Bears signed OLB Willie Young to a two-year extension through 2018.
Young had been entering the final year of his deal. The subject of trade rumors just last year, Young earned his extension with 5.5 sacks over the final seven games last season. The former Lion now has 16.5 sacks in two seasons with the Bears. He will turn 31 in September.
Saints backup QB Luke McCown said second-round WR Michael Thomas "has a nose for the football."
The latest round of praise for Thomas was prompted by a one-handed catch down the sideline, but he has been making plays all offseason. "He’s got this kind of … just this want to get the ball no matter where it's at," McCown added. "And that’s what you want in a receiver. A guy that just wants the ball to be in his ZIP code, and he's gonna find a way to come down with it." Thomas is locked in as at least the No. 4 passing-game option, and he could end up pushing Willie Snead for even more work.
Aaron Rodgers is working to build chemistry with his young receivers, especially Jeff Janis.
"He’ll go over after his set of reps and talk through it with them, especially with Jeff," quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. "They’re getting a good relationship now, working together and talking about what they expect from each other. So that’s been very positive." Janis is an athletic freak who has produced whenever given the chance, but he has never earned Rodgers' trust. Despite the extra attention, Janis has reportedly struggled early in camp. He is competing with Davante Adams for the No. 3 job.
ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley issued a "fantasy alert" for fourth-round WR Chris Moore.
Hensley reports Moore has generated "some early buzz" with his showing during the first two practices at training camp. It was only two practices, however, and Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman, and Mike Wallace were not on the field. That said, it is possible two of those three are not ready for Week 1, and the Ravens do not have much behind Wallace and Kamar Aiken. A great deep threat in college, Moore could add an explosive element to an offense in desperate need of one if given the chance.
Carson Palmer said he feels "as good as I've felt ever."
37 in December, Palmer is certainly on the backside of his career, but he is not planning to retire anytime soon. "I love Mondays and Tuesdays, getting game plans and breaking down other teams and watching their quarterbacks," Palmer said. "All that stuff is still not work to me." Palmer might not have many more QB1 seasons left in him, but he is still squarely in that conversation this year.
Raiders signed GM Reggie McKenzie to a four-year extension through 2020.
The laughing stock of the league when McKenzie took over in 2012 and through his first several years on the job, the Raiders are now legit playoff contenders with young stars at every important position and perhaps the best offensive line in the league. In the last three drafts alone, McKenzie has landed Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards Jr., Clive Walford, and Gabe Jackson. He has absolutely transformed what was once the worst franchise in the league, making this extension more than deserved.
Matthew Stafford said he hopes the offense is more balanced this season.
"Any time you can be balanced it’s going to help keep defenses off-balance," Stafford said. "For us, and really anybody in the NFL, you kind of throw the ball to score points, and you got to run the ball to win the game at the end. We started doing that the second half of the season last year." Lions running backs saw about five extra carries a game over the second half of the season, although Ameer Abdullah was the only runner who improved his efficiency. Abdullah is back atop the depth chart this year, and a big season from him would do nothing but help Stafford and the passing game.
Bills GM Doug Whaley said the "lines of communication are open" between the team and walk-year QB Tyrod Taylor.
Whaley said the same thing about CB Stephon Gilmore, but a deal for Taylor seems more realistic after The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci reported it was possible the two sides reached a deal before the season. "It's free-flowing," Whaley said of the negotiations with Taylor. "Hopefully we'll get a resolution soon. Not sure though." If he can put another solid season together, Taylor will be a candidate for the franchise tag next spring if the two sides cannot work something out before then.