Tue Mar 21 6:16pm ET
Field Level Media
Retired and Canton-bound quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Tuesday that the San Francisco 49ers reached out to him last season to "gauge" his interest in returning to the field.
Roethlisberger, 41, made the comments during an interview on 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh.
The 49ers were riddled with injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before riding Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy to the NFC Championship Game, where he, too, was injured.
"They were, I think, reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest," Roethlisberger told the station. "I had discussions. ... I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a small part of me that was intrigued. I could still do it and prove to people that I could still play. At the end of the day, I just can't see myself in anything other than black and gold."
The Niners turned to journeyman Josh Johnson to back up Purdy. Johnson was also injured in the conference title game against Philadelphia.
Roethlisberger retired after the 2021 season as the NFL record-holder for passing yards (64,088) by a QB with just one team. He led the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles (2005, 2008) and was a six-time Pro Bowl pick.
Dynasty | The Dallas Cowboys have signed running back Ronald Jones. Dynasty Analysis: Jones will get a one-year deal to join the Cowboys. Once a highly coveted dynasty running back, RoJo could just never get his career on track and eventually flamed out in Tampa Bay. Jones was a backup in Kansas City last season, but was routinely inactive on game days and finished the year with just 70 rushing yards on 17 carries. He would likely form some kind of committee with Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle should Tony Pollard miss time. At this point, he's a tough roster stash in dynasty leagues and remains unranked.
Dynasty | The Buffalo Bills have signed former New England running back Damien Harris. Dynasty Analysis: Just when folks thought it was going to be James Cook SZN with Devin Singletary signing in Houston, this happens just hours later. Harris is going to provide the Bills with a solid power back, making Cook far from a full-time player moving forward. In all truthfulness, this looks like a signing that is better in reality than it is in dynasty. Harris is going to have some goal-line chances, but Josh Allen also take a bulk of those away from the ball carriers. Harris is currently our RB34 and it's hard to see that changing too dramatically now that he's paired with Cook.
Dynasty | The Texans have signed tight end Dalton Schultz. Dynasty Analysis: Schultz gets a one-year deal worth up to $9 million. Considering many expected him to join Justin Herbert in Los Angeles, this development is a little disappointing. Still, the recent trade of Brandin Cooks has opened up targets in Houston and Schultz is more than capable of taking some of those vacated looks. Schultz' production went from 78/808/8 in 2021 to 57/577/5 in 2022. With a rookie quarterback in tow, it's quite likely we see something in between next year for our TE10 as Schultz should provide a pretty solid safety valve.
Dynasty | The Falcons have signed wide receiver Mack Hollins. Dynasty Analysis: Hollins has shown flashes during his stints with the Eagles, Dolphins, and Raiders, culminating in a career high 57/690/4 line last year in Las Vegas. On paper, this looks like a sneaky good signing for Atlanta, who is desperate for receiving help alongside Drake London and Kyle Pitts. While Desmond Ridder needs to show something fast, Hollins is going to carve out some value here - just keep in mind he's going to be 30 years old soon. Hollins' ranking of WR99 should rise a touch now that he's landed in a spot where he should carve out solid playing time.
Free-agent CB Tre Flowers (Bengals) had a visit with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, March 21.
Free-agent DB Bobby McCain (Commanders) agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Giants, according to a source Tuesday, March 21. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.
Free-agent DL Henry Anderson (Panthers) agreed to a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers, according to a source Tuesday, March 21. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.
The Dallas Cowboys will re-sign defensive end Dante Fowler to an undisclosed one-year deal on Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the signing. The former third overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015 finished with 27 tackles (22 solo), six sacks, seven tackles for loss, nine QB hits and two forced fumbles in 17 regular season games (no starts) in his first year in Big D in 2022. The 28-year-old played only 329 defensive snaps as a rotation pass-rusher for Dallas next to DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong and Micah Parsons. Expect Fowler to be used in a similar fashion on defense in 2023, which will make him a boom/bust fantasy asset in IDP leagues.
The Atlanta Falcons are planning to host veteran free-agent defensive lineman Calais Campbell on a free-agent visit this week, according to sources. Campbell was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens, who have kept the door open for a potential return. The 15-year veteran had 65 solo tackles, 11 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 36 QB hits, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 41 games (40 starts) in the last three seasons for the Ravens. The 36-year-old six-time Pro Bowler is no longer in the prime of his career and will probably only play one more season in the NFL, but he'll bring valuable experience to the defensive line with whichever organization he joins in 2023.
The Athletic's Nick Kosmider writes that there's a good chance the Denver Broncos add a running back in this year's draft in order to stockpile offensive talent and provide insurance against a delayed return for Javonte Williams (knee). Denver has intriguing young talent with Tyreik McAllister, Damarea Crockett and Tyler Badie, while free-agent addition Samaje Perine has some experience as a lead back. If Williams isn't ready in Week 1, Perine could be the Broncos' lead back. Williams was a popular pick to break out in 2022, but a serious knee injury involving multiple torn ligaments set him back and will make him a bit of a risky selection in fall fantasy drafts in 2023. Perine will be a nice handcuff pick for Williams' managers in deeper leagues.
The Dallas Cowboys agreed to an undisclosed one-year deal with free-agent running back Ronald Jones on Tuesday after he visited with the team on Monday, according to a source. Jones spent last year with the Kansas City Chiefs after a four-year run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His best year came in 2020, when he had 192 carries for 978 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bucs. The 25-year-old was buried on the Chiefs' depth chart in 2022 and played in only six regular season games (zero starts), carrying the ball 17 times for 70 yards and one touchdown. Jones will have a chance for a much bigger role in 2023 behind Tony Pollard after Dallas let cut Ezekiel Elliott, but Jones' value will also depend on who the Cowboys add at the position through the draft next month.
Free-agent DE Dante Fowler (Cowboys) reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract to return to the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, March 21. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Baltimore Ravens franchise-tagged quarterback Lamar Jackson is free to speak with other teams, and a representative for Jackson has contacted more than one team in an effort to spark negotiations aimed at a possible offer sheet, according to multiple sources. Jackson reportedly doesn't want a fully guaranteed contract, although he would still like up to $200 million or more in guarantees. One source said Jackson's representative is telling other teams that he is ready to move on from the Ravens. There haven't been any teams that have publicly stated their interest in signing Jackson away from Baltimore, and if a team chooses to do so, they'll have to give up two first-round picks.
The Los Angeles Chargers gave running back Austin Ekeler permission to seek a trade last week after contract-extension talks between the two sides went nowhere. "I think it's really important to put it out there that it's not like, 'Oh, I hate the Chargers and I need to get out of this organization, and I need to leave,'" Ekeler said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. I would like to stay if it was under the right circumstances." Ekeler signed a four-year, $24.5 million contract in 2020, and he's generated 3,195 scrimmage yards in the last two seasons in LA. He's due $6.25 million in base salary in 2023 and doesn't have any guarantees left. There's no timeline on when Ekeler might be traded, but the draft next month could be a soft deadline. The 27-year-old's $6.13 million average per year on his deal ranks 14th among RBs, yet he's a top-five fantasy back.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has reportedly not reached out to other teams lately but has had a representative - one that is not certified by the NFL Players Association - do so on his behalf, according to a source. Another source has disclosed that Jackson is not seeking a fully guaranteed contract, while another source suggests that Jackson is ready to move on from the Ravens.
Fantasy Spin: If true, some of this could explain why Jackson has not had the kind of market many expected a week ago. The NFL specifically instructed teams not to negotiate with representatives not certified by the NFLPA last year when Roquan Smith was unhappy with the Chicago Bears. At this point, it is fair to wonder if a team like the Indianapolis Colts want to jump into the fray and the Ravens would be happy to take the two first-round picks that teams receive if a franchise-tagged player leaves for another team.
Free-agent DL Calais Campbell (Ravens) is expected to visit with the Atlanta Falcons later this week, according to sources.
Atlanta Falcons DL Eddie Goldman was reinstated from the Reserve/Retired list on Tuesday, March 21.
Free-agent RB Ronald Jones (Chiefs) reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, March 21. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Fantasy Spin: Given the way his career has unfolded, there is no guarantee Jones will make the roster - much less beat out Malik Davis and serve as Tony Pollard's complement in 2023. There is also a solid chance the Cowboys add a thumper at running back - such as TCU's Kendre Miller or UCLA's Zach Charbonnet - on the second or third day of the draft. With that said, this is about as good of a situation as Jones could have asked for in terms of getting his career back on track, especially with Pollard likely to take it easy this offseason after suffering a broken leg in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler told the Green Light with Chris Long podcast on Monday, March 20, that he would prefer to remain with the team and that his recent trade demand has to do with a desire to get paid commensurate with his value.
Fantasy Spin: Ekeler's desire to get paid makes sense because he made approximately $1.67 million over his first three seasons combined after going undrafted out of Western Colorado in 2017. He got paid in 2020 (four years, $24.5 million), but the average annual value of that contract is well below the market that has been set by Christian McCaffrey ($16.01 million) and Alvin Kamara ($15 million). The biggest obstacle in Ekeler getting what he wants money-wise is his age: he will turn 28 in May.
Dynasty | The Colts have signed wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. Dynasty Analysis: After being released by the Bills, McKenzie wasted no time in finding a new home. It's crazy to think McKenzie has been in the league for six years, but he has been after spending time with both the Broncos and Bills. He had a bit of a mini-breakout last year as he posted 42 catches for 423 receiving yards and four scores, mostly manning the slot. He should do the same for a Colts team that isn't exactly flush with talent. McKenzie is currently our WR93 and this move should push his value up a bit.