As the National Football League heads into the second week of 2014 training camp, there are many questions involving many teams which are trying to mesh new players, coordinators, and Head coaches. On Wed July 30, Arizona CB Patrick Peterson signed a new five-year $70 mil deal, making him the NFL's highest paid defensive back ( much to the chagrin of Seattle's All-Pro CB Richard Sherman ). That said, as was the case last season, it appears as though there are a number of players not coming into camp in tip-top shape. As a result, catastrophic injuries are mounting, and may have already affected the Super Bowl hopes of some of the top teams. Other than San Francisco 49ers running back LeMichael James, who suffered a dislocated elbow during contact drills on July 27th, these are injuries have all taken place during conditioning drills, and were not the result of contact with other players. James is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
LB Sean Hill, Dallas Cowboys - Torn ACL (during May 2014 conditioning)
LB Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills - Torn ACL (working out, on July 2)
RB Kendall Hunter, SF 49ers - Torn ACL (during first week of training camp)
RB Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts - Torn Achilles (during first week of training camp)
DB Aaron Ross, Baltimore Ravens - Torn Achilles (during first week of training camp)
* All are expected to miss the entire 2014 regular season
The other major issues surrounding NFL camps, are the various contract situations. Perhaps the biggest of all, is the holdout of Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch signed a 4-year $28 million deal in 2012. Now, just 2 years into it, he is holding out for a new deal. He is anticipating being cut from the team next season, because of the salary cap, and the huge new contract which will probably be given to QB Russell Wilson. Wilson will make just over $500K this season; next season, expect to see him get a raise of roughly 40 times his current salary. Lynch may have a legitimate concern, but he has almost no leverage, given his age, the short life of players at his position, and the talented young RB's already on the Seahawks' roster. Good luck, 'Beastmode'.
In Detroit, monster DL Ndamukong Suh is in the last year of his current contract, and the team has said it will not negotiate a new contract until after the season. It looks like the big fella's days in Motown could be numbered. In Pittsburgh, QB Ben Roethlisberger has two years left, and wants a new deal. The team has said they will negotiate in the offseason. Expect Ben to have signed a new deal prior to the opening of training camp in 2015.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs are basically making it clear they feel the offense runs thru RB Jamaal Charles, not QB Alex Smith. On July 23rd, Charles was given a two-year contract extension which included a healthy raise. Smith, on the other hand, is in the last year of his contract, and their is no deal imminent. It appears as though Alex Smith is entering a "prove it to me" season. Good luck, Mr. Smith.
The NFL officially kicks off the preseason with this weekend's Hall of Fame game on Sunday, Aug 3. The game will feature the New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills. The regular season will be here before we know it.