2023 Fantasy Football Update: Daniel Jones, Geno Smith Get Big Deals!
NFL teams have been busy in March trying to get the cornerstone of their franchises to put pen to paper so that they can focus on building out the rest of their roster in time for this upcoming season.
Quarterback Geno Smith finalized a long-term deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Smith revived his career with a strong season last year. He led the NFL, completing 69.8 % of his passes while throwing for 4,282 yards. Smith finalized a three-year deal that will net him $105 million, with $52 million guaranteed during the 2023 season.
Also, the New York Giants were one of the busier teams as they locked up a couple of their most prized possessions. Giants General Manager, Joe Schoen, signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a four-year contract and applied the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley. The contract extension will net Jones $160 million, with $82 million guaranteed. The contract also includes up to $35 million in bonuses. Barkley will earn $10 million and was given a nonexclusive tag. This means he can continue to negotiate with other teams, but the Giants can match any offer. If the Giants decline to match, they will get two first-round picks as compensation.
Elsewhere, the Baltimore Ravens placed the franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent and represents himself, has not been able to come to terms with the Ravens management on a long-term deal. Jackson has reportedly been seeking a similar deal that Deshaun Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns. Instead, the Ravens placed a nonexclusive franchise tag that will pay Lamar Jackson $32 million in 2023. If the Ravens had placed the exclusive franchise tag, his salary would have spiked to $45 million, and Baltimore would have complete control of his negotiation rights for the rest of the year. Finally, the Ravens have until the 17th of July to negotiate a long-term contract with Jackson. If the two sides fail to do so, they will have to wait until the conclusion of the 2023 season.
2023 Fantasy Football Outlook
This past season, Lamar Jackson was his usual self. He threw for 2242 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 764 yards and three touchdowns. It remains to be seen if he will be able to replicate his success through the air as two of his three wide receivers will be returning from serious foot injuries. Both Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay are coming off foot injuries, so it will be their responsibility to show great chemistry with Jackson during OTAs. However, the Ravens can rest assured that if their aerial attack is neutralized, Jackson can do some serious damage on the ground with his wheels. After all, at only 25 years of age, he is one of six quarterbacks in NFL history to record 1000 yards through the air and 4000 yards on the ground.
Daniel Jones is coming off the most productive season of his career and led the Giants to a winning season for the first time since being drafted. Jones threw for 3,205 yards with 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, while also rushing for 708 yards and seven touchdowns. He will be looking to double his output, courtesy of the chemistry he displayed with Isiah Hodgins. Jones was on the same page as Hodgins often in the second half of the season wherever he lined up, as he helped him put up a line of 33 catches for 351 yards. The duo will be looking to replicate that success in 20223. Jones is definitely hoping management will also trade for a true WR1 such as DeAndre Hopkins. Or perhaps the Giants will address the much-needed wide receiver position through the 2023 NFL Draft. Either way, Jones definitely needs some additional help if he is to eventually reach his ceiling. Overall though, Danny Dimes has tons of upside entering the 2023 fantasy football season.
On the other hand, Saquon Barkley showed that he can make a difference by himself. Finally playing a full season in 2022 and finishing fourth in the NFL with 1,310 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. With the aerial attack looking quite formidable courtesy of Richie James Isiah Hodgins, and Darius Slayton, there will be plenty of running lanes that will open up for Barkley to keep the chains moving and finish the 2023 season with upwards of 2,000 yards.
Geno Smith had 30 touchdowns, which allowed him to finish fourth in the league in that regard. The dual-threat quarterback will be looking to expand on his success through the air courtesy of the great weapons he has at his disposal in the form of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Smith has already shown that he has established great chemistry with Metcalf, as the two have connected on several highlight-reel plays which helped propel them to the playoffs this past season. That said, look for a little bit of regression from Smith who certainly had a much less productive second half of the season than his red-hot start.
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