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NFL Training Camp is Back: Five Stories To Watch As The Pre-Season Gets Underway

Opinion: We’re watching QBs like Jalen Hurts and Russell Wilson and RBs like Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley as we get a clue about the 2023-24 gridiron.

NFL Training Camp is back which means, we still have to wait several agonizing weeks until the 2023-24 pro football season kicks off. While there are weeks until the Sept. 7 opening matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs, here are five stories you’ll want to keep an eye on during these few weeks of training camp.

  • Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson’s First Season As Top Paid Quarterbacks

    The Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens broke the piggy bank in the offseason investing a combined $515 million to lock up their quarterbacks on five-year extensions. Jalen Hurts earned $255 million from the Eagles and Lamar Jackson earned $260 million from the Ravens. Now the next challenge for both is to see if they can guide their teams to a Super Bowl win.

    Staying healthy will be the top priority for Jackson as he has missed at least one game in the last four seasons and nine in the last two years. If he can avoid the injury bug, he will have a great chance to not only win the AFC North, but also be in the AFC Championship Game as the Ravens will have a bevy of wide receiver options including Odell Beckham Jr., who is returning from an ACL injury.

    Hurts’ challenge will be to try to take his team back to the Super Bowl after losing it the year prior. Tom Brady lost Super Bowl LII, interestingly enough to the Eagles, and then the next year, led the New England Patriots to a victory in Super Bowl LIII over the Los Angeles Rams. The challenge will be greater with Hurts losing his offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. I expect Hurts to continue to prove his doubters wrong and post another MVP-type season.

  • Can Russell Wilson Get His Groove Back?

    Last season, the welcome mat was laid out for quarterback Russell Wilson as he was traded to the Denver Broncos and all he did was burn the carpet and the house it was built on. Maybe the Broncos shouldn’t have let him cook.

    “Mr. Unlimited” looked everything but, posting career lows in touchdown passes (16), passer rating (84.4), completion percentage (60.5%), while also being sacked the most in his career (55). But, a change is on the horizon as former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton returns from his year off to lead the Broncos. Look for Payton to get the best out of Wilson, who he told USA Today has “still got gas in the tank.”

  • Will Josh Jacobs Play on the Franchise Tag?

    When are you underpaid while getting $10 million for a year’s worth of work? When you are running back on the franchise tag. Just ask Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs, Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard, or the New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley who received the franchise tag from their teams.

    Pollard, who earned $3.9 million in his four-year career, tripled his career earnings by signing the franchise tag of $10.09 million. Barkley had an ‘epiphany’ and signed his one-year deal for $10.1 million with close to an additional $1 million in incentives.

    The only player who remains unsigned is Jacobs. Makes sense as he is trying to cash in as he led the NFL with 1,653 rushing yards and fifth with 12 rushing touchdowns last season. If Jacobs misses the early part of training camp, then it’s not too big of a deal. But as the season gets closer, the Raiders could have an issue on their hands as three of the Raiders first four games will be on the road.

  • What Other Unsigned Stars Will Get A Job?

    As training camp gets underway, injuries are bound to happen. Just ask Joe Burrow or Jalen Ramsey.

    There are some great players who are on the sidelines just waiting to find their next uniform. Guys like Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Darby, and Yannick Ngakoue. The biggest spotlight will be on Cook and Elliott who were both Pro Bowl running backs that were released in the offseason.

  • Who Will Be the New Superstars Out of Training Camp?

    As always there are new stars that grow out of training camp, and if you’re a savvy fantasy football manager, those players could take your team to the top. This year will be no different.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has a chance to have a Jalen Hurts type impact on your fantasy team as he welcomes former Panthers No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Moore to the team. NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Garrett Wilson will cement his spot as one of the best wide receivers in the game with Aaron Rodgers now with the New York Jets. And, keep an eye on Calvin Ridley, who is coming back from his yearlong suspension with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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