NFL training camp marks an unofficial start to the new season, with everything from player holdouts to star players going down injured to free agent visits happening at 32 camps across the country.
After everyone witnessed the Kansas City Chiefs take down the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII last February, football fans have been chomping at the bit to see more action.
Training camp is the first opportunity we get to see what our favorite - or rival - teams and players might look like this year. But it isn’t exclusively excitement for the upcoming season.
There’s also a negative side of it, like injuries. Those have been a mainstay at NFL training camps and are inevitable, as are holdouts for guys looking for new contracts. Not to mention the highly-publicized uproar surrounding alleged unfair treatment of the running back position.
Stick with us as we discuss all things regarding 2023 NFL training camp.
As we just highlighted, the running back position is in a bit of a weird state of flux at the moment.
Star running backs Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley and Tony Pollard were unable to reach long-term deals with their teams, signifying that the running back position holds little to no value in the eyes of general managers.
Instead of these players – all among the top backs in the NFL – being rewarded for their play in the form of a new contract, they are viewed as ‘worn down’ and front offices would rather allocate money to other, perhaps more durable position groups.
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, who was seeking a new deal as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, is the latest to push back. The fourth-year back requested a trade after meeting with team owner Jim Irsay and being placed on the physically unable to perform or 'PUP' list.
The league’s top backs have vowed to prove their worth, even coming together on a conference video call to discuss their futures.
With players feeling like they need to “take back the narrative”, it’ll be interesting to see how this whole situation plays out.
Training camp holdouts are normal, but they usually get squashed early when the sides can come together on an agreement. It doesn’t appear that that’s going to be the case here, and some backs have even mentioned taking the whole year off.
We’ve been touching on the fact that holdouts during training camp have become more common, and this year is no different.
There are currently four players who are holding out and they’re each fairly impactful to their respective teams.
We’ll start with that aforementioned running back position, as Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs is not reporting to camp after deciding against signing the franchise tag.
Elsewhere, Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin is also hoping for a new deal, as he’s facing a $50,000 fine for each day he misses.
The other two players holding out both come on the defensive line. The defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, are missing starter Chris Jones, while the star pass rusher Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers is also not reporting until a new deal is done.
The biggest injury concern for any team thus far has to be with the Cincinnati Bengals and their quarterback Joe Burrow, as he has strained his right calf and is expected to be out for several weeks.
In the defensive secondary, the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions all endured some scares.
Jalen Ramsey ended up needing meniscus surgery which will keep him out for several months, Donovan Wilson could miss up to six weeks after a strained calf and C.J. Gardner-Johnson is considered day-to-day after a right leg injury.
Heading back to the offensive side of things, wide receiver Kadarius Toney is now recovering from meniscus surgery, but his team, the Chiefs, are hopeful that he’ll be able to play in week 1.
Buffalo Bills running back Nyheim Hines suffered a scary accident away from the team and will miss the season with an injury to his left ACL.
And finally, the New Orleans Saints had just signed guard Trai Turner when he tore his quadricep and will now be out for the season.
Some teams have already reworked deals or signed players to extensions this training camp to avoid the dreadful holdout.
A few players who received new contracts include: Justin Herbert, Trevon Diggs, Cole Kmet, Saquon Barkley and Trey Hendrickson.
We won't get into the contract specifics, but it’s safe to say that all of these players will happily be on the field for their respective teams this season.