Buying or Selling NFL's Latest Training Camp Buzz Entering September

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2022

Buying or Selling NFL's Latest Training Camp Buzz Entering September

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    The 2022 NFL season is nearly upon us. With it will come an end (mostly) to all of the smoke that has surrounded the offseason.

    Secrecy is a key component of free agency, the draft and training camps. Franchises are always looking for an edge, and they rarely want other teams to know what they're thinking. The smokescreens and coachspeak have carried into training camps, as teams don't want to reveal plans about starting lineups, trade candidates and roster makeup.

    On Tuesday, however, teams must be down to the 53-player regular-season limit. From that point on, we'll largely know what rosters are going to look like in 2022.

    As the final cuts countdown commences, we're likely to see one more burst of smoke from coaches and executives. Here, we'll dive into the latest reports, rumors and training-camp buzz and try to decipher where that smoke lies.

Seahawks Are Confident in Geno Smith: Sell

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    The Seattle Seahawks' quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock might have been the least intriguing of this offseason. If you missed head coach Pete Carroll's announcement over the weekend that Smith will be the starter, you probably aren't alone.

    "Geno, he knows our stuff and he does really well and he understands it and he can manage everything that we're doing and he's good about the football," Carroll told reporters. "He'll give us the best chance to play great football right off the bat."

    Great football? That's a subjective term, and however you may want to define it, we don't believe that Seattle believes it will play "great football" with Smith under center. While the 31-year-old posted a solid 103.0 passer rating last season, the Seahawks went 1-2 in games he started.

    The reality is that Smith is the best option Seattle has right now. Jacob Eason was never a viable candidate, and the Seahawks only got a limited look at Lock in the preseason—he missed Week 2 with COVID-19. In the preseason finale, Lock tossed three interceptions.

    Had Lock shown more in the preseason, he easily could have been Week 1 starter. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Carroll was praising the trade acquisition from the Denver Broncos.

    "It’s just been kind of the whole package that’s been a surprise to see that he’s just well-equipped," Carroll said earlier this month, per Liz Mathews of Seahawks Wire.

    Expect Seattle to only believe in Smith until/unless a better option presents itself. According to former NFL executive Mike Lombardi (h/t Logan Mullen of Audacy), Seattle would have been interested in Jimmy Garoppolo if the San Francisco 49ers released him. However, the Niners have agreed to a new deal with Jimmy G, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo.

Buccaneers Remain Confident in the Offensive Line: Buy

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    Future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady decided to put off his induction ceremony for another year this offseason. Following a brief retirement, Brady decided to make another run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    While many of Tampa's key pieces are returning, Brady will have a very different offensive line. Ali Marpet retired, Alex Cappa departed in free agency, and center Ryan Jensen suffered a significant knee injury at the start of camp.

    However, the Bucs insist that they're confident in what their new-look line can accomplish in 2022.

    "We're happy with the progress of the guys in there, they're competing their tails off, and we'll see how it shapes up," vice president of player personnel John Spytek said, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

    Could this just be a tossing of verbal bouquets by an executive who secretly seeks value on the free-agent or trade market? Maybe, but we believe Spytek here.

    For one, Tampa has done an excellent job at crafting a succession plan along the line. It used a 2021 third-round pick on center Robert Hainsey, a 2022 second-round pick on guard Luke Goedeke and traded for Shaq Mason in the offseason.

    Secondly, Tampa has Brady under center. His experience, vision and quick release should help cover any early pass-blocking deficiencies.

    The Buccaneers also still have $6.8 million in cap space and are looking to make a championship run. If they didn't believe in the linemen they have, they'd have already tried to make a move.

Jets Won't Deal Denzel Mims: Sell

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    New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims has officially requested a trade, according to agent Ron Slavin.

    "Denzel has tried in good faith, but it is clear he does not have a future with the Jets," Slavin said, per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

    The Jets, however, insist they still have a plan for the 2020 second-round pick.

    "I'm not going to say it's over with him," head coach Robert Saleh said, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. "I'm standing by it: He's had a really good OTAs, he's done a really good job in training camp. It's just a matter of him finding his niche."

    Through two seasons, Mims has been unable to find that niche. He has made only 11 starts and caught 31 passes for 490 yards and no touchdowns. New York, meanwhile, used a 2021 second-round pick on Elijah Moore and a 2022 first-round pick on fellow receiver Garrett Wilson.

    With more proven receivers like Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios also on the roster, there isn't a defined role for Mims moving forward. Our guess is that the Jets would happily deal him.

    New York won't openly admit that, though. This feels like a case of the Jets talking up a potential trade chip in order to keep his value as high as possible heading into the regular season.

Limited Interest in Patriots' Isaiah Wynn: Buy

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    Smoke will sometimes come from teams looking at a potential trade from the outside. This could be the case with New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn. According to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, New England is gauging the market for the 2018 first-round pick but is getting little interest.

    "They're trying to see if they can get a high enough pick to make a trade worthwhile. Wynn's $10.4M price tag, injury history and positional uncertainty has yielded limited interest so far," Howe tweeted Friday.

    Theoretically, a team could be feigning disinterest in hopes of driving down his price point. The reality, however, is that teams probably just aren't that interested in making a trade.

    As Howe noted, Wynn has a notable injury history. He missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles and eight games in 2019 with a toe injury. He landed on injured reserve in 2020 with a knee injury.

    Wynn did start 25 games over the past two seasons, but his inability to consistently stay on the field is concerning. His play last season wasn't exactly great, either. According to Pro Football Focus, Wynn was responsible for nine penalties and six sacks allowed in 2021.

    Unless desperate—and we'll dive into a franchise that could be momentarily—no team will be eager to surrender trade capital for an injury-prone mid-level starter with a $10.4 million cap hit.

    With Wynn's contract fully guaranteed, New England is highly unlikely to release him. The disinterest in the Georgia product appears real, though.

Cowboys Confident in Tyler Smith at Left Tackle: Sell

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    The Dallas Cowboys were dealt a major blow when starting left tackle Tyron Smith suffered an avulsion fracture during practice. According to Rapoport, Smith isn't expected back until at least December.

    Replacing Smith, an eight-time Pro Bowler, won't be easy. For now, though, Dallas is giving the impression that it believes in rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith as Tyron Smith's replacement.

    "The good news is we addressed it (left tackle depth) in the draft," Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones told reporters. "From the get-go, we said he (Tyler Smith) was our future left tackle. The future may just be sooner than later."

    While Dallas may have to start the rookie at left tackle in Week 1, our guess is that the team would prefer not to. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is Smith's lack of polish coming out of Tulsa.

    "He is as raw as sushi and a penalty machine who needs to reconfigure his technique from the ground up before he can see an NFL field," Brandon Thorn of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote.

    The other issue is that while Smith did see some reps at tackle early in the offseason, he's been competing with Connor McGovern at left guard—working exclusively at that position in training camp.

    The Cowboys likely hope to sign or trade for a veteran tackle and keep Smith at guard. Tipping their hand on that stance, of course, would only drive up the price for an incoming vet.

    *Contract and cap information via Spotrac.

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