Although it feels like a lifetime ago, NFL Free Agency began officially on March 15th. With so many moves, it can be hard to keep up with the ones that matter for your dynasty and redraft fantasy rosters. I have you covered. I compiled a list of all the NFL free agency news and categorized them by tiers to denote their fantasy impact.
Tier C will consist of transactions with little to no fantasy impact for that player and his teammates. Tier B will be made up of transactions that will have a mid-level fantasy impact on this player, specifically his teammates. Finally, Tier A will be our heavy hitters. Not only do these transactions project an immediate impact on that player but potentially his positional landscape and his teammates.
The Fantasy Impact of the 2023 NFL Free Agency News
The Giants trade for Darren Waller – 3rd Round pick
NFL Network’s Tom Pellisoro reported: “So the #Giants traded a third-round compensatory pick that they received in the Kadarius Toney trade (No. 100 overall) and landed the big-time weapon they coveted for newly extended QB Daniel Jones.” Due to an injury-plagued season last year, he was TE31 in PPR scoring. This is a nice move on paper, and while I trust the new brass in New York, Waller’s injury history and age concern me—the definition of a “better in Best Ball” player.
Lions sign David Montgomery to a three-year contract for $18 million.
If you have a leaguemate in your dynasty league that has D’Andre Swift, please check on them. For whatever reason, the Lions seem to hate Swift and now bring in a Jamaal Williams upgrade. Last year Monty was the RB24 in PRR, and Swift, through his injury and usage concerns, was the RB21. Maybe there will be a world where both backs can eat in this upgraded Lions offense, but I have a feeling this backfield will give us a ton of headaches in 2023.
Panthers sign Miles Sanders to a four-year deal.
Sanders gained over 1,200 yards in Philly and finished as the RB15 last year in PPR formats. Given Philly’s propensity to use multiple backs and Carolina’s lack of playmakers, Sanders should see plenty of opportunity and maybe more than he saw in Philly. In the lead-back role last year, down the stretch D’Onta Foreman had three top-10 finishes in the final 10 weeks. So there was some hope even in what projects to be a bottom-half offense.
Cowboys trade for Brandin Cooks for a 2023 5th-round pick and a 2024 6th-round pick.
The highly disrespected and underrated Cooks has had over 1,000 receiving yards in six of nine career seasons. Dallas will be the 5th team of his career but potentially his best fit in years. The Cowboys need a true deep threat to complement CeeDee Lamb. I really like this fit and think Cooks could have his best season since his Rams or Saints days.
The Cowboys release Ezekiel Elliott.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter: “By designating Ezekiel Elliott as a post-June 1 cut, the Cowboys will save $10.9M in salary cap space with $5.8M in dead money. His contract will stay on the books until then, but he’s free to sign with a team anytime.” First and foremost, Draft Tony Pollard EVERYWHERE, regardless of ADP at this point. As for Zeke, I think a fit in Cincinnati, should the Bengals move on from Mixon, would be just what the doctor ordered.
Bills sign Damien Harris to a one-year deal.
Damien Harris lost most of last season to injury, and the superior performance of Rhamondre Stevenson. That being said, Harris is still a very talented back, and although he hurts James Cook‘s dynasty value just a bit, I still prefer Cook to Harris in Best Ball and PPR formats.
Broncos sign Samaje Perine to a two-year, $7.5 million deal
Perine finished top-10 in PPR on three separate occasions last season, and with the uncertainty with Javonte Williams’s injury timetable, Perine will be a popular zero-RB candidate if nothing else.
Eagles sign Rashaad Penny to a one-year deal.
In my humble opinion, Penny’s only issue is health. Last year he averaged 4.23 yards after contact, which ranked first among running backs with at least 100 carries. But, man, this could be exciting with that Eagles offensive line, barring injuries.
Raiders sign Jakobi Meyers to a three-year deal, $33 million with $21 million guaranteed.
While he did not get the Christian Kirk money we all expected, Meyers should be an excellent scheme fit for the Raiders and Josh McDaniel’s offense. The question will be whether or not Hunter Renfrow will remain on the roster, and if he does, how much he and Meyers will cannibalize each other this season.
Saints restructure Michael Thomas’s contract to a one-year, $10 million deal with a max value of $15 million.
Thomas is now on a one-year “prove it” deal to return to the Michael Thomas of old. He is a far cry from his 2019 overall WR1 days, but I’d take him as a late-round flier for now.
Saints sign Derek Carr to a contract worth $150 million for four years with $60 million guaranteed.
I am feeling good about this signing when it comes to the production of the weapons in New Orleans like Chris Olave, a hopefully healthy Michael Thomas, and Juwan Johnson. However, Carr himself is nothing more than a QB2 option.
Seahawks sign Geno Smith for three years and $75 million with a max value of $105 million.
Even though Geno turned back into a pumpkin in the last six weeks of last season, I am excited about his encore performance this year with Seattle. Look out for the Seahawks to draft him another weapon in the 1st or 2nd round in this year’s draft.
Patriots sign JuJu Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33 million deal with $22.5 million earned over the first two years.
It really seems like they chose JuJu over Jakobi for the exact contract Meyers would have cost. So I think we can expect similar production from JuJu as we got from Meyers last year.
For more on the addition of JuJu vs. the loss of Jakobi, check out this great breakdown from Faith Enes.
Panthers sign Adam Thielen to a three-year deal.
I am getting big Robert Woods to the Titans vibes from this signing. I won’t be suggesting snagging Thielen in many redraft formats this season.
Dolphins sign Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson to 2-year deals and Myles Gaskin to a one-year deal.
I think it is important to note that Wilson’s deal has a max value of $8.2 million and Mostert’s a max value of $5.6 million. Therefore, I think it is fair to call Wilson the 1A and Moster the 1B or handcuff.
Saints sign Jamaal Williams to a three-year deal.
Although Williams is clearly a personality upgrade for the Saints, and he led the league in rushing touchdowns last season while also tying Barry Sanders’ team record, I don’t think the Saints are an upgrade in landing spot for the running back.
Texans sign Dalton Schultz to a one-year, $9 million deal
Besides his breakout 2021 campaign, where Schultz posted the TE3 overall numbers, he has been a middle-of-the-road fantasy football asset. Staying in the lone-star state may be great for Schultz’s taxes and home life, but this is one of the worst moves for his fantasy value. The Texans need a lot of help, particularly at quarterback, and trusting whoever they draft at #2 overall to get the ball to Schultz consistently is a tough bet.
Was this move a part of Josh Hudson’s plan to Fix The Texans? Find out here!
Patriots sign Mike Gesicki to a one-year $4.5M deal with another $4.5M available in incentives.
Gesicki has two top-ten finishes in PPR scoring in the last three seasons but will be reliant on a Patriots offense that is in transition and was putrid last year.
Bears sign D’Onta Foreman to a one-year, $3 million deal
Foreman has proved he can be a typical lunch-pail running back and called into action when needed. I would still place a bet on Khalil Herbert to get the first crack at this job once the season rolls around. That is if the Bears don’t add a day one or day two RB between now and then.
Texans sign Devin Singletary to a one-year deal worth up to $3.75 million.
Singletary’s contract is not one that will force the Texans to feed him, but his proven track record and Dameon Pierce’s injury history could suggest this backfield is more split than we would like in 2023. We will need to keep an eye out for the draft to see if the Texans add anyone else to the running back room. Hopefully, one of these backs can separate from the other during training camp. Stay tuned.
Falcons sign Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal worth up to $20 million.
Who needs Lamar when you can have…Taylor Heinicke? Am I right? The bottom line for fantasy football purposes is we are hoping, for Drake London’s sake, that Heinicke develops the chemistry with London that he had with Terry McLaurin at times over the last couple of years.
Panthers sign Hayden Hurst to a three-year, $21.75 million deal with $13 million guaranteed.
Hurst joins a bit of a crowded tight-end room but a Carolina roster that is suddenly starving for pass-catching weapons after dealing D.J. Moore to the Bears last week.
Panthers sign Andy Dalton to a two-year deal for $10 million with $8 million guaranteed.
Whoever starts for the Panthers will have a bare cupboard of weapons this season, and I have to believe it will be the #1 overall pick in next month’s draft sooner rather than later. So the real question is: Will Dalton be the bridge for Richardson or the backup for Stroud?
Texans sign Case Keenum – Two years, $6.25 million ($4 million guaranteed)
Houston gets themself a solid journeyman backup. Now they just need to upgrade every other position.
Raiders sign Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year contract, $67.5 million, with $34 million guaranteed.
Now while Jimmy G had four separate top-12 fantasy finishes last year, I don’t think he’s a good bet to be much more than a DFS or streaming option on a much less talented Raiders offense.
Dolphins sign Mike “Effin” White to a two-year deal worth up to $16 million.
As much as everyone loves Mike White, this is more of an injury insurance for Tua, who had at least three concussions last season.
Saints sign Jameis Winston to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million
Well, folks, we did it. Jameis Winston is officially a career backup!
49ers sign Sam Darnold to a one-year, $4.5 million deal
When this deal broke, Twitter was on fire. The bluebird machine was ripping into both Sam Darnold and the 49ers. “Why would the Niners do this? Gross!” It is almost as if the whole world didn’t watch this same team go through at least like 15 quarterbacks last year. We don’t have to look past last year to see backup or even the backup’s backup thrive in the Shanahan system. This likely says more about Brock Purdy’s health than anything.
Buccaneers sign Baker Mayfield to a one-year, $8.5 million deal
Guess Kyle Trask wasn’t the answer after all. The Buccs look poised to tank for the Caleb Williams sweepstakes in next year’s draft.
Bills sign Deonte Harty to a two-year deal
Colts sign Ashton Dulin to a two-year deal for $9.2 million
Ashton Dulin has flashed some excitement over his young career in Indy, but he is nothing more than a dynasty or deep league stash at this point.
Commanders sign Jacoby Brissett to a one-year deal worth up to $10 million and $8 million guaranteed.
Maybe they really aren’t interested in Lamar? The team, formerly known as the redacted racist name and formally known as the Washington Football Team, looks poised to let Howell and Brissett steer the ship in 2023.
Ravens sign Justice Hill to a two-year $4.5 million deal with a max value of up to $5 million.
Nope. If Lamar is here, he is nothing more than a change of pace back. If Lamar isn’t here, we don’t want any part of this.
Saints sign Juwan Johnson to a deal for two years and $12 million with $8.5 million guaranteed.
Johnson nearly made the “B Tier.” Last year, the TE8 in fantasy football posted 508 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. However, he will presumably get an “upgrade” at QB. Could he be the Bayou-Darren Waller?
Bears sign Robert Tonyan to a one-year deal.
Cole Kmet truthers are down bad. Down, real bad.
Tonyan wasn’t the only pass catcher the Bears added this offseason. Check out Michael Sicoli’s breakdown of the DJ Moore trade.
Colts sign Gardner Minshew.
Can you think of a better swag-mentor for whoever the Colts take in next month’s draft? Minshew Magic lives on!
Dolphins sign Braxton Berrios.
If last year was any indication, this offense would be just as consolidated at the top as it was last year. Instead, we want in on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and that’s about it.
Giants sign Parris Campbell to a one-year deal.
A mostly quiet signing by the G-Men here. I nearly put Parris Campbell in the “B Tier,” but I will spare you all my Campbell truth-ism.
Raiders sign O.J. Howard
With Waller gone, more targets will be theoretically available, but Howard would be very low on the pecking order including behind the newly acquired Jakobi Meyers.