Wednesday saw some interesting moves including us finally getting an answer on Aaron Rodgers’ desires for the 2023 season. Below is a roundup of the biggest moves of day three of free agency.
Rodgers chooses the Jets
It’s not a done deal as in an announced trade, but Rodgers announced Wednesday his intention to play for the New York Jets. He shared it’s just a matter of the teams working out compensation. It ends months of speculation about where Rodgers will land that has been swirling since the Packers’ 2022 season ended. Now the pressure is on for the two teams to agree to a deal.
Rodgers has played for the Packers for 18 seasons. The 39-year-old is 147-75-1 in his career, passing for 59,055 yards and 475 touchdowns. He’s a four-time NFL MVP that gives the Jets a boost as they attempt to make it to the playoffs. Rodgers figures to be a borderline QB1 in 2023 with the Jets offense.
Rodgers wasn’t the only quarterback to sign. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former First Round pick Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal worth $8.5 million. Mayfield joins third-year quarterback Kyle Trask on the roster. Mayfield figures to be the starter and has QB2 upside.
The Washington Commanders also made a move, signing Jacoby Brissett to a one-year deal. Brissett joins a roster that includes second-year man Sam Howell, a Fifth-Round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. It’s hard to tell who will start or if the Commanders are done. I’m not bullish on Brissett.
A couple other quarterbacks signed to backup deals. Kyle Allen signed with the Buffalo Bills while P.J. Walker moved from the Carolina Panthers to the Chicago Bears. Neither move does much for fantasy value.
Juju moves on to New England
The Patriots made a splash Wednesday, too, signing receiver Juju Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $33 million deal. The Patriots lost top pass catcher Jakobi Myers on Tuesday and traded safety Jonnu Smith, leaving the team in need of playmakers. Smith-Schuster becomes easily the best receiver on the Patriots’ roster.
Smith-Schuster spent his first five seasons with the Steelers before signing a one-year deal with the Chiefs in 2022. He caught 78 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns last season. I like his potential as a low-end WR2 in 2023.
The Patriots weren’t done, adding free agent running back James Robinson to a two-year deal worth up to $8 million. The Patriots still have leading rusher Rhamondre Stevenson on the roster as well as some other backs. Robinson, who split the 2022 season between the Jaguars and the Jets, provides some depth and flexibility, but it doesn’t move the needle much for fantasy.
Running Back Roulette
It was another huge day for running backs. The biggest deal was the Panthers signing Miles Sanders to a four-year, $25 million deal. The Panthers have lacked explosion after trading Christian McCaffrey during the 2022 season. The combination of D’Onta Foreman, still a free agent, and Chuba Hubbard, still on the roster, led the team down the stretch. Sanders is coming off a career year with the Eagles, where he rushed for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. I like his potential as an RB2 with the Panthers, who loaded up on weapons Wednesday signing free agent tight end Hayden Hurst as well.
The Saints also made a splash, signing Jamaal Williams to a three-year deal. Williams rushed for 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2022 with the Lions. He provides some punch for the Saints and some insurance given the pending legal issues for Alvin Kamara. I like him as an RB 3.
The biggest news Wednesday was the Cowboys releasing Ezekiel Elliott. It remains to be seen where Elliott will land. While Elliott is leaving his team, several other running backs signed deals to return to their teams. The biggest name on the list was Alexander Mattison, who returned to the Vikings on a two-year deal. Justice Hill, Ravens, Myles Gaskin, Dolphins, and Treyvon Williams, Bengals, all returned on a one-year deal. Aside from Mattison, whose return could add fuel to the Dalvin Cook trade rumors, none of the re-signings makes a bit impact for fantasy.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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