I walked through the kitchen this morning as my wife was minding a pot of water on the stove for something she was cooking. I don’t linger long but I notice the water just starting to display the occasional bubble on the surface. Soon, this water will be nearly overflowing from the vessel and the time when you could count the bubbles will be gone. That is where we are in the NFL season. Each relevant story draws more than its share of coverage but in just a couple of weeks, we’ll be overwhelmed by the bubbles of news and plotlines as camps begin. For now, here’s the latest…
Zeke Holding Out
On the heels of last week’s report suggesting Chargers RB Melvin Gordon would consider holding out of training camp and possibly even into the regular season if he wasn’t given a new contract, there is buzz of another marquee back joining him. Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reported yesterday that Cowboys’ RB Ezekiel Elliott, fresh off dodging yet another league-imposed suspension for his off-field antics, is considering holding out of training camp.
Unlike Gordon and other players who would typically threaten a camp absence, Elliott is under contract for two more seasons. It is likely that Elliott and his camp has a sense for what the entire league is quickly understanding, the value of the running back position is trending down. Elliott will try to strike while he can. A follow-up report from Robinson noted that Elliott must report to the team by August 6thin order to accrue a full season toward free agency.
Dallas has very little behind Elliott after letting RB Rod Smith walk in free agency. They drafted a pair of rookies in Tony Pollard and Mike Weber, though neither should be counted on to replace Elliott in the lineup.
Franchise Tag Fallout
Yesterday was the deadline for NFL teams to reach long-term contract agreements with players previously assigned the franchise tag. The first successful agreement came as the 49ers signed K Robbie Gould to a two-year, $10.5 million deal, overriding his $5 franchise tag. There had been reports that Gould was unhappy and was hoping for a return to Chicago, where he spent the majority of his career, so this move is a bit of a surprise.
In another surprise, the Falcons and DT Grady Jarrett found middle ground on a four-year, $68 million deal, making him the league’s third-highest paid interior defensive lineman. Jarrett is just 26 years old. After locking down Jarrett, the Falcons are expected to discuss long-term contract extensions for WR Julio Jones and LB Deion Jones.
Perhaps the top player to be given the franchise tag, Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney, was not able to reach a new agreement with Houston. Clowney is expected to hold out of training camp in what will likely be his final season with the Texans.
Lindsay Ready to Go
Broncos second-year RB Phillip Lindsay suggested he is 100% healthy after his late-season wrist injury. The Broncos are the first team to open camp and Lindsay expects to be ready when that happens Thursday. While Lindsay is penciled in as the starter, virtually everyone expects fellow second-year RB Royce Freeman to put up a fight for more playing time after a relatively disappointing rookie season.
Guice Injures Hammy
You might want to sit down for this…it seems that Redskins RB Derrius Guice is dealing with an injury. Guice, coming off a torn ACL that ended his rookie season before it began, recently suffered a hamstring injury that has him questionable for the start of training camp. Guice has been treated as a sure-thing in fantasy circles despite the serious injury and lack of any track record in the NFL but this will put an end to that. With veteran RB Adrian Peterson projecting a 2,000-yard rushing season, Guice is far from being locked in as the Redskins starting back. For what it’s worth, Guice later downplayed his hamstring injury, saying there was no reason for concern.
Free agent RB Alex Collins suffered a broken leg. This is a major blow to any chances Collins had of making another appearance in the league. Following a March arrest, the Ravens released their former starting back and Collins is still dealing with the legal ramifications of that incident…Free agent WR Martavis Bryant applied for reinstatement to the league. Bryant was suspended in December for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, an unfortunate recurring pattern for the talented receiver…Oakland signed OL Jonathan Cooper…Bengals G Clint Boling announced his retirement. Along with the season-ending injury to rookie Jonah Williams, this makes two key linemen lost for Cincinnati in a matter of weeks…The Giants suspended S Kamrin Moore after he was charged with aggravated assault, allegedly punching a woman and stepping on her neck…Former Titans LB Derrick Morgan announced his retirement from the league after nine seasons…