NFL training camp has finally begun, which means it’s time for everyone to overreact to every little piece of news that hits their twitter feed. People are already taking their fantasy football victory laps for “calling it”. While there are others that are now quick to hit the panic button due to an injury during training camp. Whether the news has a positive or negative impact on players doesn’t really matter, what matters is figuring out which piece of news actually holds weight for the upcoming season. Fortunately for everyone, I’ve narrowed down some of the most important pieces of training camp news for you.
Training Camp Stories
Deshaun Watson Six Game Suspension
Yes, Deshaun Watson was suspended, however, it was only for 6 games and not the full season as I initially expected. This means that he’ll only be gone against the following teams: Panthers, Jets, Steelers, Falcons, Chargers, and Patriots. Not exactly a murderer’s row of talent here. The Browns can definitely get three wins in this stretch and then Deshaun Watson will elevate the surrounding pieces around him. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how he performs throughout training camp with some of the other key skills players and seeing if he lost a step during his year off last year.
Julio Jones Joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For those of you that had the foresight to draft Julio Jones when he was free in drafts knowing he would go to a contender, congratulations. Since joining the Buccaneers Julio Jones has been getting praise for his skill and athleticism. He’s also been said to be “a great replacement for Rob Gronkowski.” This does not mean that he’ll be taking snaps at tight ends, but it means that he’s shaping up to be another reliable target for Tom Brady like Rob Gronkowski was. This news is not the best thing for those that were high on Russell Gage. With Julio Jones impressing during camp and Chris Godwin’s return being sooner than we initially thought, Russell Gage is looking to be the biggest loser of this Julio Jones training camp news.
Michael Thomas Officially Cleared
I can now officially say that Michael Thomas is cleared to play some football again after missing last season. This is amazing news for everyone involved as it gives time for Michael Thomas and Jameis Winston to get into a solid groove together. Jameis Winston is pumped to finally get to be on the field with Michael Thomas as he should be. Watching some of the clips from him at training camp, he seems to be running his favorite slant route normally as if the previous injury never bothered him. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on throughout the rest of training camp this summer.
Kyler Murray Contract
The Cardinals gave Kyler Murray a nice contract extension worth over $230 million. The issue is it came with this weird homework clause that required him to do four hours of independent film study. I get wanting to make sure your players are watching game film but to have a clause like that baked into a contract is just ridiculous. To no surprise absolutely everyone hated it. This then cause Kyler Murray to tell people not to question his work ethic. After the dust settled the Cardinals removed the homework clause out of Kyler Murray’s contract.
49ers Riding With Trey Lance & Deebo Samuel
The 49ers gave Jimmy Garoppolo permission to seek a trade partner, which means they will be rolling with Trey Lance as their starting QB. So far it’s been a bit of a mixed bag for Trey Lance. While he’s been able to connect with both Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk during this training camp, he’s also been on the run a lot. The 49ers offensive line isn’t all that great, which means Trey Lance has been getting some defensive pressure throughout training camp. The saving grace for Trey Lance is that even with this pressure he’s still been making some pretty impressive training camp plays, hopefully, this translates well to actual games.
Keeping with the 49ers they also signed Deebo Samuel to a contract for 3 years worth over $70 million. This contract also includes some rushing incentives for him to hit, which is great for his fantasy value this year. As stated earlier, it’s comforting to see that Deebo Samuel and Trey Lance have been building a solid rapport throughout this training camp. Deebo is another guy to keep an eye out for this training camp, just to get a feel for how Kyle Shanahan intends to use him this year.
Every year during training camp there seems to be a big injury news update, and this season is no different. James Washington and Tim Patrick both just recently got varying injuries during their training camps. James Washington joining the Dallas Cowboys and most likely would see a lot of action with Michael Gallup not going to be ready for week one. However he suffered a foot fracture and now his week one status could be in jeopardy. This team really needs to find a viable replacement in the chance James Washington is not ready to go week one. Next is Tim Patrick who tore his ACL and will miss the season. Hopefully, he’s able to recover soon and get back on the field next season.
That sums up the most important training camp news so far. However, it’s early so I’m certain there will be many more stories to come. Things to watch out for will be where some of the high-profile free agents sign. Will the first-year starters prove themselves capable? Which rookie will emerge as the early favorite to win their respective rookie of the year categories? There’s still so much to find out. The only thing that I can say for certain is that things are only going to ramp up from here.