Buying or Selling The Latest Buzz Entering 2022 NFL Season

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 9, 2022

Buying or Selling The Latest Buzz Entering 2022 NFL Season

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    Lamar Jackson | Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    The rumor mill has quieted in the final days before the 2022 NFL season kicks off, but the league is still buzzing with curious news.

    Yes, there's an element of truth in nearly every statement. Our task is separating what to believe or dismiss.

    We're covering Jackson's situation, along with reports involving Trey Lance, Julio Jones and a couple more players.

Kendrick Bourne Dropped to Demoted Role?

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Kendrick Bourne emerged as a key player for the New England Patriots in 2021, finishing second on the team in receptions (55), yards (800) and touchdowns (five).

    The past month hasn't gone his way. Bourne was among five players kicked out of a joint practice with the Carolina Panthers for fighting. After that incident, he spent the following practice as a second-teamer and didn't suit up against Carolina in the actual preseason game.

    As a result, Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor have seemingly become the Patriots' top three wideouts.

    Wide receivers coach Troy Brown, however, said Bourne hasn't "done anything wrong or bad" during his fall on the depth chart, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.

    Should he start in your fantasy lineup? Not in Week 1, at least. But will he actually play fewer snaps than both Agholor and Parker? Have to see that to believe it.

    Verdict: Sell

Jessie Bates to Play Every Snap Despite Late Arrival

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    Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Jessie Bates didn't report to the Cincinnati Bengals until Aug. 23 in hopes of signing a long-term agreement and avoiding playing under the franchise tag in 2022.

    Although these contract situations are normal in the NFL, a delayed arrival often means a slightly smaller role in the early stages of a season. Players work hard to get ready for the season, but reaching the proper level of conditioning can sometimes hold them back.

    Bengals coach Zac Taylor isn't expecting that from Bates.

    "He's a got a great understanding of what we're doing," Taylor said, per Andrew Gillis of Cleveland.com, "and he's up to speed on any tweaks that we made, and we expect him to be out there every down."

    Whether the safety literally logs 100 percent of defensive snaps against the Pittsburgh Steelers isn't the buy/sell question. Perhaps he'll spend a couple of plays on the sideline and finish in the 95-percent range.

    But the staff trusting Bates to work through any physical challenges and keep the backups on the sideline is entirely believable.

    Verdict: Buy

Julio Jones Is Back to His "Old Self"

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Julio Jones is one of the greatest wide receivers of his generation. Simultaneously, he's endured two injury-riddled seasons that—after several years of powering through discomfort—put him on the sideline.

    Now on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he's trying to settle back into a major role. Bucs coach Todd Bowles recently had enormous praise for the veteran wideout.

    "When we got him, he was kind of out of shape, so we kind of limited his number of plays during practice," Bowles told reporters. "He's kind of gotten to the point where he's returned to his old self."

    Better than recent seasons, sure! The 33-year-old can still be a quality complement for Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

    But back to his All-Pro peak, or really anywhere close? Consider us doubtful based on Jones' combination of age and recent injury history, though we're hoping for a healthy year from an iconic receiver.

    Verdict: Sell

Trey Lance "Annoyed" at Jimmy Garoppolo's Contract

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    Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    On the surface, we're buying it.

    However, the level of the annoyance—and, more importantly, the duration—is something far less concerning.

    Since the 2021 season ended, Trey Lance has been the San Francisco 49ers' starter. He undoubtedly expected the team to find a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, who probably would've found a suitor were it not for his offseason shoulder surgery. But that transaction never came, and Garoppolo agreed to a restructured contract.

    Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that Lance was "a little annoyed" in the aftermath of Jimmy G's new deal.

    After months of expecting he'd completely take control of the team, Lance instead has to enter the 2022 campaign with the former starter as his immediate backup. At best, that's an uncomfortable situation. An annoyed reaction is only sensible.

    But, let's be perfectly clear: We're not suggesting it will be a problem for Lance or the Niners this season. There is no QB controversy.

    Verdict: Buy the Context, Sell the Impact

Lamar Jackson 'OK' with Not Signing Extension Until Offseason

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    Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

    Editor's note: This article was published before the Ravens announced that they would wait until after the season to continue contract negotiations with Lamar Jackson.

    Lamar Jackson is set to sign a lucrative contract. The only question is the total value—and, in particular, the guaranteed money within that number.

    Certainly in no small part because he represents himself, Jackson has said he won't negotiate after Week 1 begins. While it's an understandable choice, Jackson runs the risk of an injury derailing his earning potential, which is undoubtedly in the $250 million range considering the extensions for Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray

    Nevertheless, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano, the MVP-winning quarterback "is OK with this not getting done now."

    Every step of the way, Jackson has been transparent about his plans and stuck to them. Provided he's healthy, there's little sense in believing he'll restart extension talks during the season.

    For better or worse, if nothing is done before the Ravens take on the New York Jets, expect the discussions to resume in the offseason.

    Verdict: Buy

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