Every NFL team has completed its mandatory minicamp so the next milestone for the league’s teams after about five weeks of time off is the start of training camp in late July.
The Dallas Cowboys knocked off early. Their final day of minicamp was supposed to be on Thursday, but coach Mike McCarthy cancelled the scheduled practices on Wednesday and Thursday, instead taking the team to Topgolf on Wednesday and asking rookies and other young players to simply attend meetings and lift on Thursday.
All this because McCarthy said the Cowboys got all their necessary work in early.
I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that for the second year in a row McCarthy was fined by the NFL for having practices that were deemed too physical, according to club owner Jerry Jones. McCarthy was fined an undisclosed sum, which a source confirmed was $100,000 or double last year’s $50,000 fine.
And with that, enjoy the time off, Cowboys.
It was generally a good offseason for everybody around the NFL. Just ask them.
Quarterbacks who stink were surrounded by new, excellent players, according to every team, so they could maximize their so-far hidden talents.
Players who are out of shape or still injured (although a game hasn’t been played since February) are working toward being ready for the start of training camp, or the preseason, or the regular season.
And every team is optimistic about what the new season will bring – even the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons who everyone knows are going to struggle in 2022.
But even as the NFL is now hitting its only significant lull on the calendar, that doesn’t mean everything stops. That doesn’t mean all business is complete.
On the contrary.
The next few weeks won’t offer as much NFL coverage as usual but there will be news.
Take Monday, for example.
Aaron Rodgers will be in the news.
The Green Bay Packers this offseason signed Rodgers to a three-year contract extension worth $150 million and recently reworked the bonus portion of the deal that is supposed to pay Rodgers $40.8 million.
The rewritten portion of the deal means Rodgers is getting $20.8 million of that bonus by Monday with another $20 million coming in late September.
And I get it, the guy has earned it in the regular season:
Speaking of money, there are dollar issues that still must be hammered out for some players before training camps open in late July.
Quarterback Kyler Murray wants to have a new contract by the start of camp from the Arizona Cardinals. I believe he’ll get it.
Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, locked into a deal with the Tennessee Titans through 2024, wants a new contract that pays him like the 8.5-sack and 16-quarterback hits player he was last year. He deserves a new deal but it’s going to be interesting whether the Titans give him one.
Interestingly, Murray worked on the field during the Cardinals minicamp. Simmons kind of conducted a hold in whereby he reported to the mandatory minicamp but didn’t practice.
Both situations merit attention
So does what’s going on in Chicago with defensive end Robert Quinn.
He collected 18.5 sacks last year in what was otherwise a dismal season for the Bears. And then Quinn sat out the entire offseason program. And OTAs. And the mandatory minicamp.
Quinn was the only player on Chicago’s 90-man roster not at practice this week and rookie coach Matt Eberful said the absence was not excused.
So why did Quinn not show up? Does he want a raise, although he’s under contract through 2024? Does he want to go to a team more likely to compete for a championship?
“We’re not talking about that as an organization,” Eberflus told reporters. “We hoped he would be here. He’s not. [General manager] Ryan [Poles] and his staff are going to work through that.”
The biggest news of the coming lull will be about Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson has been sued by 24 massage therapists alleging sexual misconduct and in some cases rising to sexual abuse. And Watson has claimed innocence.
And two more suits are apparently coming as early as Friday.
That puts the NFL in a bind. The league’s investigation of the issue reportedly concluded weeks ago and a report outlining sanctions is due.
So what does the league do about the new allegations? Throw them in with all the others without due diligence?
That would be cavalier and unfair to all parties involved. So does the league wait for the other shoe to drop, and the other, and the other?
How can the NFL decide to sanction or not sanction Watson before the civil trial(s) and without having investigated the latest claims?
Yeah, it’s a rhetorical questions the NFL is not answering.
During my hit on OutKick 360 Thursday I discussed this and other NFL matters with Paul Kuharsky, Jonathan Hutton and Chad Withrow. Check it out:
Finally, let’s take a moment to remember the two most incredible things we learned this offseason before it gets away from us:
We learned Tyreek Hill believes Tua Tagovailoa is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes. And we learned Davante Adams believes Derek Carr is comparable to Rodgers.
Yes, the offseason needs a vacation.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero