After being released by the Vikings this offseason due to a shaky long-term medical evaluation, the Jets signed former first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater to a miniscule contract with only $500,000 guaranteed. This was a low-risk, high-upside move by the Jets front office that played out perfectly as they traded him and a 2019 6th round pick for a 2019 third round pick to the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday.
Bridgewater’s immense rise in value occurred during the preseason as he not only proved to be healthy but played well when given the opportunity. Through three preseason games Bridgewater completed 28-of-38 passes (73 percent completion rate) for 316 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. There is the obvious caveat that his success came against second and third stringers, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. The Jets will likely start Sam Darnold to begin the season with Josh McCown as the coach-like backup and mentor. Bridgewater will slide in as the Saints No. 2 quarterback behind Drew Brees and push preseason standout Taysom Hill to No. 3 duties.
Bridgewater has no standalone fantasy value in 2018, but with Brees entering his age 39 season, there’s plenty of reason to acquire Bridgewater in dynasty leagues. It isn’t a lock that the Saints will sign Teddy to a long-term deal but it should be expected that they will try really hard after trading a 3rd round pick for him. If Brees continues his dominance in 2018, the Saints will likely try to sign Bridgewater to a multi-year, back-loaded contract.
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Head coach Adam Gase didn’t directly say RB Kenyan Drake will be a workhorse but said "hopefully" he will handle 15-20 carries and see 6-8 targets per game. This is a big difference from the beginning of preseason when Drake was listed as a co-starter alongside the ageless Frank Gore and his workload was in serious question. Drake has always been an explosive player dating back to his days at Alabama but has never been used as a workhorse prior to last season in Week 12. From Week 12 on he averaged 18.2 carries and 3.4 receptions per game and had the usage Gase wants from him in 2018.
The potential issue with this coachspeak is that Gase wants to average 70-75 plays per game after averaging only 62 last season. For reference, the Patriots led the league with 68 plays per game in 2017. It’s easy to rip on Gase for the notion that he wants to average at least 10 more plays per game this season, but the fact is that he has already done it. He was the offensive coordinator for the 2013 Broncos who led the league in plays per game with 72.1. The current Dolphins roster is nowhere near the level of that Broncos team but averaging even a few more plays per game is an attainable possibility that would provide a boost to everybody’s fantasy values. Drake is routinely selected in the late third round of fantasy drafts and could be a draft-day steal if he can hold up under the projected workload Gase is hoping for.
Packers sign Rodgers to record-breaking contract
Aaron Rodgers is inarguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league and has been for quite some time. He got paid like it on Wednesday as he signed a 4-year, $134M extension through 2023. He has over $100 million guaranteed and is now the league’s highest paid player. His extension doesn’t have much of a fantasy impact in 2019, but this is a great sign for dynasty players who are hoping one of the trio of rookie wideouts the Packers drafted in J'Mon Moore , Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown pans out. Rodgers is signed through his age-40 season and will play for a franchise trending in the right direction with New Packers GM Brian Gutekunst paying attention to and addressing important team needs.
Randall Cobb’s future with the Packers
After NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport refuted the original report on Randall Cobb being “shopped,” The Ringer's Mike Lombardi reiterated on the GM Street podcast that he is available for trade. Lombardi said “"Everybody in the league knows Randall Cobb is available, all you gotta do is make the call.” Despite the potential for this to be a big story, it likely won’t amount to much as Lombardi mentions that Cobb’s $8.6M contract and reoccurring ankle issues are problematic when considering his trade value. Cobb can still be had in the later rounds of drafts and is a value as Rodgers No. 2 wideout.
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Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell denied a report that he'll be returning to the Steelers on Labor Day. Bell continues to hold out and not sign his franchise tag. He did the same thing last year but will ultimately end up playing with little repercussion on his fantasy value. Continue to draft Bell with confidence. … There’s a “good chance” LB Roquan Smith (hamstring) will be active against the Packers in Week 1 according to Head coach Matt Nagy. Even if he is active, Smith is likely pretty behind on the playbook and becoming acclimated to the NFL. He will likely rotate in to start the season and become and every down player as the year progresses. … The Seahawks signed WR Tyler Lockett to a three-year, $31.8 million extension through 2021. This is a lot of money for a guy who will be the Seahawks No. 2 option in the passing game and has yet to prove much as an NFL player. He received $20.8 million guaranteed. … US Attorney Bill McSwain announced Browns LB Mychal Kendricks has been charged with insider trading. He was later released by the Browns and it could become more serious as Kendricks may be facing significant criminal charges. … Rams GM Les Snead confirmed an extension is "close" with holdout DT Aaron Donald. It seems likely that the Rams find a way to pay the reigning defensive player of the year prior to the season starting. ... Seahawks acquired QB Brett Hundley from the Packers in exchange for a 2019 sixth-round pick. Hundley flamed out in horrific fashion as the starter in Green Bay when called upon. He will be Russell Wilson’s backup in Seattle… George Kittle (shoulder) returned to practice on Tuesday. This is a great sign for a player who it was originally thought could miss multiple games during the season. … Vikings WR Adam Thielen left Tuesday's practice with a left leg injury but there is "no cause for long-term concern.” He is a good target in the early rounds of fantasy drafts. … The Raiders reportedly want two first-round picks for holdout DE Khalil Mack. This isn’t an outrageous price for the former No. 5 overall pick, but if the Raiders aren’t able to sign him, they may as well get something out of him and trade him for what they can get.