It might be awfully early when it comes to NFL training camps across the country, but as expected, there are already some interesting storylines about unhappy players and big names on the shelf due to injury.
The season is now less than a month away, and there’s a handful of teams that want to get key players back on the field and ready to go for the season.
Today, we take a look at a few teams that are already dealing with injuries and some off the field drama that could affect them as the year kicks off.
Indianapolis Colts – Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson
You have to feel for Wentz, who was basically shown the door in Philadelphia in favor of second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and was dealt to Indy, where he’d hoped to get his career back on track.
Instead, Wentz lasted just a few days on the field before a foot injury stopped him from practice, and he and guard Quenton Nelson have both already had surgery on their feet to try and get healthy and back on the field.
The Colts said both players could be out between five and 12 weeks, a massive blow to a team that was hopeful to compete in 2021 after an 11-5 campaign in 2020 and a loss in the playoffs to the AFC East’s Buffalo Bills.
Getting Wentz back as soon as they can could be the biggest key to this team’s season.
Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson
The Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson are still at odds. The young QB wants to get dealt away from Houston and onto another squad before the start of the season.
However, 22 women have now filed civil suits against him, accusing him of coercive and lewd sexual behavior, and now this powder keg might just be too much for the Texans and their new coaching staff and front office to deal with.
Tuesday, GM Nick Caserio told SportsRadio 610 in Houston that Watson won’t travel to Green Bay for the preseason opener on Saturday, putting more doubt that Watson will be the starter for the Texans come opening day.
Seattle Seahawks – Duane Brown and Jamal Adams
Seattle has two key players who are at camp but who are not on the playing field as they await the franchise to ante up with new contracts.
“Not having Duane Brown out there is, you know, a pretty significant deal,” Seattle QB Russell Wilson said on Sunday.
“Because I think he’s one of the best left tackles in the game. There’s no arguing it. I think he’s as good as it gets.”
The veteran tackle is set to make $10 million as he plays out the final year of his contract, and Wilson and the rest of his teammates want to see Brown get a deal done.
As for Adams, HOF writer Peter King says that for now, the safety and the team are not on the same page, but a lot can change before the season:
I hear the Seahawks have stretched themselves quite a bit for Adams, but he’s still not happy with the offer, and if you know Seattle’s negotiating stance, it’s not likely the offer’s going to change much now.
Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott
Last season was tough for the 28-year-old Cowboys quarterback, as he missed two-thirds of the season after suffering a gruesome injury early in the season.
Prescott was setting records prior to his injury, but there were also issues with the Cowboys’ defense that forced the QB to throw often and pile up yards.
This offseason, Prescott got a new contract with Dallas but has already been put on the shelf. He left practice July 28th with a shoulder strain.
The Cowboys and Prescott remain confident that he’ll be back soon, but at the same time, they’re concerned about a repeat of the disastrous 2020 season if he can’t get back to health quickly.
New Orleans Saints – Michael Thomas
It was a no-brainer that the New Orleans Saints were going to have a very different look in 2021 after future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees announced he was finally going to retire.
One player who continues to make headlines for the Saints is leading wide receiver Michael Thomas. Last season, Thomas appeared in only a handful of games due to an ankle injury.
Thomas came out Monday and addressed rumors that he’d ignored the Saints this offseason when asked about his ankle and its recovery.
For now, head coach Sean Payton has already stated that Thomas is likely to miss the start of the season and a couple of weeks into October before he can finally be close to 100 percent and back on the field.
With either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston as the starting QB to begin 2021, the Saints would like to have Thomas on the field, but for now that looks like far from happening.