shoulder to shoulder with Aaron Donald and JJ Watt, Jones could expect top whack. But can the Chiefs (available cap space: $13.7 million) afford him, having given something in that ballpark to Frank Clark already? A monster extension to Mahomes will also be needed when the time comes.

Safe bet: Kansas City: The Chiefs should keep Jones but may need to tag him for at least another year.

Long shot: Indianapolis. Maybe KC apply the tag but trade him for draft compensation. The Colts could be up for such a move, as they have draft picks to play with and need some pass-rush help.


Image result for shaquil barrett

Image Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

2. Shaquil Barrett (EDGE) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers


As mentioned in a recent season in review piece, Bruce Arians said of Barrett: “He ain’t going anywhere.” Given his league-leading 19.5 sacks in 2019, they can’t let him walk but there’s still a chance that Barrett is a one-hit wonder. His four seasons in Denver were decent enough but in that time, he only got 14 sacks. That muddies the water somewhat.

Safe bet: Tampa Bay. He’ll stay put, although it would be wise for the Bucs to use the franchise tag and check last year wasn’t a fluke. Then, he will seriously reap the rewards down the line if he continues on his current trajectory.

Long shot: Tampa Bay. He’s already talked of giving Tampa a “home-town discount” due to Florida’s income tax arrangements so that’s another tick in the “not going anywhere” column.


Image Credit: Chris Szagola/Associated Press

3. Jadeveon Clowney (EDGE) – Seattle Seahawks


Clowney is an enigma. His production doesn’t live up to the billing – he had just three sacks last year and is yet to hit double figures – and he’s had some niggly injuries. But he produces big, game-defining moments, and he’s got the time and potential to grow as a pass rusher.

For a change, I’m not predicting a franchise tag scenario here because the Seahawks agreed not to use it when they acquired him from Houston. And they got him for a song in the first place. So despite non-elite production, Clowney can expect to become one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL. We’re talking something like $100 million over five years. Ouch.

Safe bet: Seattle. It’s no secret that Russell Wilson wants him to stay and Head Coach Pete Carroll won’t want to further weaken a defensive line that ranked 31st in pass rushing last year. We’ll see him at CenturyLink Field next season for sure.

Long shot: Houston: I know, I know, but bringing Clowney back might not be as dumb as it sounds. The Texans’ passing defence was porous and JJ Watt isn’t getting any younger, so a newer model could give their edge rushing a timely boost.


Image result for Yannick Ngakoue

Image Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

4. Yannick Ngakoue (Edge) – Jacksonville Jaguars


Think of him like those Velociraptors in the original Jurassic Park film, sneaking in – quickly and silently – hunting down quarterbacks and flaying them alive with their oversized talons… err, sorry, got a bit carried away there. It’s actually more like rushing the passer, getting sacks and forcing errors.

He’s clocked 37.5 sacks through his first four seasons but if he gets elite money now, he’s getting overpaid.

Safe bet: Jacksonville. He’s still young and even in an off-year like 2019, Ngakoue’s eight sacks and 50 total pressures last season – his lowest since he was a rookie – was quite a nice floor.

Long shot: Buffalo. The Jags are strapped and it’ll cost a cool $20 million to keep him. But the Bills have the dosh. They are also losing Lorenzo Alexander to retirement and Shaq Lawson is also hitting free agency, so could have a couple of major gaps to fill.


5. Justin Simmons (Safety) – Denver Broncos


Big, fast and springy, Simmons is a run-breaker and a ball hawk, with 94 tackles and four interceptions in 2019. Those stats made the 26-year-old Pro Football Focus’ top safety last season, signalling a massive step up this year. But the teams sniffing around will need to kick the tyres to make sure he’s not another one-year breakout player getting top dollar for one unrepresentative season.

Safe bet: Denver. Simmons has evolved from a third-round draft pick into an essential element of the Broncos D so I suspect keeping him in Mile High City is a priority for John Elway, even if it’s via the franchise tag for now.

Long shot: San Francisco. If the Niners can’t keep hold of Jimmie Ward, especially given his history with injuries, yer man Simmons could be a great fit in the Bay.


ALSO IN THE PICTURE


Tom Brady (QB), New England Patriots

I couldn’t not mention Brady, could I? Time is catching up with TB12 after 20 seasons but given his stature in the game, he will still turn heads, even though he’s on the wane – he was only the 11th-ranked quarterback in 2019. I doubt he’ll want to up-sticks and start again at the ripe old age of 43 so staying in New England for one last hurrah with Uncle Bill Belichick before he sails off into the sunset doesn’t seem unreasonable. But if you wanna gamble and put it all on red, the Las Vegas Raiders have a youthful core and the financial where-with-all to add weapons around him.

Philip Rivers (QB), Los Angeles Chargers

Although a relative spring chicken (a mere 38), Rivers’ arm isn’t what it was, what little mobility he had is long gone and he had 20 INTs last year. That said, he also threw for more than 4,600 yards and 23 touchdowns so all is not lost. Rivers won’t be back in LA so again, Indianapolis would make a lot of sense. Their offensive line works and Rivers would be reunited with former Chargers QB assistant Frank Reich. Thinking more out of the box, he’s just moved to his family to Florida. Tampa Bay anyone?

Jameis Winston (QB), Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis is your guy if you want a bucketload of throws, thousands of yards, loads of touchdowns and a million interceptions. He’s high risk, high stakes, high reward. The Buccaneers are considering living dangerously again by bringing back the all-and-nothing QB, using the franchise tag for damage limitation. Failing that, the Indianapolis Colts GM said the jury’s still out on Jacoby Brissett.

Brandon Scherff (G), Washington Redskins

Scherff is a run-blocking guard who might have broken into the top 10 if he’d stayed healthy. Despite taking to the field only 19 times in two years, he’s arguably the best interior lineman in this year’s free agent class. The three-time Pro Bowler and former first round pick should stay with the Redskins under new HC Ron Rivera but if he doesn’t, let’s pretend for a moment the Cincinnati Bengals actually engaged in free agency. Scherff would help a terrible O-line protect some young whippersnapper called Burrow.

Byron Jones (CB), Dallas Cowboys

Despite hip surgery last offseason, Jones backed up his breakout 2018 campaign with another top year. Versatile enough to also play safety, Jones will be the top corner on the market which, according to the laws of supply and demand, means he’ll get paid above and beyond his ability. Minnesota could improve at corner, with Xavier Rhodes’ form falling away and Trae Waynes heading for free agency, while the Philadelphia Eagles could help their injury-ravaged secondary by poaching from a divisional rival.

Season in Review – Dallas Cowboys

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

In the 2nd installment of our new article series, today’s team for the season review is America’s Team. The Dallas Cowboys, constantly in the news as they always are (usually for scrutinising more than any plaudits) and this season was no different. Let’s break it down and see where it all went wrong.


Entering the season:


The Cowboys opted against handing Jason Garrett an extension prior to the start of the season to see if that brought upon an improvement to the divisional round loss to the Rams from the season prior. Dak Prescott’s contract was not extended despite ongoing talks, with the QB betting on himself to play his way into a huge deal come the end of the season.

With Washington and New York seemingly in disarray, the only competition was the Eagles. Kellen Moore was employed as the team’s offensive co-ordinator for his first year, hoping to install creativity and different looks for a team that had talent all over the offence. On the other side of the ball, a lot was expected on defence with Robert Quinn coming over from Miami to help aid the pass rush of DeMarcus Lawrence and the young, talented linebackers of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Van Der Esch were expected to take a step forward.


During the season:


The Cowboys slumped to a 8-8 season, Jason Garrett’s 5th such time he has had that record (even Jeff Fisher is jealous!) with no playoff football this time around, leading to his unceremonious exit saga. The team were 1st in total offence in terms of yardage including an almost 5000 yard passing season for Dak Prescott, only behind Jameis Winston. It’s fair to say that they were a team with the talent of a 12 win team, but a head coach of a 5 win team as Jason Garrett’s reluctance on 4th downs reared it’s ugly head again, only being aggressive when his job security was as fragile as a china doll.

Image result for dallas cowboys vs miami
Image Credit: Richard Rodriguez/Getty

They started the season hot out the gate with blowouts against New York Giants, Washington and Miami but got found out as soon as they played anyone with a winning record. Very disappointing losses against the Jets, the Bills and the Bears along with some low scoring performances against the Saints, Patriots and most devastatingly in week 16 vs the Eagles with the division on the line, essentially costing them division meant that there were more dips than highs on the season. Yes, this despite being the 6th highest point scorers, having the most yardage and 3rd most 1st downs on the season.

Despite being in control of their own destiny for the majority of the season and chances given to them by the rest of the teams in the division, the team flattered to deceive and did not deserve that playoff spot, even if the same could be said for the division winning Eagles.

Image result for dallas vs philadelphia week 16
Image Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Player wise, Michael Gallup has to go down as one of the best players performing on the season. The 2nd year wide receiver went for 1107 yards in the air with 6 TDs and that was with missing a few games with injury. On the other side Amari Cooper had season highs in yards (1189) and TDs (8) and put a case forward for a huge contract next season. Special mention to Travis Frederick who was able to come back from the horrible auto immune disease and pick up where he left off, whilst Zack Martin got yet another nod to the All-pro team.

On defence, DeMarcus Lawrence only managed to muster 5 sacks on the season, but his presence giving help to free agent signing Robert Quinn to conjure up 11.5 sacks.

Brett Maher was released during the season due to his shocking performance in the kicking game.


Offseason outlook:

Jason Garrett has been fired from the Cowboys and ex Packers HC Mike McCarthy is in after signing a new 5 year deal. Among the coaching staff reshuffle, Rod Marinelli and Jon Kitna a few of the names to also head for the exit door. McCarthy brings in Mike Nolan at defensive co-ordinator and Kellen Moore is to return to continue his decent start as an OC (partly the reason for the lengthy divorce of Jason Garrett). The Cowboys future success will depend on whether McCarthy has freshened his ethos and looked at why his offence became stale in Green Bay. Early signs are positive, however.

I would be very surprised if they don’t address the safety position in the draft with a day 1 or early day 2 pick. Long time Cowboy Jeff Heath is an unrestricted free agent so expect him to test the waters but it’s not a position the Cowboys have historically treated with any contempt. Maybe the new coaching setup will change that.

Other areas of priority are Nose tackle, and possibly a LB or CB depending on what they do with Byron Jones.

There will be some contracts to sort out, none more so than Dak Prescott, expect the Cowboys to announce a monster deal with him. The Cowboys must also decide on whether or not Amari Cooper is worth and extension and Byron Jones too. They will have upwards of $100m in salary cap space once players are cut, and have up to 29 potential free agents on the team. The Cowboys also have a franchise tag along with the transition tag available for 2 of those big names.


Summary:

After a thoroughly disappointing season which led to the exit of Jason Garrett, there are better times ahead for Cowboys fans;

New coach, new ideas and a roster full of talent and plenty of salary cap space. You can expect Dak to not be exercised on those tags and instead be signed to a huge deal over possibly a record breaking number of years (watch out Jon Gruden!). You should fully expect Cooper and Jones to get the combination of the franchise and transition tags.

It would be deemed a failure if McCarthy does not bring playoff football to Dallas next season. The team is young, talented and heading in a new direction, but is that direction heading towards another Lombardi trophy?

Image result for jason witten
Image Credit: Ron Chenoy

Fun fact: Jason Witten had his highest career catch rate (75.9%), at the age of 37. He is now just 23 yards away from totaling 13,000 receiving yards and is 19th all time in terms of receiving yardage for all players (2nd for TE). and remains 4th in the list of all time receptions with 1215. will he be back?

There is just no Luck in Indianapolis… What next for the Colts?

By Rob Grimwood (@FFBritBaller)
The baby’s cry woke me up early on Sunday morning. The wife and I had only been home from an Ed Sheeran concert a few hours, but nonetheless, the kid was hungry. With a heavy sigh, I reluctantly rolled out of my bed whilst fumbling around to check the time and get my bearings in my somewhat groggy morning state of mind.

It was at that moment when I had to double take when looking at my notifications on my mobile phone. I had received a text message from one of my best friends in Canada which read “Oh man, Andrew Luch has retired”. Not only did I need to double take because of the spelling mistake, but I couldn’t fathom this to be true with my early morning baby-brain.

For a brief moment I was clutching at straws. Please tell me there is an NHL player called Andrew Luch who I hadn’t heard of… or even another sportsman from another sport I am not familiar with like NASCAR, or Water Polo, and my friend was merely making random conversation!

No, sure enough, it was the news that our franchise QB had indeed retired. Our leader, our Captain. Stunned into disbelief, I furiously scanned every media outlet possible with my phone clasped to my perspiring right hand. The left was busy attempting to deliver the milk bottle to my confused, impatient son. Milk was going everywhere except the kids’ mouth, but my mind was elsewhere.

Photo Credit: Michael Conroy/Associated Press

I balanced the milk bottle perfectly between forearm and the kid’s ravenous gullet as I watched the main man himself being booed off centre stage at Lucas Oil stadium. I immediately felt for all of the fans inside that building knowing that a public backlash was inevitable. But they, the non-Colts folk won’t understand. It wasn’t the player they were booing; it was the result of being strung along on this injury-plagued rollercoaster that started in 2017.

It’s frustrating not being told exactly what is wrong. Not knowing whether to feel jubilant for the upcoming season or whether to grit our teeth and hope the backups can take the next step and ride it out until we get our man back.

Lack of communication and information haunting us like 2017’s ghost is why the fans booed. The quick-fire delivery of this earth-shattering news is why the fans got upset. It wasn’t about Luck. They could have let us down more gently. They could have told us the situation was bad, season ending, heck, even career threatening. But not like this, just please, not like this.

With 24-hours passing and the disgruntled look etched upon my unenthused wife’s face who was sick of Sundays most used phrase “I can’t believe Luck has retired”, I decided to stop dwelling on the recent past and started to think about how the Colts can look to rectify the hole that it now finds itself in. Where do we go from here?

Internal Scouting

With Andrew Luck no longer atop the depth chart in Indianapolis, it is highly likely the Colts will ride the season out with one of the backups that have currently been steering the ship throughout the preseason.

Jacoby Brissett

Brissett will be the favourite amongst bookmakers and fans alike to be the man under centre come week 1. He’s had the role before when traded from the New England Patriots in 2017, the year Luck missed the entirety with the shoulder injury.

He played in all 16 games that season and was the starter from week 2 onward. It was an admirable season-long performance from the then 24-year-old out of North Carolina State (3,098 passing yards/13TDs) but was a long way off the dizzy heights that the Colts’ fans new Luck could provide.

After guiding Indy to a 4-12 record that season, you’d expect this to be a floor if he were to be the QB for the upcoming season due to the improvements the Colts have made since 2017. A better O-line and more explosive pass catchers would likely see Brissett have a better opportunity to win more games. Despite this though, it will still be a tall order to assume Jacoby, or anyone for that matter, would be able guide Indianapolis to a playoff berth.

Chad Kelly

Kelly was the last draft pick of the 2017 NFL Draft (253rd) when picked by the Denver Broncos. His NFL career got off to a pretty good start once he returned from a wrist injury as he seemingly edged out Paxton Lynch to be Case Keenum’s backup heading into the 2018 season.

However, the character problems off the field that had teams skirting around him in the draft rang true when he was convicted of criminal trespassing relating to an incident after a Halloween party hosted by teammate Von Miller.

He was subsequently released by the Broncos and his NFL career was in jeopardy. Fortunately for Kelly, Colts’ GM Chris Ballard happens to be a friend of his uncle Jim Kelly and Chad was offered a second chance during the 2019 off-season.

He’s seemingly taken the chance given to him too as so far he has impressed coaches and fans with a good showing throughout training camp with a 72% pass rate so far this preseason. This was on the back of 13 completions for 121 yards in preseason week 1 including 53 rushing yards and an impressive rushing touchdown. He also performed exceptionally in the wake of the Luck news on Saturday evening against the Bears, throwing for 209 yards and a touchdown of 16 completions, along with 34 rush yards.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Dermer

It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that ‘Swag’ Kelly could end up being the starter for the Colts should the early season work not go Jacoby Brissett’s way. If he continues to take his chances should this scenario arise, Kelly could be in consideration to be Luck’s permanent replacement.

Phillip Walker

Originally signed on May 4th 2017, Phillip Walker has been added, removed, signed from, and cut from the Colts’ practice squad more times than I’ve changed my socks.

But again this offseason, Walker has had a chance to prove his worth to the team as the now current 3rd string QB.

Unfortunately though, unlike teammate Chad Kelly, Walker has only converted 24 of 48 passing attempts (50%) for a grand total of 259 passing yards (10.79 yards per attempt) and 0 touchdowns.

It’s fairly likely that Walker will remain as the 3rd string QB until further notice, but more likely until a new QB is acquired and therefore will probably find himself as a cut casualty in that case.

2020/21 Draft Class

If you don’t already know, the 2020 draft class is packed with elite-level potential quarterbacks. This ties in with Colts’ owner Jim Irsay’s method of operation nicely as since taking over the team in 1997, he has drafted 2 of the most important players in Indianapolis’ NFL history – franchise quarterbacks Peyton Manning (1998) and his eventual replacement Andrew Luck (2012).

On both instances though, the Colts have had the luxury of having that all important 1st overall pick in those respective drafts. Although now not out of the question for 2020, it’s unlikely the Colts will be picking within in the first 5 picks unless a trade is agreed.

Tua Tagovailoa

It is highly likely Tua will be drafted within the top 3 on the next draft night in Las Vegas. In fact, many analysts believe the Miami Dolphins have already decided to tank in 2019 in order to grab Tua with the 1st overall pick.

The Alabama quarterback has a quality arm which is more than capable to make any throw in the NFL. He’s a great athlete too which has become a very sought after trait in the NFL over the last few years.

His athleticism allows him to escape collapsing pockets and he has the ability to throw it deep and challenge defences. He doesn’t panic when the first read isn’t there and is generally an accurate passer.

In the right team, Tua could make it into the group of elite QB’s within the NFL and Indy would certainly be a team where that could be achievable. But this would require some draft pick trading in order to see that happen.

Justin Herbert

Herbert is another top prospect expected to go early in round 1. I can imagine a lot of the talk surrounding next years’ draft will be “Justin or Tua” based for the 1st overall pick.

So again, Indy would have to probably move up the board in order to grab Herbert if he is the QB that grades out to be the best fit. He has good size and a good arm. One of his best traits is the ability to throw the ball in exactly the right places for receivers to capitalise and gain extra Yards After Catch.

At 6 ft 6, Herbert uses his height to his advantage in the pocket where he remains calm and let’s routes develop before pulling the trigger, but his height doesn’t affect his rushing ability as he is more than capable of picking up yards on the ground.

Like Tua, Herbert would fit very nicely into the Colts offense but would likely need to work on his vision and focus in order to get the most out of the receiving options.

Jake Fromm

For me, Jake Fromm is the most NFL ready QB in this class. Bold statement, I know, but it’s his presence and leadership skill on the field which I like the most. That is the kind of mould that Indy possesses too. They like to take the leaders, the field generals if you will.

Photo Credit: Allen Kee / ESPN Images

Fromm is arguably the most accurate out of these projected top prospects in 2020. He avoids danger when throwing which will sit well with the coaches in Indy and also knows how to protect the ball and generally makes good decisions. Being an elite NFL passer isn’t solely down to arm strength. It’s what’s in between the ears that count, and Fromm certainly ticks that box.

If Tua and Herbert go 1 & 2 respectively, there will likely be a trade up for Fromm so I predict he will be a top 5 pick next year. This is where I can see Indianapolis putting their chips on the table and moving up if necessary.

Trevor Lawrence

I believe #TankForTrevor is already trending on twitter. Clemson’s signal caller is currently being described as a generational talent thus putting him in the Troy Aikman, Andrew Luck, Peyton and Eli Manning group of elite QB’s that are NFL ready coming out of college as the first overall pick.

But, Trevor Lawrence isn’t eligible for the 2019 draft pick. So unless, Jacoby or A.N Other can provide high enough performances in Indy over the next two years, it’s unlikely Jim Irsay, Chris Ballard an co will wait this long before grabbing their next franchise QB.

Who knows though, there could be a masterplan in place where this is possible. One thing is for sure; Lawrence will be worth the wait if the 2018 College season has anything to go by and would definitely fit in well at Lucas Oil.

Trade Ins

It’s unlikely that the Colts would trade for a starting QB as it’s not really how Irsay operates. But as we see year to year in this league, anything is possible and anything can happen.

Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay has put a lot of trust in to Winston for this upcoming year; They proved this by not re-signing 2018’s saviour at Raymond James Stadium, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jameis, however, is on a short leash. A fantastic talent who can make any throw and be a locker room leader, but it’s the mistakes that has impeded his journey to the top.

Should Winston and the Bucs start the season 0-3/0-4, the pressure might be on to cash in on any value and move away from Winston, especially with the talent available next April and the fact he is also currently unsigned passed 2019.

At just 25, there is still plenty of time to develop Jameis, and a change of scenery might well be the answer if Bruce Arians is unable to repeat the success he had with Carson Palmer in Arizona.

Dak Prescott

Like Winston, it’s unlikely that Dallas will want to move their starting QB, especially with the way Dak has progressed since being drafted there in the 4th round of the 2016 draft.

However, like Jameis, with his rookie contract expiring at the end of the season and no discussions being reported, if the right offer is on the table, could Jerry Jones be tempted to cash in? Like I said, unlikely, but don’t forget the Jones’ are business men first.

Jury’s Out on Dak Prescott – Rob vs Lawrence

Rob’s Take – Pro Dak

You know that face you pull when you take that first sip of morning coffee but you forgot to put the sugar in? Well, after converting the masses into loving Austin Seferian-Jenkins this year for fantasy football three weeks ago (there is no statistical evidence for this claim, only assumption), I quickly found out that the face you pull for sugar-less coffee is remarkably similar to the face you pull when you have to eat humble pie. Cheers ASJ.

Nonetheless, I have a better feeling about this standoff with Lawrence, because this shouldn’t be a hard sell at all.

Dak’s Offense

It must be nice as a Quarterback in the National Football League when you know those 5 guys protecting you from getting decked by abnormally large and powerful humans are really good at their jobs. That’s the case for Dak. The Cowboys’ offensive line has been one of the best in the league for a few years now and with the recent news that Travis Frederick is participating in training camp, it may be getting back to full force.

frederick
Photo Credit: Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star Telegram

Centre Fredricks, Tackle Tyron Smith, and Guard Zach Martin are all top 5 players in their respective positions and with Left Guard Connor Williams looking to build on a solid rookie campaign, it should be routine for this line to keep Dak upright in the pocket and buy him plenty of time to find his targets or stretch his legs

The receiving corps is the best Dak’s had to work with so far in his 3-year career too. Amari Cooper showed that he is more than capable of being a productive WR1 with 725 yards and 6 touchdowns off 53 receptions in the 9 games as a Cowboy is 2018, and Michael Gallup proved he can be an effective field stretcher with a healthy 15.4 yards per reception in his rookie campaign. Add seasoned veterans Randall Cobb and the return of Jason Witten into the fold too and it’s fair to say Dak has a solid core of decent receivers to throw passes to.

Ezekiel Elliott’s workload in the passing game went up considerably last season as he became a pivotal piece in Prescott’s arsenal. He saw more targets and receptions in 2018 than his first two seasons in the league combined. It worked too as he finished the season contributing 3 touchdowns and 567 yards through the air. A fair reason to believe this trend is likely to continue in 2019.

Fantasy Outlook

In the three seasons Dak has been under centre for the Cowboys he’s somewhat flown under the radar in fantasy circles. He’s finished those three seasons as the QB6, 10 and 10 respectively.

Rushing Quarterbacks are the new trend in fantasy football. Players like Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Cam Newton probably won’t be given Hall of Fame status at the end of their careers, but when rushing yards and touchdowns get you points in fantasy football, points win prizes.

dak
Photo Credit: Michael Ainsworth/AP

Dak is in the conversation of “rushing Quarterback”. He’s certainly undervalued as a rusher anyway. He’s scored 6 rushing touchdowns each season since entering the league and seems to camp around the 300-320 rushing yard mark, which he should be able to repeat this season too.

With the O-line potentially back at full strength and the quality of receivers improving heading into this season, I just don’t see how he finishes lower than his QB10 floor.

His current Average Draft Position is 12.06 in 12 team leagues which translates to be the 19th QB off the board. Yes, 19th. This goes to prove that if you play in 1QB leagues, don’t waste an early pick on a Mahomes, Luck or Rodgers, draft more valuable RB’s or WR’s in those spots instead and pick Dak up at the end of your drafts.

Mark my words, Dak Prescott will be on fantasy championship winning rosters in 2019, and he’s effectively free.

By Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

***

Lawrence’s Take – Anti Prescott

Dak Prescott is a marketing agency’s dream ticket. A young, healthy, controversy-free quarterback who is the signal-caller for ‘America’s Team’. According to ESPN in 2017 Prescott earned five times his salary in endorsements, chomping down on tortilla chips, chugging on soup and washing it down with some well-known dark-brown fizzy beverages.

We can conclude from this commercial success that Dak is not shy. Being the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys is perhaps the single most scrutinised position in the NFL, with the exception of the pigskin passers in the Big Apple.

Prescott’s History

We all know Dak was a 2016 fourth-round pick who led his team to 13 regular season wins as a rookie, a feat that nobody predicted.

Where the win total abruptly ended in 2016 was the divisional playoffs where Dak was out-dueled by Aaron Rodgers in a 31-34 home loss. The Cowboys went 28-13 down before Dak tossed two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

In 2017 the Cowboys finished with a winning record but failed to make the playoffs. A major lull in November resulted in three consecutive losses and just one team touchdown in those games. The Dak-led Cowboys were outscored by 70 points in those games, effectively eliminating them from the playoffs.

Last season Dallas won the NFC East, winning seven of their last eight with victories by tiny margins (7, 3, 8, 3, 6, 7 and 1) laying a goose egg against the Colts in Week 15.

Dak did scrape past the Seahawks for his first (and only to date) playoff victory, but when they traveled to Los Angeles to face the Rams in the divisional round, Dak found himself down by 16 in the third quarter. The deficit was down to Dak’s failure to generate yardage after an early score. The Rams forced Dallas to punt on four consecutive drives, holding the Cowboys scoreless in the second quarter.

Dak 2
Photo Credit: Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star Telegram

In 2018 Dak did lead the NFL in one rather show-stopping statistics – most lost fumbles. His 12 butter-fingered blunders were admittedly tied with three other quarterbacks. He also threw a pedestrian 22 touchdowns, far less than two a game, ranking him 16th. Dak’s passing yards per game (242.8) was under studs like Case Keenum, Derek Carr and Eli Manning.

As a mobile quarterback, Dak is able to tuck and run if needed, but despite his rushing attempts in 2018 being his most ever, his y.p.c. was his career low (4.1). What cannot be denied is his consistency in rushing touchdowns, six a season now for three consecutive years.

2019 Fantasy Outlook

Dak is solid, in both body size and fantasy football, but he is not spectacular. He remains one of those third-tier quarterbacks that will be drafted, but anyone reaching for him anywhere before rounds 9-10 needs a serious talking to.

Prescott will have Jason Witten back after his Dennis Miller-like stint in the broadcasting booth, as well as a full season of Amari Cooper, but Dallas will still want to feed Zeke at every opportunity.

Dak is a fantasy ‘blah’, someone you will draft once you have seen the mega-studs go off the board, followed by the quarterbacks that will confidently rush for over 500 yards.

Prescott is a personal preference quarterback who will more likely be drafted to a fantasy bench than not.

If you hit round’s 9-10 and have still not drafted a quarterback then you likely have to pick from the likes of Roethlisberger, Rivers, Goff, Prescott and Winston. Personally I would grab Philip Rivers around this stage, or wait a round or two longer and pick up second-year breakout possibilities Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson (both complete with bonus rushing yardage).

Dak is a stand-up kinda guy, just don’t confuse all that smiling and eating yogurt as a sign you are drafting a fantasy stud.

By Lawrence Vos – (@NFLFanInEngland)