NFL News & Analysis

August 17 Training Camp Notes: Derwin James signs mega extension, Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III undergoes surgery and more

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (9) is pursued by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

CHARGERS SIGN DERWIN JAMES TO MEGA EXTENSION

  • It's a four-year, $76.4 million extension that includes $42 million guaranteed.
  • The deal makes James the highest-paid safety in league history, surpassing Minkah Fitzpatrick.
  • The concern with James has never been the play, but rather his availability. Injuries held him to five games in 2019 and kept him out for the entire 2020 season.
  • He returned to an All-Pro level last season, recording 118 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and three forced fumbles. He earned a 78.1 PFF grade.
  • James had been “holding in” throughout camp but will now return to practice with the deal finally done.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS RB KENNETH WALKER III UNDERGOES SURGERY

  • Walker, selected in the second round of April’s draft, underwent surgery to repair a hernia issue. The team is hopeful he’ll be back for their season opener on Sept. 12 against the Denver Broncos.
  • The former Michigan State standout started in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Steelers and had five carries for 19 yards, one catch for 11 yards and a kickoff return for 22 yards. He earned a 60.0 overall grade.
  • Seattle recently saw Chris Carson retire, and with Walker out for the short-term, Rashaad Penny is likely to carry the workload. He had been dealing with a groin issue but returned to practice Tuesday.

NFL, NFLPA DISCUSSING SETTLEMENT IN DESHAUN WATSON CASE

  • The NFL appealed the six-game suspension two weeks ago, but there has not been much movement since.
  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal, and the NFL once again argued for a full-year suspension.
  • Since Goodell appointed Harvey, there’s a strong belief that he’ll agree with the league and eventually hand down a full-year suspension.
  • However, there’s still a chance for both sides to come together and try to work out a settlement. That scenario would eliminate any ruling from Harvey and prevent the NFLPA from suing the league and taking things to court.
  • If Harvey hands down a ruling, settlement talks are no longer allowed. There is a belief that Harvey is taking his time to see if both sides can find common ground.
  • The Associated Press reported last week that Watson would be willing to accept an eight-game suspension along with a $5 million fine. The NFL offered a 12-game suspension along with a $10 million fine before the six games were announced.

AARON RODGERS BELIEVES AARON JONES AND A.J. DILLON COULD HAVE 50 CATCHES EACH

  • Rodgers was asked about his receivers group, but he ended up drifting toward talking about his running backs, saying it is “really realistic” for both players to catch 50 passes this season and they could use sets with both players on the field at the same time to maximize the opportunities.
  • “You’ve seen today, we had them in multiple packages where they’re both in the backfield,” Rodgers said. “We have a lot of stuff out of that. We have runs to both of them. We have swing passes to them. We have screens. We have down-the-field stuff. We have action stuff. We have scat protection. We have six-man, seven-man protection stuff. There’s a lot in the offense for those two guys. We’ve gotta get our best 11 on the field, and it seems like those two are in our best 11.”
  • Jones is coming off a 2021 season with 52 receptions and has had at least 47 in each of the past three years. Dillon caught 34 passes out of the backfield last season. Both players finished 2021 with receiving grades over 65.0.
  • Rodgers lost Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason, and there’s no clear replacement for their production. Fourth-round rookie Romeo Doubs has been the one name getting the most buzz in camp. 

PANTHERS C BRADLEY BOZEMAN TO MISS 2-3 WEEKS WITH ANKLE INJURY

  • Bozeman went down during Tuesday's joint practice session with the New England Patriots and had to be carted off the field.
  • Bozeman earned a career-high 73.3 PFF grade in 2021 as Baltimore’s starter and signed a one-year deal with Carolina this offseason. He started 48 total games over the past three years, also having experience at left guard.
  • Bozeman was one of three new offensive linemen added by Carolina this offseason, along with right guard Austin Corbett and first-round left tackle Ikem Ekwonu.
  • Veteran Pat Elflein is now expected to take over starting reps while Bozeman recovers

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS RELEASE DI MALCOM BROWN

  • Brown started all 17 games for Jacksonville last season, playing a career-high 678 snaps. His 43.2 overall and 36.7 run-defense grades were career lows by a wide margin.
  • A first-round pick of the Patriots in 2015, Brown spent four years in New England followed by two years in New Orleans before getting traded to Jacksonville last year. He earned an overall PFF grade of at least 68.0 in five of the first six seasons of his career.
  • The move will save Jacksonville $3 million in cap space but leaves behind $4.5 million in dead money.
  • With the move, expect Davon Hamilton and Jay Tufele to move up the depth chart.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS WR MECOLE HARDMAN CARTED OFF AT PRACTICE

  • The official injury for Hardman is a groin injury, but the severity is unclear at this point.
  • Hardman set career-highs in receptions (59) and receiving yards (693) last season. He's earned near-identical PFF grades in all three years of his career, with a 69.1 grade in 2019, 69.8 in 2020 and 68.5 in 2021.
  • Kansas City traded star receiver Tyreek Hill this offseason, which was expected to lead to more opportunities for the former second-round pick.
  • The Chiefs were already without JuJu Smith-Schuster on Wednesday, as he’s sitting out practice due to a sore knee.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling and second-round rookie Skyy Moore round out a receiver group that will likely share the wealth more than ever before in the Patrick Mahomes era.
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