You’ve been working at your job for the past five years.
You like the area you live in, you like the people you work with, and the company is viewed as one of the top organizations in the country. You like it there, you’re comfortable, but you’d like to get that promotion soon. You just don’t want to be stuck in the same job forever.
Another company approaches you in the spring with a potential opportunity. Not only are they going to offer you that promotion you’ve been seeking the last couple years but they’re going to DOUBLE your salary! They want you to be the head of their division and improve their company to eventually be as great as your current one. Sounds like a heck of an opportunity but what’s the catch, right?
You’re going to a company that’s not as successful, the city you'd be moving to is a bit colder than you’d like and none of your friends or family lives there. Your current company says they’ll bump your pay by only 10% and they can’t give you a promotion any time soon. It may be another three or four years before they can.
What do you do? Stay loyal to your current company or take the promotion you’re seeking with this new company?
It’s a tough choice for anyone to make and that to me is the fascination of free agency for us fans. It’s easy to criticize player’s decisions when they leave our favorite team for the pay raise on what appears to be a lesser team. But in reality, we might make the same decision in that situation if it gives us a chance to improve our career and a better salary to provide for our families.
That being said, change is constant in the NFL and players change teams often. The players below did change organizations this past offseason for a variety of reasons and these moves will impact our fantasy football lineups in the upcoming season. Andrew covered the AFC in his article, I’ll be covering the NFC. Let’s take a look at five players with new teams in the NFC this season.
WR Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
Calvin Johnson is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player so replacing him is not a task for one man. However, the Lions signed Marvin Jones to a 5-year, $40 million deal to help pick up some of the 88-1,214-9 production, Johnson is leaving behind.
While in Cincinnati, Jones showed he has ability to be a productive pass catcher as he caught a career-high 10 touchdowns in 2013. Then after losing his 2014 season due to a ankle injury, Jones rebounded to have 65 catches for 816 yards in 13 games started in 2015.
In Detroit, Jones will be joining an offense that has thrown an average of 643.6 times in the last five seasons. Stafford led the league in touchdown passes inside the 10-yard line last season with 21 and Jones will likely be the top option for red zone targets due to his success in Cincinnati.
Golden Tate is the only other WR he’ll battle for targets - and very well could be the #1 target for Stafford - but Johnson’s 149 targets are now available for the taking. While he won’t be Calvin Johnson, I see Jones being a high-upside WR3 for most of the season.
TE Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
Fleener has been playing football with Andrew Luck since he was 18-years-old. That will change next season, as now Fleener will be playing with another elite QB, Drew Brees, after signing a 5-year $36 million deal with the New Orleans Saints.
During his time in Indianapolis, Fleener’s production was often stifled a bit by the presence of fellow TE Dwayne Allen, which hindered his snap count and red zone opportunities. However, he did finish each of the last three seasons with at least 50 catches. Now, he will be replacing Ben Watson – and his 74 receptions – as the top TE for the Saints.
Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Ben Watson all experienced career years while playing with Drew Brees. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Fleener, Cooks, and Snead are projected to be the top-3 “most heavily targeted” Saints pass catchers this season. The upside is there for Fleener to challenge Gronk and Reed at the top of the fantasy TE mountain this season.
WR Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons
Another former Bengals WR hits the list as the Falcons signed Sanu to a 5-year, $32.5 million deal to be their #2 WR alongside superstar, Julio Jones. The question on if he’ll able to fill the role, is still up for debate.
When Marvin Jones missed 2014 with a foot injury – and even the three games A.J. Green missed – Sanu filled in admirably. He recorded 56 catches for 790 yards and 5 TDs in the 13 games started that season. The bad news, he led the NFL in dropped passes with 14. But hey, if he’s dropping passes, you can always have Sanu throw it, as he’s 5-for-5 for 177 yards and two touchdowns in his career, including this beauty to A.J. Green.
All jokes aside, Sanu was brought in to fill the role Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson weren’t able to on a consistent basis last season. He’ll be given every opportunity to succeed based on the money they paid him so he’ll be worth a look in fantasy leagues as a WR4 or WR5 due to potential volume.
WR Rueben Randle, Philadelphia Eagles
Since Randle was chosen in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, his Giants career will be viewed as a tenure of ups-and-downs. Talent and size were there but consistency hasn’t been able to follow him at this point in his career. Maybe the change of scenery will be good for Randle has he signed a 1-year deal worth $1.025 million with the Philadelphia Eagles.
While Randle didn’t live up to his draft selection in New York, he did catch a career-high 8 TDs last season and hasn’t missed a game in his career. He’s also only 24-years old so youth is on his side. However, Randle is going to a situation where he’s getting a downgrade in QB and won’t be playing alongside an all-world WR in Odell Beckham Jr. taking all the defenses attention.
That said, Head Coach Doug Pederson is quoted as saying Randle has “really made an impact” at OTAs a couple weeks ago. There also isn’t much competition for Randle as Jordan Matthews will play primarily from the slot, Nelson Agholor had a disappointing rookie season (and a potential sexual assault case hanging over his head) and Josh Huff hasn’t shown all that much thus far to warrant a starting position.
He’ll probably end up on a waiver wire column at some point during the season but I’d leave him undrafted until we see results during the year.
TE Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers
For my wrestling fans out there, Jared Cook is the Dolph Ziggler of the NFL. He has the look, the talent and every year you fall into the belief that this will be the year he finally breaks out. But, for whatever, reason it just doesn’t ever seem to come together for him.
However, this offseason Jared Cook may have cashed-in his Money in the Bank briefcase by signing with the Green Bay Packers. Cook will now be catching passes from the best QB he’s ever played with, Aaron Rodgers, who has made other TEs, Jermichael Finley and Richard Rodgers, viable fantasy options in this potent offense.
The upside is there playing in this offense, however he may be too far down the pecking order to be a top fantasy TE. Jordy Nelson is coming back from an ACL injury, then there is Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis and Richard Rodgers to throw to also. Cook will probably end up being an inconsistent, tough-to-trust option, but he’s worth a flier late in drafts based on upside alone.