FA Expectancy: Alshon Jeffery

Updated: July 16th 2017

Throughout the offseason, I will be preparing a collection of articles that will focus on free agents and trade candidates. The articles will discuss the player in question, and what the move does to their value, as well as what their landing spot means for their new and old teams.

Alshon Jeffery – WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Nobody was really surprised when Alshon Jeffery signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after he was linked to signing with either them or the Tennessee Titans before free agency opened. What was a surprise was the length of the contract, a single year at $9.5 million. I expected there to be some built-in insulation against Jeffery’s past injuries concerns but he still deserved at least some long term commitment. This contract suggests that either there was not as big a market for receivers as many would have thought or the offers were too low for Jeffery’s comfort and he settled for a “prove it” deal to try and cash in next offseason.

Fantasy players seem perplexed also in how to value Jeffery fairly. Nobody is questioning his talent but they are concerned with the consistency issues that separate the first tier of receivers from all others.

Seasons Games Played Rec/GM Yds/GM TDs/GM FP/Game
2013-2014 100% 5.4 79.8 0.5 16.6
2015-2016 66% 5.0 77.5 0.3 14.5

Over the last two seasons, Jeffery has played in 21 of a potential 32 games but played for a full two seasons in 2013 and 2014. So he is capable of being available. Even last year his four games missed were because of a failed PED test rather than an injury. But his per game production has dipped ever so slightly. Some may attribute this to games that he played in but was not fully healthy, or the lack of QB play that he has been paired with in Chicago. Either way, he’s in Fresh Prince Country now and he needs to step up if he is going to get paid in 2018.

So what does this mean for Eagles players?

The Eagles brought in not only Jeffery but Torrey Smith to go along with Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Nelson Agholor. There are rumors also that the Eagles could take a receiver early in the draft, with John Ross being the common name given.

Carson Wentz definitely will not have the “lack of talent” excuse that many were affording him during his rookie campaign. He threw for over 600 attempts last season (5th in the NFL) which many are not expecting him to repeat. Coach Doug Pederson would like to have a more balanced offense if he can either find a better back in the draft or get more out of Ryan Mathews. Still with this boost to the talent around him his efficiency (62.4% completion rate) and touchdowns (16) should increase. He will be a solid bye week and matchup-based starter in 1QB leagues and a great second option in 2QB (especially on his rookie deal).

The receiving core will be greater than the sum of its parts, with inconsistency being a fantasy nightmare some weeks. Likely Jeffery is used as the primary receiver both on the outside and in the end zone which should hopefully boost his touchdown totals. Those who have or bought into Jordan Matthews should finally see him move to the slot where he should have always been playing. The lack of talent around him the past two seasons forced him to have to be the primary outside receiver. Target volume and yards after the catch will be his key to success. These two should have between 100 and 130 targets along with Zach Ertz who surprisingly had 106 targets last season. He will be a nice low-end TE1 option in most leagues.

Outside of Matthews and Jeffery, it will be hard for another receiver to carve out a consistent fantasy role on a weekly basis. If you are looking for a cheap option that could get an increased role should Jeffery get injured Green-Beckham would fill his role as the big X receiver. Please, just drop Nelson Agholor already. He’s a spot on your roster and dollars in your pocket that could be spent elsewhere.

Boo! Nelson Agholor

So what is Jeffery’s value?

Before his signing with the Eagles, I moved Jeffery for the 1.07 in the upcoming draft. While that was lower than what I thought I could get from him I was glad to get out from his remaining 2 year/$60M deal. That owner subsequently flipped Jeffery and the 2.06 for Isaiah Crowell, Jeremy Maclin, and a 2018 2nd. Based on these moves and conversation about acquiring costs in other leagues Jeffery seems to be a hold for now. The community is split on whether Jeffery still belongs in that WR1 conversation and his future is still technically unknown as he could be on the move again next season. It is unlikely that owners would be willing to part with more than a late 1st for him. If you want to risk it he could pay dividends to a contender that needs another good receiver.

So what does it mean for Bears Players?

We haven’t talked much about the Bears yet but mostly because the options are limited. Cameron Meredith is a hot take that many fantasy enthusiasts have been propping up as a great 2017 sleeper receiver. Even Markus Wheaton has seen a modest uptick in his ADP by coming over. The Bears could also take another high receiver in the draft but they will likely want to see what they can get out of Kevin White for one more season before hitting the reset button on the position again.  The problem is that none of these players command double coverage which could also hurt Jordan Howard’s value with negative game script and stacked boxes. It will mostly come down to what Mike Glennon can and can’t do in the offense. His ball velocity is one of the weakest in the league and he was a typical game manager during his starts early in his career. One of these receivers will be at least a decent option for deep starter leagues and heavy bye weeks but guessing who that is in April is difficult. Don’t get caught up in a bidding war trying to acquire either Meredith or Wheaton’s services before we learn more in training camp.

Make sure to continue to read more Free Agency Expectancy articles throughout the offseason to be prepared for your summer Auctions. Have a player that you want me to evaluate? Send me a message on Twitter @naandrews19.

Changing of the Guard

Updated: December 4th 2016

Hopefully, everyone’s waistbands held up on Thanksgiving and you kept all your fingers and toes if you were brave enough to go out on Black Friday. The NFL has its own dark day where feelings are hurt and human dignity can sometimes be called into question. I am referring to the “Black Monday”, a day when coaches are released following the final week 17 games. For those of you who follow hockey hopefully any coaches who are released are left with a little more dignity than Coach Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers. Yikes.

Regardless, there will be at least one head coach, if not multiple, that will not be with their current teams in 2016. Others might narrowly avoid the guillotine but will be on thin ice for next season. I have pulled together a list of four coaches that I think should be let go in the next month, two that could be let go and three others who could be surprise cuts either this year or next.

Guys Who Gotta Go

John Fox, Jeff Fisher, Chuck Pagano, Gus Bradley

John FoxJohn Fox – The writing has been on the wall for a couple of weeks now and it looks like both he and Jay Cutler have worn out their welcome in Chicago. Management seems content with letting them as well as Alshon Jeffrey and starting fresh with a new crew. A new coach should be welcomed but there is a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball before anything fantasy relevant returns to the windy city. It’s a real knock on Jordan Howard who looked like he could be a decent player if there was enough around him.

 

Jeff-FisherJeff Fisher – Why does this guy still have a job!? For those who have read my articles in the past know I don’t hold back on Fisher and his questionable coaching status. He was almost given an extension early in the season but that seems to have been pulled off the table with their recent slide. Unlike Howard’s outlook with a coaching change, there can only be good things that can happen to Todd Gurley’s value with Fisher removed. Ideally, GM Les Snead should look to bring in a coach who is defensive minded and focuses on controlling the clock and running the ball on offense.

**Editor’s note Fisher and Snead have been given contract extensions which can only suggest that the Rams are okay with presenting their fans a mediocre product. If you have Todd Gurley you should be selling him before the start of next season.**

 

Chuck PaganoChuck Pagano – Some thought that Chuck wasn’t going to make it through last season but he was given a second chance to work things out with GM Ryan Grigson. The team still has no offensive line to protect their hundred million dollar QB and their defense is suspect at best. Unless the Colts make a miraculous playoff run this season I don’t see how Pagano and potentially Grigson keep their jobs heading into 2017. Hopefully, the new regime comes in and invests more into protecting their QB before his career becomes a “ya but” legacy.

 

Gus Bradley – When people said they expected Allen Robinson to regress from 2015 I have a hard time believing that they meant this bad. He has been a ghost for most of this season and borders on droppable in a redraft. Blake Bortles himself has dropped from his top 5 fantasy season last year but maybe this is just numbers returning to the average. However, the reason Bradley should be gone by season’s end though is the defense and the failure to move forward. The team has been a sleeper to win the AFC South the last two years and Shahid Khan has spent a small country’s GDP on free agents in Bradley’s tenure to try taking advantage of a weak division. Another well below .500 season should be the final straw for Bradley.

Wouldn’t Be Surprised

Marvin Lewis, Mike McCarthy

Marvin LewisMarvin Lewis – It would be sad to see this be the season that Marvin Lewis is finally let go. His recent successes and the strong core of players he has built up over the last 5 years made the Bengals one of the most consistent teams in the AFC. However, without having a playoff win to his record, and given the big of a step back this season it may finally be the time to remove the second-longest tenured coach in the league. A change of coaches shouldn’t hurt the value of the Bengal’s players but there could be growing pains next year with a new style of offense to learn, something Dalton has had the benefit of avoiding thus far in his career.

Mike McCarthy – Similar to Lewis McCarthy has been one of the most successful coaches over his time in Green Bay, but not all jobs are judged evenly. Title Town expects Super Bowl contenders and the Packers are far from that this year. The return of Jordy Nelson proved that there still isn’t something right in the clubhouse and it may come down to a coaching change to try and liven up the team. With Aaron Rodgers in town, the team would still be considered “in the hunt” for 2017 but they have serious rebuilding work everywhere else if they want Rodgers to ever wear the belt again.

Surprising but Understandable

John Harbaugh, Sean Payton, Mike McCoy

John HarbaughJohn Harbaugh – Four years removed from a Super Bowl victory and the Ravens have fallen out of the elite class in the AFC. Last year was a huge disappointment and this year, while the record might not be that bad, it isn’t up to the standards of what they are expected to do year in and year out. The offensive coordinator was let go earlier this season and it hasn’t improved in recent weeks. He’s likely to keep his job with a chance still at the playoffs but maybe it is time to move on to the next phase. The Ravens could turn out to be in a year what the Bears are now, a team with minimal talent and a mediocre QB that is leeching all the cap space.

Sean PaytonSean Payton – What a ride it would be since 2005 with a top 10 offense year after year and a Super Bowl trophy to hold high. But the defense has been historically bad for years now and it likely isn’t going to be fixed before Drew Brees is gone in what everyone expects to be next season. Brees moving on would likely force the team to look to start fresh with their coaching staff too and would be a fitting end to the Payton-Brees Era in New Orleans.

Mike McCoyMike McCoy – The Chargers this season read like a heart monitor and for many of its fans they may have had to be hooked up to one. With so many puzzling losses early in this season, failing to capitalize on Phillip Rivers in his prime the last couple years and the looming move to Los Angeles next year the Chargers could be looking to make a splash move.

Who do you think will be let go this season? Let me know @naandrews19.

Cap Analysis: Bears

Updated: March 1st 2016

Chicago Bears

Trending: Slightly Down ↓

It’s hard to be excited about the Bears in 2016. They’re heading into year eight of the Jay Cutler era. Barring unforeseen success, it’s likely to be the final year of the Cutler era. At this point in his career, he is what he is – just talented enough to win some games, just reckless enough to lose some games, and just brash enough to be unlikeable for the general public.

The Bears need to rebuild, and it could be a fairly long process. It seems likely that they will take one step backward in an attempt to take two steps forward. They’re probably going to let Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffrey walk in Free Agency. They’ll probably put a lot of young players around Cutler, and they could end up as one of the weaker teams in the league. The question isn’t really how good will they be in 2016, but who will still be in the most important positions – coach, general manager, and quarterback – in 2017.

Projected 2016 Team Salary$95.7M (not including escalators and NLTBE* incentives) *Not Likely To Be Earned

Projected 2016 Cap Room: ~$60.47M (~$155.27M Estimate; ~$0.9M Rollover)

Situation: Weak 

The Bears have almost $60M in available cap space and lots of needs, but it’s far from a certainty that they will make any real splash in free agency. Even if the team spent every penny, it’s not likely they would leapfrog the Vikings or Packers, and definitely can’t improve enough to compete for the NFC title in 2016.

Notable Free Agents:

Bears FAs

In eight seasons with the Bears, Matt Forte has played in and started 120 of 128 games. He’s been amazingly durable, averaging nearly 1,600 yards from scrimmage during that time. 2015 was the only year in that span in which he put up less than 1,400 from scrimmage, and he still put up 1,287 in 13 games. The Bears are making the right decision to move on, because Forte is still good enough to make them better, but won’t be by the time the Bears are good enough to compete.

Alshon Jeffrey, who has averaged 6 receptions, 88.5 receiving yards, and 0.55 touchdowns per start since 2013 will have many suitors if he enters free agency. There’s a significant gap between him and the next set of free agent wide receivers (T. Benjamin, M. Sanu, M. Jones, R. Matthews, R. Randle). Veteran tight end Zach Miller (no, not the one who had a few good seasons with the Raiders and won a super bowl with the Seahawks) emerged as a threat late in the season (31 receptions, 404 rec. yards, 5 TDs in 8 game span), and is also a free agent. **Editor’s Note: Alshon Jeffrey was franchise tagged subsequent to Matt writing this article.

The Bears released Jermon Bushrod after he fell out of the rotation while battling a shoulder injury. Starting guard Vlad Ducasse is also a free agent.

In the front seven, the team is likely to lose Shea McClellin, whose fifth year option was declined after he failed to meet his first-round expectations, plus Jarvis Jenkins and Sam Acho. In the secondary, veteran journeymen Tracy Porter, Ryan Mundy, and Alan Ball are free agents.

Top Projected Cap Hits:

Bears Cap Hits

Jay Cutler’s cap charge is very reasonable for any starting quarterback not on their rookie contract.  The cap figure of Pernell McPhee and Lamarr Houston are not completely unreasonable, although the team is paying roughly $1M per sack for their 14 combined sacks in 2015. Martellus Bennett turns 29 in March, and the team will need him to return to form, especially if Alshon Jeffrey departs.

Cap Casualty Watch List:

Bears Cap Cas

As mentioned earlier, this is likely the final year of the Cutler era. The Bears need to be bad before they can be good again. So why not just suck it up and eat his $13M cap charge in 2016? Separately from the cap decision, the Bears owe Cutler $10M in guaranteed base salary triggered by the fact that he was on the roster in mid-March, 2015. If the Bears cut him today, they would still have to write him a check for $10M. On March 11, 2016, the remaining $6M of his base salary becomes guaranteed. The team can release Cutler in February 2017 with only a $3M cap charge, and no additional cash owed.

Many of the other veterans on this list that manage to hang around in 2016, could find themselves on the chopping block a year from now.

Extension Watch List: 

Bears Ext Watch List

If I were Martellus Bennett, I would play out my contract and take one more crack at a multi-year contract in free agency in 2017. The team may be interested in keeping him around beyond this year, though it’s hard to know what the regime that inherited him (John Fox/Ryan Pace) thinks of his quirky personality.

Kyle Long is likely to have his fifth year option exercised, pushing his free agency out to March 2018.

Marquess Wilson won’t turn 24 until September and showed some flashes of promise. He’s coming off of a foot injury, but if he is healthy for camp, the team may decide to invest in a small extension before he becomes a potential starter.

Position Needs: 

Linebacker, Defensive Line, Offensive Tackle.

Sleeper Watch: 

Eddie Royal has been a perennial sleeper since his outstanding rookie season in 2008. He turns 30 in May, but with Matt Forte leaving and Alshon Jeffrey potentially joining him, there will be a lot of targets to go around if this team is playing from behind as often as I envision.


Matt Papson (@RealitySportsMP) formerly worked in football administration for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is the President, co-founder and creator of Reality Sports Online, a fantasy front office platform that enables fantasy owners to build and manage their fantasy team like a professional sports general manager. The Reality Sports Online platform has been featured in Fortune, on Bloomberg TV, and was the 2012 Fantasy Sports Trade Association Rookie of the Year.

Sources: Spotrac, Pro-Football Reference, and Rotoworld