NFL Training Camp Buzz Roundup: Davante Adams Deserves The Bag

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystJuly 28, 2021

NFL Training Camp Buzz Roundup: Davante Adams Deserves The Bag

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    Just because NFL players show up for training camp doesn't mean the drama ends. More often than not, the intrigue has just begun. 

    Multiple players reported for camp after being holdouts during mandatory minicamps and had to face the music when it came to their coaches, teammates and media. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was chief among them, as was star wideout Davante Adams.

    Yeesh, Green Bay is more drama-filled than Riverdale

    Meanwhile, Houston feels like the Loki miniseries. No one knows exactly what's going on, and the Texans are just trying to piece things together to see if anything works. 

    With each training camp ramping up, stories are bubbling to the surface around the league. The following dominated Wednesday's sessions.  

Davante Adams Demands Top Dollar

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    Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams feel like a package deal for the Green Bay Packers, but they aren't. 

    Although the Packers front office already burnt bridges with its quarterback, Adams is different. The wide receiver wants his bag, and deservedly so. 

    "I've earned the right to be paid the highest in the league," Adams told reporters Wednesday. "If they don't believe that or want to come to an agreement or kind of make me feel good about my contract..."

    When asked about a hometown discount to continue playing alongside Rodgers, the wide receiver added, "No, that's not gonna happen ... What other profession do you take less than what you have earned? That's not how it goes."

    Adams isn't wrong. 

    In 41 games over the last three seasons, the four-time Pro Bowler caught 309 passes for 3,757 yards and 36 touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, Adams graded better than any other wide receiver last season. In fact, his 136.9 passer rating when targeted last season ranks first among wide receivers since the site started to track the statistic in 2006. 

    The 28-year-old is currently the best player at his respective position, and he's entering the final year of his contract. However, the Packers aren't willing to surpass DeAndre Hopkins' $27.25 million average annual salary on an extension, according to the Packers News' Tom Silverstein

    Green Bay may not be willing to go that high, but other teams will as long as Adams doesn't receive the franchise tag after this season. Either way, Adams knows his value, and he isn't willing to take any less than the market dictates. 

Aaron Rodgers Answers Questions

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    Aaron Rodgers answered the offseason's biggest question about whether he would be at Green Bay Packers training camp on Tuesday. The next step is understanding why and when the showdown between the quarterback and the organization truly began.

    When asked about the festering situation Wednesday, Rodgers told reporters

    "I think it was a lot of things that transpired. This wasn't a draft-day thing. Started the conversation in February after the season ended, and I just expressed my desire to be more involved in conversations that directly affected my job. 

    "Also, I wanted to help the organization maybe learn from some of the mistakes made in the past, in my opinion, about the way some of the outgoing veterans were treated and just the fact we didn't retain a number of players that I feel were core players to our foundation, our locker room. ... Guys who were exceptional players for us, great locker room guys, high-character guys, many of whom weren't offered a contract at all or were extremely low-balled or were maybe, in my opinion, not given the respect on the way out that guys of their status and stature and high character deserve. 

    "And then it kind of progressed from there into a commitment for the 2021 season and beyond that wasn't really given any time." 

    The reigning MVP fully understands his value to his organization, and it extends beyond his performance and pay. But the front office never allowed him to help beyond his typical duties as a quarterback. As a result, frustration developed and festered over the past year. 

    Now, the two sides know where they stand. This season will seemingly be Rodgers' last dance with the Packers, and everyone knows exactly why and who to blame. 

    Hey, at least Rogers forced the Packers to trade for veteran receiver Randall Cobb on Wednesday. That's one feather in the quarterback's cap. 

Deshaun Watson Takes Snaps...On Defense?

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    The Houston Texans aren't preparing like Deshaun Watson will be their starting quarterback this fall. 

    Watson worked a bit with the Texans' other quarterbacks on Wednesday. Otherwise, he didn't take first-team reps with the offense. Instead, he lined up in the offensive and defensive backfields for a few reps, according to The Athletic's Aaron Reiss

    The NFL didn't place any restrictions on Watson's participation while he faces 22 civil cases and potential criminal charges related to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. General manager Nick Caserio told reporters at the start of training camp that the organization would evaluate Watson's situation daily. 

    Proper preparation is vital, particularly for quarterbacks. Watson serving as a stand-in during practice sessions doesn't seem to suggest that the Texans plan to move him back into a starting position. 

    The Texans' handling of Watson falls in line with how teams in other sports tend to treat players whom they hope to trade. They're often pulled from the lineup to prevent an injury before a deal goes down.

    SportsTalk790's Aaron Wilson reported "multiple teams remain interested" in a potential Watson trade.

    "We're going to do what we feel is best for the organization," Caserio said, per Wilson. "It's a collective effort between myself and [head coach] David Culley. We’re going to talk about everything each day and then we’re going to do what we feel is best."

    Right now, Watson not being an active participant in camp appears to be what's best for the Texans. 

Trey Lance Signs Rookie Deal with 49ers

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    Rookie holdouts went the way of the dinosaur when the NFLPA negotiated slotted deals for the incoming prospects. 

    Still, a handful of deals can still be tricky based on offset language and bonus payouts. As such, a few negotiations could linger a bit longer than expected. 

    Going into Wednesday, only two first-round picksNew York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lancehadn't signed. Now, there's only one. 

    Lance signed his fully guaranteed $34.1 million deal before the start of Wednesday's practice session, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. However, the organization still plans to develop him gradually. 

    "There's no open competition right now," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Tuesday. "Jimmy [Garoppolo] is coming in as the one, and Trey [Lance] is coming in as the two."

    Whether the Niners are making a mistake by not starting Lance right away is moot. They'll move forward with Garoppolo under center for now and Lance absorbing everything he can until it's his time to play. 

    Even so, Lance will benefit from all of the reps he can get after spending only one-plus year as a starter for the North Dakota State Bison. 

Jarvis Landry Healthier, More Fit and Ready for Big Season

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    The Cleveland Browns have two standout wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Both were never fully healthy last season at the same time.

    Beckham suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals and missed the rest of the season. Nine months removed from the injury, he reported to camp, cleared his physical and avoided the physically unable to perform list, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

    Meanwhile, Landry's lingering issues pertaining to his hip surgery last offseason largely went unnoticed because he wanted it that way. The five-time Pro Bowler played in 15 games and gritted through the pain. 

    "I don't know if you guys know, but I just rehabbed that whole time, so I did no strength and development. I did no speed training," Landry told reporters Wednesday. "I just played the season off of rehab. So now I've had an opportunity to do that this year and pay more attention and be more detailed with that and that’s helped me greatly."

    The difference in Landry from last to this year is obvious. Head coach Kevin Stefanski acknowledged the receiver's weight loss and said Landry is in "great shape and ready to roll."

    The Browns already boast one of the league's most talented rosters. If they get the best versions of Landry and Beckham to help with Baker Mayfield's continued development, they'll have a real shot at making their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. 

Quinnen Williams Not Ready for Start of Jets Camp

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    New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams led the team with seven sacks last season and became a more consistent presence overall. He graded as the second-best sophomore defender, trailing only Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, according to Pro Football Focus

    Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending neck injury and concussion in mid-December. He also underwent offseason surgery after suffering a foot fracture.

    The Jets initially expected Williams to be ready for the start of training camp. Instead, the 23-year-old could be sidelined for another two weeks, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini

    Head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that the team decided to take a "slower approach" with Williams' recovery to prevent him from injuring his other foot.

    It seems as though Williams should be ready for the start of the regular season. New York needs him to be since it opens the season against the Carolina Panthers, who boast one of the league's best running backs in Christian McCaffrey and former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.

    The 2019 No. 3 overall pick is the lone returning starter along the defensive line after the Jets signed Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry this offseason.

Eagles Expect TE Zach Ertz Back for Another Season

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    Situations can change quickly in the NFL. What looks like an irreparable divide between a player and team can be forged into a mutually beneficial business relationship. 

    Six months ago, Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline reported that Zach Ertz would not play for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021. The possibility of a trade has been looming for months. 

    "He's probably tired of the bullcrap in Philly," a veteran NFL offensive player said of Ertz, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "With a fresh start, he'll still be great."

    But as training camps kick into full gear, the three-time Pro Bowler now appears likely to stick in Philadelphia for one more season. General manager Howie Roseman told reporters that he expects Ertz to be on the roster in Week 1, adding: 

    "When you talk about Zach, it doesn't take a lot to get him here. He cares so much about this team and this city. Just really good to see him out there. When you talk about the guys that are here and the kind of player that he is and you think about our young skill position group and having a Pro Bowl player like that on your roster players can learn from, it's huge for us."

    The Eagles lack salary-cap space, and trading Ertz would clear $8.5 million off the books. However, he could help a young offense with Jalen Hurts under center and DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham at wide receiver.