Most fans will agree that the worst part of the NFL season is that it ends. With nothing to fill the void, the summer is generally dotted with filler stories that everybody forgets about after a few weeks.
Bleacher Report's Dan Levy wrote extensively about how badly the games need to arrive so as to save us all from the morass that is training camp and the preseason.
The three stories below at least have a tangible impact on how the teams involved operate. You've got one player holding out and another possibly demanding crazy money. Then there's one of the more interesting quarterback battles across the league.
Look at it this way: At least they aren't updates on how Tim Tebow's possible career resurrection's going.
The situation between Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks might be getting very ugly very quickly.
Michael Robinson, who works for the NFL Network and is a close friend of Lynch's, said that the Pro Bowl running back "will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks," via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
"I really think he just wants his position in the organization and how they view him," Robinson added. "He just wants that recalibrated a little bit."
ESPN's John Clayton said on NFL Live that Lynch's holdout won't carry on through the entire preseason:
John Clayton on NFL LIVE says Marshawn Lynch's holdout will probably be 5 or 6 days at the most and he likely will not get any new money.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) July 25, 2014
According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Lynch's demand for a new contract isn't a recent occurrence:
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.
Lynch has two more years left on his current deal, and he's due to make a base salary of $5 million for 2014 and 2015.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll waded into the muck, arguing that the 28-year-old should hold up his end of the bargain, contract-wise.
"It's a contract for a reason," said Carroll, per USA Today's Tom Pelissero. "We expect them to honor their contract just as we will. We're going to honor it and we expect them to do the same."
ESPN.com's Kevin Van Valkenburg thought that was a bit rich considering how Carroll left USC:
Pete Carroll thinks Marshawn Lynch should honor his contract. USC fan does a spit take with his Corona, laughs and laughs, orders another.— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) July 25, 2014
With all of the moving pieces involved, few offseason stories are more intriguing than Lynch's future in Seattle.
Despite the media hoopla surrounding Johnny Manziel, the Cleveland Browns aren't putting themselves under any pressure to start the rookie quarterback. ESPN's Bob Holtzman reported that the majority of Browns players expect Brian Hoyer to start in Week 1:
Browns player: "we're all expecting Hoyer to start" week 1. Feeling in locker room is Pettine will announce WELL BEFORE 3rd preseason game— bob holtzman (@BobHoltzmanESPN) July 25, 2014
Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported that the team's management hasn't been happy with Manziel's off-field habits in the offseason:
The Browns have been 'alarmed' by some of Johnny Manziel's antics since the draft -- especially a photo of him rolling up a $20 bill in the bathroom of a bar -- and some in the organization feel he's lost ground in the quarterback competition heading into camp, sources have told Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Manziel regressed in practice after the first week of organized team activities, and some in the organization attributed it to too much jet-setting and not enough dedication to the playbook.
Team officials had bought into Manziel's pre-draft promises to tone down the partying and leave his frat-boy lifestyle back in College Station, Texas, and they've been stunned by his non-stop antics, sources said.
Manziel questioned why his off-field habits are so heavily under the microscope, per SportsCenter:
"I don't think there's anything wrong with me going out and having a night life... I'm 21 years old." - Johnny Manziel #LIVEonSC— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 25, 2014
He added that whatever issues existed between he and head coach Mike Pettine have been hashed out, per Tom Withers of the Associated Press:
Manziel says he has talked through his issues with coach Pettine and everyone is on same page. #Browns— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) July 25, 2014
Simply from an on-field perspective, the Browns have a tough decision on their hands. Hoyer looked good last year, but his sample size as a starter remains extremely small. His top competition is a rookie who's never taken a snap in the NFL.
Rookies are having more and more success in the league early in their careers, but you can't blame Cleveland too much for putting the veteran ahead in the depth chart, at least for the time being.
The added bonus is that this QB battle should bring out the best in both players.
Jordy Nelson wants to get paid; ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky believes to the tune of $10 million a year:
Nelson is seeking all of that -- and more. 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. White was due to make $5 million this season.
Nelson's 2014 pay is scheduled to be $3.5 million as part of the three-year, $12.6 million contract extension he signed Sept. 29, 2011. That contract turned out to be a bargain for the Packers, but Nelson ended up leaving money on the table.
You can't begrudge Nelson for wanting to get the best deal possible, especially after he's had a very team-friendly contract for the past few years.
The issue is whether or not somebody's going to offer him $10 million a season. Only eight wide receivers are hitting that threshold, per ESPN Stats and 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
Nelson is a very talented wideout, but the Packers might not be willing to pay him the money owed to a top wideout. He's eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in only two of his six seasons in the NFL—he very likely would've hit 1,000 yards in 2012 were it not for injury.
There's also the Aaron Rodgers effect to consider. Almost any wide receiver will see an uptick in production with a QB as talented as Rodgers throwing him passes.
The Packers don't have a ton of money to throw around, so don't be surprised if they let Nelson walk at the end of the year, as the Denver Broncos did with Eric Decker this past year.