Cardinals’ David Johnson Reports To Camp

Cardinals running back David Johnson has reported to training camp, the team announced on Monday morning. It’s a big development for Arizona after Johnson opted to skip the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.

[RELATED – Extension Candidate: David Johnson]

Johnson scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.8MM in the final year of his deal. After losing the 2017 season to injury, Johnson is understandably concerned about his financial security. If Johnson were to suffer another serious injury this year, he would be left without a safety net and a fairly low floor in free agency, despite all of his past accomplishments.

By skipping minicamp, Johnson was fined more than $84K. Missing training camp would have resulted in even more substantial fines, and that’s not something Johnson wanted to mess with. Over the first three years of his career, Johnson has earned $2.3MM in salary. That’s not chump change, but the fines would have hurt him more than other players who are pushing for new deals.

Johnson was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he racked up more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns. He remains one of the NFL’s premier talents at running back, despite missing the majority of the 2017 campaign with a dislocated wrist.

The Cardinals would like to lock Johnson up, but his lost 2017 season likely complicates negotiations. The Cardinals can also afford to exercise patience thanks to the franchise tag, which would pay Johnson $11.9MM in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Place Josh Gordon On NFI List

Josh Gordon will not be with the Browns as training camp gets underway. Details are murky at this time, but what we do know is that Gordon has not been suspended by the NFL – at least not yet.

There is currently “no timetable for his return,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. McCarthy added that the league will “address the matter at the appropriate time.”

For now, Gordon will be placed on the non-football illness reserve list until he is ready to return, GM John Dorsey announced. For his part, Gordon released a statement indicating that the camp absence is a part of his treatment program:

To my Cleveland Browns and NFL Family,

I am reaching out to you all personally and letting you know that I am not only doing great physically but mentally as well. You will notice that I will not be in Cleveland for the start of training camp. Rest assured, this, too, is a part of my overall health and treatment plan. I appreciate the awesome support I have received from teammates, friends, fans, and the Browns organization. Just like you, I am excited to start the season and I have every intention of being ready and available to join my teammates soon to help bring winning football to our fans.

With the help of the NFL, NFLPA, and the Browns’ organization, I have been able to utilize the resources available to me that will ensure my well-being on and off the field. By continuing to follow the plan set up by our medical director and his team and taking this time before this season starts, we believe it will help me maintain the progress I’ve made for not only today but for many years to come.

Thank you all for your patience, love, and support! Go Browns!

Sincerely,

Josh Gordon

Gordon first joined the Browns as a second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft. All in all, he has appeared in 40 games and recorded 179 receptions for 3,089 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2013, he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards.

When he’s on the field, he’s one of the best wide receivers in the game. However, off-the-field troubles have kept him off the gridiron for much of his career. If Gordon violated the league’s substance abuse policy again, there could be a lengthy suspension coming his way.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Only Seven Unsigned NFL Draft Picks Remain

The overwhelming majority of this year’s NFL draft picks have signed their rookies deals. As training camp gets started, only the following seven players are without contracts:

For Mayfield, Darnold, Ward, Allen, and Smith, the holdup is reportedly tied to offset languagePlayers with offset language who are cut before the end of their rookie contract have the remaining guaranteed money reduced by whatever they earns elsewhere. Without offset language, players get to double dip. Top 10 picks expect to complete their rookie contracts, but it’s an important issue for agents nonetheless. There’s no sign of real acrimony between any of the Top 10 picks and their respective teams, though Smith has been staying away from the Bears.

In Edmunds’ case, it’s likely that his agent is haggling over guarantees in the fourth year of his rookie contract. First-rounders selected near the end of the first round often don’t get the entirety of their fourth season base salary guaranteed, but that’s an area where agents can press for a bit extra in talks. Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny took less in fourth-year guarantees than last year’s No. 27 overall pick, talks dragged for several other players near the back end of the round. Others, such as Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan have signed, but the Virginia Tech product is still in limbo.

Pettis is believed to be in line for a significant role this season, so it would behoove the Niners to get a deal done sooner rather than later.

NFC Rumors: Lions, Hawks, Giants, Daniels

While the Bears and Ravens are fully underway, due to their Hall of Fame Game matchup, this coming week marks the debuts for the rest of the league. Here’s what’s new in the NFC going into training camp week.

  • Matt Cassel represents competition for Jake Rudock‘s job as the Lions‘ backup quarterback, especially considering his history with the Patriots during the respective New England tenures of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia. And Kyle Meinke of MLive.com expects the 36-year-old veteran to beat out Rudock for the top job behind Matthew Stafford. The Lions aren’t expected to keep three quarterbacks on their roster, per Meinke, which could make Rudock a trade candidate if it looks like Cassel will take his job. Rudock drew trade interest in the past, but the Lions did not have what they determined to be another viable backup prior to signing Cassel.
  • If the Seahawks do end up trading Earl Thomas, 2017 third-rounder Delano Hill would be the top incumbent to replace him. However, Seattle could consider Eric Reid or Tre Boston in the event Thomas is dealt, however, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). Though, Condotta adds the team believes Hill and Bradley McDougald has the makings of a chance to be a solid safety tandem. The Seahawks’ Reid fit would be interesting, given how proceedings unfolded between the franchise and Colin Kaepernick the past two offseasons. However, neither Reid nor Boston would be expensive at this stage.
  • James Daniels could well occupy a Bears starting spot in Week 1, and it’s likely the second-round pick (on whom the Bears placed a first-round grade) will be a starter this season. But for now, the Iowa product is running with the second-string offense as a guard and the third-team group as a center, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, who adds fifth-year veteran Eric Kush represents Daniels’ primary competition at guard. These early placements are interesting, given Daniels primarily played center in college. But the Bears are believed to view him as more of a guard.
  • Fifth-round pick R.J. McIntosh signed his Giants contract and ended a months-long process. But the defensive lineman will begin camp on the active/non-football illness list. McIntosh was diagnosed with a thyroid condition at the Combine and underwent an undisclosed procedure in June.

49ers Agree To Terms With Mike McGlinchey

Mike McGlinchey is expected to start at right tackle as a rookie, and the 49ers will have him in camp.

The parties agreed to terms on McGlinchey’s four-year, fully guaranteed $18.341MM rookie contract (with the customary fifth-year option) Sunday night, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

This leaves just seven unsigned draft choices. One of those is San Francisco second-round wide receiver Dante Pettis, the only non-first-round pick left unsigned. After first-rounders McGlinchey, Saquon Barkley and Sony Michel agreed to terms Sunday, still unsigned are Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Denzel Ward, Josh Allen, Roquan Smith and Terrell Edmunds.

Offset language is believed to be holding up most of these deals, with CAA clients (which McGlinchey is) primarily residing as the stragglers, but the Notre Dame product will begin working with his fellow rookies (non-Pettis contingent, for now) this week. The 49ers traded Trent Brown to the Patriots, clearing the way for McGlinchey to move into the starting lineup opposite Joe Staley.

The 49ers begin camp Wednesday. McGlinchey started 13 games as the Fighting Irish’s right tackle in 2015 before shifting to the left side, where the 6-foot-7 blocker blossomed into one of the top prospects in this year’s class.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Colts, Steelers, Perriman

An Anthony Castonzo stay on the PUP list due to a midsummer hamstring tweak was among the Colts‘ late-offseason concerns, but that won’t end up taking place. The Colts did not end up placing their top left tackle on the PUP list, per Mike Chappell of CBS 4 (Twitter link). However, Chappell notes (via Twitter) Indianapolis did follow through with placing safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers on the PUP. Both were expected to land there, with Hooker (torn ACL, MCL in October) being a bit further away from a return.

Here’s the latest from the AFC on the final offseason Sunday for most teams.

  • August extensions have been one of the Steelers‘ traditions over the years, and an unlikely candidate for a significant pay bump’s emerged. Chris Boswell joined the Steelers midway through the 2015 season, but his production last year (35-for-38 on field goals, four game-winning makes en route to the Pro Bowl) and contract-year status make him a prime preseason-extension candidate, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Steelers applied a second-round RFA tender (2.9MM) to Boswell this year, and Rutter believes it will take a guarantee in the $9MM-plus range to keep Boswell in Pittsburgh. Only two kickers — Stephen Gostkowski and Justin Tucker — received eight-figure guarantees, with the Bears’ Cody Parkey guarantee sitting in third.
  • Despite a light investment at linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier, don’t automatically look for the Steelers to deploy Terrell Edmunds as a hybrid safety just yet, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Kaboly expects the first-round pick to play in the William Gay role as a dime contributor as a rookie, with UFA linebacker add Jon Bostic or second-year man Tyler Matakevich replacing Shazier.
  • In what is Breshad Perriman‘s last chance to make an impact with the Ravens, he may be on the outside looking in to make the team, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic notes. In addition to being behind new additions Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, Zreibec notes the 2015 first-round pick is “certainly” trailing Chris Moore and Tim White as well. (Moore is a career backup, and White is a former UDFA who has yet to play in an NFL game.) Considering rookies Jaleel Scott (Round 4) and Jordan Lasley (Round 5) also may be ahead of Perriman, this is a bind for the one-time highly regarded prospect. Ravens officials, however, wonder how much different the Central Florida product’s career would be had he been able to be on the field during the team’s past training camps rather than missing most of those sessions due to injuries, per Zreibec. Perriman looked on the verge of a promising season after shining in the 2017 offseason program, but a hamstring tear put the kibosh on those hopes. Baltimore picked up an option bonus of $649K earlier this week, but that will merely buy the fourth-year pass-catcher this preseason to try and make one final impression.
  • Phillip Lindsay now serves as a wild card in the Broncos‘ running back room. The Colorado product who blazed to a 4.39-second 40-yard dash clocking at his pro day received interest from several other teams before opting to stay in Denver, Mike Klis of 9News notes. The Denver native’s $15K signing bonus marked the third-highest in John Elway‘s eight-year tenure at the helm. Klis writes Vance Joseph plans to evaluate the 5-foot-7 speedster for a Darren Sproles-type role as a third-down back and return man. The Broncos have struggled on returns since parting ways with Trindon Holliday after the 2013 season. Primary 2017 return man Isaiah McKenzie fumbled six times as a rookie. The Broncos added two rookies — third-rounder Royce Freeman and seventh-rounder David Williams — to a backfield mix that includes veterans Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson.

Hamilton Trades Johnny Manziel To Montreal

Johnny Manziel will now be on a second Canadian Football League franchise in his first season up north. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats agreed to trade the former NFL first-rounder to the Montreal Alouettes, Duane Forde of TSN reports (on Twitter).

This is a five-player deal, per Forde (on Twitter), but one that will send the one-time Browns bust to a place where he figures to have a better chance of seeing playing time.

The coach who recruited Manziel to Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, serves as Montreal’s head coach. Though Sherman was not the Aggies’ coach during Manziel’s Heisman Trophy season in 2012, he was on board during the quarterback’s redshirt season in ’11.

The Alouettes have already tried three quarterbacks — Drew Willy, Jeff Mathews and Matt Shiltz — this season, and as PFT’s Michael David Smith points out, currently sport the CFL’s worst offense. The Tiger-Cats have used just one passer, Jeremiah Masoli, all season. Thirteen games remain on the Alouettes’ docket.

Manziel’s CFL contract runs through the 2019 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Conklin, Colts, Panthers

As expected, the Titans placed Jack Conklin on the PUP list at the outset of training camp. The third-year right tackle tore an ACL in Tennessee’s divisional-round loss to New England in mid-January. Given that barely six months have passed, this could be expected. Mike Vrabel said this was a possibility as his team concluded minicamp, and Conklin confirmed this was a methodical process.

Here’s the latest from the Titans, along with some of their top rivals.

  • Tennessee also placed tight end Phillip Supernaw on the PUP list while also slotting second-round pick Rashaan Evans and free agent wideout addition Michael Campanaro on the non-football illness list. The Titans’ rookies and quarterbacks opened camp Sunday, and each of these players is eligible to be reinstated for full work by the time full practices begin Thursday.
  • Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd wound up on the reserve/did not report list.
  • The Colts added multiple veterans up front this offseason, with Matt Slauson and Austin Howard now in the mix for starting roles as stopgaps. Indianapolis boasts some depth at guard now with Slauson, the recently re-signed Jack Mewhort and No. 6 overall pick Quenton Nelson on the roster. Mewhort’s re-up and the Slauson addition, though, did not deter the Colts from selecting Braden Smith in the second round. The franchise’s goal is for Smith, an Auburn alum, to be the long-term starter at right guard opposite Nelson, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star notes. Though, Holder cautions his development figures to take longer than Nelson’s. Once entrenched as a Colts guard starter and a candidate for a long-term extension, Mewhort suffered significant injury setbacks in 2016 and ’17 to limit him to a one-year, $1.5MM deal with just $300K guaranteed. Slauson is signed for one year and $2.5MM. One member of this tandem could begin the season in an unfamiliar backup role.
  • It looks like Denico Autry has a path toward either a full-time starting role or a prominent backup job with the Colts. Chris Ballard raved about the defensive end/tackle’s skill set this weekend. “Let me tell you the one you need to watch: It’s Autry,” Ballard said. “Denico Autry is legitimate. He’s long; he’s strong; he’s passionate. I am really excited to watch him play. He’s made up of all the right stuff.” Autry (career-high five sacks last season) served as a rotational player with the Raiders, lining up as an end and a tackle during his four-year run in Oakland.
  • A host of players are vying to replace Andrew Norwell on the Panthers‘ starting line. Amini Silatolu, Taylor Moton and former Viking Jeremiah Sirles are among them, with Jordan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer noting Ron Rivera has expressed optimism about the prospect Silatolu can man the first-string post opposite Trai Turner. Silatolu started 15 Panthers games as a rookie in 2012 but hasn’t been a first-stringer on more than three occasions in a season since 2014. Rodrigue adds that Moton may be the top challenger but may also be used as a tackle and be in line to succeed Daryl Williams in the event he follows Norwell’s path as a UFA defection in 2019.

Giants Sign Fifth-Round Pick R.J. McIntosh

Rookies are due to report to Giants training camp Sunday, and the team took care of the final pieces of business involving its 2018 class. Shortly after announcing Saquon Barkley had signed his rookie contract, the Giants agreed to terms with fifth-round pick R.J. McIntosh to finalize its 2018 rookie agreements.

McIntosh was the final Giants pick and the last to sign. Interestingly, he’s the only player selected beyond Round 2 who’d entered Sunday without a four-year rookie agreement in place. McIntosh’s deal is expected to be worth $2.7MM.

With McIntosh, Barkley, Colts second-rounder Darius Leonard and Patriots first-rounder Sony Michel having signed Sunday, just eight rookies remain unsigned.

A thyroid issue diagnosed at the Combine was rumored to have held up McIntosh’s deal, but he’ll be at camp with the rest of his class. McIntosh did not take any reps at Giants OTAs or minicamp due to an offseason surgery, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com notes.

5 Key NFL Stories: 7/15/18 – 7/22/18

Franchise tag extension tag deadline passes. Four franchise-tagged players — Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, and Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner — all failed to reach long-term deals with their respective teams by last Monday’s deadline, meaning they’ll each play out the 2018 campaign on a one-year fixed price. It’s the second consecutive tag for Bell, and his agent says the upcoming season will likely be Bell’s last in Pittsburgh. Lawrence, for his part, is not open to spending the 2019 season on the franchise tag.

Rams extend WR Brandin Cooks. Los Angeles sent a first-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for Cooks earlier this year, and now they’ve locked up him for the long haul. Cooks agreed to a five-year, $81MM extension last week, and his $16.2MM new money average ties him with DeAndre Hopkins for third among wideouts, behind only Antonio Brown and Mike Evans. His total guarantee of $20.5MM, however, ranks just 11th among pass-catchers.

Darrelle Revis hangs up his cleats. A surefire Hall of Famer, Revis was not only arguably the greatest corner of his generation, but one of the more astute contract negotiators in the league. Never afraid to hold out or take a risky — but possibly lucrative deal — Revis ultimately earned roughly $125MM over the course of his career. Revis, a former Jet, Buccaneer, Patriot, and Chief, retires with seven Pro Bowls, four first-team All-Pro nods, and one Super Bowl under his belt.

NFL rescinds national anthem policy. The NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement on Thursday indicating the league’s new anthem policy — originally endorsed by owners in May — will not be enforced for the time being. The policy, which called for players to either stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, could have led to fines for teams. The NFLPA’s grievance against the policy has also been put on hold.

Andrew Luck ready for training camp. After missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder issue, Luck won’t be forced to start camp on the physically unable to perform list, an excellent sign of his health. Although he’ll likely take some days off over the next few weeks, Luck won’t have any severe restrictions on his workout and throwing regimen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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