Head coach Ron Rivera “didn’t want to push” Newton’s shoulder after it was sore during warmups.
Rivera made the correct decision regarding his franchise quarterback with well over a month until the regular season as he works his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. Barring an unforeseen new injury or setback, Newton is going to be fine for Week 1. He’s a solid bounce-back candidate after the Panthers added Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel to boost the passing game.
Tom Pelissero says there haven’t been any “substantive talks” and the Falcons likely won’t address a new contract for Matt Ryan until after the season.
Last year’s MVP is signed through 2018, so the Falcons don’t need to move too urgently in locking up their quarterback long-term. Of course, Matty Ice could lead the Falcons to a Super Bowl and make his next contract astronomical, but he’d probably be the highest paid player in the NFL if they did a deal right now anyway. There isn’t much question Ryan will be with the Falcons long-term, it’s just a matter of when they come to an agreement on an extension. For 2017, Ryan will look to keep up his elite play despite the switch at offensive coordinator from Kyle Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian.
Donte Moncrief is day-to-day with a shoulder sprain.
Moncrief fell on his shoulder at practice, and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it’s a mild AC joint sprain. Kevin Bowen of Colts.com believes it is the same shoulder that Moncrief fractured last season. The fourth-year receiver should be fine with the Colts calling him day-to-day, but he might just sit out the team’s first preseason game next week.
Falcon aren’t putting a deadline on a new contract for Devonta Freeman, according to Tom Pelissero.
According to Pelissero, Freeman’s agent met with the Falcons over the past couple of days but has since left. This could mean the two sides aren’t really close to striking a deal. GM Thomas Dimitroff said he would like the deal to be done by tomorrow, but Pelissero reports that isn’t required for a new deal to get done; so the negotiation could continue through training camp. While Freeman plays very hard and is an important member of the Falcons, the team also has Tevin Coleman in the backfield. They shouldn’t be in a huge rush to get a deal done.
Crockett Gilmore is out for the year after undergoing MCL surgery.
Head coach John Harbaugh revealed the news this morning. Similar to teammate Kenneth Dixon, the Ravens were unclear about the extent of Gilmore’s injury until he underwent surgery, and the tight end had the same result as he’s out for the year. Baltimore has already lost two tight ends in Dennis Pitta and now Gilmore, so they need veteran Benjamin Watson to stay healthy and former second-round pick Maxx Williams to emerge. The Ravens might be the league’s unluckiest team so far this year when it comes to injuries. The 25-year-old Gilmore should be 100% well before Week 1 of 2018.
Cody Kessler will take the first reps of Browns training camp.
Head coach Hue Jackson said Kessler “deserves a chance to walk out there first.” As a rookie, Kessler played very, very well, completing 65.6% of his passes for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, so he should have the right to have the first crack with the first team. It sounds Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer will also get first team reps, but Kessler will be the first guy up. Jackson also says he would like to have the starting quarterback named by the opening preseason game, but “won’t rush it.” After showing a lot during his rookie season on a bad team, Kessler is the favorite to start for the Browns this season.
“Word is Burkhead was chased by Bill Belichick and Bill Belichick alone,” according to Mike Giardi of CSNNE.
It sounds like Belichick really wanted Burkhead, at least if you believe this report from CSN New England. Remember: Burkhead was signed before Mike Gillislee, who was signed over a month later; until Gilislee signed, Burkhead was seen as the clear back ready to take over as the team’s primary runner. Belichick did make clear recently that he wants more balance and versatility from his running backs to help make the offense more balanced, noting that last year LeGarrette Blount was primarily a runner. Burkhead is an all-around back that can run inside, run outside, catch the ball out of the backfield, and pass protect, and he’s reportedly gotten plenty of goal line work, especially when Gillislee missed practice. This situation is one of the most important to monitor during the preseason.