There’s a lot of news around the NFL as teams are just seven weeks away from the start of training camp for the 2022-23 season. Here are some of the top stories in the league this week.
Teams Begin Mandatory Minicamps
12 NFL teams will start mandatory three-day minicamps on Tuesday, with the remaining 18 teams scheduled to conduct them next week. More veterans will be attending these sessions, unlike the optional OTA’s conducted last month.
In addition, players like MVP Aaron Rodgers will get a chance to connect with his receiving corps as they get familiar with their new team. His top receiver last season, Devonte Adams, was traded to the Raiders in March.
Deebo Samuels of the 49ers, who requested a trade earlier this year and skipped OTA’s last month, is expected to be in the team’s minicamp. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and has been unhappy with his compensation. Samuel was one of the top receivers in the league last season, with 77 receptions and 1,405 yards. His average of 18.2 yards per catch was tops in the NFL.
Bears Fined Over Minicamp
The NFL ordered the Chicago Bears to cancel their scheduled team activities practice Tuesday. The team had violated offseason no-contact rules in previous May sessions, according to a source who spoke to The Athletic.
The collective bargaining agreement prohibits live contact during OTAs until a few days after training camp begins. Matt Eberflus, the Bears’ first-year coach, could also be subject to fines. Last offseason, the league assessed similar circumstances and fined Urban Meyer $100,000 and the Jaguars $200,000 respectively.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that four of the five NFL teams penalized for OTA violations infractions in the past five years have made it to the playoffs. They were the 49ers and Cowboys (both last season), the Ravens (2018) and Seahawks (2016).
Fitzpatrick Announces Retirement
After 17 seasons, Ryan Fitzpatrick has announced his retirement from the NFL. The veteran quarterback was a free agent after spending last season with the Washington Commanders. He was their starter in the season opener in 2021 and suffered a hip injury which ended his season.
Fitzpatrick was a seventh-round draft pick in 2005 from Harvard and played for various teams, including the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Jets, Buccaneers, Texans, Dolphins and Commanders. He spent four seasons with Buffalo, his longest tenure with any team.
Fitzpatrick holds several NFL records, with the most significant being the only quarterback to throw for 400 yards in three straight games while with the Buccaneers. He is also the only player to start an NFL game for nine different teams since 1950 and the only quarterback to win as a starter with seven teams. He ended his career with 34,990 passing yards and 223 touchdowns and was 59-87-1 as a starter.
Donald Becomes Highest-Paid Non-QB In History
The Los Angeles Rams changed Aaron Donald’s thoughts of retirement by restructuring his contract and making him the highest-paid player in the league that’s not a quarterback. The contract is worth a guaranteed $65 million for the next two seasons and $95 million through 2024. Before this new deal, Donald was making a $9.25 million base salary.
He had contemplated retirement after the Rams’ win in Super Bowl LVI and had said he would only return if certain players were re-signed, such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller. Coach Sean McVey has expressed his desire to bring back Beckham, who has not yet signed with any team. However, Miller signed in the offseason with the Buffalo Bills.
Donald has been the best at the DT position since he came into the league and is a three-time NFL defensive player of the year, a seven-time All-Pro, and was voted to the Pro Bowl eight times. He was also the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 and is a sure first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. For team GM Les Snead, this was a no-brainer for a team that hopes to contend for back-to-back Super Bowl titles next season.