Guest of the League
All Pro FFL (2017 Champs - Blackcats) (Playoff Service) Est. 2018
NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Offseason | NFL: Offseason

Raised by Wolf: Scouting legacy leading Patriots into new era

Tue Feb 27 5:59pm ET
Field Level Media

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eliot Wolf attended his first combine 31 years ago as one of the easiest faces to identify.

The 10-year-old son of Packers general manager Ron Wolf is back at the NFL Scouting Combine this week running the personnel department of an NFL team for the first time. Wolf is director of scouting for the New England Patriots, ushered in alongside new head coach Jerod Mayo in the changing of the guard sparked by Bill Belichick's exit.

"My dad used to sit down at the start of the 40s and it was him, Bill Parcells and Al Davis and I just sitting there like soaking it all up," Eliot Wolf said Tuesday at his 30th combine (the 2021 event was called off due to COVID-19). "It was just tremendously rewarding. And, you know, kind of as I look back on it, it was you know definitely a special time."

The elder Wolf, 84, and Belichick have been associates for decades dating to Belichick's father coaching at Navy.

A scouting legend with the Raiders and Packers in his heyday who is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ron Wolf attended training camp at Belichick's request, even in recent summers, to advise on roster decisions and position competition.

Belichick worked as coach but also wielded final say in personnel decisions, including the draft. One of the voices he called on most in recent years was Eliot Wolf, who had the same title as a scout with a diverse role under Belichick.

Not only is Wolf following an all-time great, the 41-year-old holds the cards with New England's first top-10 pick since drafting Mayo -- a linebacker at Tennessee -- in 2008.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn't knock down expectations or conjecture in labeling the 2024 draft the "most important in team history."

New England picks No. 3 in the first round and doesn't have a franchise quarterback in the building at the moment. While much has changed, his Ron Wolf made this kind of call -- he acquired Brett Favre from the Atlanta Falcons and drafted Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell and Aaron Brooks as backups while in Green Bay -- there are hints in the draft history books.

Eliot Wolf said his father passed down many lessons that will prepare him to be ready for draft day.

"I think in terms of scouting itself, it just kind of trust what you see and believe in it. But also really lessons about people," he said. "I still believe and this is great to be able to work with Jerod who also believes this is a people business and it's about developing people. And the culture is created from the people in your building, whether that scouts coaches players support staff and I think that's tremendously important as you try to build the culture that you want."

While diagramming the Patriots' path forward under Mayo comes with a status level Eliot Wolf hadn't yet achieved in the NFL, he's still a relative pup by general manager standards. That will still expose him to the type of good-natured ribbing even his old man would appreciate.

A former Packers scout under Wolf and Ted Thompson, current Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Tuesday he was already feeling his "over-50" age before the questions about Wolf started.

"I used to babysit him! Thanks a lot - I appreciate that," a smirking Schneider said. "He was always around us; he was always in the draft room with us. He was always sitting in our offices, always taking as much information as he possibly could, always had very strong opinions. If you ask him, I'm sure he was All-Conference, but I don't know if he ever played a down for the high school... little dig there, Eliot.

"He was just really into it, and we hired him back - he went to Miami, went to school there, and worked in their scouting department. One of those first jobs that really ever existed. He went down there and came back. Reggie {McKenzie} and John Dorsey and Ted Thompson and myself hired him back, and he just took off. I haven't had a chance to talk to him, but I'm happy everything's turned out for him."

Top Headlines
The Paur Report

First Base Preview

Player Notes
Tee Higgins Feb 27 7:24pm ET
Tee Higgins

Dynasty | The Bengals have informed wide receiver Tee Higgins of their intention to use the franchise tag on him. Dynasty Analysis: The move will pay Higgins around $22 million this upcoming season. It's a hearty number to spend on a number two receiver but Higgins is hardly your typical second option and would be the top target for a number of teams in the league. He had a down season last year with just a 42/656/5 season but much of that can be attributed to injuries he suffered and the loss of Joe Burrow for part of the season. It's still disappointing to dynasty managers who were hoping to see him cash in on the open market. It's unlikely the Bengals can keep him long-term so this could also represent a one-year buy low window for our WR18.

Deshaun Watson Feb 27 4:50pm ET
Deshaun Watson

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder) is set to begin throwing again in March, according to general manager Andrew Berry. The 28-year-old was placed on season-ending injured reserve following the Week 10 game against the Baltimore Ravens and underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder. Despite Watson's struggles in 12 games over two years with the franchise (14 touchdowns and nine interceptions), it seems the Browns are committed to rolling into the 2024 campaign with him under center. "He's worked his tail off in terms of his rehab and recovery," Berry said. "He's in a really good place. We're excited for when the spring hits and we can get him back on the field. He's making really good progress and we're really excited to see that continue." Watson has limited fantasy upside based on what we've seen over the last few seasons, but his QB22 price tag in early FFPC best ball drafts makes him an intriguing dice roll.

From RotoBaller

Trent McDuffie Feb 27 4:50pm ET
Trent McDuffie

The Kansas City Chiefs are planning to use the franchise tag on standout cornerback L'Jarius Sneed ahead of 2024 free agency. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the team is prepared to trade Sneed if the two sides fail to agree to a long-term extension. Selected by the Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the 27-year-old has been a part of the last two Super Bowl runs, and he and Trent McDuffie have formed arguably the best cornerback duo in the NFL. Sneed did not allow a touchdown during the regular season, and he has tallied 10 interceptions through the first four seasons of his career. If he hits the trade block, there should be several interested suitors in today's pass-happy NFL.

From RotoBaller

Roschon Johnson Feb 27 4:30pm ET
Roschon Johnson

On the podium at the 2024 NFL Combine, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said he "loves where Roschon Johnson is in his development." This was in response to a question about Johnson's potential prospects of being the team's lead back in 2024. The former Texas Longhorn rushed 81 times for 352 yards and two touchdowns and caught 34 passes for 209 yards in his rookie season after being selected in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. 25-year-old ball-carrier Khalil Herbert remains on the roster, while veteran D'Onta Foreman is a free agent. While Eberflus' comments are a good sign, it's far too early to project Johnson's potential workload. With a strong free agent and underrated rookie running back class available this offseason, the organization could easily add to its running back room.

From RotoBaller

Brian Callahan Feb 27 4:20pm ET
Brian Callahan

In a media availability at the 2024 NFL Combine, Tennessee Titans head coach Brian Callahan was asked about the Cincinnati Bengals' decision to draft wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase instead of offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Callahan was the team's offensive coordinator at that time, and Cincinnati desperately needed offensive line help. Tennessee is facing similar circumstances ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, with the offensive line and wide receiver positions being its top team needs. "When all things are equal," Callahan said. "Guys that can score touchdowns make more of an impact." Tennessee has a key decision to make with its No. 7 overall selection. Offensive tackles Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu and wide receivers Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze have been popular prospects to keep an eye on to potentially land with Will Levis and the Titans.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Feb 27 4:03pm ET
Davante Adams

Las Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams is highly unlikely to be traded this season based on comments from new general manager Tom Telesco on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Fantasy Spin: Adams is coming off his fourth consecutive 100-catch season despite playing most of his snaps with Jimmy Garoppolo and Aidan O'Connell. There is a distinct possibility Las Vegas will be able to upgrade that position this offseason, which should only lock Adams in as a top-10 fantasy receiver yet again. Assuming Adams gets the quarterback upgrade, he should be able to improve on last year's 103-1,144-8 line.

From TheHuddle

Mike Evans Feb 27 4:03pm ET
Mike Evans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year next month, but general manager Jason Licht made it clear on Tuesday, Feb. 27, that the team is 'going to do whatever we can to make sure he's a Buc.'

Fantasy Spin: With the league recently announcing the salary cap will take a $30 million hike in 2024, it certainly should increase Tampa Bay's chances of retaining the only receiver ever to begin his career with 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons. However, the change at offensive coordinator from Dave Canales to Liam Coen may result in a slight hit to his fantasy stock next season - assuming he is re-signed.

From TheHuddle

Jonnu Smith Feb 27 3:43pm ET
Jonnu Smith

Atlanta Falcons TE Jonnu Smith was released on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

From TheHuddle

Sam Howell Feb 27 3:40pm ET
Sam Howell

Washington Commanders new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said this week that he doesn't envision the team being an Air Raid offensive system in 2024 under his supervision. Passing-game coordinator Brian Johnson feels the same. Kingsbury is known for his Air Raid system when he was the head coach at Texas Tech, but that didn't translate to his offenses when he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. With Sam Howell at QB for Washington in 2023, the team threw the ball the third-most times in the NFL, behind only the Chiefs and Bengals, but they want to be more balanced as an offense under Kingsbury. It makes sense, as the Commanders are expected to be running with a rookie signal-caller this year.

From RotoBaller

Rashod Bateman Feb 27 3:30pm ET
Rashod Bateman

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said that wide receiver Rashod Bateman is going to get the ball "a lot more" next season and said that he expects the wideout to take a big step forward in 2024. Odell Beckham Jr. may not return in free agency, which would help, but most fantasy managers will likely want to see it before believing Harbaugh's words. The 24-year-old disappeared more often than not in his third NFL season in 2023, finishing with just 32 receptions for 367 yards and one touchdown on 56 targets in 16 regular-season games. A lot more would have been expected of the former first-rounder had we known he was going to stay healthy all year. Unless Zay Flowers or tight end Mark Andrews miss time with injury in 2024, Bateman will have an uphill battle to climb again for consistent fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Jameson Williams Feb 27 3:30pm ET
Jameson Williams

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said that wide receiver Jameson Williams is going to push to be a full-time starter in 2024. "By the end of the year, we really felt like he was coming into his own," Campbell said of Williams. The 22-year-old former first-round pick was suspended for the first month of his sophomore season in 2023 due to gambling and ended up finishing the regular season with 24 catches on 42 targets for 354 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games (10 starts). He added a TD on three rushing attempts. Williams steadily saw more time on the field as the season progressed, but he wasn't much of a factor as a deep threat with quarterback Jared Goff preferring underneath routes. As long as Goff is Detroit's starting QB, Williams will likely be a boom/bust fantasy receiver.

From RotoBaller

Jonnu Smith Feb 27 3:20pm ET
Jonnu Smith

The Atlanta Falcons are releasing tight end Jonnu Smith on Tuesday, according to a source. Smith will be on the open market this offseason after catching 50 passes for 532 yards and three touchdowns on 70 targets in 17 games (six starts) in his lone season in Atlanta in 2023. The Falcons traded for Smith before the 2023 season, but that was with the old coaching staff. Now that a new coaching staff is in place, more specifically with new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson running the offense, the Falcons aren't going to rely as much on two tight-end sets in 2024, making the 28-year-old Smith and his $6.5 million non-guaranteed salary expendable. Smith will be hard-pressed to match his career-highs in 2024 with another team.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Pitts Feb 27 3:20pm ET
Kyle Pitts

Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said that the team has a lot of faith in tight end Kyle Pitts now that he's fully healthy. Pitts played in all 17 games last year, but he wasn't fully healthy for much of the season after recovering from an MCL sprain in his right knee that he suffered in Week 11 of 2022. The 23-year-old former first-rounder had a frustrating 53-667-3 line in 2023, but he's already looking like a tight end to target in 2024 fantasy drafts. Not only will Pitts be another year beyond his knee injury, but Jonnu Smith is now gone, and new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson is expected to use Pitts all over the field this year. Pitts will be relatively cheap in drafts, too, so he's shaping up as an excellent value play. However, at the end of the day, how productive Pitts will be could depend on what quarterback Atlanta brings in.

From RotoBaller

Shaquil Barrett Feb 27 3:10pm ET
Shaquil Barrett

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett on Tuesday, according to sources. Barrett had a $15.04 million option bonus due next month, but he'll now become a free agent instead of collecting it. The 31-year-old's best days are most likely behind him, but he was able to bounce back in 2023 with 52 tackles (33 solo), 4.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, nine QB hits, an interception returned for a touchdown, and three forced fumbles in 16 regular-season starts in 2023 after playing in just eight games in 2022 due to a torn Achilles. On the wrong side of 30 now, Barrett's upside is now much lower in IDP fantasy leagues, but he can still be a key contributor wherever he lands as long as he can stay healthy.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Feb 27 3:00pm ET
Mike Evans

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are actively working to re-sign five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, who is scheduled for free agency in a little over two weeks. "He's an unprecedented player. We want him to be a Buc for life. We're working towards that," general manager Jason Licht said. "Obviously it takes two sides. I know he wants to be a Buc. We'll probably have to strain a little bit but we're working towards that right now." The two sides worked unsuccessfully to work out a deal before the start of last season, but he still put together one of the best seasons of his career in 2023 with 13 TDs, which tied for the league lead. The 30-year-old pass-catcher has reached 1,000 receiving yards for the 10th straight season -- an NFL record for the start of a career and one shy of tying Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's overall record. Evans has shown no signs of slowing down.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Feb 27 2:40pm ET
Calvin Ridley

Sports Illustrated's John Shipley writes that the Jacksonville Jaguars want to re-sign impending unrestricted free-agent wide receiver Calvin Ridley this offseason, and there are plenty of reasons to think that Ridley wants to return as well. Ridley will be the top receiver on the market for several teams, so it won't be easy for Jacksonville to bring him back. Meanwhile, Shipley doesn't expect Jamal Agnew to return after being a valuable piece for the team the last three years. Ridley, 29, was suspended for all of 2022 due to gambling and returned in 2023 to catch 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns in 17 games. If he sticks around in Jaguars for a second straight season, he could improve on his numbers from a year ago with more chemistry with quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

From RotoBaller

Justin Fields Feb 27 2:30pm ET
Justin Fields

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles said on Tuesday that if the team decides to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick this year, he doesn't think it would be right not to trade quarterback Justin Fields before free agency on March 13. No official decision has been made by Chicago, but all signs are pointing to the team moving on from Fields and drafting USC's Caleb Williams as their next franchise QB. Teams such as the Steelers, Falcons, Patriots, Raiders, and Broncos figured to be interested in Fields if he becomes available. The 24-year-old missed time due to injury in 2023, but he looked improved down the stretch and still has QB1 appeal in fantasy because of his elite rushing ability. A move out of Chicago and to a new offensive system could make him more attractive as well.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Feb 27 2:30pm ET
Russell Wilson

When asked about quarterback Russell Wilson's trade market this offseason, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said he hasn't been contacted by any teams. Meanwhile, head coach Sean Payton said on Tuesday that a decision on Wilson's future with the team will come "in the next two weeks" before the start of free agency. Expectations are that Wilson will be released before the start of the new league year on March 13, which will cause Denver to carry an $85 million dead-money salary cap hit in 2024. The 35-year-old had a bounce-back season in 2023 in his second year with the team, but his fate seemed sealed when the Broncos benched him for the final two regular season games. Wilson didn't appear finished quite yet last year, but even a move to a better team in 2024 wouldn't ensure that he'd be a trustworthy QB1 in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Feb 27 2:20pm ET
Davante Adams

New Las Vegas Raiders general manager Tom Telesco emphasized on Tuesday that wide receiver Davante Adams isn't going anywhere despite trade rumors. "He's a Raider," Telesco said. Adams is guaranteed a full $16.89 million base salary in 2024 and has three years left on his current deal. Adams broke a streak of six straight Pro Bowl appearances in 2023, although he still managed to catch over 100 passes (103) for the fourth straight year while gaining 1,144 yards and eight touchdowns in 17 games. The 31-year-old could become more inconsistent as the Raiders look for an upgrade at quarterback through the draft, but it's hard to debate his WR1 worth in fantasy after posting four straight 1,000-yard seasons while finding the end zone 51 times since 2020.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Feb 27 2:20pm ET
Saquon Barkley

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen isn't ruling out using the franchise tag on impending free-agent running back Saquon Barkley, even though it was reported on Monday that they were unlikely to use it on him. "The franchise tag is not off the table. He wants a fair deal and I appreciate that," Schoen said. Using the franchise tag on the 27-year-old RB would cost the G-Men around $12.1 million in 2024, and it would be the second straight year they would have used the tag on him. Even after missing more time due to injury in 2023, Barkley would be a hot commodity at the position this offseason if he doesn't end up re-signing in New York. The two-time Pro Bowler averaged 3.9 yards per carry on 247 attempts for 962 rushing yards and six TDs in 14 games in 2023. No matter where he lands, the oft-injured RB will be a risk/reward RB1 for fantasy managers.

From RotoBaller