Legal Tampering Period – The Losers

By Adam Walford (@touchdowntips)

Following on from Rob Grimwood’s fantastic post on the winners yesterday I’ve been tasked, quite suitably, with the pessimism, the misery, the teams who did sweet FA, or in the case of the Texans. Worse.


Texans get their pants pulled down by the Cardinals.


In one of the weirder trades of recent times the Arizona Cardinals acquired one of the best three receivers in the game for essentially a bag of chips, and not a nice bag of chips, those “baked” one’s by walkers. It’s another moves by GM/Head coach/Supreme Leader Bill O’Brien which has stymied the masses. Oh, and they then went and signed Randall Cobb on a 3 year deal to try and placate the masses. Weird.

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally they took on the FULL CONTRACT for David Johnson, the full $10.2m contract, for a back who has struggled with injury and form since breaking onto the scene a few years ago. That’s a lot of cash for a running back especially when you’ve got one of the better pass catching backs in the league on your roster already in the shape of Duke Johnson. For the record, I like DJ and I hope he can get back to form, but it’s still a lot of cash to spend on an RB.


David Njoku has some competition, and apparently he welcomes it.


After being drafted at 29 in the 2017 draft there were high hopes for the super-athletic tight end in Cleveland, but a series of niggling injuries and being unable to get together a decent run of games has hit his stock and led his team to bring in Austin Hooper on a big money deal from the Falcons. Neither of them are really blocking TEs, so it’s direct competition, and in those cases the more expensive man usually get the bulk of it all.

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Bengals fall even further behind in the North.


It’d be remiss of me to dampen the spirits of my team and their fans even more. After being quoted by reporters as “being active in free agency” they once again sat and watched as players who’d have improved their roster immediately were picked up for decent deals, the likes of Jack Conklin to the Browns on a 3 year, 42m deal. Nick Kwiatowski to the Raiders for 13m a year both positions of need for the Bengals, and both strengthen AFC teams.

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have also made moves over the last week which further strengthen them, bringing in Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers to add even more to their defensive line, then getting a pick back for Hayden Hurst. They’re taking full advantage of having a rookie QB on a cheap deal.

And the Steelers will be welcoming back the 400lb man at QB which might make them better at that position for next year.


Josh Allen is digging it, but I’m not too sure.


The Bills paid a whole hell of a lot to Stefon Diggs, a 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th for Diggs and a 7th round pick… It’s a lot more than I thought the Vikings would get for someone who so clearly wanted out and bitched and cried about it publicly.

The Vikings get a ton of picks and him off their payroll. Diggs gets to join a team with an inaccurate QB and probably get further frustrated further down the road. Pairing the best route runner in the league with the least accurate QB is an interesting one, hopefully for them it’s a little chicken and egg and it bring Allen up.

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Bruce Kluckhohn/AP

However, I do get the trade, there’s blood in the water with the Pats possibly losing Brady and their offensive issues on the whole. So while it’s a big payout it could work out well for them.


They gave Jimmy Graham HOW MUCH?!


Why on earth would anyone be money on Jimmy Graham? I wasn’t sure he’d get picked up at all, let alone on a 2 year, $16m deal. But Matt Nagy and the Bears seem determined to keep on paying up at tight end. One of the more perplexing moves done yesterday.

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

They’re also still without a functional quarterback and supposedly interested in Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. The Bengals apparently want a 3rd for Dalton, the Jags reportedly want to keep Foles (They take a big dead cap hit if he leaves so may as well keep him) Both are upgrades on Trubisky, but still. It’s not an enviable situation.

NFC North Breakdown

by Trevor Griswold – 7/8/2019

Last Season

Chicago 12-4

Minnesota 8-7-1

Green Bay 6-9-1

Detroit 6-10

Chicago:

Draft selections: David Montgomery (3.9), Riley Ridley (4.24), Duke Shelley (6.32), Kerrith Whyte Jr. (7.8), Stephan Denmark (7.24)

Offseason key additions: CB Buster Skrine, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, RB Mike Davis

Offseason key departures: CB Bryce Callahan, S Adrian Amos, RB Jordan Howard, K Cody Parkey

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

The Bears had a breakout season last year led by the addition of Khalil Mack. The defence rocked opponents to the tune of a divisional crown. After a successful season the DC Vic Fangio departed for a head coaching position in Denver. Chicago did a wonderful job in replacing him and the rest of the players lost in free agency. Chuck Pagano will have reinforcements in the names of Buster Skrine and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The key to defending the North will be to continue shutting down opponents and grinding out the clock on offense. If David Montgomery has a fast start it will be a long year for the rest of the division.

Look out for:

Mitch Trubisky. He must continue to improve as this team is beginning to look like the Jaguars of a couple seasons ago. In order for this team to be a legitimate super bowl threat Trubisky must progress into a franchise QB.

Detroit:

Draft selections: TJ Hockenson (1.08), Jahlani Tavai (2.11), Will Harris (3.17), Austin Bryant (4.15), Amani Oruwariye (5.8), Travis Fulgham (6.11), Ty Johnson (6.13), Isaac Nauta (7.10), PJ Johnson (7.15)

Offseason key additions: EDGE Trey Flowers, CB Justin Coleman, WR Danny Amendola, TE Jesse James, RB C.J. Anderson, DT Mike Daniels

Offseason key departures: EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Nevin Lawson

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

Analysis:

Head coach Matt Patricia is trying to emulate the New England Patriots, his old employer. By signing several ex-Patriots to the roster this team is equivalent to a New England Patriots B squad. Last season was a disaster in Detroit as it was riddled with injuries and losses. Detroit fans are growing restless with GM Bob Quinn and Matthew Stafford as the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992 and has never won the NFC North division. However, some may say Coach Patricia is re-aligning the ship towards calmer seas as this offseason looks promising. Key additions of Trey Flowers and Justin Coleman should help limit opponents scoring opportunities. Jesse James and first round draft pick TJ Hockenson should help in both the run and pass game this Fall.

Look out for:

This season will be the best ground game in Detroit since the great Barry Sanders danced around the field. Wit the addition of two new tight ends and a new offense coordinator that likes to run Kerryon Johnson may put up monster numbers this season.

Green Bay:

Draft selections: Rashan Gary (1.12), Darnell Savage Jr. (1.21), Elgton Jenkins (2.12), Jace Sternerger (3.11), Kingsley Keke (5.12), Ka’dar Hollman (6.12), Dexter Williams (6.21), Ty Summers (7.12)

Offseason key additions: S Adrian Amos, EDGE Za’Darius Smith, EDGE Preston Smith, G Billy Turner

Offseason key departures: EDGE Clay Matthews, LB Jake Ryan, WR Randall Cobb, CB Bashaud Breeland, EDGE Nick Perry, DL Muhammad Wilkerson

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

Green Bay has underperformed the last few seasons and Aaron Rodgers can’t seem to stay healthy. Matt Lefleur is now the man in charge in Green Bay. After an offseason of adding talent and protection for Rodgers there is no excuses to miss out on the playoffs once again. This team is built to win now, only time will tell if they do.

Look out for:the health along the offensive line. There is little depth behind the starting line. If one gets injured Rodgers may have to do a lot of running once again this season.

Minnesota:

Draft selections: Garrett Bradbury (1.18), Irv Smith Jr. (2.18), Alexander Mattison (3.38), Dru Samia (4.12), Cameron Smith (5.24), Armon Watts (6.17), Marcus Epps (6.18), Olisaemeka Udoh (6.20), Kris Boyd (7.3), Dillon Mitchell (7.25), Olabisi Johnson (7.33), Austin Cutting (7.36)

Offseason key additions: G Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen

Offseason key departures: DT Sheldon Richardson, C Nick Easton, RB Latavius Murray, RT Mike Remmers, G Tom Compton, S Andrew Sendejo, S George Iloka, CB Marcus Sherels

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

Analysis:

Last year there were incredibly high expectations for the Vikings. After signing Kirk Cousins to a massive deal the Vikings were unable to keep up with the NFC North darlings in Chicago. This offseason Minnesota was unable to resign many of their playmakers who helped them reach the NFC championship game two seasons ago. There is no more pressure than ever on Cousins to live up to his massive contract to fight for the division crown. With many holes left unfilled it will be a hard task.

Look out for:With a lot of losses in the defensive backfield I predict a regression as Harrison Smith struggles to cover the whole field. The defence as a whole will not be as intimidating after losing a lot of depth from a year ago.

2019 Season Prediction

Green Bay 10-6

Detroit 9-7

Minnesota 8-8

Chicago 7-9

Where Do They Go From Here? Vikings

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the Minnesota Vikings.

Don’t forget to check out the NFC North podcast where we talked to Paul Berryman who plays for the Dunfermline Kings and asked for his thoughts.

How Did Last Season Go?

Comparing to most recent previous seasons, this season was nothing short of a disaster.

After getting to the Championship game in the 2017 season and “upgrading” at the QB position, the Vikings fell well short of expectations which would’ve been to appear in the Super Bowl. Dalvin Cook could not stay healthy again and there were more holes in the o line than a extra large cheese grater. There were more than eyebrows raised when Buffalo came in to town in week 3 and annihilated them in the first half.

Firing their OC John DeFillippo midway through the season, which showed how happy they were with the way the team were playing on offence.

That said, apart from that, not really any surprising results in the season, with all their other losses coming to teams who made the playoffs so it’s fair to say the winners’s schedule could be as much to blame as any other excuses.

Bottom line is that there was no January football for Minnesota thus, a failure of a season.

Housekeeping

Minnesota pick at 18, 50 and 81 within the top 100 and are 2nd worst in terms of cap space available at the time of writing.

Outgoings

Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson and Latavius Murray are the most notable names on the Free Agency market. Oh, and Trevor Siemian. Silly me.

Incomings

Due to the lack of cap space, I’m not sure we’ll be troubled too much by the Entrance door apart from the draft. Depth on the offensive line is an obvious need as well as a bit or two on defence to cover the departures. They will need to replace Latavius Murray due to Cook’s unreliability in terms of staying on the field too.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota take a Tight End in the draft considering the talent in the 2019 class.

Outlook for Next Year

Looking at the landscape of the division, the outlook is a murky one.

The schedule will ease up slightly but have a difficult away schedule including visits to Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City and Seattle to add on top to their divisional away trips to Lambeau and Soldier Field. As always, a lot will come down to the divisional games, where the Vikings went 3-2-1 last season.

I’m not sure how much more Cousins can improve from last season after passing for over 4000 yards, 30 TDs and 10INT.

Prediction

They will need to be more effective on the ground behind an improved Offensive line and have a healthy Dalvin Cook to play January football next season. That said, I’m not convinced Green Bay are totally right at the moment so the chances are there for 2 teams to come from the North for the playoffs next season. Minnesota Vikings to be one of those teams. If they can sort out their line issues, they could quite easily take the division title back.

Fantasy Football

Kirk Cousins – later round QB, low QB 1/QB2

Dalvin Cook – 2nd Round , mid/low RB1

Adam Thielen – 3rd Round, WR2/ WR1 upside

Stefon Diggs – 3rd Round, WR2 / WR1 upside

Kyle Rudolph – just no.

2018 Fantasy Football Industry Mockstravaganza – 3.01

After our last pick of Mike Evans, we are up again with the same players to choose from.

Before we make our pick, remember that when picking on the turn, Average Draft Position (ADP) value kind of goes out the window.

We wont have another pick now for 22 picks after this, so the landscape of the player pool will change dramatically. The one thing in our favour though at this point is that we could start seeing some Quarterbacks  or Tight Ends come off the board. Hopefully this means for us that we are able to nab a WR/RB at the 4.12 that is at the end of a tier break. By tier break we mean where there is a drop off in level at a position.

The good thing about picking on the turn is that you can address multiple positions in one go or bolster a whole skills position in the 2 picks so it has it’s advantages.

Take this turn for example, we took Todd Gurley first up and now have the opportunity to take 2 WR or bolster our RB duo and take a decent WR. Taking Mike Evans gives us a solid RB1 and shall we say a tier 2 WR with tier 1 upside.

With this being the case I think it’s best to go WR again to ensure we have a decent duo to start each week.

With the 1st pick of the 3rd round, The Full10Yards podcast select….Stefon Diggs

diggs

This may be considered a reach considering injuries history for Diggs and that over his career in the NFL is very much a boom or bust guy.

However, I am all in on Diggs this year.

One of the cleanest route runners in the game today, great speed and elusivity along with great catching ability, we expect Diggs to take off this year and be the No.1 in Minnesota. Adam Thielen’s breakout year last year was mainly because Diggs wasnt there and let’s not forget it took Thielen a while to get in amongst the Touchdowns. Despite injury niggles, Diggs still scored 8TDs from 64 receptions totalling 849 yards. I put the case forward that the Keenum to Thielen combination was an anomaly and it’s no guarantee that Cousins has the same rapport with Thielen. Yes Thielen is as good as the best at getting open (kind of reminds me of Doug Baldwin) and will likely see his fair share of targets too, I’m just not willing to reinvest that last season is replicated for Thielen.

You could call Diggs a Tyreek Hill lite but with Cousins there now at Quarterback, I think the signs all point to Diggs having a 1000 yard season (which would be his first), potential for 10+ TDs in what could be a high scoring offence (debate as to whether it needs to be is for another time).

It can be debated whether both WR can be supported as WR1/2 this year with the defence being as good as it is and Dalvin Cook coming back. The offensive line is not the greatest so Diggs, who thrives on post routes (88% success rate in 2017 according to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception) will be relying on Cousins being upright for long enough to make those deeper throws.

You’ll see both Thielen and Diggs go in the same rounds in drafts this year as Thielen’s ADP has risen from last year (was around a 6th/7th/8th round pick last year) and if you want a piece of this offence, you’ll have to pick the splinters off and get up off of that fence you’ve been sitting on because the likelihood is that you’ll only be able to get one piece of this offence.

We are taking a stand and going Diggs with our 3rd round pick, giving us a roster so far of Todd Gurley at RB, Mike Evans and Stefon Diggs at WR.

Very happy. Over to Van Buren’s Boys at 3.02…