After a long offseason, the NFL is finally back. Training camp is officially underway and the season is just around the corner. There’s a lot going on right now, so let’s try to catch up on all of the latest headlines and storylines in the NFL as training camp opens.
The New Deal
Making headlines right before the start of training camp was the six-year, $69.4 million deal running back Todd Gurley signed with the Rams. Gurley had a sensational 2017 campaign and is clearly poised to be one of the league’s best running backs in the years to come. More importantly, he chose to sign an extension now rather than wait until next offseason when Le’Veon Bell figures to set the market for running backs.
Speaking of Bell, he is once again a training camp holdout. Bell sat out most of training camp last year and could end up doing it again. He’ll be playing the 2018 season under the franchise tag before hitting free agency, although he is yet to sign his tender, clearly upset that the Steelers didn’t offer him a lucrative extension. Bell and the Steelers are no longer able to negotiate an extension, but that won’t stop him from expressing his displeasure by sitting out camp. Ultimately, he’s hoping to stop Gurley’s deal next summer despite being a few years older.
After missing the entire 2017 season, Andrew Luck is back at training camp with the Indianapolis Colts. Luck’s shoulder never quite healed following offseason surgery, so he was unable to play for the Colts, who went 4-12 without him. However, Luck has been fully cleared to participate in training camp and will play in the team’s first preseason game. How much rust he has to shake off and how his body will hold up physically after sitting out a full year remains to be seen. But the Colts have to be excited to have Luck back under center.
One of the most intriguing position battles of the preseason will be the Jets’ three-way battle at quarterback. Josh McCown is technically the starter as the incumbent. However, the Jets also signed Teddy Bridgewater over the offseason, and if he’s fully recovered from his devastating knee injury two years ago, he could challenge for the starting spot. Rookie Sam Darnold will also get an opportunity, although it doesn’t look like the Jets will rush him into the starting job if he’s not ready.