The NFL free agent market always comes to a screeching halt just prior to the NFL draft. The glamorous names, for the most part, have already signed with new teams. When you look at the NFL transaction wire in early to mid April, you may not recognize many of the players involved. In other words, you have to really scour to find important moves.
Here are some moves that could prove to be larger when the games kick off, than we perceive them to be now:
*WR Darius Heyward-Bey to the Colts- Heyward-Bey was an enigma during his time in Oakland, much like the rest of his teammates with the Raiders. Al Davis, may he rest in peace, had a pension for assembling talented players that didn’t go together. DHB was a big part of that sloppy pile of mismatching jigsaw pieces that Davis accumulated. Davis fell in love with his combine numbers and simply drafted him way too high. Jamaaaarcus Russell to Heyward-Bey was just never destined to be like Montana to Rice. Instead, it was purple drank to in the tank.
Bey is now to the point of his career that we all like to label as the crossroads. He lasted well into the free agent market with little publicity. While he may have been treated like a scrap heap player, don’t be surprised if a bloom grows from this dumpster. Andrew Luck is Peyton Manning mixed with Dan Marino, John Elway, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Uncle Rico and Burt Reynolds…he’s the bees knees. Even as limited as he may have appeared in silver and black, Heyward-Bey still has a ton of raw skill that Mr. Luck could bring out. Don’t be surprised when it happens.
*CB Nnamdi Asomugha to the 49’ers- As if the best fantasy football defense needed to be “defense-ier.” Asomugha is back to his West Coast comfort zone. The Cal-Berkeley grad and former Raider gets to blend in with a true dream team. The failed Philadelphia Eagles experiment is now in the rear view mirror. The San Francisco 49’ers are just what the doctor ordered for the NFL’s former- “best shutdown corner in the game.” San Francisco will be scary good in 2013. I predict Asomugha will look more like his old self by The Bay this season.
*QB Carson Palmer to the Cardinals- This is beginning to feel like an ode to ex-Raider players. Palmer is what he is. He has no feet, he has average instincts and he’s not “Mr. Film Study.” He does however have an above average NFL arm. Larry Fitzgerald has been waiting for one of those since Kurt Warner’s wife told him he had to retire.
I’m not predicting a huge win-total boost here. Palmer isn’t a winning kind of guy. He is however, a 24 out of 38 with 300 yards in the bank kind of guy when paired with legit weapons. Fitz is more than a weapon. He’ Calvin Johnson’s role model when he has a cannon to get it in his range. I predict big numbers for Palmer; big yards, decent TD’s and BIG interception numbers. What I’m mainly predicting though, is the return of Larry Fitzgerald to the ranks of elite fantasy wide receivers. Book it.
*WR Michael Jenkins to the Patriots- Surprise! He hasn’t played for the Raiders. Michael Jenkins to the Patriots really shouldn’t be a major deal. However (Stephen A. Smith style,) Jenkins is a wide receiver. Any wide receiver that signs in New England could be the next Wes Welker. Tom Brady can’t just throw to the tight ends and make handsome faces. He needs receiver help. Their current depth chart is void of anyone who scares you at that position. Danny Amendola doesn’t scare anyone but Dr. James Andrews and Verne Troyer. Jenkins should be a non factor, but could be that 16th round pick that carries your fantasy receiving corps while Brady figures out whom to throw it to sans-Welker.
It should be noted that many people with separation anxiety are pretty moody. Tom Brady will be a little cranky while he gets over Peyton Manning stealing his slot machine.