Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is one of two first-round picks who have yet to sign their rookie contracts – the other being New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets that Darnold isn’t expected to report to Jets camp with the rest of his rookie teammates until a contract is finalized. Fellow signal callers Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen have deals that have been signed, sealed, and delivered. So I feel like Darnold’s is coming in due time.
Let’s check out what else is happening around the league.
- Another year, another potential holdout situation surrounding Los Angeles Rams stud defensive lineman Aaron Donald. After watching running back Todd Gurley and wide receiver Brandin Cooks secure long-term extensions, you can imagine Donald is wondering what needs to be done in order to get his payday. Myles Simmons of the Rams’ official website reports that GM Les Snead is actively working toward getting a deal done. “We’re simultaneously working to make Aaron a Ram a long time – that’s the goal,” Snead said. “Aaron’s a big part of who we are, where we want to go. But I think the details and all of that – I think we’re going to continue the course of keeping them in-house. We’re going to continue working to get something done with Aaron.” The 27-year-old is in the final year of his rookie contract and is arguably the league’s best defensive player.
- I can’t imagine Donald holds out long enough to miss the Rams’ Week 14 matchup against the Bears. But we did see Le’Veon Bell have a slow start after he skipped out on the entirety of the preseason. Donald is exceptionally skilled, but a sluggish start out of the gate is something I’d be wary of if I was a Rams fan.
- At least someone is able to get a contract done in these parts. The Atlanta Falcons announced that Head Coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff have been signed to extensions that will keep the team’s two highest-ranking decision makers in town through 2022.
- Meanwhile, Julio Jones’ contract holdout could linger for a bit, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
- Odell Beckham Jr. is still looking for a new contract from the New York Giants, but his health is more of a priority for him and the team. Beckham is recovering from a fractured ankle that prematurely ended his 2017 season. The good news is that the expectation is that Beckham will be ready to go when practice gets serious:
Coach Shurmur: I anticipate (Odell) will be here and ready to go. We’ll continue to be smart with his training.
— New York Giants (@Giants) July 25, 2018
- Elsewhere in the Giants’ world, sources inform ESPN’s Dianna Russini that the team will be without cornerback Sam Beal for the entire 2018 season. Beal suffered a shoulder injury that will sideline him, dealing a double-whammy to a New York football squad that was hoping he’d contribute immediately as a rookie after drafting him in the league’s recent supplemental draft. So not only is Beal’s season over before it could really get underway, the Giants have forfeited their 2019 third-round pick in the process. Bummer.
- Jimmy Garoppolo kept a quiet confidence regarding his skill level, though that’s probably a good thing, because saying you’re better than Tom Brady would result in some odd looks. Especially since he told Bleacher Report’s Joon Lee that he’s always had the mindset that he was better. “I knew that [Brady] was better than me in my first day in the NFL,” Garoppolo said. “Naturally, you’re the rookie and he’s the veteran, but you have to have that mindset, that you want to be the starter.”
- The Cleveland Browns are kicking the tires on possibly bringing free agent receiver Dez Bryant into the fold. GM John Dorsey told reporters the team has had discussions regarding signing Bryant, who has gone unsigned since being released by the Cowboys in late April before the NFL Draft. “Have we had discussions about Dez Bryant? Yeah, that’s natural,” Dorsey said, via Cleveland.com. “You’re going to have discussions like that. Now we’ll see what comes to fruition in the next couple days, but we talked about it. You have to talk about these things.” Dorsey also added the caveat that “I’ve talked about a lot of players” … so it could be something or it could be nothing.
- The Browns have an open roster spot as the team placed Josh Gordon on the did not report list. Gordon and Dorsey recently shared statements addressing the issue:
Statement from WR Josh Gordon and GM John Dorsey
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 23, 2018