The offseason is officially in the rearview mirror. NFL training camps kicked off in earnest this week, and there’s plenty of injury and roster news to sort through. We’ll start our tour around the league in Cincinnati, where Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will miss some time after undergoing an operation.
Joe Burrow to have appendix removed
Burrow will be temporarily sidelined after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Recovery time after appendix removal is typically 1-3 weeks, so Burrow could be back in time for Cincinnati’s first preseason game (although he’s highly unlikely to play in that contest even if he’s available).
In the meantime, backup quarterback Brandon Allen will take the majority of snaps under center. The Bengals will also get an extended look at former UDFA Jake Browning, who originally joined the practice squad last September. Cincinnati could add another developmental signal-caller in the coming days.
Commanders place Chase Young on PUP
As expected, Commanders edge rusher Chase Young is headed to the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Young, who tore his ACL in Week 10, can come off the list at any time, but if he stays on the PUP into the regular season, he’ll have to miss at least four games.
After being selected second overall in the 2020 draft, Young was expected to be a dominant force on Washington’s defensive line. But things haven’t totally come together through two seasons. In 24 games, he’s managed only nine sacks and 66 pressures — solid numbers, but not those of a superstar.
If Young is sidelined into the regular season, the Commanders’ lack of edge depth could be exposed. Former first-round pick Montez Sweat will hold down the fort on one side of the line, while James Smith-Williams — who started six games in Young’s stead in 2021 — would take over as a starter. Washington could look into adding a free agent pass rusher if Young is expected to miss game action.
The Commanders also sent tight end Logan Thomas and centers Chase Roullier and Tyler Larsen to the PUP list. Thomas suffered a knee injury in December, but he’s reportedly progressing well and the team is hopeful regarding his outlook. John Bates, a 2021 fourth-round pick who caught 20 passes in his rookie campaign, will take over at tight end for now.
Roullier has been Washington’s starting center for the past five years, and he’ll now miss out on reps with new quarterback Carson Wentz after breaking his leg in Week 8. Larsen is Roullier’s direct backup, so the Commanders could be in trouble on the interior.
Denzel Ward, Jack Conklin going on Browns’ PUP list
The Browns announced today that they’ve placed CB Denzel Ward and OT Jack Conklin on the PUP list, DT Sheldon Day and LB Anthony Walker Jr. on the non-football injury (NFI) list, and WR Javon Wims on the non-football illness list.
Ward is wearing a walking boot after suffering a foot injury during Cleveland’s minicamp, but he’s expected to be ready at some point during camp. He’s the Browns’ best cornerback, but they’ve added a ton of depth in recent years, including Greedy Williams, Greg Newsome, and Martin Emerson.
Conklin is still recovering from the patella surgery that he underwent in December. He missed half the season with injuries in both 2018 and 2021, so the Browns would likely be wise to let him rest as long as possible. Cleveland has excellent backups along the interior, but they’re a little thinner at tackle, where OT3 Chris Hubbard has missed time in each of the last two seasons.
Broncos’ Randy Gregory, Billy Turner head to PUP
The Broncos will be without two potential starters as training camp begins. Both edge rusher Randy Gregory and offensive lineman Billy Turner have been placed on the PUP list.
Gregory, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal with Denver this offseason after posting six sacks and 47 pressures for the Cowboys, underwent shoulder surgery in March. He’s recovering well and is expected to be ready for Week 1, as general manager George Paton told reporters.
Turner is competing to become Denver’s starting right tackle, but missing time at the outset of camp won’t help him defeat Bobby Massie and Calvin Anderson in that training camp battle. The veteran lineman is “progressing well,” per Mike Klis of 9News, and it sounds like he’ll be available for the start of the season as well. Given his experience all along the front five, the Broncos could turn him into a utility lineman.
Colts not talking to Julio Jones
The Colts could use more wide receiver depth, and a reunion between Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could make sense for all parties. But general manager Chris Ballard said Indianapolis is not talking to the free agent receiver.
“I know there’s reports out there, but those reports are wrong,” Ballard told reporters today, adding that he doesn’t feel any “desperation” about Indy’s pass-catching depth chart.
However, Ballard did say the Colts are still “in the mix” to re-sign WR T.Y. Hilton, who remains on the open market after spending the last decade with Indianapolis. Hilton, 32, has reportedly received interest from at least two unknown teams this offseason after posting a 23-331-3 line in 2021. He played last year on a one-year, $8 million contract.
Michael Pittman Jr. is an ascending star for the Colts, but they have little in the way of proven options behind him. Second-round rookie Alec Pierce is a candidate to start, as is Parris Campbell, even though injuries have limited him to eight games through three seasons. Ashton Dulin, Mike Strachan, Dezmon Paton, and Keke Coutee fill out the rest of Indy’s WR room.
Roquan Smith holding in at Bears camp
The NFL’s new CBA has made holdouts a thing of the past by making fines mandatory and irrevokable, but “hold-ins” — where a player attends camp but doesn’t practice — will continue. That’s the strategy Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is using as he seeks a new contract.
Smith is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, and he’ll be paid $9.375 on his fifth-year option. The two-time second-team All-Pro is likely searching for at least $18 million annually on his next pact, and he may cross the $19 million threshold that only Fred Warner and Shaquille (formerly Darius) Leonard have reached.
Meanwhile, veteran edge rusher Robert Quinn has also reported to Bears camp, but it’s unclear if he’ll practice. The 32-year-old isn’t a fit for a rebuilding Chicago team, and the Bears could likely get something in exchange for him after he posted 18 1/2 sacks in 2021. Still, Bears GM Ryan Poles said he hasn’t discussed a potential trade with Quinn.
Giants place four on injured lists
On Tuesday, the Giants announced that they’ve placed WR Sterling Shepard, C Nick Gates, and OT Matt Peart on the PUP list, while EDGE Azeez Ojulari is headed to the (NFI) list. Ojulari is dealing with a hamstring injury that’s not expected to be serious.
Meanwhile, Shepard is still recovering from a Week 15 Achilles tear. He was jogging as of June, and the Giants reportedly hope he’s able to return to the field at some point in August. Gates is coming back from a gruesome leg injury that could be career-threatening, and Peart tore his ACL in Week 16.
Panthers send LB Shaq Thompson to PUP
The Panthers have placed linebacker Shaq Thomspon on the PUP list, but head coach Matt Rhule told reporters he expects Thomspon to be ready for Week 1. The longest-tenured member of Carolina’s defense, Thompson underwent knee surgery over the offseason. He’s the veteran on a unit that includes young playmakers like Brian Burns, Jaycee Horn, and Jeremy Chinn.
Veteran CB Buster Skrine retires
Longtime NFL cornerback Buster Skrine has decided to retire, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel told reporters today. Skrine, 33, joined Tennessee last November and played well in seven games. He wasn’t expected to start in 2022, but he could have been a valuable veteran option behind young corners like Caleb Farley, Kristian Fulton, Elijah Molden, and Roger McCreary.
Skrine was a fifth-round pick of the Browns in the 2011 NFL Draft. After four years in Cleveland, he signed a $25 million deal with the Jets. Skrine spent 2019-20 with the Bears before wrapping up his career with the 49ers and Titans last season. All told, he appeared in 158 games (95 starts) and posted 10 interceptions over an 11-year career.