NFL News & Analysis

August 9 Training Camp Notes: Bears LB Roquan Smith requests a trade, Jets OT Mekhi Becton to miss season with injury and more

Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith (58) breaks a tackle after making an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals on his way to score a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Roquan Smith requests trade from Chicago Bears

  • Smith is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract and has been looking for an extension, but the two sides have been far apart.
  • “Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote. “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been ‘take it or leave it.’ The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it. I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.”
  • Smith has been “holding-in” at camp, not participating in anything team-related. Requesting a trade is his latest move to put pressure on the team. It’s worth noting that Smith does not have an agent and is representing himself in negotiations. General manager Ryan Poles told reporters that his intention is to keep Smith.
  • The former top-10 pick has had 100-plus tackles in each of his four seasons and finished 2021 with a career-high 163. He has been a second-team All-Pro in each of the last two seasons.

New York Jets OT Mekhi Becton to miss 2022 NFL season with knee injury

  • The exact injury for Becton is a chip fracture in his right kneecap.
  • This will essentially be a second consecutive missed season for the former first-round pick after he missed the final 16 games of the 2021 season with an injury to the same knee.
  • There was some concern with Becton’s weight entering offseason workout programs, but he made significant strides to get back in shape for training camp. “His ride is not over, his story is not over,” head coach Robert Saleh told reporters.
  • Becton, picked eleventh overall in 2020, started 13 games as a rookie and earned strong PFF grades with a 76.0 pass-blocking grade, 73.9 run-blocking, and 74.4 overall. 
  • The Jets have been in talks with former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Duane Brown, and the interest is considered mutual.

Cleveland BrownsJakeem Grant feared to have torn Achilles

  • The injury occurred during individual drills, and Grant had to be carted off the field.
  • Grant is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2021 as a kick/punt returner, and he signed with the Browns this offseason on a three-year, $10 million contract.
  • Aside from being Cleveland’s lead return option, Grant was also in the mix to be a top receiving option out of the slot.
  • This is now the second time the 29-year-old has suffered a ruptured Achilles in his career. It also happened in 2018 when he was with the Miami Dolphins.

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce to undergo elbow surgery

  • The team described the surgery as a “routine cleanout,” and the expectation is Kelce will be good to go come Week 1.
  • Kelce has started 122 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL at his position.
  • Kelce has pondered retirement over the last couple of offseasons due to lingering injuries. The Eagles used a second-round pick on Nebraska center Cam Jurgens in April’s draft.
  • Yet, the 34-year-old hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down. He was voted first-team All-Pro in 2021, and his 89.0 run-blocking grade was the second-highest mark of his career. He hasn’t graded below 75.0 since his rookie year in 2011.

Kansas City Chiefs sign veteran DT Danny Shelton

  • It’s a one-year deal for Shelton, who also recently visited with the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers.
  • A first-round pick of the Browns in 2015, Shelton spent three years with Cleveland, two in New England, one in Detroit and spent last year with the New York Giants.
  • His 51.1 PFF grade in 2020 and 44.9 in 2021 are the two lowest marks of his career.
  • Shelton is the second veteran defensive lineman the Chiefs have added in recent days, as they also signed Carlos Dunlap last week.

Denver Broncos officially sold to ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton

  • NFL owners met in Minnesota today for a “special league meeting,” and the vote was unanimous to approve the Walton-Penner group as the Broncos’ new owners.
  • The $4.65 billion purchase price is the highest price ever paid for a North American sports team.
  • Walton becomes the richest owner in the NFL with a net worth of nearly $60 billion.
  • The ownership group also includes former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.
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