The first significant training camp injury for 2018 hit the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday, as cornerback Jason Verrett suffered a torn Achilles during a conditioning test at training camp and is likely out for the season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Verrett, 27, missed the majority of the past two seasons due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, injuring it Week 3 of the 2016 season and requiring a second procedure in September 2017 because of complications.
A first-round selection by the Chargers in the 2014 draft, the TCU product has already missed 39 games due to various injuries in four NFL seasons. He earned a Pro Bowl appearance after intercepting three passes and defending 12 more in 14 games in 2015, the only time he’s played more than six games in a campaign.
—Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant ripped into owner Jerry Jones and a couple of ex-teammates Friday night, after SiriusXM NFL Radio tweeted a line from an interview with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Friday which reportedly stated Jones blamed some of quarterback Dak Prescott’s 2017 struggles on having “@DezBryant in his ear.”
The tweet was deleted and replaced with two tweets clarifying Jones was talking about both Bryant and retired tight end Jason Witten in Prescott’s ear, but that was after Bryant responded with a series of tweets explaining his side of the breakup.
Among the things Bryant tweeted was accusing Stephen Jones of “that scapegoat ,” blaming Prescott’s struggles on “garbage play calling,” calling Jerry Jones “clueless” and seeming to imply that Cowboys center Travis Frederick and linebacker Sean Lee were in on Bryant getting released.
Also on Friday, NFL Network reported that Bryant and the Cleveland Browns have mutual interest and are working to schedule a visit, perhaps as early Monday — or sooner.
—The Tennessee Titans rewarded two of their key offensive players, announcing a two-year extension for tight end Delanie Walker and a deal with left tackle Taylor Lewan that reportedly makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in league history.
Lewan’s deal is believed to be for five years and worth $80 million, $50 million guaranteed. He skipped minicamp last month hoping to land a major deal. Lewan, 27, has made the last two Pro Bowls and has missed only one game the last three seasons.
Walker’s extension is reportedly worth $17 million with $12.8 million guaranteed. The 33-year-old has made the last three Pro Bowls and topped 800 yards receiving four straight seasons.
—The Atlanta Falcons will give wide receiver Julio Jones an extra $2.9 million for the 2018 season in his reworked deal the sides agreed to in order to get him to camp. They will give left tackle Jake Matthews a lot more.
ESPN reported that Jones, who has three years left on his current deal, gets a $4.4 signing bonus for this season while dropping his base salary from $10.5 million to $9 million in the reworked deal. He also gets an assurance the team will negotiate with him in good faith in 2019.
Matthews landed a five-year extension, the team announced, which will reportedly net him $75 million. Matthews, 26, will make a little less than $12.5 million in 2018 on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal before the extension kicks in. He has started 63 of a possible 64 games since being taken sixth overall in the 2014 draft, allowing 19.5 sacks and committing 24 penalties over that span.
—Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is expected to play out this season without a new contract, NFL Network reported. Clowney, 25, is entering the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, which will pay him $12.3 million in 2018.
Clowney battled injuries through his first two seasons after going No. 1 overall in 2014, but has collected 15.5 sacks combined over the last two campaigns. He had 21 tackles for loss and 21 quarterback hits last season after notching 16 and 17, respectively in 2016.
Also in Houston, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins started off camp by proclaiming, “I think I’m the best receiver in the NFL.” Hopkins had three more receiving touchdowns (13) than any other player in the league last year, earning his second Pro Bowl nod and first selection to the All-Pro first team. He was the third-ranked received in this year’s edition of the NFL Top 100 and the 13th-ranked player overall.
—Randall Cobb was seen sporting a boot on his right ankle more than a month ago, and now the Green Bay Packers receiver has ended the suspense as to why.
After the team’s first training camp practice, Cobb revealed he underwent surgery to remove cartilage from the ankle six weeks ago.
Cobb, entering his eighth NFL season, said he spent five days in a cast and a week in a walking boot prior to ramping up his rehab. He began running three weeks ago and says the pain he felt during the spring is now alleviated.
—Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray avoided the physically unable to perform list, meaning he will be able to participate in training camp practice when it begins Saturday.
Earlier this offseason, Ray was expected to pursue a fourth surgery on his problematic left wrist, which would have likely sidelined him into the regular season. Instead, he opted for rehab — an option reportedly presented by a specialist in Houston — which has him healthy enough to participate in training camp.
Ray suffered torn ligaments in his left wrist on the first day of training camp last year, ultimately spending two stints on injured reserve and having three surgeries on the wrist before the end of the 2017 season. He managed just one sack in eight games while wearing a cast, and his weight reportedly slipped from 240 pounds to 225 due to an inability to lift weights.
—No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold is still away from the New York Jets, as ESPN is reporting his representatives have refused offset language proposed by the team.
Offsets allow a team to recoup some of the money owed to a player should the player be let go before the completion of the contract. With no offsets, a player who is released would receive all of the guaranteed money he is owed from the original contract, plus whatever he receives from his new team.
Darnold’s side wants no offsets. Top overall pick and fellow rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has offsets in his contract with the Cleveland Browns, though negotiations over the offset language were why he did not sign with the club until this week. Buffalo rookie quarterback and No. 7 pick Josh Allen also agreed to offset language.
—President Donald Trump used Twitter to share his support of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ player-will-stand position. Jones said at his training camp kickoff news conference that he isn’t waiting for the NFL and its players association to come to an agreement on a policy regarding whether players must stand at attention during the national anthem.
“Way to go Jerry,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “This is what the league should do!”
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said Friday that Jones is a “bully” for ordering players to follow his anthem plan. “Lucky for me, I don’t play for the Cowboys,” Jenkins said.
—Field Level Media