Anthony Fasano

Contract Details: Jones, Gresham, Church

Let’s take a look at the details of some recently-signed contracts:

Dolphins To Sign Anthony Fasano

The Dolphins have reached an accord with free agent tight end Anthony Fasano, according to Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Anthony Fasano (Vertical)

The Titans were reportedly interested in re-signing Fasano, whose second Tennessee campaign featured him grading out as Pro Football Focus’ best run-blocking tight end. He paired with Delanie Walker to give the Titans two top-15 PFF tight ends, making Tennessee the only team to have two such players grade this high. As a receiver, 2016 marked Fasano’s worst season. In Mike Mularkey‘s run-first offense, Fasano caught just eight passes for 83 yards — each stat representing a career-low figure.

While the Giants and Jets were also eyeing Fasano, he’ll instead head to Miami, where he played from 2008-12. The Dolphins recently lost Dion Sims to the Bears, so Fasano will play the in-line tight end role in Adam Gase‘s TE-friendly offense, allowing Julius Thomas to flex out wide. Fasano ranked as PFR’s 7 No. free agent tight end.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Rumors: Charles, Peterson

The latest free agent rumors:

  • NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that players in need of medical clearance (Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, T.J. Lang) will take visits but won’t sign quickly. The reporter also notes that Peterson could ultimately stay with the Vikings.
  • When it comes to offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, the Saints, Lions, Seahawks, Colts, Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, and Falcons are among the potential teams to watch, according to Josina Anderson on Twitter.
  • The Jets have expressed interest in re-signing linebacker Josh Martin, a source tells Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter), but he’s poised to hit the open market. Martin stands as the team’s top special teams player.
  • The Giants have expressed some initial interest in tight end Anthony Fasano, an NFL source tells Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Jets also have some interest in the blocking specialist.
  • The Steelers have interest in re-signing veteran tight end David Johnson, reports ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. Johnson played in 16 games (five starts) during his first season in Pittsburgh, collecting seven receptions for 80 yards.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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AFC South Rumors: Jaguars, Texans, Titans

Former Jaguars defensive lineman Jared Odrick has filed a $5.5MM grievance against the club as a result of Jacksonville voiding his guarantees while claiming Odrick didn’t undergo the proper treatment during rehab, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Odrick was released by the Jaguars in late February after two seasons with the team. Per Pelissero, the issue of Jacksonville forcing players to complete rehab at the Jags’ facility has been resolved.

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Mutual interest exists between the Texans and free agent tight end Ryan Griffin, but no deal is imminent and Griffin is expected to use free agency to gauge his value, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It’s unclear at present whether Griffin will be able to slide into the $4-5MM per year range, but other clubs are likely to be interested in the 27-year-old. In 2016, Griffin posted 50 receptions for 442 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games (two starts).
  • The Titans will let former first-round picks Kendall Wright and Chance Warmack walk in free agency, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Wright admitted earlier this year that he was ready to leave Tennessee, where he’s managed only 65 receptions over the past two years. On the other end of the spectrum, the Titans do want to retain veteran tight end Anthony Fasano, and “some level of conversation” is occurring between the two parties, according to Kuharsky.
  • In case you missed it, the Colts won’t be re-signing veteran safety Mike Adams, who’d spent the past three years in Indianapolis.

Titans Discussing Anthony Fasano Re-Up

Anthony Fasano is about to hit free agency for the second time in three years, but the Titans are discussing bringing the tight end back. The indications, as of now, point to the Titans wanting to retain Fasano, Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com reports.

The Titans are likely interested in at least one more Fasano season due to the blocking ability the 32-year-old veteran displayed last year. Fasano’s second Tennessee campaign featured him grading out as Pro Football Focus’ best run-blocking tight end. He paired with Delanie Walker to give the Titans two top-15 PFF tight ends, making Tennessee the only team to have two such players grade this high. As a receiver, 2016 marked Fasano’s worst season. In Mike Mularkey‘s run-first offense, Fasano caught just eight passes for 83 yards — each stat representing a career-low figure.

It won’t take a substantial commitment to keep Fasano. The Titans signed him initially in 2015 for two years and $5.25MM. Walker will make $4.2MM in base salary this season. PFR’s latest tight end rankings place Fasano, who will turn 33 in April, seventh among tight ends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Mike Glennon
  3. Nick Foles
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  6. Case Keenum
  7. Matt McGloin
  8. Mark Sanchez
  9. Geno Smith
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Josh McCown
  12. Christian Ponder
  13. Blaine Gabbert
  14. Matt Schaub
  15. Ryan Nassib

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Eddie Lacy
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Jacquizz Rodgers
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Danny Woodhead
  9. Rex Burkhead
  10. Tim Hightower
  11. DeAngelo Williams
  12. Andre Ellington
  13. Chris Johnson
  14. Christine Michael
  15. Robert Turbin

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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Contract Details: Britt, Dent, Fasano, Jets

Here are a few specific details on some of the contracts signed recently by 2015’s free agents:

  • Kenny Britt‘s two-year contract with the Rams can be worth up to $13.95MM with incentives. However, the deal voids after one year if Britt has 901+ receiving yards or at least nine touchdowns during the 2015 season, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
  • Per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), Akeem Dent‘s two year deal with the Texans is worth $4.5MM, and includes $2MM in guaranteed money, including a $750K signing bonus.
  • Wilson also has the details on Anthony Fasano‘s new two-year contract with the Titans, tweeting that it’s worth $5.25MM, with a $1.125MM signing bonus and $500K annually in per-game roster bonuses.
  • New Jets defensive lineman Stephen Bowen will make $950K on his one-year deal with the team, with $60K of that amount fully guaranteed, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson also signed for $950K and a $60K signing bonus, so it appears the two players have the same contract.

Titans, Anthony Fasano Agree To Terms

The Titans continue to dominate Friday’s NFL news cycle, having reached a deal with their fifth player of the day, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that the team agreed to terms with tight end Anthony Fasano. Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, Ryan Succop, and Karl Klug have also struck deals with Tennessee so far today.

Fasano, 30, split time with Travis Kelce in Kansas City last season and was significantly out-targeted by the 25-year-old (87 to 36), catching just 25 balls to Kelce’s 67. Despite not being as involved in Kansas City’s passing game, Fasano logged about the same number of offensive snaps as the sophomore tight end, frequently serving as a blocker on both run and pass plays. Still, his grades as a blocker weren’t great, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Chiefs released him last month.

In addition to paying a visit to Tennessee this week, where he agreed to sign with the Titans, Fasano also drew some interest from the Bills, who released Scott Chandler and saw another tight end, Lee Smith, depart via free agency.

With the Titans, Fasano looks like a good bet to be slotted in second on the team’s tight end depth chart, behind Delanie Walker.

East Notes: Jets, Bills, Harvin, Fasano

Now that he has returned to the Jets, cornerback Darrelle Revis is working hard to convince Antonio Cromartie to come back to the Meadowlands, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com writes.

I’m going to get in contact with him very soon and try to convince him to come back and join our Batman and Robin tandem that we had a couple of years ago,” Revis said.

The two cornerbacks played together in New York from 2010 to 2012. There might not be much work for Revis to do, as Cromartie and the Jets are said to be pretty close to a deal.

Here are a few more Thursday morning notes from around the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Bills‘ visit with Percy Harvin is scheduled to continue today, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com, who tweets that the wideout is returning to the team’s facility this morning. Buffalo is said to be pushing to sign Harvin to a one-year deal.
  • After cutting Scott Chandler on Wednesday, the Bills are interested in former Chiefs tight end Anthony Fasano, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets. Fasano could visit with Buffalo if he doesn’t sign with the Titans during his visit there. Fasano, 30, was released by KC in late February.
  • Running back Shane Vereen made it clear last night that he’s not having second thoughts about leaving the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots for the Giants, as Doug Kyed of NESN writes. “This is a great organization. I was fortunate enough to play in New England with another great organization, and this is no slouch,” Vereen said. “This is not a step down. If anything, it’s a step up. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, and I’m enjoying being in New York.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.