NFL NEWS & NOTES

Training camps for the NFL open in less than two weeks and a handful of the first-round draft picks remain unsigned. Overall #1 pick Trevor Lawrence signed his deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars on July 5 leaving six first-rounders still unsigned. Among those are the two quarterbacks taken right after Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance. 

All first-round deals are now four-year contracts with an option for a fifth year. The salaries are predetermined as are the signing bonuses. However, there are other terms in the contracts that can be negotiated such as what infractions could void the contract, off the field issues clauses, signing bonus payment terms, and general contract language. 

None of the players unsigned have indicated they will hold out and all are expected to be at training camp, just as they participated in rookie camps in May. 

After Wilson of the New York Jets and Lance with the San Francisco 49ers, the rest of the picks were middle or late first round.  Offensive tackle Rashawn Slater of the Los Angeles Chargers was taken #13, just ahead of the Jets taking offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and both remain unsigned. The Jaguars doubled down on Clemson players with running back Travis Etienne at #25 and he hasn’t signed, nor has Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II who was the 26th pick. 

Lawrence is the favorite to be the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year at +300. Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts and Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields are next at +750. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris checks in at +800, just ahead of Wilson and Lance who are both +1000.

Saints DT Davie Onyemata Suspended

The start to the 2021 season was always going to be interesting for the New Orleans Saints now that future Hall of Famer Drew Brees has retired. Now they will also open the season with a hole on the defensive line as David Onyemata was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Onyemata has started 30 games in the last two seasons and last year he ranked 13th in the NFL among interior linemen with 46 quarterback pressures. In five seasons with the Saints he has 16 sacks and 167 tackles. 

The Saints also lost their other defensive tackle from 2020 as Sheldon Rankins signed with the Jets in free agency. Third-year pro Shy Tuttle is expected to start at one of those positions but the Saints will be untested and short-handed on the line until Onyemata is cleared to return. 

The Saints open their 2021 season, with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill at quarterback, at home against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, September 12. The Saints are -1, but that line could change if the Aaron Rodgers situation is resolved one way or the other. They are +300 to win the NFC South and have a win total of nine with the over at -115 and the under at -105.

Teammates Expect Rodgers in Camp

Will he or won’t he? That’s the big question for the Packers and Rodgers. As usual, he spoke in cryptic words during his golf exhibition last week but teammates have said they expect the MVP to show up for Packers camp the week of July 27. 

Tighe end Marcedes Lewis was the latest to speak out telling TMZ “I think so, I hope so.” when asked if Rodgers would show up in Green Bay. Rodger’s status was a big topic at Packers mini-camp and OTAs last month but at the time very few of his teammates said anything one way or the other. 

Draftkings has a “First Team for Rodgers to take a snap for in 2021” bet. The Packers remain the favorites at -400 with the Denver Broncos next in line at +400. The Las Vegas Raiders are at +700 ahead of the New Orleans Saints (+1200), Washington Football Team (+1600), and Carolina Panthers (+1800).

Today’s NFL Picks!

Barry Devoe can regularly be found rocking the sticks on League of Legends, Rocket League, and CS:GO, but he loves his traditional sports as well. Barry is a Chicago sports fan through and through, but his knowledge of the game is second-to-none. When he's not watching or playing, he works as a baseball umpire and football referee.

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