By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Fantasy football is over. Or is it? Because I see it as the beginning. The beginning of the start of your season. Now is where you get the edge on your league mates. If you know all the ins and outs of who goes where – from players to coordinators and position coaches – you’re priming yourself for a trip to your fantasy playoffs in the upcoming season.
First comes free agency, then comes the draft. Sounds like the start of a fantasy addict’s nursery rhyme, but I digress. There will be plenty of content coming your way from Club Fantasy on this year’s draft class, but first, we start with NFL free agency.
This series will cover offensive players, as they have the most impact in fantasy circles and we at Club Fantasy don’t play individual defensive players, or IDPs as the kids call it these days.
Next up on the free agent preview list: Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon.
Pierre Garcon has had one of the more underrated careers in the NFL. After leaving the Colts following the 2011 season, his 5-year deal with the Redskins was widely panned. What Garcon did over the next five seasons was well worth the price for Washington. He put together his only two 1,000 receiving seasons – the most recent being 2016, on the brink of his second tour of free agency – and hasn’t missed a game in four seasons.
Garcon is one of the more reliable targets in the NFL. You get a distinction like that when you average 60 catches and four touchdowns a season over the course of your career. Is he a number one wide receiver? No. Can he be that for a game or three every season? Sure. He’ll be turning 31 at the start of next season, and with this being his last real pay day, he likely wants to maximize his worth. Lucky for him, the league throws the football more than ever and everyone, except the Chiefs and Cowboys, are flush with cap space.
Washington is in a tough spot. While they want to bring him back, they’re having issues of their own at quarterback – Cousins was recently franchised – and have bigger needs to fill on defense. They return Jamison Crowder and 2016 1st round pick Josh Doctson and are also likely to lose DeSean Jackson. Losing Jackson and Garcon would be a huge blow, but that’s how the salary cap works, people!
If I had to guess, Garcon will get a three year deal, averaging $7 million or more a year. Solid money for a number two WR. With many teams breaking in young quarterbacks, Garcon can be a reliable target for anyone of them. Just not likely to be in Washington.
So let’s spin Garcon’s wheel and see where he lands! (I already regret typing that sentence.)
Los Angeles Rams
Garcon’s last offensive coordinator was Sean McVay. Guess where he is now? Los Angeles, as the new head coach of the Rams. After placing the franchise tag on CB Trumaine Johnson, the Rams only have about $19 million in cap space available, according to Overthecap.com. But they also have a young quarterback and a need at wide receiver. Who better to bring in than a reliable target who also happens to know the offense? Perfect match if you ask me.
San Francisco 49ers
Garcon’s offensive coordinator from his first couple of years in Washington was Kyle Shanahan. Guess where he is now? You get the idea of this game. Shanahan is the new 49ers coach and they have $96 million to play with. They also don’t have a quarterback. There are a lot of rumors floating about that put Cousins en route to the Bay Area. If the 49ers can pull that off, bringing Garcon in would at least give him a familiar target to throw to. Dominos would need to fall to get Garcon there though.
A bit of a dark horse, but hear me out. The Bengals have a slew of free agents of their own, and about $40 million to play with. Last offseason, they lost both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu but found suitable replacements in rookie Tyler Boyd and free agent Brandon LaFell. LaFell hits free agency again this offseason so the Bengals need a number two wideout. Boyd looked good playing out of the slot, so if the Bengals want to keep him there, Garcon could be a solid option opposite A.J. Green.
Garcon will find himself playing in California next season. I’m leaning towards the Rams, but if the 49ers can somehow reel in Cousins, Garcon will be going to Northern California to play football in 2017 and beyond.