Chris Wesseling

Offseason Low Down

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Team Notes: AFC South, West

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Last Friday, we analyzed the team-by-team offseason news in the AFC East and North. Now we'll turn our attention to the rest of the AFC teams.

AFC South

Colts: Peyton Manning was slapped with a $23.1 million franchise tag, though he'll likely play the 2011 season under a new long-term deal to stay in Indy. … Joseph Addai, a five-year vet, was tendered as a restricted free agent -- a sign the Colts want him back. Depending on the CBA, his free agency could end up unrestricted. … The Colts aren't expected to bring back 32-year-old free agent Dominic Rhodes, even if they clearly don't trust Donald Brown as a primary ball carrier. … Austin Collie is said to be "coming along well" in his recovery from three serious concussions. Despite speculation to the contrary, Collie has not threatened to retire after his next concussion. He's a worthwhile risk/reward fantasy target this year. … Dallas Clark (wrist surgery) will be ready for the typical start of training camp. Late-season star Jacob Tamme will be worthless outside of deep Dynasty leagues where he can serve as a Clark handcuff. … The Colts are expected to re-sign free agent K Adam Vinatieri.

Jaguars: David Garrard returns as the unquestioned starter after exceeding low expectations last season. Backup Luke McCown (ACL surgery) was re-signed to a one-year deal, and the Jags are expected to target a developmental QB in next month's draft. … We have red-flagged Maurice Jones-Drew for the future after he confirmed that his left knee was "bone-on-bone" by the end of the season. MJD underwent meniscus surgery to fix the condition; it wouldn't surprise us if it turns out the procedure was microfracture in nature. … Free agent Mike Sims-Walker fell out of favor with the coaching staff last season, and the Jags recently let it be known that they are moving on without him. … Mike Thomas is the favorite to enter the season as the No. 1 receiver. Depending on offseason moves, Jason Hill is worth monitoring as Sims-Walker's replacement and a possible deep sleeper. … Jarett Dillard (toe) is back to full health, but he'll enter camp behind Hill on the depth chart. … Still a candidate for a long-term deal, Marcedes Lewis was hit with the franchise tag in February.

Texans: Due a $1.3 million raise, backup QB Dan Orlovsky is a candidate for release. Third-stringer Matt Leinart, a five-year vet, was tendered at the first-round level. … Arian Foster underwent a minor knee scope after the season. It's not a fantasy concern. Foster is a candidate for a long-term deal this summer. … Derrick Ward was re-signed to a one-year deal to compete with a healthy Ben Tate for the primary backup job. The winner will be an important handcuff for Foster owners. … Now persona non grata in the Houston backfield, Steve Slaton could be on the trade block once the CBA is finalized. … The Texans have placed a priority on bringing back free agent Jacoby Jones, but he could end up hitting the open market. His untapped potential would draw plenty of interest from receiver-needy teams. … Owen Daniels was re-signed to a four-year, $22 million contract, undercutting any sleeper value James Casey or Joel Dreessen may have had. After a strong finish to the 2010 season, Daniels has reclaimed a stake in TE1 territory. … Former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips was imported to revamp the Texans' soft defense. Mario Williams and Antonio Smith will start at defensive end in Phillips' 3-4 scheme, with Connor Barwin moving into the starting lineup as an edge rusher. Brian Cushing will move inside next to "Mo" backer DeMeco Ryans.

Titans: After wearing out his welcome in Nashville, Vince Young will likely end up being released once the CBA is finalized. The most likely scenario is signing with a team such as the Vikings or Dolphins to compete for the starting job in camp. … The Titans will have to bring in a veteran (anyone but Kerry Collins, please) stopgap even if they draft an early-round developmental QB. … New offensive coordinator Chris Palmer plans to take advantage of Chris Johnson's unique talents with a run-heavy offense in 2011, targeting an unrealistic 35:30 per game run-to-pass ratio. Johnson remains a no-brainer top-three fantasy pick. … Kenny Britt had planned to spend the offseason focusing on his conditioning and diet. He's going unsupervised during the lockout, though. … Justin Gage is a poor bet to remain on the roster with a $3.5 million base salary. There's even talk that last year's third-rounder, Damian Williams, could move into the starting lineup -- pushing Nate Washington down the depth chart. Williams is a name to track in deeper leagues this summer. … Despite one report to the contrary (likely from agent Drew Rosenhaus), the Titans never considered bringing in Jeremy Shockey at tight end. After a promising showing in December, Jared Cook will remain in the starting lineup as one of our favorite fantasy breakout candidates.


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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