The Denver Broncos start training camp next week, starting a couple of weeks early because they play in the Hall of Fame Game later this month. And it won’t be long until we see the 2019 version of the Broncos in action once again.
I’ve watched this team throughout OTAs and minicamp, and I can’t wait to see what they look like when they roll out in five preseason games.
The rest of the AFC West starts training camp at the usual time in late July. That has not stopped these teams from making some offseason headlines during this slow time of year. In fact, there are some rather large news items to get to when it comes to the Broncos’ division.
Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to:
Oakland Raiders first-round running back Josh Jacobs (Alabama) signed a four-year contract worth a reported $11.9 million on Tuesday, which includes a fifth-year team option and is fully guaranteed.
Draft class signed 🔏
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) July 10, 2019
About a week ago, there was a growing sentiment around the team that Jacobs would not be signed before the start of training camp. That changed quickly, likely due to the fully guaranteed nature of the deal. Jacobs was the No. 24 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he joins a group of 23 others rookies in the first round who received such contracts.
Just four years ago, only 19 first-round picks received fully guaranteed deals. Now, it looks like the NFL may end up giving nearly all picks from the first round fully guaranteed contracts, under the rookie salary cap of course.
Jacobs is a swift runner and capable receiver out of the backfield. He should be the lead back for the Raiders in 2019, and the rookie is certainly a player the Broncos will have to gameplan for this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a couple of weeks ago, and all reports have indicated the meeting went well. My Chiefs sources feel that if Hill is suspended by the league it would only be a maximum of four games.
The Chiefs barred Hill from offseason work in the wake of child abuse allegations, but it looks like he’ll avoid criminal charges.
The full audio of Tyreek Hill’s conversation with Crystal Espinal has been aired on @610SportsKC. Here’s a rundown of the newly-aired parts — which include significant portions about the 2014 case — with some reporting on what it means going forward:https://t.co/OKHWqT4FXx
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) July 9, 2019
This is audio that the Chiefs and the NFL have already heard, but it was first released to the public this week.
Things are trending up for Hill to join his Chiefs teammates at the beginning of training camp. If Hill is suspended a maximum of four games, he might not appeal the Commissioner’s decision. In fact, once this incident is behind Hill, the Chiefs may re-open contract negotiations with their star receiver.
Hill is in the final year of his rookie contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
Los Angeles Chargers
It’s the slow time of year, but that doesn’t mean there’s not big news out there. We got a blockbuster report from Adam Schefter on Thursday about Chargers running back Melvin Gordon.
Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon has informed the Chargers that unless he receives a new contract, he will not report to training camp and he will demand a trade, his agent Fletcher Smith told ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 11, 2019
Gordon is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he’s playing on his fifth-year option worth $5.6 million in 2019. That number ranks No. 11 in the NFL in terms of annual average salary for a running back.
At the top of that list is Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley at an average salary of $14.3 million. Gordon can’t be looking for that much more money on a year-to-year basis, but he certainly wants some long-term security, and for good reason.
The 2015 first-round pick out of Wisconsin has only played one full 16-game regular season in his pro career. That came two seasons ago in 2017, and it was the only year that Gordon rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He is a good starter who can catch 50-plus passes per season, but injury concerns have to be on the mind of the Chargers.
Looking around the league, there aren’t many teams in need of a starting running back. Maybe the Buccaneers, who only have Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones in the backfield, but that’s about it. Simply put, Gordon wouldn’t generate that much interest on the trade market if he were to be made available.
Instead, I think the Chargers play a bit of hardball with Gordon but likely come to an agreement, eventually. Gordon is a seasoned pro and doesn’t need every single rep in training camp, so if he misses some time or a couple of preseason games, it’s not really that big of a deal.