Players around the league went back to work this week as mandatory mini-camps were held for nine NFL teams, with the remaining 23 squads hitting the practice fields next week. While it may be only June, storylines are already emerging that fantasy players should be closely tracking all summer long. Here is the latest news from each of the nine teams who wrapped up their mini-camp yesterday.
While new star WR Odell Beckham missed some earlier offseason work, he was present for the team’s mandatory mini-camp, making slick grabs from QB Baker Mayfield. While HC Freddie Kitchens may have been frustrated with his earlier absence, this still has the makings of a banner year for OBJ. ... Also present this week was disgruntled RB Duke Johnson, who confirmed his desire for a trade out of Cleveland. While Johnson has been the subject of trade rumors for the past several months, team officials, including Kitchens, have made it clear they do not plan to deal Johnson. RB Nick Chubb has the starting job locked down and the Browns also signed RB Kareem Hunt, who will serve an eight-game suspension before suiting up for the team. ... After arriving late to camp, the Browns waived OT Desmond Harrison, who was later claimed by the Cardinals. Harrison earned the starting job as a UDFA a year ago but struggled before being replaced mid-season.
New Broncos HC Vic Fangio expressed optimism in the health of two of the team’s offensive stars. He reported that RB Phillip Lindsay, who suffered a serious wrist injury late in the season, should be ready for training camp. His absence in mini-camp opens the door for fellow second-year RB Royce Freeman to earn a larger role. ... Fangio was not as specific when it came to veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders, who is recovering from an Achilles tear. The coach suggested Sanders could return “before people think” though then admitted that was not based on “anything medical.” The 32-year-old wideout still has a long way to go before making an impact on the field again.
Things have been mostly quiet out of Lions’ camp other than a discussion of how they’ll be using their sudden depth at the tight end position. Detroit signed free agent TEs Jesse James and Logan Thomas before using a top-ten draft pick on T.J. Hockenson. Beat writers suggest the team could find a way to get a trio of tight ends on the field at the same time…That also likely has something to do with the team’s poor wide receiver depth. Following the conclusion of their final day of mini-camp, the Lions signed veteran WR Jermaine Kearse
It’s not really the offseason until we have the DeVante Parker puff piece. A beat writer suggested the consistently-disappointing receiver “has been the best player in camp the past five weeks.” That might have more to do with the Dolphins ugly roster, but regardless, Parker will once again have all the opportunity he needs to prove he was worthy of that first-round pick years ago…The Dolphins will also give us one of the few real quarterback battles around the league. Veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has reportedly consistently outplayed former Cardinals QB Josh Rosen in camp and it has been Fitz drawing the majority of first-team snaps.
New England Patriots
One player who has been notably absent from Patriots’ camp is last year’s first rounder, RB Sony Michel. While he carried the Pats late in the season and through the playoffs, Michel also dealt with knee issues throughout the season. Beat writers report Michel has not been on the practice field since mid-May. ... Adding to the concern for Michel is the addition of rookie RB Damien Harris. Early chatter suggests the Alabama product could push Michel for a starting role. ... This comes as no surprise, but there has been good news for another rookie, WR N’Keal Harry, who has been working with the starters. With TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan gone and the status of WR Josh Gordon up in the air, there are plenty of targets available for Harry, even as a rookie. ... TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, signed earlier this offseason, has decided to take a step away from football to focus on personal issues and the team released him. ASJ has a history of substance abuse issues, though it is unclear of the exact concern he is dealing with at this time. His loss leaves Matt LaCosse as the presumed starter at tight end.
New York Giants
There has been little news out of Giants’ camp, though the reports have not been positive for either of the team’s top signal callers, veteran QB Eli Manning and rookie QB Daniel Jones…RB Saquon Barkley, the favorite to be the 1.01 in virtually all fantasy drafts this year, said he expects another massive workload in his second season. Barkley drew over 350 touches last season and even suggested he could handle 400 opportunities this season.
New York Jets
The Jets continue to search for a new general manager, having interviewed four candidates. Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas remains the favorite to land the job…Breaking the trend from the past two offseasons, RB Le’Veon Bell reported to the team’s mandatory mini-camp. This is no surprise after he was signed earlier this offseason but should be a relief. With a locked-in role, Bell is moving up early fantasy draft boards and looks like a sure-fire first-rounder.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After losing both WRs DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, the Buccaneers were forced to make some move at the receiver position. They signed WR Breshad Perriman and used a late-round pick on potential slot WR Scott Miller. While Perriman (shoulder) and top option Mike Evans (hamstring) missed mini-camp work, Miller drew the praise of QB Jameis Winston, who called the rookie “fantastic.” Miller will battle Perriman for the slot role between Evans and projected breakout WR Chris Godwin.
Things are not off to a good start for the 2019 Washington Redskins. OT Trent Williams is skipping mini-camp and what was first presumed to be a contract-related holdout was later revealed to be a personal issue, causing Williams to reportedly vow to never play for the Redskins again. He has demanded the team either release or trade him. In camp, Williams replacement has been former Giants’ bust Ereck Flowers. ... On a brighter note, veteran RB Adrian Peterson announced his goal was to rush for 2,000 yards this season. While he’s done it before, his age and the presumed presence of RB Derrius Guice makes that very unlikely. At the very least, Peterson is being overlooked as fantasy players assume the best from Guice’s ACL recovery.
Wentz Gets Paid
The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Carson Wentz agreed to a four-year contract extension which will pay him $128 million. Those four years are now tacked on to the two remaining on Wentz’s original deal, giving him a total of $107 million in guaranteed money, the highest of all-time in the NFL. The commitment from the team also suggests both sides are positive about the quarterback’s health entering his fourth season in the league.
Ravens TE Hayden Hurst missed practice time with a tweaked hamstring. ... Jaguars rookie RB Ryquell Armstead is dealing with a slight hamstring injury…Packers QB Aaron Rodgers suggested he wanted to throw the ball to WR Davante Adams more in 2019. Adams’ 169 targets in 2018 were second-most in the league but that wasn’t enough for the Packers to make the playoffs and Rodgers clearly trusts Adams…The 49ers and LT Joe Staley agreed to a two-year contract extension. ... Bills WR Cole Beasley (core) will sit out the team’s upcoming mini-camp but is expected to be ready for training camp…Early reports on Bengals rookie QB Ryan Finley have not been positive. ... Seattle OC Brian Schottenheimer said the team’s offense will continue to be run heavy in 2019 and also noted how impressive second-year RB Rashaad Penny has been this offseason. ... Free agent WR Leonte Carroo was suspended four games by the league. ... LB Navarro Bowman announced his retirement.