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Monday is a day David Wilson will never forget. After undergoing spinal fusion neck surgery in the offseason and returning to the field for the start of training camp, the 23-year-old former first-round pick suffered a "burner" last week. Immediately following that practice, coach Tom Coughlin expressed concern. That concern became a reality on Monday. Wilson was advised to end his football career, and that appears to be just what he's doing.
"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me," Wilson said. "I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too. I'm thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football."
Credit Wilson for understanding he has a full life to live ahead of him. He fought hard to get back on the field this summer, and we applaud his efforts. The numbness in Wilson's hands and lower extremities wasn't something to take lightly. Many will remember Wilson as a 2013 fantasy mega-bust, but he was truly one of the more dynamic athletes in the sport. He had the ability to score from anywhere on the field. His career is over before it really even got started. The Giants will move forward with Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams as their one-two punch at tailback, while Peyton Hillis figures to be the favorite for No. 3 duties.
News Nugget #1
Bengals owner/GM Mike Brown said in July that he believed Andy Dalton would be the team's quarterback of the future. On Monday, Brown handed Dalton a contract that could make that happen. Could. Dalton inked a six-year, $96 million extension with the club. But pay zero attention to the numbers. As we've learned by now, years and total value don't hold much weight in the NFL. It's extremely rare for players to play out these big-money contracts.
In Dalton's case, just $17 million of that $96 million is fully guaranteed. He gets a $12 million signing bonus and $5 million roster bonus. Obviously, he'll earn his 2014 salary. But after that, it's a pay-as-you-go, year-to-year deal for Dalton, similar to the one Colin Kaepernick received from the 49ers earlier in the offseason. The Bengals did well here. It's a team-friendly deal. For all of Dalton's flaws, he's still quarterbacked the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, even though he's yet to muster up a postseason victory. That needs to change this season. Fantasy-wise, Dalton is a reliable starter in 2-QB leagues but is a middle-of-the-road QB2 in standard formats.
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News Nugget #2
Though he's been mixing in with the starters throughout camp, Monday was the first day Johnny Manziel opened practice as the first-team quarterback. Brian Hoyer worked with the twos all morning. Coach Mike Pettine says it's "just part of the plan," and we believe him. But this further shows, at least to the outside world, that the Browns are going to give Manziel an opportunity to win the gig. Recent reports have indicated that Manziel is "narrowing the gap" on Hoyer, and suggest the rookie is "bearing down" on the veteran. We still give the slight edge to Hoyer, but it's far from settled. The quarterback battle in Cleveland is one of the top story lines of the preseason.
News Nugget #3
It's been a mostly quiet summer up to this point for Jordan Reed. But on Monday, the Boston Globe reported the second-year tight end was a standout performer at that afternoon's Patriots-Redskins joint practice in Richmond, Va. Reed was burning the New England back seven, and Patriots beat writer Ben Volin believes Reed could be in line for a big season. It's worth pointing out that before Volin took the job with the Boston Globe, he covered the Dolphins. Reed played his college ball at Florida, so Volin has seen Reed in the past. Reed's concussion history is a concern, but he's a plus athlete and should be Robert Griffin III's go-to option in the red-zone. He's the only projected starting pass catcher over 6-feet tall in D.C. Reed should flirt with top-end TE1 production.
Depth Chart Quick Slants
Eagles WR Ifeanyi Momah has been getting a "ton" of reps with the first-team offense. Coach Chip Kelly has an affinity for big receivers. Momah stands in at 6'7/229. … Maurice Jones-Drew is listed as the starter on the Raiders' initial depth chart. Darren McFadden is No. 2. MJD is the guy to own. … Andre Holmes and Rod Streater are atop the depth chart at receiver for Oakland. James Jones and Greg Little are on the second team, while Denarius Moore and Juron Criner are with the threes. Holmes is a guy to monitor. … Donte Moncrief has already passed Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen in Indy, and is listed as the No. 4 receiver. … Tre Mason is the No. 4 running back in St. Louis. He has some climbing to do. … Ryan Mathews described the Chargers' backfield as a three-headed monster between he, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown. Mathews is the lead back and preferred own in fantasy. Woodhead gets a big bump in PPR formats. … Patriots rookie RB James White is making waves at camp, and is reportedly pushing Stevan Ridley for early-down work. Keep an eye on him in the preseason.
Injury Quick Slants
Packers undrafted rookie TE Colt Lyerla will miss multiple weeks with a knee injury. Already struggling to get out of the basement at tight end, Lyerla's roster chances take a significant hit. … Giants TE Daniel Fells' knee issue is being called a bone bruise. … Toby Gerhart is day-to-day with tightness in his hip flexor. … Montee Ball will undergo an appendectomy and miss most of the remainder of training camp and preseason. … Promising Bears second-year WR Marquess Wilson broke his clavicle on Monday and will miss close to three months. … The Bengals removed Marvin Jones (ankle) from the active/NFI list. … Aaron Dobson (foot) remains sidelined. … Mike Wallace (hamstring) returned to practice Monday. Charles Clay (knee) will miss "multiple practices."