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Double Coverage: NFL News from 3/11

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Hello fellow fantasy fanatics. Free agency start tomorrow (Tuesday)! Can you believe it? Neither can I. It’s my favorite part of the offseason and Monday provided quite the primer for the big show on Tuesday. Let’s check swing around the league for some of today’s news.

Harvin Traded to Seahawks

It’s the year of the trade in the NFL, and the some of the biggest names have been traded before the new league year has even begun. On Monday, Seattle traded its first- and seventh-round pick as well as a mid-round pick in 2014 for Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin. It’s a rare win-win trade (just as the Alex Smith trade was, so maybe not so rare), and here’s why.

If Harvin would have stuck to his word, he wasn’t playing for the Vikings in 2013. In fact, he was never going to play for the Vikings again, even if they franchised tagged him after next season.  Seattle gets a big time play-maker to pair with their young gun Russell Wilson, and we can expect that Harvin will  likely be happier with his role in his new home (we can only hope).

In my opinion, Harvin immediately becomes a top five wide receiver for fantasy owners in 2013, for more than one reason. 1) He’s going to get paid. He likes money. It’s one of the reasons he wanted out of Minnesota. I think we all assume that he is going to play harder. 2) Russell Wilson is a better quarterback than Christian Ponder. 3)

He is a top five talent at the wide receiver position, and I truly believe that. If he plays to his full potential, he will play like an elite receiver (and he’s going to be paid like one too). Seattle should come to mind as a Super Bowl pick for most. They didn’t lose any pieces anywhere else, and added a potentially elite wide receiver talent? I’m thinking NFC West vs NFC West for a trip to New York in early February, 2014. More on that soon.

For the Vikings, they are going need a wide receiver. Or two. Or even three. In fact, Vikings veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams couldn’t even name a wide receiver currently on the roster after Michael Jenkins was cut and Harvin was traded. Jerome Simpson is also an unrestricted free agent. You can expect them to pick up a rookie in the draft such as Tavon Austin, but they are also eye-balling a couple of guys in free agency.

 Anquon Boldin to the Niners

The 49ers made a play for a new wide receiver No.2 on Monday, which had the veteran going from one Harbuagh to the other. Unwelcome wide receiver Anquan Boldin was sent to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick. I talked about the primer to this trade in Saturday’s Double Coverage. We knew Boldin wasn’t going to be playing with the Ravens next year if he wanted to keep his current salary and the 49ers have cap room to spare. A sixth-round pick is a bottom-of-the-barrel bargain. Boldin isn’t a great receiver, though.

He’s a solid No. 2, and will complement emerging wide receiver Michael Crabtree very well. Boldin doesn’t get the same separation he got when he when he was in his 20′s and with the Cardinals. While he still has solid hands and should be the reliable receiver on the team, he won’t stretch the field like the 49ers likely still need a wide receiver to do.

Tight end Vernon Davis is the 49ers best vertical threat, and he wasn’t quite used right in 2013.The 49ers receiving corps will consist of: Crabtree, Boldin, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins… at least for now. The trade for Boldin is pending physical.

Cruz Gets 1st Round Tender

The Giants placed a first-round tender on restricted free agent wide receiver Victor Cruz. This has to be tantalizing for multiple teams around the NFL. If teams dole over a first-round pick and over $10 million a year for Cruz’s contract, the big time play-maker can be all their’s. Don’t expect any teams to do that though.

That much cash plus the upside of a first-round pick is just too much for one player that’s not a quarterback. Some, including Jason La Canfora, believe teams will still attempt a run at Cruz, and why wouldn’t they? Cruz also signed a new agent after being tendered: Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency Sports. That all but strikes out the Patriots, who could have made a run at Cruz beforehand.

I do highly recommend reading that quick blog post from La Canfora that I linked to above, where he talks more trade. He mentions the Buccaneers shopping wide receiver Arrelious Benn, Jets shopping cornerback Darrelle Revis, and the Seahawks shopping quarterback Matt Flynn. Like I said, it’s the year of the trade, and there are still more to come.

Steven Jackson on the Market

It sounds as if there could be a bidding war between the Lions and Cardinals for a running back not named Steven Jackson on the free agent market. The Lions have made running back Reggie Bush their top priority in free agency, according to earlier report, and today, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Arizona’s interest in the athletic running back is “significant.” Expect the Cardinals to make a run at a running back regardless, as they finally announced the long-awaited release of former first-round draft bust Beanie Wells on Monday.

They’ll need a running back to fill that whole, one way or another. There are also plenty in the draft that would be significantly cheaper than many free agents. They also have been linked to Rashard Mendenhall, though he’s also been linked to several other teams including Denver and Miami.

RAPID FIRE

- There was some news on the Steven Jackson front today before the flood gates open on Tuesday. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who sites Jackson as an ideal fit for the Falcons, reports the running back is being “coveted” by the Lions, Packers, Steelers, Bengals as well as the Falcons.

- After the Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin on Monday from the Vikings, it appears as if they are through with  return specialist Leon Washington, as Harvin can do the job as a returner. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Seahawks have put Washington on the trade block. Washington will cost $6 million in 20134 and 2014, the final two years of his current contract. Washington was a Pro Bowler in 2013 and should be courted by a few teams if this rumor is true. His kickoff return average of 29.0 yards per attempt finished as second in the NFL.

- The Jets officially signed quarterback David Garrard. Garrard was hoping for a return to Miami before they signed Matt Moore to a two-year deal last week. If Garrard is healthy (which is assumed, seeing that he was signed by an NFL team), then expect him to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback job this summer.

- Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com reported that Titans tight end Jared Cook will indeed test open waters on Tuesday afternoon when free agency opens. He also reported return man and running back Darius Reynaud, who had a very successful 2012 preseason, is still negotiating with the team. Negotiations between Cook and the Titans should continue, but don’t be surprised if another team swoops him up quickly come Tuesday. In other words, don’t consider this a stalemate, but I wouldn’t expect him back. Speaking of Cook, the Browns reportedly have interest, sources told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

- Bob Glauber of the Boston Globe — a very reliable New England source — believes the Patriots will re-sign Wes Welker. The timing, he says, isn’t as important as people are making it out to be. In other words, the Patriots can still make a play to sign their slot receiver once the free agency period opens up.

- Giants running back Andre Brown was handed a second-round tender on Monday and will have a salary of around $2 million. Giants should be safe on the tender and Brown should serve as a solid complement to David Wilson, who is expected by many to start in 2013. Brown is a nice steal in most drafts early in this offseason, I’ve noticed. When he got his chances, he did a lot with them. Someone to keep your eye on.

- The Ravens tendered restricted free agent tight end Dennis Pitta on the second-round level. Don’t expect a team to match that offer, although in my opinion, maybe they should. Pitta certainly would like to stay in-tact with his teammate and close friend Joe Flacco, though. I don’t think he’d want to be anywhere else.

About Christian Hardy

Avid fan of NFL and NBA. I've been playing fantasy sports for 10 of my 16 years on planet Earth. That's a lot of fantasy sports. Now I'm going to help you win money. And that's good. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for sports updates and analysis.

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