Clayton’s Observations: What to know about training camp for Seahawks and around the NFL
In all my years of covering the Seahawks and the NFL, I’ve never seen a training camp reporting day like we witnessed Tuesday.
Normally, camp reporting days are newsy. The 2020 training camp reporting date was bizarre. Everyone expected plenty of positive tests for COVID-19. That number is still growing as the Tuesday tests should start getting results on Wednesday and Thursday and more tests will happen on Thursday.
But the big surprise was the number of opt-outs. Because of the virus, players were expected to skip this season and wait until next year. The early list is exceeding 30 and more could be added over the next few days. Players have until next Tuesday to opt out for the season.
Let’s not waste any time. Let’s look at some of the things we learned during the start of training camp.
• Big players were most likely to opt out. That’s understandable. Offensive linemen and defensive tackles dominated the list. Defensive tackles Star Lotulelei (Buffalo), Michael Pierce (Minnesota), Eddie Goldman (Chicago), Kyle Peko (Denver), Eddie Vanderdoss (Dallas) and Celeb Brantley (Washington) decided to skip the season. Tackles Nate Solder (New York Giants), Andre Smith (Baltimore), Laurent Tardif (Kansas City), Marcus Cannon (New England) and Chance Warmack (Seahawks) opted out. It’s understandable. The biggest players on the team might be more vulnerable to catch the virus. Some may have had sleep apnea problems. Others may have had pre-existing conditions like Solder and Cannon.
• The other trend was for players who may have wives awaiting the birth of a baby or have a young family to opt out. It’s no surprise that wide receiver Marquise Goodwin of the Philadelphia Eagles opted out. His wife has had two miscarriages in the past couple of years. New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung opted out because of a young family.
• The Patriots were hit the hardest with six players opting out. Four were starters. The Pats lost Cannon, Chung, linebacker Don’t’a Hightower, fullback Dan Vitale, running back Brandon Bolden and defensive end Najee Toran. The Patriots were among the league leaders in lost starts from last year. Now, they’re the most changed team we’ve seen in recent years.
• The Seahawks came into the opening of training camp in pretty good shape so far. Warmack was the only opt out. Their offensive line is thinner for experience with Warmack’s opt out and the releases of offensive linemen Joey Hunt and Jordan Roos. They signed all of their draft choices and have more than $12 million of cap room.
• Three NFC playoff teams suffered some blows. The Eagles had one of the worst receiving units in football year. They don’t think Alshon Jeffery will be doing much for the team this year. They traded for Goodwin, who brought them added speed. That option is gone. The Green Bay Packers didn’t do much at wide receiver other than add Devin Funchess on a one-year deal at $2.5 million. It was bigger blow for the Minnesota Vikings to lose Michael Pierce. Cap problems forced them to remove five starters on defense. They cut defensive tackle Linval Joseph but felt good about getting Pierce, their only big free-agent signing. Now, he’s gone. Not good.
• The biggest mystery was Tennessee Titans linebacker Vic Beasley not reporting. Beasley signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal to play outside linebacker. He’s missed the first two days and hasn’t communicated with the team. The Titans have kept in touch with Jadeveon Clowney. If Beasley isn’t going to play this year, the Titans might be willing to pony up more money to sign him. Beasley is on the did not report list.
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