Battling a turf toe issue sustained Monday night, Terry McLaurin will not need surgery. But an extended rest period is underway. This hiatus has the top Commanders skill-position talent uncertain to be ready by Week 1, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler (Twitter links). McLaurin has not missed a game due to injury since 2020. The Commanders have made some big investments at wide receiver since starting McLaurin’s tenure off with little around him. Curtis Samuel is going into the final season of his three-year, $34.5MM contract, and the team has first-rounder Jahan Dotson going into his second season. But McLaurin has been one of the NFL’s best receivers, totaling his third straight 1,000-yard season months after signing a three-year, $69.6MM extension.
Here is the latest from the NFC East:
- Washington’s offensive line is nearly set. Free agent Nick Gates will enter the season as the starting center, despite the team drafting Ricky Stromberg in Round 3, while SI.com’s Albert Breer notes Sam Cosmi — a converted tackle who was not a full-time starter last season — will line up at right guard. The left guard competition is not yet over, but Saahdiq Charles is believed to have the lead on Chris Paul. Stromberg could have a chance to step in at center or one of the guard spots, Breer adds, noting the rookie improved as camp progressed. Stromberg earned third- and first-team All-SEC acclaim during his final two seasons at Arkansas. If nothing else, Stromberg represents intriguing 2023 depth. Charles Leno and free agency addition Andrew Wylie are in place at tackle.
- The Giants have not determined who their starting guards will be, having held a three-way competition between Mark Glowinski, Ben Bredeson and 2022 third-rounder Joshua Ezeudu. But they ended their center competition. Second-rounder John Michael Schmitz ran away with the competition and will start, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post notes. Just before the Giants picked Schmitz at No. 56, Brian Daboll said the All-Big Ten blocker could start in Week 1. Schmitz and two of the above-referenced trio will take their spots alongside Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal up front for the Giants.
- Big Blue continues to consider a cornerback configuration where Adoree’ Jackson shifts to the slot, with Schwartz adding the current plan appears to be a setup with the veteran inside and rookies Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins on the perimeter. The Old Dominion-developed sixth-rounder moving into the lineup would keep slot options Darnay Holmes and Cor’Dale Flott on the bench, with Jackson — a career-long boundary corner — taking over there. This would be a bold move, but it has been on the team’s radar for a bit now.
- Myles Jack announced his retirement shortly after joining the Eagles. The veteran linebacker had taken first-team reps with the defending NFC champions, but ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan notes Zach Cunningham — who signed with Philly on the same day Jack did — had moved ahead at the position. Amid a February salary purge, the Titans released Cunningham after an injury-plagued season. Cunningham, 28, has made 76 career starts and would be an interesting option alongside Nakobe Dean. While Cunningham is not a lock to start, The Athletic’s Bo Wulf notes the former Texans second-rounder and extension recipient is a roster lock (subscription required).
- Finishing up an offseason in which the Cowboys took care of their safeties, the team guaranteed Jayron Kearse‘s $4MM 2023 base salary, per ESPN’s Field Yates and Todd Archer (on Twitter). As a vested veteran, Kearse’s salary would have become guaranteed just before Week 1. But the Cowboys offered some protection for the starter. At safety this offseason, Dallas re-signed Donovan Wilson to a three-year, $21MM deal and extended Malik Hooker for the same terms. Kearse, who has started 29 of the 30 games he has played with the Cowboys, is tied to a two-year, $10MM deal signed in 2022.