The downtime before the start of the regular season allows players to find their bearings both on and off the field, but it isn’t always a perfect balance.
For one rising NFC South star, however, things worked out just as he’d hoped.
Wednesday also brought injury and health updates, with sad news coming out of New York regarding the loss of an NFL legend.
Three things that matter
Michael Thomas got his deal
The Saints and the fourth-year wide receiver reportedly agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $100 million that includes $61 million in guarantees, effectively ending Thomas’ training camp holdout. He was under contract for this season, the final year of his rookie deal, which was slated to pay him $1.1 million. Now, he’s the highest-paid receiver in history and the first non-quarterback offensive player to receive a $100 million deal. Sometimes patience pays off.
A.J. Green’s absence to extend into regular season
Much of the Bengals’ success in 2019 will depend on the health of the team’s offense, but coach Zac Taylor said there’s a “good chance” the veteran wide receiver will miss “at least two games” after undergoing what was described as a “minor procedure” on Tuesday. The team was optimistic Green would be healed by Week 1 after he went down at practice last weekend, but his delayed return is only going to make things more difficult for quarterback Andy Dalton, who will be on a comeback campaign of his own after being sidelined with a thumb injury last season. It’s a tough break for a team that has recently slid to the bottom of the AFC North.
Kyler Murray is one in a million
The first-overall draft pick and dual-sport star is drawing praise for his adaptability, but teammate and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald believes the rookie sensation brings something truly special to the table.
“I’ve never seen a quarterback come in so quickly and be able to command an offense,” Fitzgerald said, per NFL.com. “I mean, from Day 1, he’s out there checking the different plays, sliding the line, different protections, getting us in screens when blitzes are coming. His understanding of the offense is crazy.
“I think that’s going to give us a great advantage, to play fast from the first preseason game all the way to the start of the regular season and giving him the keys to the car and letting him (go) is going to be great for us.”
Two things that don’t matter
Falcons rookie Kaleb McGary to have procedure
The team announced the offensive lineman and first-round pick will undergo a cardiac ablation procedure, which destroys tissue in the heart that is allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm. A recovery timeline is expected to be determined following the procedure Wednesday afternoon, though McGary’s rehab could push his NFL debut back a couple weeks.
Tom Brady talks contract extension
The Patriots quarterback has far more important things to worry about than a new deal as he prepares to enter his 20th NFL season with New England. The six-time Super Bowl champion has just one year remaining on his contract, but is sure to be taken care of when the time comes. On the other hand, he could opt to retire since he turns 42 on Aug. 3. Either way, he’s not ready to make a decision yet.
“Have I earned (an extension)? I don’t know, that’s up for talk show debate,” Brady told reporters. “What do you guys think? Should we take a poll? Talk to Mr. (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft, come on.”
One video you have to see
If this one-handed diving catch is any indication, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is looking healthy and ready for his comeback campaign after he was shut down for the third time in two seasons due to a troublesome right foot in 2018.
This diving catch from Olsen 💪 pic.twitter.com/UsV6YQFk8F
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) July 31, 2019
Wednesday tweet of the day
The Dolphins paid their respect to Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, who died Wednesday at age 78. He had been battling dementia and showing signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), though he’ll be remembered for helping the Dolphins win Super Bowls 7 and 8 in the early 1970s.
DAVIE, Fla.-Somber day at Dolphins. Team flag at half-staff after the passing of Miami legend Nick Buoniconti. pic.twitter.com/A6mIuXlgBg
— Peter King (@peter_king) July 31, 2019