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Cowboys Pump Brakes On David Njoku Rumor

General

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku demanded a trade on Friday, per his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Soon after, reports surfaced that the Dallas Cowboys were a "potential suitor" for Njoku. "That," one source said Friday as the news broke, "sounds like an agent creation." The Cowboys made a commitment to Blake Jarwin and also signed blocking tight end Blake Bell. They also have Dalton Schultz on the roster, which means Njoku wouldn't necessarily represent an upgrade. The Browns could be asking for a first-rounder in return. All of the Njoku rumors to Dallas were new to the Cowboys. Njoku is blocked by Austin Hooper in Cleveland and is looking for a team that can give him the targets he desires. That probably wouldn't happen in Dallas, but Njoku could become a TE2 with upside if he's traded and lands in the right situation.

David Njoku Demands Browns Trade Him

General

According to a Tweet by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has demanded that the team trade him before training camp. The Browns responded by telling Njoku that they would like to keep him, but Njoku is "intent" on being moved to another team. Njoku's request is most likely a result of Cleveland signing tight end Austin Hooper to a large contract his offseason to be their starter. Drew Rosenhaus, Njoku's agent, stated that "it is in David's best interest to find a new team at this time." If Njoku is moved, his fantasy value would be mostly dependent on his new team. That would also represent a playing-time bump for rookie Harrison Bryant. Bryant was the Browns fourth-round draft pick in April's draft.

Saints Banking On Healthy Marcus Davenport

Injuries

New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (foot) was sent to Injured Reserve last year with a Lisfranc injury a year after a turf toe injury limited him to 13 games. Between Davenport and Cameron Jordan, the Saints starting defensive ends had 19.5 sacks in the first 12 games. The Saints are being patient with their 2018 first-rounder heading into his third season. Davenport has been "busting his butt" this offseason in his rehab and is "putting the work in to come back in the best shape that he's ever been in," according to defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen. The young pass-rusher had six sacks last year and career highs in tackles (31), forced fumbles (three) and quarterback hits (16). While Davenport is a rising young defender, he's not quite in play as a starter in IDP leagues, and he must stay healthy moving forward. But the combination of him and Jordan on the Saints defensive line could be nasty in 2020.

Keke Coutee Hungry Heading Into Third Season

General

Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee hopes to have a bigger role in 2020 despite the additions of Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb after the team traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. "Very hungry, very hungry," Coutee said. "Not a lot of talking, just ready to work. Results speak for themselves in 2020." Coutee had 11 catches for 109 yards in his rookie season in 2018, but injuries have held him to just 15 games in two seasons. He had 22 receptions for 254 yards and no touchdowns in nine games in 2019. Will Fuller V, Cooks and Cobb figure to be the starters, but Fuller and Cooks have injury concerns and Cobb turns 30 in August. But with Kenny Stills also in the fold, Coutee might be the odd man out in 2020.

Mark Ingram II May Be Less Productive In 2020

General

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II finished the 2019 campaign with 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns and was also one of the league's most prolific threats inside the red zone. However, with Lamar Jackson back in the mix and likely to resume his dominance on the rushing end this season in addition to the team's selection of J.K. Dobbins in this year's NFL Draft, the 30-year-old could see some notable regression. While Ingram still has a chance to produce some adequate numbers on occasion in 2020, fantasy managers run the risk that he will fall short of surpassing his ADP expectations.

Jonathan Taylor Expected To Outrush All Rookies

General

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is expected to finish the year with the most rushing yards among rookies, according to Pro Football Focus. Topping the list with 858 yards and ahead of both Cam Akers (829) and D'Andre Swift (727), the site predicts that the former Badger will end the 2020 campaign with 858 yards. With Taylor having the protection of one of the most efficient offensive lines in the league, he has a shot to be one of the best fantasy backs overall despite the potential timeshare with Marlon Mack. He is a definite first of second overall dynasty pick and a third or fourth-round selection in redraft formats heading into the regular season.

D'Andre Swift Projected To Finish As A Top Rookie

General

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift is projected to finish third overall in rushing yards among rookies this season, according to Pro Football Focus. The site anticipates the former Bulldog to end the 2020 campaign with just over 727 yards on the ground, with Cam Akers (829) and Jonathan Taylor (858) outranking him on the list. Swift has a solid chance to end up as the team's workhorse throughout the year but will potentially concede carries to Kerryon Johnson, at least initially, while also being forced to play behind one of the league's worst offensive lines. He is surely worth a top draft pick in dynasty formats and is an adequate mid-round choice in redraft formats heading into the season.

Cam Akers Named Top Rookie

General

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers is projected to run for 829 yards this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That total ranks him second among rookies, finishing only behind Jonathan Taylor, who is predicted to surpass Akers by 29 yards to finish the 2020 campaign. The 52nd overall pick in this year's draft will battle Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. for a bigger piece of the potential backfield timeshare, with Akers expected to receive the most significant portion, especially toward the end of the regular season. While his anticipated yards total isn't encouraging, he is worth a first-round draft pick in dynasty leagues and a mid-round dart throw in redraft formats.

Lane Johnson Remains Confident In Eagles O-Line

General

Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said he does not expect the Eagles offensive line to "miss a beat" in the 2020 season. The Eagles were expecting to bring back four of their five starting linemen from last season, but right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a torn Achilles a few weeks ago and will miss the full season. Johnson said, "Obviously you can't replace a Brandon Brooks, who's the best guard in the league, so losing him was definitely a big blow for us but ultimately we still need him in the room as far as directing the young guys, pushing these guys forward." The Eagles offensive line has keeping Carson Wentz healthy as their most critical job in 2020. To keep their Super Bowl aspirations alive, the Eagles will need to keep Wentz on his feet. Pro Football Focus ranked the Eagles offensive line as the best in the league in 2019, and they should be somewhere among the top ranks again despite the loss of Brooks.

D.J. Reed Suffers Torn Pectoral Muscle

Injuries

San Francisco 49ers defensive back D.J. Reed (pectoral) suffered a torn pectoral muscle during a recent offseason workout, according to a league source. It's unknown how much time Reed will miss with his injury, but he's likely to be questionable to start the season on time unless it's delayed due to COVID-19. Linebacker Kwon Alexander suffered the same injury on Oct. 31 last year and returned to practice two months later. Reed is a valuable backup for the Niners because of his versatility to play corner, nickel back and safety. He can also contribute on special teams as a returner, but he has no significance to fantasy owners in IDP leagues. Reed was a fifth-round pick by San Fran in 2018 out of Kansas State. He appeared in all 16 games last year and had 13 tackles and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery.

Antonio Brown Would Love To Play With Seahawks

General

Many quarterbacks around the league are enamored with the idea of throwing to free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is one of them. The two actually worked out together on Wednesday. According to a source, Brown would love to play for the Seahawks. If they make a move on him, though, it would likely take some time. It sounds like a team will sign Brown despite all of his off-the-field troubles, but they will likely wait to see how the NFL handles him. Brown is expected to receive a lengthy suspension of at least eight games, but even then, QBs would love a chance to throw to him in the second half of the season. Because Brown probably won't play anywhere close to a full season in 2020, he's unlikely to be much of a redraft target to begin the season.

Shaq Thompson Aiming To Step Up With Luke Kuechly Retired

General

Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson, a former first-round pick, is hoping to fill the void left in the middle of the defense when Luke Kuechly retired after last season. "But I gotta step up as the last linebacker [of that] trio that we had with Thomas Davis and Luke. So I gotta step up and fill that role and be that leader," Thompson said on NFL Network's Total Access. He had a great season in 2019, compiling a career-high 109 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss, three sacks and three passes defensed. With Thomas Davis gone last year, Thompson saw 903 defensive snaps after never seeing more than 609 in any of his previous seasons. The 26-year-old is definitely in play as a low-end starting linebacker in IDP leagues.

NFL Teams Likely To Bring Fewer Players To Training Camp

General

In an effort to fight the spread of COVID-19, NFL teams are likely to bring fewer than the regular 90 players they typically bring to training camp in late July, according to league sources. One source is predicting that teams will bring around 80 players, and another source is saying 75, but nobody is expecting 90. There are also increasing questions from league sources about whether training camp will start on time with the number of coronavirus cases around the country spiking. The league is already proposing a reduction from four preseason games to two, but the players union might want zero games in this unusual offseason. Smaller training camp rosters would hurt the younger players looking to make the final roster the most.

Tavon Young Ready To Go

Injuries

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young (neck), who missed all of last season after having neck surgery, is healthy and ready to return to one of the best secondaries in the league in 2020. "He says he's healthy. He's ready to go. Tavon is ready to go, and if he tells me he's ready to go, I believe in him 100 percent. And he'll be ready to go, so I'm excited about that," defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. Young was the highest-paid slot corner when he signed a three-year extension worth an average of $8 million last offseason. He had 36 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and returned two fumbles for touchdowns in 2018. Young is extremely versatile but won't be on the IDP radar. His return will allow the Ravens to move Marlon Humphrey back outside after he was the team's primary slot corner last year with Young out.

Patriots Deal With Cam Newton Is Heavily Incentive-Based

Transactions

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is back in the NFL after signing a deal that guarantees him $500,000 in 2020. It include a $1.05 million base salary with $700,000 in per-game roster bonuses that could cap at $7.5 million. There is $5.75 million worth of incentives in this contract. This deal is truly a low-risk 'prove it' deal for Newton who has been injured each of the last two seasons. Head coach Bill Belichick has not named Newton the starter, but he is expected to beat out Jarrett Stidham for the starting role. Newton's fantasy value will solely depend on his health. The Pats offense is not stacked, but Newton could have decent fantasy value, assuming he's back to the player he was a few years ago.

Shaq Thompson Believes In Teddy Bridgewater

General

Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Thompson told NFL Network's Colleen Wolfe on Wednesday's NFL Total Access that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater "is back" to the talent that made him a Pro Bowler when he was with the Vikings. "I think Teddy's definitely going to come in and change the offense. He has great weapons," Thompson said. Bridgewater went 5-0 in relief of an injured Drew Brees for the Saints last year and has plenty of weapons at his disposal in his first year in Carolina. While the 27-year-old signal-caller isn't known as a QB that pushes the ball down the field consistently, he could surprise in 2020 under new head coach Matt Rhule. Bridgewater will be a QB2 target with upside for fantasy owners.

Trent Taylor In Line For Bounce-Back Season?

General

The Athletic's Matt Barrows believes that San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor is the favorite to finish third in receptions in 2020 behind tight end George Kittle and receiver Deebo Samuel. Taylor missed the entire 2019 campaign with a Jones fracture in his foot, which is the same injury that Samuel is recovering from right now. The 26-year-old has 69 receptions for 645 yards and three touchdowns in 29 games over his two seasons in San Francisco, but he'll have the opportunity to carve out a starting role this year, especially if Samuel isn't ready for Week 1. The 49ers apparently expect Taylor to be a big part of the offense, too, but fantasy owners will want to see it before they believe it. Rookie Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Hurd, Dante Pettis and Richie James will also be fighting for playing time.

Deebo Samuel Has Classic Jones Fracture

Injuries

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) is dealing with a classic Jones fracture and could be ready to return in 10 to 12 weeks rather than the 12 to 16 weeks that was originally reported. Samuel could still be pushing it to be ready for the start of the regular season, and the risk of him starting the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list has caused him to fall down draft boards. The 24-year-old was one of the team's best pass-catchers as a rookie, hauling in 57 receptions for 802 yards and three touchdowns. With his injury, rookie Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor become more attractive, at least early in the year. Samuel can be targeted as a WR4 with upside in fantasy drafts.

Dalvin Cook Deserves To Be Paid

General

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook recently made NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund's list of 10 players who deserve a new deal. The 24-year-old is currently searching for a new contract and stated that he plans to hold out if he doesn't get paid heading into the 2020 campaign. Cook ran for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on 250 attempts in 2019. He also added 53 catches for 519 yards and was one of the most prolific runners inside the red zone. While there are a few months to go before the start of the regular season, fantasy managers should be prepared in the event Cook doesn't report to training camp at the end of July, while also targeting Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone as adequate handcuff options.

49ers Have Discussed Extension For Kendrick Bourne

General

The San Francisco 49ers have discussed a long-term contract extension with wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. The 24-year-old caught 30 passes for 358 yards and five touchdowns last year and has 88 career receptions for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns (all in the last two years) in his three seasons in the league. Bourne isn't a household name, but he has two things going for him heading into the 2020 season: a potentially bigger role with Deebo Samuel (foot) a candidate to miss the start of the season, and a valuable red-zone connection with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Others in the Niners passing game could step up -- Jalen Hurd, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Richie James -- but Bourne now has some late-round flier appeal in deeper leagues in an offense that values yards after the catch.

Jets Still Talking With Demaryius Thomas

General

The New York Jets are still talking to free-agent wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The 32-year-old former Denver Bronco doesn't have much left in the tank at this point in his career, catching only 36 passes (58 targets) for 433 yards and one touchdown in his 11 games for the Jets last year. It's a far cry from when he compiled five straight 1,000-yard campaigns from 2012 to 2016 with the Broncos. New York's receiving corps isn't all that strong with Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and rookie Denzel Mims as the top three wideouts, but DT would likely battle for the fourth-receiver gig with the likes of Josh Doctson and Vyncint Smith. Thomas won't be relevant in New York unless injuries open up a more prominent role for him.

Le'Veon Bell Working Hard In The Training Room

General

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell has been "training like a mad man" this offseason. After holding out for all of 2018, Bell signed with the Jets and had the worst full season of his career, rushing for 789 yards and three touchdowns on 245 carries (career-low 3.2 yards per carry). He also added 66 receptions for 461 yards and another touchdown. Gang Green's putrid offensive line didn't do him any favors, but is the 28-year-old no longer an RB1? It doesn't help that head coach Adam Gase isn't a big fan of Bell, and veteran Frank Gore and rookie Lamical Perine could take away some touches. His production in the passing game helps his cause and the offensive line is upgraded, but Bell should be considered a low-end RB2 in this offense.

Antonio Brown Works Out With Russell Wilson

General

Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown posted a picture on his Instagram account on Wednesday showing him working out with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Russell Wilson. Brown is trying to work his way back into the league after countless off-field incidents. While he's likely to receive at least an eight-game suspension in 2020, it's looking more and more likely that another team will give him another shot based purely on his talent on a football field. The Seahawks were already one of the teams considering adding Brown or Josh Gordon, and Wilson working out with AB only furthers that narrative. Adding Brown to Seattle's mix would certainly be intriguing, but the controversial wideout won't have much redraft value with a lengthy suspension coming his way if he's reinstated.

Players Association May Not Want Any Preseason Games

General

NFL teams want to play just two preseason games in 2020 in order to get a read on their rosters and to get ready for Week 1 of the regular season, but the Players Association hasn't signed off on anything yet and is wondering if it's smart to start mixing teams for games that don't mean anything. If the players had it their way this year, they might prefer zero preseason games amid the coronavirus pandemic. Training camps are still on schedule to begin on July 28, but it's looking like there will be only two preseason games, at a maximum. Most of teams' starters hardly play at all in preseason games to begin with, so the NFL may be moving towards fewer preseason games in the future, regardless of COVID-19. Fewer preseason games would also mean fewer injuries to key players before the start of the regular season.

NFL Shortening Preseason To Two Weeks

General

The National Football League is shortening the 2020 preseason to two games as part of a larger acclimatization plan for players following an unprecedented virtual offseason program amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a source. Most players will still report to training camp on July 28, but the first preseason games won't be played until Aug. 20-24. Each team will play one home game and one road contest. The preseason is expected to be cut further when owners activate a provision in the collective bargaining agreement to expand the regular season to 17 games, which they can do as early as next year. Of immediate concern this year is the health and safety of the players and the staff.

Packers Sign Jordan Love To Fully Guaranteed Deal

General

The Green Bay Packers signed first-round quarterback Jordan Love on Wednesday to a fully guaranteed four-year, $12.383 million deal, according to sources. Love will receive a $6.566 million signing bonus. It's the first time that the No. 26 pick in the draft has received a fully guaranteed deal under the current rookie contract system. The Packers shocked everyone and took Love, the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers, in the first round in April. While the Utah State alum has some promising physical traits as a dual-threat QB, he was very inconsistent in college and isn't a sure thing at the next level. Rodgers is under contract through the 2023 season as well, so Love is strictly a dynasty/keeper stash and hold.

Packers Sign Second-Rounder A.J. Dillon

General

Green Bay Packers rookie running back A.J. Dillon announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday that he has signed his rookie deal with the team. The Boston College product ran for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final year in college. Dillon finished his college career with 4,382 yards and 38 touchdowns. Green Bay curiously took Dillon in the second round of April's draft when they already have Aaron Jones, who scored a whopping 19 touchdowns in 2019. Dillon will be an interesting complement to Jones in his rookie season, but it's hard to believe he'll see enough weekly touches to be of much use in redraft leagues, especially with Jamaal Williams also in the picture. The 22-year-old also doesn't contribute much in the passing game, which could limit his long-term fantasy appeal.

Duke Williams, Robert Foster Won't Be Locks To Make Team

General

Buffalo Bills wide receivers Duke Williams and Robert Foster could be facing an uphill battle to make the team out of training camp, in the opinion of The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia. Williams, 27, saw more opportunities late last season, but he played in just four regular season games and had 12 receptions for 166 yards and a score. Foster, 26, had only three receptions for 64 yards in 13 games (two starts). The Bills traded for Stefon Diggs in the offseason and also drafted wideouts Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins, so Williams and Foster have been pushed further down the depth chart. Williams might have a leg up on Foster because of his physical presence at the position, but neither will be fantasy options leading up to the season.

Devin Singletary To Be More Involved In Passing Game?

General

It's possible that the Buffalo Bills want to get running back Devin Singletary more involved in the passing game this year, in the opinion of The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia. If it actually transpires, this will obviously be good news for the second-year back, but the presence of rookie Zack Moss in Buffalo's backfield will likely limit Singletary to low-end RB2/high-end RB3 status regardless. The 22-year-old saw only 41 targets in the passing game in 2019 and caught 29 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Josh Allen isn't really the checkdown type either, so it remains to be seen how much more Singletary will be involved in the aerial attack.

Yannick Ngakoue Still Desires Trade

General

Nothing has changed with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue as we approach the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term contract extensions, according to a source. Ngakoue still desires a trade and doesn't have any immediate plans to sign the franchise tag. This is a situation that could bleed into training camp. The star pass-rusher could hold out for a deal, which would obviously be bad news for those targeting him as a low-end starting defensive lineman in IDP leagues. The Jaguars didn't receive any trade offers for him during the draft. The 25-year-old has become one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL in just four seasons, racking up 37.5 sacks and 122 combined tackles in 63 games for Jacksonville.

Kyler Murray Plans To Help Offensive Line More

General

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was the most-sacked signal-caller in his rookie season in 2019, getting taken down 48 times. Last year, a lot of those sacks I feel were on me, Murray said. The young QB held onto the ball way too long early in the season, but he was sacked just twice in the final three games. Arizona's offensive line is by no means outstanding, but they will remain largely unchanged from last season, which could be good news from a continuity standpoint. Murray plans to do his part to avoid taking so many sacks in his second season in the NFL. With a new No. 1 receiver in DeAndre Hopkins in a pass-happy offense, Murray has high-end QB1 upside for fantasy owners.

Cam Newton, Mohamed Sanu Working Out Together

Injuries

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is wasting no time getting to know his new teammates. Newton is reportedly already working out with his new wide receiver Mohamed Sanu Sr. this offseason. Both players missed time last season due to injuries, but are ready to bounce back in 2020. Newton offers MVP-caliber upside while Sanu will be key to the Pats receiving corps. Staying on the field and remaining healthy is going to be the key for both players this upcoming season. It's nice to them getting reps together before training camp so they can develop some chemistry. Sanu should be the No. 2 receiver behind Julian Edelman, which means there should be plenty of upside for him next season.

Markus Golden Looks Set To Return To Big Apple

General

New York Giants free-agent linebacker Markus Golden has until July 22 to find a new team after the Giants put a May 5 tender on him, but there is no indication that any other team is interested in signing him for more than one year and $4.125 million. If another team wanted him for more, it's clear that Golden would've signed by now. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano gets the sense that the Giants feel pretty confident he'll play for them in 2020. The former second-rounder had a great year with the G-Men in 2019, racking up a career-high 72 tackles and recording 10 sacks. But Golden put up just 30 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in his final year in Arizona in 2018 and isn't a great bet to return to double-digit sacks for IDP gamers.

Giants, Leonard Williams Not Close To Long-Term Extension

General

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano doesn't think that the New York Giants and defensive tackle Leonard Williams will come to an agreement on a long-term contract extension before the July 15 deadline. Williams wants to be paid like a premier pass-rusher (around $18-20 million a year), and the Giants haven't wanted to pay him that amount. On top of it, uncertain salary cap figures in 2021 are making teams be even more careful with long-term deals. General manager Dave Gettleman is all in on Williams after trading for him, but not everyone in the organization might be. If he plays the 2020 season on the tag, it'll be worth $16.1 million. The 26-year-old had just half a sack in 15 games with the Giants and Jets last year and has 17.5 career sacks in his six seasons. Williams could be a late-bloomer, but fantasy owners can leave him to the waiver wire in IDP leagues.

Chris Jones Unlikely To Get Extension?

General

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo believes that Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones deserves a long-term contract extension, but with the team not making an offer at $20 million per season or more, it could be unlikely that he agrees to a deal before the July 15 deadline. Under the franchise tag in 2020, Jones would make around $16 million. The Chiefs apparently don't think he's worth that amount, so there's a lot of work to be done if the two sides don't iron some things out. There's also the situation of extending Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, so Jones is on the backburner. Jones also threatened a potential holdout on his Twitter account. Most likely, the 25-year-old will play under the tag this year, where he'll be a low-end starting defensive lineman for IDP owners.

Odell Beckham Jr. Rejects New England Trade Talk

General

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. used his social media account to shoot down trade speculation that he would end up with the Patriots after Cam Newton signed there on Sunday. A video of Beckham and Newton working out together surfaced earlier in the offseason, causing some to speculate whether the star receiver could join Newton with the Pats. In response, Beckham tweeted, "U can find me in The LAND homie! We got unfinished business." Beckham struggled through the 2019 season, his first with the Browns, finishing with 74 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. That being said, the Browns don't seem particularly interested in trading the star wideout this offseason. Beckham can be treated as an upside WR2 in fantasy drafts this year.

Ron Rivera Believes Cam Newton Is Ready To Bust Out

General

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton could very well surprise us all during the 2020 season, according to former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. "Don't bet against him," Rivera said. "I really wouldn't." Rivera and Newton have been together since Newton entered the league in 2011. Everyone knows Newton has been sidelined by injuries the last few seasons, but Rivera does believe anyone should count him out just yet. "I mean, he's probably about as healthy as it gets from what I've seen on video. I think he's ready to bust out," says Rivera. The former Panthers coach won't be alongside Newton this time as he has taken over as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. However, Rivera believes Newton can recreate himself in New England. It remains to be seen what will happen with Newton in New England, but if healthy Newton could end up having success in 2020.

Jalen Hurts Working Out With DeSean Jackson

General

Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts has been working out with teammate DeSean Jackson. Hurts posted videos on his Instagram account on Monday, showing the second-rounder working out in Florida with the veteran wide receiver. Jackson is recovering from core muscle surgery and Hurts is trying to impress his coaches after coach Doug Pederson (somewhat) recently said Hurts, "needs to learn and pick up our system." Hurts is expected to begin the season as the number three quarterback behind starter Carson Wentz and 2016 sixth-rounder Nate Sudfeld, but the Eagles certainly didn't spend a second round pick to draft a third string quarterback. Hurts may be a direct backup for the somewhat oft-injured Wentz, or he may end up seeing work in something more like a Taysom Hill role. There's a wide range of outcomes for Hurts this season and going forward.

Jadeveon Clowney Plans To Pick A Team Before Season Starts

General

Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said that he intends to sign with a team "before the season starts, if everything still goes on time with the season." Clowney also said that "I have not narrowed down a final team. I'm still open." Clowney encountered a cold market this offseason, and it wasn't helped by the fact that teams haven't been able to get their medical team to look at him during the coronavirus pandemic. The pass-rusher will likely have to lower his contract demands ($17-18 million per season), as well, if he wants to sign before the season begins. A dynamic pass-rusher when healthy, Clowney has never had double-digit sacks in a season and has a lengthy injury history. The 27-year-old is a risk/reward IDP selection. The Browns, Seahawks and Titans have all been linked to him this offseason.

Buccaneers Not Interested In Signing Antonio Brown

General

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not expected to sign free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown, per ESPN's Dianna Russini. The talented, but troubled receiver has been out of the league since appearing in Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season with the New England Patriots. The 31-year-old has found himself in various legal troubles recently, which has generally left teams hesitant to sign him. There is no doubt Brown can be an asset for any team when looking at it from a football perspective, but he will likely face some sort of league discipline even if he were to get signed now. Other teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens have been linked to the wideout, but there is no certainty they will pursue him.

Jordan Wilkins Not A Lock To Make Team

General

It's not a lock that Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Wilkins will make the team as the fourth running back behind Marlon Mack, rookie Jonathan Taylor and third-down back Nyheim Hines. The Colts hardly ever use a fourth running back, and the skill group is accounting for another body with the signing of fullback Roosevelt Nix, who they envision having a routine offensive role. Wilkins has been a special teams contributor in his two NFL seasons, so that may be the only thing keeping him on the roster this year. He might be one injury away from having a role offensively, but he'll need to lock down a presence on special teams in order to secure a 53-man roster spot. Needless to say, Wilkins shouldn't be drafted in most fantasy leagues.

Evan Engram Running Again Post-Foot Surgery

Injuries

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (foot) was seen running and cutting for the first time since his foot surgery in December. Engram posted a video of him working out on Instagram, and it looks like the fourth-year tight end will be ready to go when training camps open up after ending last season on Injured Reserve. Engram has battled injuries in his career, as he's played just 19 games the past two seasons, but he can be one of the most explosive tight ends in football when healthy. Engram averaged 8.5 targets per game last season, and the Giants didn't do much to address their pass-catchers this offseason. Engram is being drafted as the sixth tight end off the board, which feels right for his combination of upside and injury risk.

Darius Leonard Impressed With DeForest Buckner

General

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard knows the team's defense will get better with the addition of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. "Having DeForest come onto the team and help our defense out, he's a complete dog. Watching his tape, he has a motor that doesn't stop," Leonard said. The Colts secondary allowed 248.9 passing yards per game last year, the 10th-most in the league. An improved defensive line should create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks and force them to get the ball out quicker. Buckner hasn't missed a game in three seasons and was the only player with 40-plus QB pressures, 10-plus run stuffs and seven-plus hustle stops in 2019, according to Next Gen Stats. Buckner should easily be a top-10 defensive line target in IDP formats, while Indy's defense will likely be in the streaming conversation this year.

Long-Term Deal May Not Be In Cards For Shaquil Barrett

General

Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is holding out hope for a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline, but he isn't holding his breath. "Long-term will probably be pretty hard with the situation of the world right now. I think we're working on a deal, but it probably won't be long (term)," Barrett said on Monday. The COVID-19 pandemic and unsure nature of next year's salary cap is making it hard for franchise tagged players to sign multi-year deals. If a long-term deal isn't worked out, Barrett plans to sign his tag. Barrett had 19.5 sacks in a full-time role for the first time in his career in 2019 and is set to earn $15.8 million in 2020 under the tag. Like the Bucs, fantasy owners in IDP leagues would like to see the pass-rusher have another great season before trusting him as a starting linebacker.

D.J. Moore In Line For Best Season Yet?

General

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore could be in line for a Pro Bowl season, according to Sports Illustrated's Schuyler Callihan. The 23-year-old emerged as one of the most dynamic wideouts in 2019 by compiling 87 catches for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns and did so despite the season-ending injury to Cam Newton and the inconsistent play of Kyle Allen. He also finished in the top ten at his position in both receiving yards and receptions, and with the recently signed Teddy Bridgewater hopefully providing some reliability under center along with a new coaching staff, Callihan's prediction may come to fruition in 2020.

Emanuel Hall Suffers Torn Achilles

Injuries

Washington Redskins wide receiver Emanuel Hall (Achilles) announced on Instagram that he tore his Achilles while working out and is expected to miss the 2020 season. Hall, an undrafted free agent out of Missouri, previously had stints with the Bears and Buccaneers practice squads but has yet to appear in an NFL game. The speedster had an opportunity to crack the 53-man roster in Washington this year, the Redskins receiver depth chart is thin behind Terry McLaurin.

Connor McGovern Thinks Le'Veon Bell Is Special

General

New York Jets center Connor McGovern thinks running back Le'Veon Bell is "a special player" despite disappointing with only 789 rushing yards and 3.2 yards per carry in 2019. The Jets brought in seven new offensive lineman this offseason in hopes of improving a unit that was one of the league's worst last season. McGovern is learning his fifth offense in as many seasons, but he's familiar with head coach Adam Gase's zone-blocking scheme from his time in Denver as a rookie. Bell, 28, will fall down draft boards because of his weak season in his first year with Gang Green, but this will present value opportunity for savvy fantasy owners. Bell may never be the runner he was with Pittsburgh in Gase's system, but he'll at least be a safe RB2 at a reduced cost in 2020.

Marquise Brown Having Great Offseason

General

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he thinks wide receiver Marquise Brown (foot) has "had a great offseason physically." Brown had an up-and-down rookie season while dealing with a Lisfranc injury that required surgery. Despite playing only 14 games, he still managed to finish as a top-50 fantasy wideout in a run-first offense. It speaks to the upside the deep threat has in the NFL as their No. 1 receiver, and he could see a breakout second season if his injury woes are behind him. The 23-year-old finished with 46 catches (71 targets) for 584 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. Hollywood Brown is a boom/bust WR3 with plenty of upside heading into his sophomore campaign.

Kevin Stefanski Unsure If He'll Call Offensive Plays

General

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said this week that he will wait to let the offensive play-calling decision play out during the preseason, whether it's him making the calls or offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Stefanski also has reason to believe that the players are ready to hit the ground running in July for training camp after virtual offseason meetings this year. The Browns might have a good problem on their hands with figuring out how to balance touches for running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and tight end Austin Hooper. While the Browns offense was a disappointment in 2019 behind a terrible offensive line, quarterback Baker Mayfield and company are expected to make strides this year in what should be an offense featuring many two-tight end looks.

Vita Vea Undergoes Minor Hand Surgery

Injuries

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea (hand) suffered an unspecified hand injury and underwent a minor surgical procedure a few weeks ago. Vea is expected to miss some time at the beginning of training camp, which is scheduled to start on July 28, but he's not expected to be limited for the start of the regular season. The 25-year-old was part of a Bucs run defense in 2019 that allowed an average of just 73.8 rushing yards per game, which was tops in the NFL. A first-round pick in 2018, Vea had a career-high 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits and four tackles for loss. He was the first player since J.J. Watt in 2014 to have a sack and catch a touchdown pass in the same game. Vea has become a fixture on the defensive line, and they hope he can continue improving for a Buccaneers Defense that is slowly approaching fantasy relevance.