Tue May 30 11:07pm ET
Field Level Media
After legendary quarterback Tom Brady hung up his cleats and called it a career, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been left with a huge void to fill under center.
Tampa Bay drafted Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2021 draft to help prepare for Brady's eventual departure, but the Buccaneers also brought in a veteran presence this past offseason when they signed Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal.
With the starting position up for grabs, Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles has been keeping a close eye on both Trask and Mayfield during organized team activities.
"You don't hit the quarterbacks in OTAs, nor do you hit them in mini-camps or even training camp until they play games. So you really don't know who is what under pressure," Bowles said Tuesday. "From an analyzing standpoint, again it's the grasp of the offense, it's the reading of the defense -- it's not necessarily making the big play but the right play.
"Then it comes down to moxie, it comes down to intelligence -- in-game intelligence and adjustments and fits and film work. You can see who the team galvanizes around and who's ready to play the first game and you make a decision from there. It's constant analyzation, whether it's small or whether it's big."
Former Los Angeles Rams quarterback John Wolford is also on the depth chart but has not taken any reps as a starter at OTAs.
"We switch them up all the time," Bowles said about who gets to take snaps as a starter. "It doesn't mean anything -- Kyle has taken them and Baker has taken them."
Mayfield, 28, will be entering his sixth season and has already given the league a taste of what he brings to the field. However, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the 25-year-old Trask, who appeared in just one game last season and only had nine pass attempts.
"He's getting the reps," Bowles said of Trask. "When you get more reps, you get more confidence. Obviously, and rightfully so, with Tom there last year and Blaine (Gabbert) there, he didn't get the reps he should get. He's getting a lot of reps right now.
"It's really an indoctrination of his rookie year -- getting all the reps he's getting. As he gets those reps, he gets more confidence so he's happy to be playing."
Trask has also been adjusting to offensive coordinator Dave Canales, who is entering his first season with the Buccaneers after holding various roles with the Seattle Seahawks on Pete Carroll's staff from 2010-22.
Canales' offensive scheme focuses more on working outside of the pocket, which is something that Trask has been enjoying.
"This new scheme allows you to get outside the pocket and use your legs more. That's really exciting for me," Trask said. "As a quarterback, anytime you can get out on the edge it's really exciting to throw one on the run or get outside the pocket and make a play (or) run for a first down or something like that."
Should he land the starting job, Mayfield will be looking to redeem himself after a disappointing 2022 season. He played seven games (six starts) for the Carolina Panthers and five games (four starts) for the Rams, completing 60 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,163 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Despite splitting carries with veteran Ezekiel Elliott last year, Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard proved to be one of the most explosive ball-carriers in the league. He had 31 runs of 10-plus yards, including 15 gains of 10-plus rush yards over expected. Pollard's top speed didn't make a huge difference in his explosive score, but his 43 runs at 15-plus mph showed his playmaking ability and helped him finish with 1,007 yards on just 193 carries (5.2 yards per attempt). The 26-year-old suffered a devastating leg injury in the postseason, so his only question heading into the 2023 season is how long it will take him to get back to full speed? Despite the injury concerns, Pollard should be drafted as at least a midrange RB1 in fantasy.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb lacks the top-end speed that many of the most explosive runners in the league have, but he has the ability to run through tacklers with power, and his top gear packs sneaky get-away burst. Chubb led the league with 47 runs of 10-plus yards in 2022, but his success rate was lower than many expected due to Cleveland's poor blocking giving him a low expected yards per carry (3.8). Of his 1,525 rushing yards, 1,177 came after contact, which ranked third in the NFL. He was also the only qualified RB to have double-digit first downs gained over expected. The 27-year-old continues to run hard in an offense that loves to run the football, so he'll easily remain a top-10 fantasy RB heading into the 2023 campaign.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that wide receiver Amari Cooper, who had core-muscle surgery in February, has been "great" with the young receivers and will "start doing stuff this week." Cooper didn't take part in organized team activities last week. The 28-year-old pass-catcher is working back into on-field drills for the first time this offseason, which means he should be at full strength by training camp this summer. Cooper finished as the WR10 in half-point PPR scoring last year, catching 78 of his 132 targets for 1,160 yards and nine touchdowns in 17 games played. In his second year working with quarterback Deshaun Watson, he should be able to develop more chemistry and is fully expected to be the No. 1 receiver yet again. Target him as a high-end WR2 in fantasy drafts.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd was at the voluntary organized team activities on Tuesday after being absent from the team up to that point through the voluntary offseason program. It's not really notable that Boyd hasn't been at voluntary activities this offseason as he heads into his fourth season working with quarterback Joe Burrow. The 28-year-old receiver finished with 58 receptions, his lowest total since 2017, adding 762 receiving yards and five touchdowns for the second straight season in 16 games (14 starts) in 2022. Boyd is attractive because of the offense he plays in, but he's more of a WR4/5 in fantasy as long as he remains behind stud wideouts Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in Cincy.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh said that quarterback Aaron Rodgers (calf) is "fine," but he will be limited in organized team activities on Wednesday. The Jets are working to get Rodgers practicing in full by next week. The hope is that the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer will be back practicing in full by this Friday after he suffered a minor calf strain in practice last week. It's a reminder that Rodgers isn't a spring chicken anymore, but he should be just fine for training camp this summer and the start of the regular season this fall. The former Green Bay Packers signal-caller has better offensive weapons around him in 2023 than he did in his final year with the Cheeseheads, but fantasy managers should still view him as more of a high-end QB2 than a QB1 in what could be the final season of his illustrious career.
Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he's been impressed with running back Antonio Gibson's pass-catching abilities and athleticism at organized team activities. Rivera mentioned that Gibson entered the league as a pass-catching RB out of Memphis, and he's especially dangerous in space with the ball in his hands. The 24-year-old did manage a career-high 46 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games (six starts) in his third NFL season in 2022, but he also had a career-low 149 carries for 546 yards and three touchdowns on the ground with Brian Robinson in the fold. Washington wants to get Gibson more touches in offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy's system this year, so he could be a pretty valuable RB3/flex in PPR fantasy leagues in 2023.
Dynasty | The Jaguars are holding Calvin Ridley back to ensure he's healthy for the regular season. Dynasty Analysis: Ridley is working hard to be ready for the regular season while the team wants to remain "cautious" in his return to make sure he doesn't overdo it. It's been nearly two years since Ridley was last on the field and much has changed in that time, most notably now having Trevor Lawrence as his quarterback. It's good news to hear the 28-year-old is anxious to get back on the field and, while the two lost seasons during the prime of his career were suboptimal for dynasty coaches, there remains plenty of time for the upside receiver to have an impact for years to come. Calvin Ridley is listed as DLF's WR39 and remains an intriguing buy-now for competitive dynasty managers.
Dynasty | Khalil Shakir continues to get reps with Josh Allen while Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis are away from the team Dynasty Analysis: The team reportedly likes Shakir's flexibility in that he can play in the slot or on the boundary. At the same time, Shakir struggled to develop in his rookie season and inconsistent hands have been on display early in camp. It's a continuation of a trend that started in college. The sophomore is unquestionably in a great situation should he be able to develop the trust of the coaching staff and Allen, and he'll have every opportunity to showcase improved performance as his reps increase into training camp. Shakir caught wind in his sails from the dynasty community who immediately attached premium due to his drafted situation in Buffalo but failed to produce as a rookie. Now as a sophomore, he'll need to produce in 2023 or slip further from his DLF WR83 ranking.
Dynasty | James Cook has been impressive in camp, showcasing his hands as a receiver Dynasty Analysis: It should be no surprise as Cook was drafted as a third-down specialist, potentially with some between-the-tackles upside. The sophomore has yet to prove he can be an inside runner and with Damien Harris now in the mix, he may not get the opportunity. Additionally, the Bills continue to be mentioned as a landing spot for one of the available veteran backs including Dalvin Cook (his brother) and Ezekiel Elliott. Acquisition of another back would further pressure James Cooks' RB25 ranking on DLF.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (knee) was on the field taking part in organized team activities on Tuesday. It looks as though Kirk will be just fine for training camp at the end of July after he hurt his knee in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this year. The 26-year-old pass-catcher finished 12th in half-PPR scoring in 2022 in his first year in Jacksonville with 84 catches on 133 targets for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns in 17 regular season games, but Calvin Ridley is now in town and will take some targets away. Still, barring injury, Kirk will play a big role in the Jaguars' improving offense under rising young quarterback Trevor Lawrence, making him a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 target in fantasy drafts.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh said he is "very optimistic" that running back Breece Hall (knee) will be ready for Week 1 of the 2023 regular season. The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt mentioned in an article on Tuesday that he'd be surprised if Hall was ready to go on Day 1 of training camp, but apparently the Jets are optimistic that he'll still be ready to go for the start of the regular season. The second-year back isn't taking part in organized team activities after tearing his ACL last October, and the Jets aren't going to rush him back onto the field before he's ready. Despite the injury concerns, Hall has legitimate RB1 upside, especially now that the Jets have quarterback Aaron Rodgers running the offense this year.
Dynasty | Speaking on the differences between 2022 and 2023, Deshaun Watson says he's "very motivated" to prove doubters wrong. Dynasty Analysis: Watson has been a popular dynasty trade asset this offseason as he attempts to rebound from a very difficult previous two seasons. Now with a full offseason of training in Cleveland, he's ready to prove doubters wrong and appears to be focused on being better than he was in his time with the Texans. Expectations will be high for Watson, who turns 28 in September, and there are still questions about the team's receiving corps., but he remains a top talent under-center and is capable of doing more with less. Given the compensation and draft picks required to acquire Watson, DLF's QB11, the Browns can't afford to have anything less than near league-leading production in 2023.
Carolina Panthers running back Raheem Blackshear ranked among the league's top-10 kickoff returners last year with a 27-yard average. However, the team's punt-return job looks to be wide open this summer, with wide receivers Shi Smith, Damiere Byrd and Marquez Stevenson and Blackshear in the mix. Stevenson returned kicks and punts for the Buffalo Bills in 2021 after being taken in the sixth round. "We have some guys that we're kind of working through. Some of the rookies just showed up," special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said. "It's going to be a work in progress but I'm excited about the guys that we have just because of how hard they work. That'll give us a chance."
The Arizona Cardinals released wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last week because they didn't want to pay him $19.45 million in 2023, and they couldn't trade him because no other teams wanted to pay him that either. SI.com's Albert Breer's guess is that his current free-agent market bears perhaps around half of what he would've made in 2023. The Chiefs and Bills were the only two teams to engage Arizona in trade talks for Hopkins, but there just wasn't interest in paying Hopkins and giving up a draft pick. At this point, the only way the 11-year receiver will play for a contender like the Chiefs or the Bills is if his price comes down. Breer thinks it will come down to either Hopkins finding a team to pay up, or choosing to take less for a chance to win a ring. He's currently considered a top-25 fantasy wideout, but where he lands in free agency will give us a clearer picture of his true fantasy value.
Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said of first-round rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid that "we're nowhere close to knowing what the big picture is going to be because we have to learn him and he has to learn us." Dorsey said it's "to be determined" what Kincaid's exact role will be until they start getting into training camp and live game action. A lot of fantasy managers are going to be bullish on Kincaid after the Bills took him 25th overall as the first tight end off the board in this year's draft, but that doesn't mean he'll finish as a TE1 in fantasy in his rookie year, even in Buffalo's explosive offense. The Bills do plan to line the 23-year-old out wide quite often, but he'll still have plenty of competition for targets and should be considered more of a TE2 with upside in redraft leagues in 2023.
New York Jets running back Breece Hall (knee) continues to work his way back from a torn ACL suffered last year in his rookie season. Hall had surgery on his knee about six months ago. According to the Athletic's Zach Rosenblatt, it would be a surprise if Hall was ready for Day 1 of training camp. Hall has yet to take part in OTAs, although he has been running on the side during those sessions. There is still a chance that Hall is ready to start the regular season, but the team has Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight next in line just in case.
New York Jets running back Michael Carter's numbers took a step back in 2022 after he turned in a solid effort in his rookie season. According to the Athletic's Zach Rosenblatt, the Jets believe that a bounce-back season is in store for Carter in 2023. With rookie star Breece Hall likely to be eased back early in the year after suffering a torn ACL last season, Carter could be asked to help pick up the slack. With 77 catches on 109 targets through two seasons, Carter has some low-end flex appeal in PPR leagues.
Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard could serve as the team's short-yardage back in 2023, according to the Athletic's Joe Person. Person listed "power back" as one of the Panthers' roster holes heading into training camp as Carolina doesn't really have a big, bruising running back on the roster. That could open up short yardage and goal-line work for Hubbard, who had several productive games for Carolina at the tail end of the 2022 season. Of course, the Panthers could still add an unsigned veteran for the role but Hubbard could have some flex value in fantasy if he does end up seeing most of the goal-line carries in 2023.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear ready to hold a true quarterback competition to decide who will take over as QB1 after Tom Brady's retirement. Both Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask have been splitting first-team reps this offseason, with both getting equal reps according to head coach Todd Bowles. While neither signal-caller is a very inspiring fantasy option, they will have a solid offensive core around them, led by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Fantasy managers rostering Godwin and/or Evans should be pulling for Mayfield to win the job as he at least has a track record of supporting decent WR production back in his Cleveland days.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (elbow) is expected to be around 100% by the start of the 2023 regular season, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Purdy tore his right ulnar collateral ligament in last year's NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles and had the ligament surgically repaired this offseason. With Purdy sidelined, Trey Lance has been getting all of the first-team reps during OTAs. Despite Lance's recent run with the first team, many close to the team believe that Purdy is the 49ers' QB1. That means that Purdy, and not Lance, could be starting under center in Week 1 provided he doesn't suffer any setbacks in the meantime.