NFL training camps are just getting underway, but there's no shortage of season-altering storylines involving key players from several franchises.
As many players begin their preparations for the season ahead, others are in the midst of contract disputes and holdouts. These topics are never fan favorites, but they've become par for the course for every offseason.
A few players expected to have big roles on their respective teams have made recent headlines due to contract disputes. Let's take a look at where each currently stands based on recent rumors circulating on the Web.
Johnson has been the Houston Texans' most prolific wide receiver since bursting onto the scene in 2003. Always a reliable target, the veteran accumulated 1,407 yards last season despite playing in a lackluster offense.
Needless to say, he'll be needed in a big way this coming season.
Things looked ominous recently due to Johnson's seemingly impending holdout over his contract. However, Houston received some great news on Friday, as the wide receiver reported to training camp, via ESPN's Adam Schefter:
With Houston's camp opening today, Texans WR Andre Johnson reported to team this morning and already is in its training facility.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 25, 2014
It appears as though a holdout is not forthcoming. So, what made Johnson change his mind?
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Johnson must have had a great conversation with owner Bob McNair:
Sources say Bob McNair played a key role in getting Andre Johnson to end his holdout and report to Texans today.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 25, 2014
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport expanded on what was said:
Andre Johnson received an “understanding of where Texans are going & of his own future & security,” source says. Hint he’ll be there in 2015— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2014
With Johnson now in camp, he'll be playing the 2014 season with a total salary of just over $15.6 million, according to Spotrac.com.
While Johnson is attending Texans training camp, the same cannot be said for Lynch in Seattle.
Terry Blount of ESPN.com relayed the running back's intentions of holding out, citing an appearance by Lynch's former teammate Michael Robinson on the NFL Network:
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch plans to hold out and not participate on the opening day of training camp Friday, former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said Thursday night on the NFL Network. Robinson is one of Lynch's closest friends and has been advising him on his contract concerns.
Lynch is looking to acquire more than the $7 million (Spotrac.com) he's due this season on account of his success with the franchise.
This isn't exactly news to the Seahawks organization. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, contract talks have been ongoing between the two sides:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, there's a 'zero percent chance' he'll show up for the start of training camp without a contract that replaces the final two seasons of his four-year, $30 million contract.
Talks have been occurring on and off, according to the source, for four months. The Seahawks have resisted due to concerns that giving a player a new contract with two years left on his current agreement would set a bad precedent.
It will certainly be interesting to see how much more the Seahawks are willing to give Lynch. He's a very talented running back—on a run-oriented offense—but Seattle's depth at the position is strong.
Nelson is entering the final year of his three-year, $13.1 million deal and is set to make a total of $4.375 this season with the Green Bay Packers, according to Spotrac.com.
Considering Nelson's recent production, he appears ready for a pay raise. After all, he's coming off of an impressive year in which he accumulated 85 receptions for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing quarterback Aaron Rodgers for seven games.
Well, according to a report from Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Nelson is expecting quite a hefty sum for his services.
He writes, "A source familiar with the negotiations said Nelson wants a deal worth at least $10 million per season. That would be a major increase from his current contract, which averages $4.2 million per season and ranks 34th among all NFL receivers"
Bleacher Report's Zach Kruse tweeted one telling statistic in favor of Nelson's monetary request:
17 players produced 1,100 or more receiving yards last season. Only Jordy Nelson and DeSean Jackson did it w/ less than 130 targets. #Pay87— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) July 25, 2014
The Packers could be asking themselves this question: Is Nelson a top-eight wide receiver? If he does command $10 million per year, he'll be paid like one, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Jordy Nelson reportedly wants $10M a year when his contract runs out after 2014. There are 8 WR with avg annual value of $10M in their deals— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 24, 2014
Green Bay's training camp begins Saturday, and we should start to get a better idea of this situation as the season approaches.