If you’re an avid NFL fan or a dynasty fantasy football player, there is no such thing as an offseason. The second the Super Bowl ends, the following season begins, and you mark down all of the important dates on your calendar so you’ll have something to look forward to before the regular season begins again.
One of the biggest dates this year was March 14th, the start of free agency. Big names like Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and Carlos Hyde were all signed a day later, and many other players were signed in the ensuing couple of weeks. Free agency was silenced as the NFL draft came and went, but now it’s been over two weeks since the draft and there are still multiple high profile (though older) veteran free agents including; Demarco Murray, Dez Bryant, and (until recently) C.J. Anderson.
On May 7th, almost a month after being cut by the Broncos, C.J. Anderson signed with the Carolina Panthers. This was not a surprising move as the Panthers didn’t draft a running back. Christian McCaffrey is an extremely talented player, but he’s not built to be an early down, between the tackles bruiser who can be given 200+ carries in a season. They needed someone to fill the void that Jonathan Stewart left, so they went out and got a younger, more talented version of J Stew in Anderson.
But where will Bryant and Murray end up and when will they get there?
May 9th is an underrated day in the NFL offseason. It’s the day when teams’ compensatory picks are no longer affected by signing free agents. Teams that lost players in free agency are given compensatory picks in the following year’s draft based on how many players they lost and who they signed. If a team signs a player before May 9th, that hinders their chances of receiving more of these picks, but May 9th is the day where the compensatory pick formula is no longer affected. We generally see a resurgence of free agent signings around this time.
The once dominant Dez Bryant has plenty left to offer. He’s only turning 30 this season, and that number doesn’t mean the same thing it does for running backs. He reportedly turned down a multi-year deal from the Baltimore Ravens because what he wants is a one year “prove it” deal to show the league how dangerous he still is. He’s been linked to both the New York Giants and the Houston Texans, teams currently with great receivers looking to add depth, but I think the Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, and Buffalo Bills have a much more dire need at the position. My ideal landing spot would be the Seahawks. They need to replace Jimmy Graham’s big body and red zone dominance. He would compliment Doug Baldwin extremely well as their respective strengths are far from similar, and he’d be a lethal weapon at Russell Wilson’s disposal.
After not resigning the ageless wonder Frank Gore, and not drafting a running back until their 6th and 8th picks, the Indianapolis Colts seem like a prime landing spot for Murray, who’s been team-less now for over two months. Last year Marlon Mack only had double digit rushing attempts in two games (10 and 11) and the Colts did not seem interested in making him a feature back. As it stands, the Colts’ top three running backs have a collective one year of NFL experience and none of them were drafted higher than round four. Some in Indianapolis insist that they have what they need at the running back position but I would be far from shocked if they brought Murray in before the season began to add some stability and veteran leadership to their backfield.