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The man is back
I’m going to keep this part short and sweet. The biggest news in the NFL this week was the return of Lamar Jackson to the Ravens. Sounds crazy right? Just last week fans and media were screaming at the top of their lungs because he missed the voluntary minicamps. Despite the fact that he and coach John Harbaugh said he’d be back, people acted as if he wouldn’t. As expected, he was asked a number of questions, mainly regarding his contract situation. Jackson acknowledged that he’s been in discussions, as recently as this week, about his contract situation. While admitting he feels worthy of a contract (he is), he made it a point to let the media know that he’s a football player and he’s there to play football. With all of the news surrounding him this offseason, Jackson just wants to play football and win a Super Bowl. Once he wins his second MVP after the 2022 season and takes the Ravens on a deep playoff run, it should quiet down a lot of the fluff news surrounding him.
Tight Ends are the wave
Another day, another player switching positions… to tight end. Earlier this offseason, we saw Eagles (former) wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whitseside make the move to tight end in an effort to finally get on the field. In three seasons since being a second-round draft pick, he has 16 receptions, 290 yards and a touchdown to his name. Thick-wideout Kelvin Benjamin found his way back on our radar last offseason when he signed with the Giants as a tight end. Shortly thereafter he was cut, called it a “hoax” and was meme’d wearing a Popeyes Chicken football uniform. We can’t possibly forget Tim Tebow, who despite not having taken an NFL snap since 2012 (at quarterback), signed with the Jaguars as a tight end. Thank you Urban Meyer for that contribution.
The latest WR-to-TE contestant is Devin Funchess. He hasn’t played since 2019, when he was a member of the Colts. Funchess signed with the Packers in 2020 but opted out due to COVID. In 2021, he was placed on injured reserve and never got to play a down. The Farmington Hills, MI native recently signed with his hometown team the Lions. Already with a solid group of receivers that includes Amon-Ra St. Brown, DJ Chark and Jameson Williams, Funchess will play tight end. TJ Hockenson is the clear TE1 for the team, but Funchess should have a chance to compete for a spot behind him at the very least. There is however, a difference between Funchess and the other converted tight ends: he’s played it. Funchess was a high school tight end and even started out at Michigan at the position. In fact, he made the All-Big Ten team as a freshman. In his sophomore season, he won Tight End Of The Year in the conference. In Funchess’ junior season, he finally made the switch to receiver and has played there ever since. At 28, this may be his last shot to prove that he can play in the league. With experience at the position, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
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Terry making ’em scary
Speedy wideout Terry McLaurin is holding out of the teams mandatory minicamp in hopes of a new contract. McLaurin is set to play on the final year of his rookie deal for $ 2.79 million. Since entering the league in 2019, he’s averaged 74 receptions, 1,030 yards and five touchdowns per-season. It’s fair to say he’s done a lot with a little. Despite the inconsistent play of Tyler Heinicke, McLaurin was able to go over 1,100 yards. He’s durable to this point in his career too, having played in 46 of a possible 49 games in his career. Coach Ron Rivera has said that they will not trade McLaurin. As fantasy fans, we would love to see him get into a better situation overall. The Washington Commanders hope they’ve provided that by trading for Carson Wentz. There’s no doubt that Wentz will be the best quarterback that McLaurin’s had in the NFL. If anything, Wentz does go for the gusto (sometimes to a fault), so it could mesh well with a deep threat like McLaurin. Scary Terry has fantasy finishes of WR29, WR20 and WR25 in his career. When the contract gets done no one knows, but to see McLaurin reach his full potential would be nice. Despite the upgrade at quarterback, McLaurin is still a middling WR2 in fantasy.
Burks still absent
First-round wide receiver Treylon Burks has been MIA when it comes to Titans minicamp. He missed earlier practices this summer with problems related to asthma. Is it alarming? At this point I don’t think so. Coach Mike Vrabel simply said he’s “unavailable”. If the Titans get to training and he’s still out? Now that’ll be a whole different story. Whatever the case, it’s always best when rookies can get as many reps as they can. Burks was drafted specifically to replace AJ Brown, who the Titans traded to the Eagles on draft day. Despite his absences, Ryan Tannehill said he’s working with the rookie on and off the field “You know, as we’re watching the tape, talking through the reps that other guys had and communicating it”. Robert Woods is making good progress returning back from a torn ACL, so they are getting closer to having a full unit. Burks on the other hand, it’s worth monitoring as we lead up to training camp.