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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