The NFL finally kicked off its preseason schedule on Thursday, following the Hall of Fame game’s botched paint job leading to the annual event’s cancellation last Sunday evening. The return of real(ish) football games means suspensions, injuries and veteran signings. As always, we’ll start close to home.
In all the excitement of last-second touchdowns and game-winning two point conversions, you might have missed some of the great content here at Field Gulls this past week. Here’s some of the highlights.
Brent Taylor profiles seventh-round rookie and the receiver with the best hair on the team, Kenny Lawler.
Samuel Gold brought us another fantastic film breakdown, this time analyzing Robert Griffin III’s Cleveland Browns debut.
Seaside Chats with Kenneth Arthur returns with a training camp update alongside ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia.
Finally, Danny Kelly (you may have heard of him) made his debut on The Ringer’s NFL podcast previewing the Seahawks and the NFC West as a whole with Robert Mays. Worth seeking out!
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham passed his medical this week and has been activated off of the PUP list, another step closer to Graham’s return from a torn patellar tendon he suffered last November.
The Dallas Cowboys and All-Pro center Travis Frederick agreed to a six-year, $56.4 million extension with $18.2 million fully guaranteed on Saturday. The deal will make Frederick the highest paid center in the league, fair compensation for the man widely regarded as the best at his position.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver/hail mary magnet Jeff Janis broke a bone in his hand during practice last week, keeping him out of the team’s preseason opener on Friday night. Janis could reportedly miss the rest of preseason, but should still be safe in terms of a roster spot, as Janis is consistently one of the team’s most important contributors on special teams.
Second overall pick Carson Wentz suffered a hairline rib fracture during his NFL debut on Thursday night. Wentz took several big hits throughout his largely disappointing preseason debut, but the team hopes to have the rookie quarterback return before the end of the preseason.
Tyrod Taylor got a big raise this past week, agreeing to a six-year, $92 million contract extension with the Buffalo Bills. The deal sees Taylor’s salary for this season raise to $9.5 million fully guaranteed, with a massive $27.5 million team option in 2017. The option, at the very least, will help keep the franchise tag free for pending free agent Stephon Gilmore.
Chicago Bears center Hroniss Grasu was lost for the season with a torn ACL this past week, a loss that was painfully obvious to anyone that watched the team’s preseason debut on Thursday, as their offensive line leaked sack after sack against a relentless Broncos defense.
Last week brought wide receiver news for two teams in the NFC South, where Lance Moore signed with the Atlanta Falcons and the injury-riddled Hakeem Nicks landed in New Orleans. A week later, the veteran Moore has retired, and Nicks has been released by the team.
Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson is facing a ten-game suspension for his second violation of the league’s policy against performance enhancing drugs. Johnson has maintained his innocence since the news dropped, but would forfeit over $20 million in guarantees if the suspension is upheld.
Defense suspensions, injuries and veteran corners getting jobs
The Buffalo Bills lost two linebackers to torn ACLs this week, with rookie Reggie Ragland and jaw-breaker IK Enemkpali both going down to the brutal knee injury. The team has brought back veteran linebacker Brandon Spikes on a one-year deal as a result.
Cortland Finnegan has found another home in the NFC South, this time signing a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Finnegan came out of retirement last season to help out an ailing Panthers secondary and will now try to do the same for the league’s worst defense from a year ago.
The Miami Dolphins needed to add bodies to their back end, and they did just that this week signing former 49er Chris Culliver to a one-year, $5 million deal. Culliver was immediately placed on the PUP list as he’s still recovering from a torn ACL, but his salary would suggest he is a lock to make the team.
Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich tore his triceps this week in a scrimmage with the New Orleans Saints. It wasn’t all bad news, however, as Ninkovich could return as early as October due to the tendon remaining intact.
That’s it for this week in the NFL, but stay tuned to Field Gulls with another preseason game fast approaching. Go Hawks!