FA Expectancy: P Garcon & D Jackson

Updated: July 23rd 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.

For the last 3 seasons, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson have been an excellent complement to one another’s skill set, Jackson being the lid-popping over the top receiver and Garcon being the underneath target hog. Despite both turning 31 years old this year there is an expectation for both to continue to produce with their new teams the way they did over the last two seasons with Kirk Cousins in Washington. Jackson will be the first real compliment to Mike Evans in Tampa Bay and Pierre Garcon is reconnected in San Francisco with former Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Despite all this love for the two receivers’ landing spots their ADPs have held in the later rounds of mock drafts, Jackson (91) and Garcon (126). Is there a gross undervaluing that has not been corrected yet with rookie fever on the rise or is the love of two 31-year-old receivers a smokescreen?

What does Jackson bring to Tampa?

When Tampa’s offense had to rely on Adam Humphries and TE Cameron Brate as their second and third receiving options last year you knew they were going to address the position in the offseason, and they did in a big way. By bringing in Jackson, Head Coach Dirk Koetter is embracing the gunslinger mentality that Jameis Winston has shown his first two seasons. While Mike Evans is a big, box-him-out type receiver Jackson has his blazing speed that can help keep additional safeties deep. Not only is that a bonus for Evans to help reduce the number of double-teams he’s used to seeing but should also help the run game by keeping defenses honest with their secondary. The Bucs also drafted TE O.J. Howard and receiver Chris Godwin to work the middle of the field and pose problems for teams trying to only cover Evans and Jackson on the outside.

Overall, the hype that this offense is gaining throughout the offseason is well deserved and could resemble the value that Washington had for fantasy fans. Jackson should have a positive impact on the Bucs offense but you should not expect consistent WR2 production. He’s still a boom-bust player that relies heavily on the long touchdown to have relevant weeks. He has only one season in his nine years where he has accumulated more than 65 catches and has not had more than six touchdowns since 2013. In PPR leagues I would be trying to move him for a more consistent asset while the hype of the offense is keeping him propped up. Once owners realize that he is a 31-year-old receiver that averages more 2 point weeks than 20 point weeks and whose game is purely based on his speed his value will shrivel fast.

What does Garcon bring to San Fran?

If Jackson is the sell because of his skill set Garcon is the definite buy. In Washington, Garcon was a target machine and averaged over 80 catches the last four years. This is encapsulated by his 113 catch season while in Shanahan’s offense back in 2013. This has people drooling at the possibilities for 2017 now that Shanahan has full control of the team’s scheme. There is no real threat to taking targets away from Garcon either as the rest of the receivers feature players such as Marquise Goodwin, DeAndre Smelter, Aldrick Robinson and last year’s “primary” target Jeremy Kerley. While he’s no Kirk Cousins, Brian Hoyer should be a consistent QB that can deliver the ball to Garcon and develop a rapport with him as his go-to receiver. Hoyer has value in 2QB/Superflex for 2017 because of his lack of turnovers and consistent production.

With an ADP of 126, Pierre Garcon has the opportunity to return the greatest value for those that like to take low-risk players in the auction. Unlike how Torrey Smith flopped as last year’s San Francisco sleeper because he did not fit with the offense Garcon should bring a consistency that will be greatly appreciated by midseason. Having 113 catches is probably unrealistic at this point in his career but 70/1,100/6 could be a reasonable benchmark for Garcon to have over the next two seasons. For those that are penny-pinching in your auctions this year, Garcon would be an excellent candidate to place an $10-14MM/2year contract on.

So what does this mean for Washington?

Washington lost two 1,000 yard receivers in the same offseason which should speak volumes to the mess that the organization is with its player management. Just one year removed from winning their division if they cannot find a way to bring back Kirk Cousins they may be the basement dwellers of the NFC East for many years to come.

Coming off back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons Cousins should be able to hold as an undervalued target for 1QB leagues. His receiving core has taken a huge blow but they did bring in Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick to work alongside former 1st round pick Josh Doctson, fantasy darling Jamison Crowder, and TE Jordan Reed. With Cousins, there is the possibility that any one (or maybe two) of these receivers could reach the 1,000-yard plateau. The difficult is predicting who it will be.

Pryor seems the most likely bet as he showed that he was able to make the transition from QB to WR last year in Cleveland and just barely eclipsed the mark (1,007 yards) last year. Crowder should have the safest weekly floor in PPR leagues as he has established himself as the underneath target for Cousins. He had 67 catches last season with both Garcon and Jackson in the line-up. Those who took Doctson in the top 3 of rookie drafts last season will hope to get more out him this year after missing all of 2016. Depending on how his development as an NFL receiver has been over the last 12 months he could be an effective flex/bye week option in 2017. Jordan Reed is probably the best all-around pass catcher in this offense but it is hard to trust him to stay healthy. Like Rob Gronkowski, when Reed is in on the field he is an advantage to have in your line-up, but that has been far and few between the last couple of seasons. He is one big collision away from never playing football again.

Because RSO forces owners to place a value on players in the auction the question heading into your offseason is how long do you want to continue to invest in this offense? The last two years Washington has been an underrated fantasy goldmine for WR2s/3s and QB/TE1. But if they cannot come to a deal with Cousins and he becomes a free agent next season are they still a 4,000-yard passing offense with a rookie or washed out QB in 2018? Unless you can get any of these players on a very low sum, multi-year contract this is a group of players that I would treat like a redraft and only offer a one year deal. If your league is implementing the new resign figure Cousins, Pryor or Crowder could be excellent candidates if the situation becomes clearer as the season progresses.

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? Look for my polls to cast your vote or send me a message on Twitter @naandrews19.

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Cap Analysis: Buccaneers

Updated: February 26th 2016

Tampa Bay Buccanneers

Trending: Up ↑↑

The Bucs, like their Florida brethren from Jacksonville, are in a strong position to improve quickly. Gerald McCoy, LaVonte David, Jameis Winston, and Mike Evans is a very solid young core to build around. They have only one true priority free agent in my view, a top 10 draft pick, and almost $50M in cap space. The team ousted Lovie Smith and replaced him from within with Dirk Koetter. Koetter is a first time NFL head coach, spending the majority of his career as an offensive coordinator on the college and pro level, but he was the head coach at Boise State and Arizona State in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He got the most out of David Garrard and Matt Ryan when he was the OC for the Jags and Falcons, and should continue to help Jameis Winston develop into an elite quarterback.

Projected 2016 Team Salary$113.4M (not including escalators and NLTBE* incentives) *Not Likely To Be Earned

Projected 2016 Cap Room: ~$48.6M (~$154M Estimate; ~$8.0M Rollover)

Situation: Strong

The Bucs have almost $50M in cap space, and that doesn’t include the space they could create if they choose to move on from certain veterans. The Bucs have several veteran contracts that they can easily get out from under to create additional space without repercussions. There are some notable free agents available, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and I think the Bucs will probably target and land at least one of them.

Notable Free Agents:

Bucs FAs

Henry Melton and Chris Conte were both drafted by the Bears while Lovie Smith was the head coach, so I would not be surprised to see the team let the Lovie loyalists walk. Doug Martin and Chris Ivory headline the free agent class of running backs. Martin finished second in rushing in 2015, and should be the team’s top priority. Tony McDaniel could be resigned, especially if Melton leaves, and would continue to be a nice option beside Gerald McCoy.

Top Projected Cap Hits:

Bucs Top Proj Cap Hits

The Bucs only have six cap commitments totaling more than $5M. Four of those commitments are to young star players. Two, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins, are 33 year-old veterans that could either have their contracts restructured, or be released, though the Bucs will probably be content letting them play out their contracts given the amount of space the team currently has available.

Cap Casualty Watch List:

Bucs Cap Cas

If they were so inclined, the Bucs could save almost $46M in a purge of veterans. That’s not likely to happen for two reasons: 1) they already have plenty of cap space and 2) it would leave the roster with some pretty gaping holes that they wouldn’t be able to fill with equal talent, even with all that money freed up. Most of these are included strictly because of age, contract structure, potential savings, and expiration. But, a few of the names on this list will undoubtedly be forced to restructure or be released. Major Wright is another player drafted by the Bears when Lovie Smith was the head coach, so I would not be shocked if he is shown the door.

Extension Watch List: 

Bucs Ext Watch List

The Bucs have a few players from the 2013 draft class they might consider extending, and two veterans on their offensive line. My guess is that the team will let most or all of these players play out the remainder of their respective contracts. If Tony McDaniel and Henry Melton are both allowed to leave in free agency, an extension for defensive linemen Akeem Spence and/or William Gholston could make sense.

Position Needs: 

Runningback, Safety, Corner.

Sleeper Watch: 

I’m holding out hope that 2016 is the year that things finally click for Austin Seferian-Jenkins. If he can stay healthy, I could see a breakout year ahead.

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

More Analysis by Matt Papson