Free Agent Friday: AFC South

By: Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

The AFC South will be the topic of my conversation with you all today.  The division was won by the Tennessee Titans, and they received the number one seed in the AFC.  That seeding didn’t help them much as they were quickly dispatched by the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round.  Speaking of the Titans, let’s get into one of their free agents and how they will affect some Dynasty Owners.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
Anthony Firkser26UFA$3,000,000$4,000,000

The only Titan worth talking about today is Anthony Firkser. Firkser had a lackluster fantasy season. He finished as the TE31, and had only 71.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to show for it. At 3 million dollars, he wasn’t the worst tight end value in football, but he was hardly worth starting either. Consider Firkser a shaky hold at the moment. I estimate his value at $4,000,000.

Indianapolis Colts

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
T.Y. Hilton32UFA$8,000,000$6,000,000
Mo Alie-Cox28UFA$3,384,000$5,000,000
Zach Pascal27UFA$3,384,000$7,000,000
Marlon Mack25UFA$2,000,000$2,000,000

T.Y. Hilton comes in as the first Colts’ free agent we are going to talk about. Hilton was not worth rostering in 2021, and I hesitated if I should even talk about him today. I decided to include him as he is still a big name receiver, and I think he could be fantasy relevant in 2022. I don’t see T.Y. making more than his last contract ($8,000,000). I think it’s likely he will be closer to the $6,000,000 mark (think A.J. Green type contract). I also believe he will move on from Indianapolis and look to continue his career with a team in need of a WR2.

Mo Alie-Cox received a second round tender in 2021. That made his contract $3,384,000 for a single year. Alie-Cox will make more than 3.3 million dollars in 2022, and I think he will return to the Colts. We have yet to see the full offensive potential from the 6’5” tight end, but we did see a flash of it when he had a two touchdown game worth 19.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 4. I would be holding onto Mo Alie-Cox even for $5,000,000 per year.

Zach Pascal is a wide receiver that is not often talked about and was relatively forgotten about for fantasy last season. He scored less than 100 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (93.9) and finished as WR80. There’s really not much to talk about with Pascal. He will probably make over $6,000,000 in 2022, and I will not be the Dynasty Owner holding him at that salary.

Marlon Mack was once a very interesting free agent. I am actually still a little interested, but that’s from a football fan standpoint and not an investor. Mack was buried on the depth chart at the end of the 2021 season, and I have to think that there is more for him than this. He is only 25 years old and only two years removed from a 1,000 yard rushing season. My hope is that Mack moves on from Indianapolis and becomes a solid second running back for a team in need of one. Expect Mack to be right at his previous contract of $2,000,000 per year.

Houston Texans

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
Tyrod Taylor32UFA$5,500,000$5,000,000
David Johnson30UFA$5,000,000$2,000,000
Royce Freeman25UFA$985,005$1,500,000
Jordan Akins29UFA$831,271$4,000,000

Tyrod Taylor starts it off for us with Houston. Tyrod is probably looked at as a backup quarterback at this point in his career. I hate to say that because I’ve always liked watching Taylor, but it seems very unlikely he would be given a starting job. The going rate for a backup quarterback like him is around $5,000,000. I, personally, have no interest in holding him for that much money.

David Johnson saw the least amount of carries in his career in 2021 (excluding 2017 when he suffered a season ending injury in Week 1). This is obviously not the direction we would like to see his career go, but it’s also not unexpected from an aging running back. Johnson is now over 30 years old, and his time with Houston has not gone well for anyone involved. I think Johnson finds a new team. He will be looking at the type of contract that an over 30 year old, backup running back usually gets. That would be around $2,000,000 for 1 year.

Royce Freeman had only 34.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021. The only thing that made him rosterable over the past few seasons is the fact that his contract was less than $1,000,000 per year.  His salary should increase slightly as he finds a new team, but I’ve seen enough from him in his career to believe that he will not be taking over as a RB1 anytime soon.

Jacksonville Jaguars

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
D.J. Chark25UFA$1,111,807$11,000,000

Just one Jaguar to talk about today. That player is D.J. Chark. Over the past two seasons, Chark was one of the players that I consistently targeted in all my mock and start-up drafts for Dynasty Owner. The reason is that he was still on his rookie contract and seemed to be perennially undervalued. Sadly, I targeted him in 2021 start-up drafts as well. Chark broke his ankle in Week 4 against the Bengals and was placed on season ending Injured Reserve soon after. Obviously an injury like this does not improve his contract potential, but I still think he will get a mid-level contract because of his production in prior years. I expect him to make somewhere between 10 and 12 million dollars per year. What I haven’t decided on is if he will be back in Jacksonville with that contract.

My gut tells me that he will be back. We know that Laviska Shenault Jr. is the up and coming wide receiver with the aging Marvin Jones as the WR2 on the team. I don’t think this alone will be enough offensive power to make many games competitive in 2022. I also think it’s unlikely Jacksonville drafts a wide receiver that can immediately make an impact in the NFL. I have Chark returning to the Jaguars with a contract of $11,000,000 per year.

That wraps up my article for today. If there is any player who you want me to spend more time talking about, just message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Take care everyone and be safe.

TheJerk