2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Offseason News, Observations, Rumors (2/9/2020)
Every few days on FFM, in the offseason, per usual, I’m going to share some observations from the latest football news and share any rumors/interesting conversations I’m coming across. Two or three items every few days, as I have things of interest to share.
In no particular order…
Two big running back rumors/chatter this past week to check in on…the fallen plights of David Johnson and Todd Gurley.
-- The Rams are reportedly ‘looking at all options’ with Todd Gurley. Now, before we dive into Gurley specifically…
Can we first discuss how poorly run the L.A. Rams are, and that the 2018-19 Super Bowl appearance potentially prolonging/tying them to most-of-his-career-failed GM Les Snead even longer than they should have?
Les Snead of the Jeff Fisher debacle years. Snead was on the employment ropes when he hired Sean McVay, who turned water into wine in a two-year span…and Snead rode those coattails. The Rams then give a huge deal to Gurley, in a time when everyone can see spending bucks on RBs is not the way to go…but the Rams did it anyway, pushed by a fawning-for-Gurley media. Now, just two years later the Rams now regret what they did, apparently.
How did this happen? I thought Gurley was so integral, a team leader? A must-have player? Now, he’s a boat anchor a year+ removed from being ‘the franchise’. As soon as the knee problems hit, the Rams ‘talked’ about reducing Gurley’s workload to preserve him…only to do nothing of the sort. Gurley was taking carries in blowouts late in games in 2019. Darrell Henderson was not developed for the future, and Malcolm Brown was a pile of payroll money set on fire.
Gurley’s greatness might have been way more O-Line driven than anyone in the media wanted to believe (Gurley lovers that they are)…and the Rams lost some key pieces to the O-Line last season, and thus Gurley is suddenly ‘to blame’.
I don’t know what the Rams are doing…besides reaching for and overpaying stars at the top and eroding their depth of talent otherwise. Goff-Gurley-Donald-Ramsey…a great group to have but nearly half of their 2020 payroll is wrapped up in those four players. Over half of the payroll wrapped up when you add Brandin Cooks to the ledger for 2020.
In one season, the Rams have gone from best young coach, team of the future, Goff-Gurley-Donald locked up, best O-Line…to missing the playoffs, having payroll problems and having traded away many top draft picks, firing Wade Phillips among others, having a worrisome O-Line, and now looking at dumping the supposed heart and soul of the team (Gurley)? How fast things can change in the NFL.
The Rams are closer to the bottom of the NFC West than the top. They are closer to scrapping things and rebuilding than they are on the cusp of a title or ‘going for it’ this year with their top names. They may be the team in most chaos/flux in the 2020 offseason.
How did this happen all in one year? The NFL is a fickle thing.
The Rams could cut ties with Gurley before March 20th and pay him $12.6M out the door and start afresh, creating some salary cap breathing room. If Gurley is on the team on 3/21/2020 – they owe him an $8M roster bonus plus $9.7M in salary for the upcoming season. They could create approx. $5M in CAP space dropping him.
A renegotiated deal would be their first approach, if they are all still into Gurley…but Gurley should want to hit the open market. He would love to be cut, financially-speaking – get all his guaranteed money paid out and make a new, big deal right away.
A trade away to another team who works out a new deal with Gurley is the most likely outcome…it just makes the most sense. Gurley will want a new deal this year or for sure the next…if the Rams don’t see Gurley as the future – now is the time to dump him on another dupe/team. The receiving team of Gurley would only acquire him if they have a new deal (better structured, more future money) in place for him, in theory.
Just cutting Gurley doesn’t seem likely to happen because there would be trade options…but it’s possible the Rams see the writing on the wall, and other teams fear his knee and cost, and the Rams just cut him. Financially, operationally, looking at all angles…outright cutting Gurley makes some sense. I just don’t believe Les Snead has the guts, nor does Sean McVay seem to want to go forward without Gurley…or he would’ve been pushing Darrell Henderson more.
And, finally, the Rams could just keep Gurley and deal with this ‘problem’ even easier next season If Gurley flops/isn’t worth the money in 2020). Very possible, because it’s the coward’s way…and the NFL front offices typically play like cowards, except in New England and Buffalo.
The Gurley trade talk is real…because it is a logical move in the pickle the Rams have suddenly found themselves in.
Now, let’s talk David Johnson…
*Coincidentally, speaking about running backs in the news, we just started a series on ‘Undervalued RBs to Consider’ for Dynasty Acquisition in the 2020 offseason. The series is making a case for 10+ existing NFL running backs and why they are a value, and how best to try to acquire them.
This series is found in our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball subscription area…
2020 Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball Subscriptions Now Available
It’s time for season #2 of our last season’s debut subscription…Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball.
I created Dynasty offseason as a way to communicate rankings/valuations on (500+) existing players (and also 400+ IDPs) for Dynasty and Keeper planning purposes (trades, etc.) as well as getting the jump on Best Ball/MFL drafts that begin in February and run all the rest of the year.
The fastest growing success percentage/money earning with FFM scouting/rankings/etc. is in those Best Ball/MFLs – draft a deep roster and forget it until the season begins, and then just watch the results…no lineup settings, no trading. Just pay to compete, out-draft everyone else, and try and cash in on our early/better read on things.
Dynasty Offseason subscriptions will be available when College Football Metrics begins (1/3/20), and you can purchase as a combo or just individually the one you want/need. However, the Dynasty Offseason rankings, etc., will not kickoff until right after the Super Bowl (articles and reports will post in January but player rankings/mock drafts not until past the Super Bowl)…and then we pile in material daily/weekly until opening day of the new NFL season.
If you were not a part of the Dynasty Offseason program last year, I will have more details on it on my playoff game recaps in 2020 and some additional explanation on Best Ball/MFL leagues, how to get started in them, how they work, etc. – if you’re not doing Best Ball/MFLs…you are missing out.
-- David Johnson is not at a financial advantage to Arizona to just outright release him…basically, pay him $14M this season or cut him and cost yourself $16M CAP hit to pay off the remainder of his guarantees in his deal. The Cardinals would likely keep DJ on the roster versus cutting, you would think…but GM Steve Keim, or more so Kliff Kingsbury, is capable of anything turning a cold shoulder to unwanted talent.
They definitely want DJ gone…and they would trade him, and I think they will absolutely trade him and it will probably be something like a deal for a player with a bad contract, just less worse than DJ’s, and they’ll cut that acquired player (maybe) to save some space…plus, Arizona will acquire a mid-round draft pick as well.
Arizona has to move Johnson. Kliff Kingsbury burned/disrespected him the 2nd-half of the season. DJ doesn’t want to be there, and Kingsbury has no interest in him…they have to move him, they just need to figure out how to do it taking the least cap hit situation possible.
They might hold DJ as a chip to negotiate with Kenyan Drake, and once they have Drake in pocket they can move Johnson. Honestly, everyone knows DJ is going off this team so it would be a weak ploy at best to try to negotiate down with Drake.
What the trade market is for Johnson is probably limited and a lot cheaper than you think. I think Tampa Bay/Bruce Arians has an interest. I think the Chiefs will take a look. I think the Jets and Cardinals could possibly swap headaches…DJ for Le’Veon, and Drake is not retained. I think the Eagles are a dark horse landing spot for DJ.
Predictions on these sudden ‘plague’ RBs…
I’d say Gurley leaving L.A. is about 20-30% likely in 2020. 70%+ to stay another year.
I’d say Johnson leaving Arizona is about 95% likely…and for fantasy, it means DJ’s value, which is kinda-dead-ish today – it will spike nicely in his new landing spot. Especially if that spot is KC or TB.
I have more information on Johnson’s situation, behind the scenes, but I am verifying the rumor and will put that out for subscribers of the Dynasty Offseason on FFM. It’s kind of a big thing to consider, for fantasy…potentially. And it’s not an easy DJ to TB rumor. No, it’s deeper/bigger than that.
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