DE Randy Gregory Absent From Buccaneers’ Training Camp

Uncertainty continues to loom over the status of Randy Gregory. The veteran defensive end was not in attendance for the start of Buccaneers training camp, and the team placed him on the reserve/did not report list Tuesday.

Gregory was absent from mandatory minicamp last month, a move which resulted in fines being accumulated. His absence came in the wake of the discrimination lawsuit he filed against the NFL and the Broncos over usage of a prescription medication which involved THC. Considering the latest development in his situation, Gregory’ absence does not come as a surprise.

Head coach Todd Bowles said last week he had not spoken with the 31-year-old in any capacity. Meanwhile, Greg Auman of Fox Sports notes there has been no update provided by Gregory’s camp with respect to why he has not attended camp. Needless to say, his future in Tampa Bay is very much in question at this point.

Gregory did not pan out in Denver, logging just 10 games during his time with the Broncos across the 2022 and ’23 seasons. He finished out the year in San Francisco, making 12 appearances and recording 2.5 sacks. The former Cowboys second-rounder signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers worth up to $5MM. His earnings for the year have already been affected by the fines (totaling more than $100K) he accumulated by missing minicamp, however.

Tampa Bay guaranteed $1.37MM of Gregory’s base salary, but the team would save just over $1.6MM in cap space with a release. It will be interesting to see if an update takes place in this case over the coming days or if the Buccaneers elect to cut bait if Gregory remains away from the team.

Saints RB Alvin Kamara In Attendance For Training Camp

Alvin Kamara is not satisfied with his contract status, but he will not engage in a hold out during training camp. The Saints running back has reported with the rest of the team’s veterans, per Nick Underhill of

Players not on rookie contracts are subject to $50K in mandatory daily fines if they hold out. As a result, it comes as no surprise Kamara has elected to attend training camp as he continues to seek an a new or reworked deal. He could nevertheless engage in a hold in by declining to participate in on-field work.

The soon-t0-be 29-year-old walked out of the final practice during minicamp, a move known to be tied to his financial situation. Kamara has two years remaining on his pact, but his scheduled 2025 compensation includes a non-guaranteed $22.5MM base salary. The coming campaign is therefore – for all intents and purposes – his walk year.

Team and player are not believed to be close to working out an agreement, and if that remains the case through the start of training camp Kamara may very well elect to stay off the field. The five-time Pro Bowler maintained his record of topping 1,100 scrimmage yards each year of his career in 2023 despite missing the first three games of the campaign through suspension. He is positioned to once again handle lead back duties in 2024.

Given the nature of the veteran running back market, though, even a strong season could make it difficult for Kamara to land another lucrative pact. The former third-rounder is open to incentives being added to his current deal – rather than an extension keeping him place beyond 2025. It will be interesting to see if progress is made in the coming days with respect to a resolution being found.

Rams, Matthew Stafford Reach Contract Resolution

Rams head coach Sean McVay announced on Tuesday that an agreement has been reached with Matthew Stafford on a new contract. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback will be in attendance at training camp.

McVay did not go into specifics with respect to financial terms, but he noted (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo) today’s agreement is not an extension. As a result, Stafford remains under contract through the 2026 campaign. Only one more year remained on the pact with guaranteed salary, so this restructure presumably includes new locked in compensation.

It became known during the draft that Stafford was seeking guarantees beyond 2024. The 36-year-old delivered a healthy and productive season last year, putting to rest thoughts of a trade sending him out of Los Angeles or (for at least the time being) speculation about retirement. McVay confirmed Stafford would remain in place for the coming campaign atop the QB depth chart after the team’s postseason exit. That will be the case for 2024 and potentially beyond, depending on the structure of the new arrangement.

Stafford’s camp had been in communication with the Rams about a resolution, so today’s update comes as little surprise. The latest report on the matter indicated the longtime Lions signal-caller would not engage in a training camp holdout even if a deal had not been agreed to. That has now become a moot point, and team and player will turn their attention to the 2024 season.

The Rams’ youth movement at a number of positions led to lessened expectations last year, but Stafford helped guide the team to the wild-card round. Taking one or more steps further than that in 2024 would prove his $31MM salary to be worthwhile, and staying healthy would make today’s investment in his finances for 2025 and/or ’26 a reasonable decision as well. The details of today’s move will be worth watching for as the Rams prepare for life after Aaron Donald on the field and from a financial perspective.

Browns, WR Amari Cooper Agree To Restructure

Amari Cooper‘s contract situation has been resolved. The Browns wideout will receive a raise of up to $5MM in 2024 as part of a restructured contract, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The additional money exists in the form of incentives, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini clarifies.

This new agreement will guarantee the $20MM in salary Cooper was already due to make in 2024. Half of that figure will be paid out as a signing bonus, Schefter adds. Cooper will still enter the coming season as a pending free agent, but today’s move adds to his immediate earning potential while also providing considerable locked in compensation.

Cooper skipped mandatory minicamp and incurred fines in the process as part of his attempts at landing a new (or, as it turns out, upgraded) deal. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said at the time team and player discussed the situation, paving the way for a resolution to be found. A report from last month confirmed a mutual interest existed for an agreement to be worked out in time for training camp.

With that having now taken place, attention can turn to Cooper’s role in a new-look Browns receiving corps. The 30-year-old has produced as expected during his Cleveland tenure, racking up 2,410 yards and 14 touchdowns since 2022. The team acquired Jerry Jeudy via trade this offseason, extending the former Broncos first-rounder on a three-year, $52.5MM deal. In spite of that move, Cooper will be counted on to remain the Browns’ No. 1 wideout.

The latter earned four Pro Bowl nods split between his time with the Raiders and Cowboys, and he received his fifth in 2023. Another strong campaign will help Cooper’s bargaining power on a new Browns deal or one sending him to a new team as a free agent. Despite his age, the Alabama product could benefit from the continued surges in the receiver market.

The $20MM AAV of Cooper’s 2020 deal has been dwarfed several times over in recent years. The top of the position’s pecking order has now surpassed $30MM in a select number of cases. Cooper is unlikely to reach those heights on his next pact, but he could help his case for a higher rate of annual compensation if he manages to produce another strong Browns season this year. In the meantime, he has significant guarantees in place along with a path to new money ahead of his walk year.

Brandon Aiyuk Reports To 49ers’ Training Camp

Brandon Aiyuk has not landed the long-term deal he is seeking, nor has his recent trade request resulted in a change of scenery. The 49ers wideout will nevertheless be in attendance for the start of training camp.

Aiyuk reported to camp on Tuesday, as noted by Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Many players seeking a new deal (or a trade) often remain absent as a means of exerting leverage and forcing a resolution. Instead, Aiyuk will be present for summer practices; it would come as no surprise, though, if he staged a hold-in by attending but not taking part in any on-field work.

Questions have been in place throughout the offseason regarding whether or not Aiyuk would remain in San Francisco for the 2024 season and beyond. The 26-year-old drew considerable interest at the draft, with at least five teams being prepared to meet his asking price on a long-term contract. No trade was worked out, and the 49ers are not interested in exploring a deal at this point in the offseason. A distinct lack of progress on the negotiating front led to this situation’s latest escalation.

Aiyuk – who on a number of occasions has voiced his displeasure over the absence of an extension via social media – requested a trade one week ago. A recent meeting with team officials did not produce traction toward an agreement, though as expected San Francisco still views him as a key part of the 2024 roster. General manager John Lynch confirmed (via Garafolo) the 49ers “fully intend” to keep the Arizona State product in the fold for at least the coming season.

The team is believed to be eyeing an agreement between $26 and $27MM per season, a figure which would move Aiyuk into the top 10 in receiver compensation. His asking price has shifted over the course of the offseason, however, one in which three wideouts (Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown and Amon-Ra St. Brown) surpassed $30MM in annual compensation. The former first-rounder is currently slated to play out his $14.12MM fifth-year option in 2024.

San Francisco has a number of big-money offensive skill position contracts on the books already, and the team will have a Brock Purdy extension to attend to as early as next offseason. The 49ers added Ricky Pearsall in the first round of this year’s draft, but for now signs continue to point to Aiyuk (who could be franchise tagged in 2025) playing a fifth campaign in the Bay Area.

Cowboys Yet To Conduct ‘Substantial’ Negotiations With WR CeeDee Lamb

The Cowboys are preparing to head to Oxnard, California today for the start of training camp. Whether or not CeeDee Lamb attends will no doubt depend on the state of negotiations regarding an extension.

The All-Pro wideout is set to play on his fifth-year option in 2024, valued at $17.99MM. A long-term deal will cost much more, but Dallas has yet to work out an agreement with Lamb, quarterback (and fellow pending free agent) Dak Prescott or extension-eligible edge rusher Micah Parsons. The most recent update on the matter noted that Lamb is now team’s top financial priority, but nothing appears to be imminent.

Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports the Cowboys have yet to have “substantial” extension talks with Lamb to date. That comes as a notable surprise considering the importance of the 25-year-old in the Cowboys’ short- and long-term financial planning. If working out a deal with Lamb is indeed viewed as more pressing (or at least more feasible) that doing the same with Prescott, Dallas will have plenty of work to do on the negotiating front over the coming weeks.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones expressed a desire to wait for the quarterback and receiver markets to take shape before moving forward with new deals for Prescott and/or Lamb. The latter has seen three WR deals surpass $30MM per season recently, including Justin Jefferson‘s historic $35-per-year accord. His asking price will no doubt affected by the continued upward trajectory of the position’s market, though the Cowboys are not believed to be interested in moving the bar higher on a Lamb extension.

The Oklahoma product did not take part in voluntary OTAs or mandatory minicamp. A training camp holdout is a distinct possibility, and the chances of Lamb skipping out on the start of camp would likely increase if team and player are not close to hammering out an agreement. Players who hold out from camp are subject to daily fines, but those attached to rookie contracts (like in Lamb’s case) can have those fines waived by their respective teams.

Lamb’s decision on skipping the start of camp (or attending but not taking part in drills) will be worth watching in the immediate future. With Prescott and Parsons in need of extensions as well, Dallas’ efforts in pursuing a Lamb resolution will be a central storyline for the team over the coming days and weeks.

Latest On Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins

JULY 23: While it will not be known until tomorrow if Tagovailoa takes part in the first practice of training camp, he is in attendance. Tyreek Hill confirmed on Tuesday (via Beasley) that Tagovailoa reported along with the rest of Miami’s veterans. Attention will now turn to the progress of extension talks and whether or not he engages in a hold-in before an agreement is reached.

JULY 22: While the Dolphins are set to hold their first training camp practice on Wednesday, Tua Tagovailoa is still attached to an expiring contract. Following reports from today that Packers QB Jordan Love won’t practice until he inks an extension, we’re hearing similar sentiments out of Miami. Adam H. Beasley of writes that the expectation should be that Tagovailoa “follows Love’s lead and withholds his services in some capacity.”

[RELATED: Jordan Love Will Not Participate In Packers’ Training Camp Without Deal]

If Love truly did set a 2024 precedent for extension-worthy quarterbacks, then that doesn’t bode well for Tua’s chances of seeing the practice field any time soon. ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted today that the Dolphins and their franchise quarterback are not as far along in discussions as the Packers and Love (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).

Of course, there’s no immediate urgency to complete an extension. The Dolphins have plenty of offensive continuity, and considering Tagovailoa’s injury and concussion history, the team was probably going to manage his workload either way. The Dolphins have about three weeks until their preseason opener and about seven weeks until the start of the regular season. The former first-round pick could face up to $5MM in fines if he sits out the entire preseason, although Beasley recently noted that those fines could be offset if Tua’s camp is able to squeeze more guaranteed money out of the organization.

Tagovailoa was present during OTAs, but he didn’t participate in any team drills as he pushed for a new contract. If the quarterback refuses to practice during training camp, there’s still a good chance he follows Love’s lead and attends team meetings. Tagovailoa’s camp wanted to avoid a distraction during training camp, and with the Dolphins eyeing a run at the Super Bowl, a complete absence would probably do more harm than good.

We’ll know about Tagovailoa’s status one way or the other by this Wednesday. Veterans are set to report to training camp on Tuesday before taking the practice field on Wednesday. Tua nor Mike McDaniel are expected to speak to reporters tomorrow (per Beasley), but the head coach has his first news conference scheduled for Wednesday morning. We’ll surely get an update at that time.

Jacoby Brissett Enters Training Camp As Patriots’ Starting QB

The Patriots were one of six teams which invested a first-round pick in a quarterback this spring. As expected, however, rookie Drake Maye will not enter training camp atop the depth chart.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt, Jacoby [Brissett] is the starting quarterback at this point in time,” head coach Jerod Mayo said on Tuesday (via Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald).

Pulling the plug on Mac Jones, the Patriots elected to start over at the quarterback spot this offseason. Jones – selected 15th overall in 2021 – was dealt to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick. Brissett was added in free agency as a bridge starter in anticipation of a rookie being added via the draft. New England turned aside considerable interest for the No. 3 pick and ultimately selected Maye.

The North Carolina product projects as the Patriots’ starter down the road, but the team was known to be in no hurry to move him to the top of pecking order. Maye’s performances during OTAs and minicamp were sufficient to elevate him to the backup spot over Bailey Zappe, though, and he will have the opportunity to continue impressing Mayo and the coaching staff as a result.

Mayo added (via Kyed) that Maye will be able to overtake Brissett as the team’s starter if he “lights it up” during training camp. For the time being, attention will of course be paid to the 21-year-old’s ongoing acclimation to the NFL in general and OC Alex Van Pelt‘s scheme in particular. Brissett is a veteran of 48 starts, and he will offer the Patriots with a known commodity if he gets the nod for Week 1. That scenario is the one which New England remains on course for, but things could change over the coming weeks.

Jaguars, CB Tyson Campbell Agree To Extension

In an offseason featuring a number of high-profile extensions being worked out, the Jaguars have taken care of another important piece of business. Cornerback Tyson Campbell has reached agreement on an extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The move is now official, per a team announcement.

Rapoport notes this is a four-year deal carrying a value of $76.5MM. The pact includes an effective guarantee of $53.4MM, making this a notable commitment on the team’s part. Campbell now becomes the top earner at the cornerback position amongst players who have yet to receive a Pro Bowl nod.

Three corners are attached to deals with an annual average value of $20MM or higher. Campbell, 24, will move into seventh in the pecking order with an AAV of $19.13MM with this deal. Across his three seasons in Jacksonville, he has started all but one of his 43 games. After establishing himself as a key member of Jacksonville’s secondary, Campbell will now be on the books through the 2028 campaign.

The former second-rounder displayed considerable ball skills during his first two campaigns. Between 2021 and ’22, Campbell totaled five interceptions and 25 pass deflections. The 2023 season saw a regression in that regard (one interception, five breakups) and Campbell also took a step back in the coverage department. The Georgia alum allowed eight touchdowns and a passer rating of 128.5 as the nearest defender, both the worst figures of his career.

In spite of that, Jacksonville has made another big-money commitment to a homegrown player. Edge rusher Josh Hines-Allen signed an extension averaging $28.25MM per year this offseason, setting the stage for a Trevor Lawrence deal. The latter inked a monster pact of his own, tying Joe Burrow for the top spot at the quarterback position ($55MM per year). Today’s Campbell deal is not on the same level of those commitments, but it further underscores the organization’s intention of retaining in-house players rather than making outside additions.

Jacksonville did take the latter route by adding Ronald Darby in free agency, but his pact (two years, $8.5MM) is the only other cornerback deal featuring notable guaranteed money. Campbell will face increased expectations moving forward given his big-ticket extension and Jacksonville’s general hopes of rebounding from the underwhelming end to the 2023 campaign.

Darnell Savage was added at the safety spot this spring, and Andre Cisco profiles as a logical extension candidate as early as this offseason. For now, though, Campbell finds himself in a tier of his own with respect to Jaguars compensation in the secondary. If he returns to his pre-2023 form, today’s investment could prove to be worthwhile.

NFL, NFLPA Discussing 18-Game Season

Earlier this offseason, commissioner Roger Goodell made clear his vision for a revamped NFL calendar including 18 regular season games and the Super Bowl landing on Presidents’ Day weekend. With players understanding the support in place amongst most owners, talks between the league and union have begun.

NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell said in a Monday press availability that discussions have taken place on an informal level regarding the expansion of the regular season schedule. That update comes as little surprise, given the expectation amongst players that negotiations could begin relatively soon. The current CBA runs through 2030, but amendments (including potential expansion of the season) could be worked out well before that point.

“We have talked at a very, very, very high level superficially, with a recognition… about, ‘Yeah, this is something that we should be talking about. And we should really kick the tires and understand what else goes into that decision-making process,’” Howell said (via Mark Maske of the Washington Post). “Where does the 18th game come from?

“I think the foregone conclusion is well, you just grab it, like, in what would otherwise be [preseason games] in August. You play it forward. But these are details that really need to be fleshed out. But, again, there are other economic, health and safety matters that also need to be clear to our members before there’s ever an agreement about an 18th game.”

Howell recently spoke about the issues which the NFLPA would attempt to land concessions on in exchange for expanding the season from 17 games to 18. Matters such as bye weeks, playing surfaces, travel (particularly with respect to international games) and overall compensation will be talking points once formal negotiations take place. Howell added upcoming meetings with players will provide further opportunity to discuss the core issues which will need to be addressed for an 18-game slate to be agreed to.

A number of owners have voiced support for such a move, including Jerry Jones. Many have considered CBA amendments allowing for an expanded schedule to be an inevitability after the 2020 agreement paved the way for a move from 16 games to 17. Stephen Jones, COO of the Cowboys, recently spoke on that point.

“I’m on the competition committee. We’ve talked about this knowing that it’s probably inevitable,” Jones said during an appearance on The Athletic’s Scoop City podcast“I do know, at the end of the day, the players enjoy the compensation that’s coming their way, and they get, for the most part, half of every revenue dollar that comes through the door. So certainly getting paid well. We all know when we go to 18 games, our revenue’s going to jump, and certainly [that] should only help in terms of money available to pay players and get players the compensation.”

Plenty of time remains under the current terms of the CBA for negotiations to take place and a formal agreement to be reached. Given the eagerness shown on the part of the owners and Howell’s willingness to engage in early dialogue, though, it would not come as a surprise if traction were to be gained in the relatively near future.

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