Jacksonville Jaguars star and 2011′s NFL leading rusher Maurice Jones-Drew is reporting to the team as I write this. He says “I’m game-ready now,” but that remains to be seen. Look for backup RB Rashad Jennings to start against the Vikings next weekend. Fantasy owners need to beware of MJD this season as they recall CJ2K’s holdout from the Titans two years ago. He had his least-productive NFL season after his holdout, and that seems to be a recurring theme for guys who miss a lot of camp and hold out. They just don’t produce like they did the previous season.
Since Pocket Hercules will be in the final year of his un-adjusted contract in 2013, if he has a “down” year, look for the Jags to trade him after this season. He’ll still only be 28, and might be the final piece of the puzzle for a playoff team that needs a force in the backfield. It’s too early to really think this out now, but I could see a team like Cincinnati or Pittsburgh (depending on Mendenhall’s health) picking him up, or possibly even New England as they did with Corey Dillon and Fred Taylor at the end of their careers.
Can you imagine if New England had a back like MJD? I think he would be as valuable a pickup as they could get…if the above scenario plays out.
The Seattle Seahawks cut TE Kellen Winslow, jr. on Saturday. They reportedly signed TE Evan Moore from the Cleveland Browns’s scrap heap. Ironically, Winslow was drafted by the Browns in 2004. After an injury-filled first 2 seasons, Winslow has missed only 6 games in the past 6 seasons – all in ’08, his final season in Cleveland before heading south to Tampa Bay.
It looks like a cost-cutting move in Seattle. Winslow was supposed to make $3.3 million this season.
Oddly enough, the Jets cut DE Marcus Dixon. His low salary of $500,000 probably isn’t the reason. He can play DE or DT, so he’s a versatile backup who sees the field and the Jets worried about their pass rush so much that they drafted UNC’s Quinton Coples in the first round.
Dixon is no pass-rusher, but he’s a solid reserve. The move has many baffled, myself included.
In a much less surprising move, the Arizona Cardinals cut Clark Haggans yesterday and the San Francisco 49′ers signed him. The Niners have a great group of starting linebackers but not much depth behind them. 2012 Draftees Darius Fleming (5th round – Notre Dame) and Cam Johnson (7th round – Virginia) resulted in Fleming getting hurt and on the PuP (Physically unable to Perform) list and Johnson, needing more time to develop, is on the practice squad. This opens the door for Haggans to see the field every game as a reserve, so Jim Harbaugh took care of one of the few depth issues his team has. Scary thought.
Redskins’ RB Tim Hightower was in the last group of cuts Friday to shed players to get to the 53-man roster by the 9pm Friday night deadline, but could possibly be reunited with the franchise once he gets healthy again. He’s recovering from a minor knee procedure and should be back ready to go in the next few weeks, so someone will probably take a flier on him if the Redskins don’t, but Mike Shanahan has been the devil to fantasy league owners forever as far as RBs are concerned.
CB Drayton Florence was released Friday by the Denver Broncos in the final round of cuts after being signed in May. He actually spent the last 3 seasons in Buffalo, starting all but one game in that span. The Detroit Lions, a team VERY VERY thin in the secondary, signed him and he looks to be a starter opposite incumbent CB Chris Houston. He’s a durable player, having missed only 9 games since he was drafted in 2003.