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Marinelli, Turner win pro football writers' Zimmerman award

Mon Jun 14 5:07pm ET
By The Associated Press

Las Vegas defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and San Francisco running backs coach Bobby Turner have been given the Paul ''Dr. Z'' Zimmerman Award by the Professional Football Writers of America for lifetime achievement as assistants.

Marinelli is entering his 26th season as an NFL coach and his second with the Raiders. The 71-year-old was head coach in Detroit from 2006-08 and also has served on staffs in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Chicago.

Turner also is set for his 26th season in the NFL and fifth with the 49ers. The 72-year-old has been an assistant his entire career with other stops in Denver, Washington and Atlanta.

Marinelli and Turner are the 17th and 18th recipients of the Dr. Z Award. It is named for Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for 29 years as Sports Illustrated's lead pro football writer. He is considered one of the best football writers of all time.

Other 2021 nominees for the Dr. Z Award were the late defensive line coach Bobb McKittrick, the late defensive coordinator Floyd Peters and the late defensive line coach John Teerlinck.

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Player Notes
Jamison Crowder Jun 14 6:20pm ET

The New York Jets and wide receiver Jamison Crowder have renegotiated his contract for the 2021 season, keeping him on the team for another year at least. Crowder was a rumored cut candidate throughout the offseason thanks to a $10 million cap hit in non-guaranteed money. Now Crowder will be a veteran presence to mentor a young wide receiver corps and serve as a safety blanket for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson in New York. Despite the reworked deal, Crowder can still become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 season. He is coming off a 59-catch, 699-yard, six-touchdown season over 12 games in 2020 and should serve as a low-end WR3 in PPR leagues this year. Fantasy gamers hoping to count on rookie slot receiver Elijah Moore will probably have to wait until the 2022 season.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Conklin Jun 14 11:30am ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin finished the 2020 season on a high note, catching 15 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown over the final four games of the season. Conklin appears to be line for a larger role in 2021 with tight end Kyle Rudolph now a member of the New York Giants. In addition to Rudolph being gone, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer recently told reporters that incumbent tight end Irv Smith Jr. will not have an expanded role in the team's offense. Zimmer went on to say that Conklin will have a larger role in 2021, making it apparent that the coaching staff likes what they saw from Conklin at the end of 2020. Look for Smith and Conklin to split looks at the tight end position in 2021, putting both on the radar as deep sleepers in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Elliott Jun 13 9:03pm ET

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is in 'the best shape of his life,' according to QB Dak Prescott. 'When Zeke's healthy and Zeke's doing his thing, he's the best running back in the league,' Prescott said. 'It's just exciting to see him in the best shape of his life, or best shape he's been in the NFL. That's going to be special for us moving forward.'

Fantasy Spin: Elliott is coming off the worst season of his career, but if the Cowboys are healthy on the offensive side of the ball, he is still a key cog in a loaded attack. He should be treated as a RB1, and Elliott could easily be a top-five fantasy option at the position.

From TheHuddle

Mike Williams Jun 13 8:43pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams will be playing the X position in offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's system. 'As much as this offense will resemble New Orleans, he plays the 'X' and the ball has always kind of found the 'X' receiver in this offense,' Lombardi said of Williams. 'I think that there will be some natural production that comes his way because of the nature of the offense.'

Fantasy Spin: Williams will essentially be playing the same position in Lombardi's offense that Michael Thomas has played for the New Orleans passing attack. Williams isn't Thomas, but a featured role in the offense and another year to work with quarterback Justin Herbert could lead to a breakout season. He has WR3 potential.

From TheHuddle

Keenan Allen Jun 13 8:23pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen said he will be able to 'play more freely' in offensive coordinator Mike Lombardi's system.

Fantasy Spin: Allen has been remarkably consistent, logging at least 97 catches, 992 yards and six touchdowns in each of the past four seasons. The veteran should continue to thrive as the go-to target for quarterback Justin Herbert in 2021. He is a high-floor WR2 with WR1 upside in PPR formats.

From TheHuddle

Jerome Baker Jun 13 2:53pm ET

Miami Dolphins LB Jerome Baker agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension with the Dolphins Sunday, June 13, worth $39 million. The deal includes $28.4 million in guaranteed money.

From TheHuddle

Jamison Crowder Jun 13 2:33pm ET

New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder is expected to attend the mandatory minicamp this week even though he skipped some offseason workouts because of a contract situation.

Fantasy Spin: Crowder's status with the team is uncertain at this point because the team wants him to accept a pay cut. He is a reliable slot receiver, so fantasy players can keep an eye to see which team he will play for in 2021. He can be a No. 4 fantasy receiver in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Jun 13 12:33pm ET

New England Patriots QB Cam Newton (hand) made some throws during practice Friday, June 11, and may participate in the mandatory minicamp this week.

Fantasy Spin: Newton's hand injury is not serious, so he could participate in some drills during minicamp. He will enter training camp as the leading candidate for the starting quarterback job but would only be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback if he wins the job.

From TheHuddle

Jamison Crowder Jun 13 12:13pm ET

Updating a previous report, the New York Jets reportedly want WR Jamison Crowder to take at least a 50% pay cut on his non-guaranteed $10 million salary, meaning that the club wants to give him a maximum of $5 million, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini. Crowder skipped voluntary OTAs because of the contract disagreement but head coach Robert Saleh expects him to appear at this week's mandatory minicamp.

Fantasy Spin: If Crowder remains with the Jets, he would be the club's primary slot receiver and would battle Corey Davis and Denzel Mims for targets. If Crowder is released, Elijah Moore would see an increase in fantasy value as the club's likely new slot receiver for fellow rookie Zach Wilson.

From TheHuddle

Malik Hooker Jun 13 11:53am ET

Free-agent S Malik Hooker (Colts) said during an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio that he wants to visit more NFL teams before training camps open in July. He has already visited the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason.

From TheHuddle

Logan Thomas Jun 12 9:23pm ET

Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas believes the additions of WR Curtis Samuel and WR Dyami Brown will open up more opportunities for him to make big plays. 'With the guys we have on the outside, maybe there's more space on the inside to make plays down the field,' Thomas said.

Fantasy Spin: Thomas emerged as a borderline top-five fantasy tight end down the stretch last season, and while Washington added some firepower on the outside, Thomas should still be one of the primary targets in the passing attack. Grab him as a TE1 in 2021.

From TheHuddle

Richard Sherman Jun 12 7:13pm ET

Free-agent CB Richard Sherman (49ers) said he wants to sign with a Super Bowl contender and is waiting for the right opportunity.

From TheHuddle

Le'Veon Bell Jun 12 6:33pm ET

Free-agent RB Le'Veon Bell (Chiefs) said he is not interested in playing for Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid again.

From TheHuddle

Davante Adams Jun 12 6:33pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams said he plans to report to training camp on time even if he does not receive a contract extension before the start of camp.

Fantasy Spin: Adams is one of the top receivers in the NFL, but his fantasy value will be affected if Aaron Rodgers does not stay with the team. He should still be a weekly starting option in all fantasy leagues in 2021.

From TheHuddle

Curtis Samuel Jun 12 5:03pm ET

Washington Football Team WR Curtis Samuel (groin) did not participate in the team's minicamp this week because of a groin injury. Head coach Ron Rivera said Samuel should be ready for training camp.

Fantasy Spin: Samuel probably will have a big role in the offense this season and could also be involved in the running game. He has a chance to be a No. 3 receiver in some fantasy leagues if he is healthy.

From TheHuddle

J.D. McKissic Jun 12 5:03pm ET

Washington Football Team DT Tim Settle (undisclosed), RB J.D. McKissic (personal), LB Jon Bostic (personal) and CB Jimmy Moreland (personal) did not participate in the mandatory minicamp this week.

From TheHuddle

Braxton Berrios Jun 12 12:33am ET

New York Jets WR Braxton Berrios is establishing himself as QB Zach Wilson's 'safety blanket' during OTAs, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

From TheHuddle

Russell Gage Jun 11 11:43pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage Jr. has 'grown his game' and will play more than just the slot, according to head coach Arthur Smith. 'So we envision Russ playing multiple spots,' Smith said.

Fantasy Spin: With the trade of Julio Jones, Gage has a golden opportunity to emerge as the No. 2 receiver behind Calvin Ridley. Consider him a WR4 with upside.

From TheHuddle

Evan Engram Jun 11 10:03pm ET

New York Giants TE Evan Engram has been 'catching everything thrown in his direction' and has been the 'best offensive player on the field' during OTAs, according to Jordan Raanan of

Fantasy Spin: Engram has been a matchup problem for defenses since entering the league, but injuries and drops have plagued him. If he starts catching the ball consistently, he should easily finish as a TE1.

From TheHuddle

Bashaud Breeland Jun 11 5:53pm ET

Minnesota Vikings CB Bashaud Breeland (shoulder) said he had shoulder surgery this offseason which is why he waited so long to sign with a team.

From TheHuddle