NFL training camp roundup: Highlights and storylines from Aug. 10

2M1KFWN Santa Clara, USA. 11th Dec, 2022. Dec 11, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) attempts to run past Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Keanu Neal (22) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Stan Szeto/Image of Sport) Photo via Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

George Kittle out for the next week with an adductor strain

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle will sit out the team's preseason opener Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, and potentially more, as he recovers from an adductor strain.

When healthy, Kittle has proven to be among the elite tight ends in the NFL. He has ranked inside the top five in overall grade among tight ends in every season from 2018-2022, finishing first in 2018 and 2019 and second in the past two seasons.

The concern for Kittle and the 49ers is that the injuries have started to rack up over the past few years as he approaches his 30th birthday in October. It would not be a surprise to see the team take the cautious approach with their Pro-Bowl tight end and sit him out all preseason to ensure he is ready for the regular season opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.


Kansas City has no plans to trade Chris Jones

The Kansas City Chiefs are “unwilling” to make Chris Jones the highest-paid defensive tackle, according to The Athletic’s Nate Taylor. Jones has been absent from training camp as he awaits a contract extension. Despite this, general manager Brett Veach has made it clear the team has “no intentions” of trading the All-Pro defensive tackle.

Jones has finished among the top seven interior defenders in overall grade in every season since 2017. Last season, Jones set career highs in overall grade (92.3, tops among all interior defenders), total pressures (77) and defensive stops (31).

Jones ranked seventh on PFF's list of the 50 best players in the NFL heading into the 2023 season. The Chiefs are led by future Hall-of-Famers Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce on the offensive side of the ball, but replacing Jones' production on defense would be nearly impossible. It’s clear that getting the Jones deal done is the top priority for the Chiefs as the regular-season opener approaches, now only a month away.


Kenneth Gainwell getting the majority of first-team carries in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles added running backs D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny to the mix this season, but it’s been Kenneth Gainwell who has been getting the most run with the first-team offense in training camp.

If Gainwell ultimately ends up being the lead back for the Eagles this season, he will have certainly earned it, as both Swift and Penny have proven to be productive backs themselves in past seasons. Last year, Swift’s 78.1 overall grade ranked 19th out of 60 qualifying running backs. The year before (2021), Penny’s 80.5 overall grade ranked 12th among 62 qualifying running backs.

It’s hard to imagine any of the three playing a “featured back” role for the Eagles this season. It is far more likely they have somewhat of an even split or play the “hot hand” game to game. This news from camp is sure to catch the attention of those who play fantasy football, as Gainwell is the third running back on the team coming off draft boards and may prove to be the best value when the season rolls around.


Jaylon Smith signs with Saints

Linebacker Jaylon Smith signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints after today’s workout with the team.

Smith was most recently with the New York Giants last season, appearing in 13 games and finishing 60th out of 81 qualifying linebackers with a 56.4 overall grade. The most productive years of Smith’s career came as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, where he ranked among the top 21 linebackers in his first three seasons, highlighted by a career-best 84.1 overall grade in 2018 that ranked sixth out of 91 qualifying linebackers.

Smith has battled injuries throughout his career but provides the Saints’ defense with quality depth at the linebacker position. The unit is led by Demario Davis, who finished last season as the fourth-ranked linebacker in the NFL in PFF grade (82.7 overall) and has ranked inside the top 17 in every season since 2017.

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