As training camps across the NFL get underway, XN Sports will report the top headlines of each day.
With the preseason nearing, there is no shortage of intrigue and optimism, key injuries, and potential holdouts, as well as late offseason signings.
Here are the top five headlines for Friday:
1. Beast Mode back
Marshawn Lynch ended his holdout and reported to camp on Thursday after it became clear that the running back was not going to get a new deal.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 31, 2014
However, the Seahawks did reward Lynch, giving him a $1.5 million raise for the 2014 season. He’ll make $6 million this year instead of $5 million, plus a $500,000 signing bonus.
2. Gronk being Gronk
There were concerns about how Rob Gronkowski would look as he attempts to come back from a torn ACL/MCL, but all indications out of Patriots camp is that the Pro Bowl tight end looks outstanding.
Gronk firing off the line, planting hard, cutting and catching passes from Brady. Doesn’t look like someone coming off a torn ACL/MCL — Ben Volin (@BenVolin) July 31, 2014
Gronk is showing explosiveness, cutting well, and catching passes from Tom Brady, giving reason to believe the Pats’ tight end is on track to start Week 1.
3. Hill keeping his job?
This is a boom-or-bust kind of season for third-year wide receiver Stephen Hill, who is attempting to avoid the “bust” label. Hill, the Jets’ second-round pick back in 2012, has yet to materialize into a quality NFL receiver, and is assumed to be on the roster bubble this year.
So far, though, Hill has been “outstanding” in training camp, largely because he’s been healthy. Hill will need to emerge as the No. 2 wideout opposite Eric Decker in order to truly escalate the Jets’ aerial attack.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) July 31, 2014
4. Rookie ahead of the curve
All of our attention to rookie quarterbacks this summer has been on Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel, who have legitimate shots at winning the starting quarterback jobs prior to Week 1. The Jaguars have already announced Chad Henne the starter over rookie Blake Bortles.
But Bortles has been impressive during Jags practices, leading offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to say he thinks the quarterback is “ahead of where I thought he was going to be” at this stage in his development.
5. Falcons shopping for linebackers
The loss of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was a devastating blow to the Falcons’ defense, and the team has yet to find an adequate replacement. The team worked out veteran Jonathan Vilma, and recently inked Tim Dobbins and Pat Angerer to deals.