Training camps are already underway across the NFL as the league ramps up for the upcoming 2022 season.
Injury struck at Tampa Bay in what shapes as a big blow for Tom Brady while a star wide receiver earned a hefty payday.
All that and more in NFL Scout!
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BUCCANEERS SUFFER BIG INJURY BLOW
The Buccaneers could be in jeopardy of losing one of Tom Brady’s top protectors.
Tampa Bay center Ryan Jensen was carted off the field after suffering a knee injury at training camp on Thursday, according to head coach Todd Bowles and GM Jason Licht.
Jensen was taken to the training room and will undergo tests to determine the severity of the injury. Licht said it could take up to several days before a diagnosis is determined due to swelling.
he incident changed the whole mood of the practice, according to ESPN Bucs reporter Jenna Laine, who said Jensen’s teammates huddled around him as a golf cart came to get him.
Jensen reportedly did not like being carted off the field and struggled while he attempted to walk under his own power. He also threw his helmet when the injury occurred and his teammates took a knee.
Robert Hainsey — a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — replaced Jensen at center after the injury.
Jensen re-signed with the Buccaneers this offseason on a three-year, $39 million deal. The 31-year-old has played nearly every offensive snap for Tampa Bay since he joined the team in 2018, following four seasons with the Ravens.
—New York Post
STAR SEAHAWKS WIDEOUT GETS HIS PAYDAY
DK Metcalf is joining Terry McLaurin and AJ Brown as the next 2019 wide receiver to get paid.
The big wide receiver and the Seahawks reached an agreement on a three-year, $72 million extension, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The deal includes $58.2 million guaranteed and a $30 million signing bonus, the highest bonus ever for a wide receiver. Metcalf won’t be a free agent until he is 27-years-old.
Metcalf has been an offensive monster since being drafted No. 64 in 2019. Standing at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, he has racked up 29 touchdowns and 3,170 yards in just three seasons.
His numbers may suffer this upcoming season because of the absence of Russell Wilson, who is now quarterbacking the Broncos, but his extension is a good sign of what the Seahawks hope will be a quick and efficient rebuild.
The 24-year-old’s contract beats out Terry McLaurin’s three-year, $71 million deal with the Washington Commanders, but doesn’t come close to AJ Brown’s four-year $100 million deal with the Eagles. Deebo Samuel is now the last of the prominent 2019 rookie receivers waiting for an extension.
—New York Post
GIANTS’ PLAN TO UNLEASH 106KG BEAST
Who will lead the Giants in receptions in 2022?
It certainly will not be a tight end, and it might not be a wide receiver.
It could be running back Saquon Barkley. Nothing that has transpired during the first two days of training camp would dispel that notion.
“When you’re developing in a system, you kind of figure out what these guys do best, and you challenge them to do more,” new head coach Brian Daboll said. “And if it doesn’t look great, then you see if you want to keep pursuing it. And if you want to pursue it, then you’ve got to get them better. And if not, then you just throw it away and do something else.”
These are the development days for Daboll with the offence, but you can be sure, after he makes a full evaluation of what he has and what he is lacking, that he will not decide to “just throw it away” when it comes to throwing the ball to Barkley.
The sight of No. 26 thus far this summer — moving here and there, running routes out of the backfield, running routes when split wide, running routes out of bunch formations and running routes that require true wide receiver skill sets — is prevalent, and there are times when it almost seems as if there is a need to tone down how much Barkley is finding the ball in his hands.
“You see him,” Daboll said. “I mean, you saw him coming out of Penn State. You see him running around here. He’s a pretty skilled player. So, our job is to figure out ways to use him, whether he did it last year or the year before, two years, in college.”
Having a boss with Daboll’s creativity figuring out ways to use him has Barkley smiling. He noted after Wednesday’s practice, “I’m 25 now, Year 5 and one of the older guys in the building.” Yes, it can go that quickly.
“Yeah, it’s flying by, right?” he said.
The former Giants front-office regime picked up Barkley’s fifth-year option for $7.2 million this season, and the new regime did not see any reason to open up talks on an extension. This is unquestionably a prove-it season for Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft who, after an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year debut, has fallen on hard times, with injuries — most notably a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Week 2 in 2020 — creating vulnerability in his armored tank-like physique.
“I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, I got to use that to my advantage,” Barkley said. “I can use that to lead, especially with some of the adversity I’ve had to deal with the last couple of years. That will not only help me as an athlete but as a person, a man, as a brother and as a teammate.”
Getting the ball in his hands will help. He is coming off an offseason spent revitalizing his body, rather than rehabbing from a specific injury, and the pep in his step is readily apparent. He is catching passes from every spot on the field, and there are no doubt wrinkles that Daboll has yet to reveal.
This offense should allow Barkley to be the best he can be.
“I think this offense has given me the opportunity to do that,” he said, “and I’m thankful, blessed to have that.”
The physical setbacks and constant losing has prompted Barkley to engage in soul-searching, as he has been forced to deal with “the adversity, the injuries that were put in my way these last two years. God got a big plan and it’s all gonna work out. Year 5 for me, I just want to show the Giants the guy they drafted is still here.”
Will that be enough to keep Barkley in blue and on the roster in 2023? He will be in need of a new contract, and whether or not the Giants give it to him will be an ongoing saga all season.
“Obviously that stuff’s in the air,” Barkley said.
“My thing is, if I take care of the little things and God blesses me and nothing crazy happens, I think the rest is going to take care of itself. I know where I’m at mentally, I know where I’m at physically, I know what I’m capable of doing. I just got to focus on taking care of my mind, my mental and try to be the best teammate I can be every single day, and when the time comes, it’s going to pay off.”
—New York Post
‘GET THAT OUTTA HERE’: BAKER YELLS AT FAN WITH BROWNS JERSEY
It seems Baker Mayfield wants to put his tenure with the Browns far behind him.
On Wednesday, the newly minted Panthers quarterback took the field for his first training camp practice with Carolina, whom he was traded to earlier this month. As Mayfield stepped outside, however, one fan apparently tried to dredge up memories of him from his time in Cleveland by holding up his Browns jersey.
The gesture didn’t go unnoticed by Mayfield, who then quipped, “Get that jersey outta here.”
Despite the unexpected Browns cameo, Mayfield appeared to be well-received by Panthers fans as he walked from the locker room beside his new teammate, fellow quarterback Sam Darnold.
The signal-callers, who were both selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, are currently vying for the starting job. Though it remains to be seen who will win that battle, the fan support appeared to be one-sided as most fans could be heard chanting Mayfield’s name Wednesday.
Darnold, who landed with the Panthers last year after being traded by the Jets, later acknowledged the moment, noting he “heard a couple” cheers.
Mayfield appeared to be shaking off some rust in his first practice since undergoing surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in January. The 27-year-old reportedly missed two consecutive throws in seven-on-seven drills, overthrowing wide receiver Brandon Zylstra on a go route, and later leading fellow wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. too far on a crosser. Moments later, the fifth-year quarterback was intercepted by cornerback Keith Taylor as he tried to force a ball downfield.
“I’m not excited about some of the throws accuracy-wise. I got a little greedy on one,” Mayfield said following practice. “Gotta take care of the ball. There was some good, but just not enough of it.”
As for Mayfield’s biggest competition, Darnold had a strong day with the starters, connecting for two touchdowns in red-zone drills and almost had another, but it was dropped by tight end Ian Thomas.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule insisted the quarterbacks will share the first-team reps throughout training camp. For now, however, the competition between Mayfield and Darnold, 25, is just heating up.
“I don’t have any timetable on it,” Rhule said of a possible decision for the starting role. “I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”
—New York Post