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Preview of the Upcoming 2021 – 2022 Season of the National Football League
As we are quickly approaching the start of the 2021 – 2022 season of the National Football League teams are now opening their official training camps. The first regular season game this year is scheduled for Thursday, September 9th, 2021. That game will feature the Dallas Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are hosting this match – up from Raymond James Stadium located in Tampa, Florida. Below are the top headlines from around the league as well as a breakdown analyzing each division of the National Football League.
Top NFL News Stories
- Deshaun Watson will Report to Houston Texans Training Camp
There is still a cloud of controversy surrounding the troubled quarterback of the Houston Texans in Deshaun Watson. According to sources Watson will report to the Houston Texans training camp in order to avoid a $50,000 daily fine for each day of training camp that he would potentially miss.
Deshaun is still requesting a trade from the Houston Texans although I am not sure how much interest he could generate from other NFL franchises at the moment as Watson is currently battling over 20 active lawsuits regarding either inappropriate behavior or sexual assaults. It will be interesting to see what happens with Watson, and where he will end up playing in the near future if at all.
- Philadelphia Eagles Sign Cornerback Steven Nelson
On Sunday, July 25th, 2021 Philadelphia Eagles and cornerback Steven Nelson agreed upon terms for a 1 – year contract worth approximately $4 million. Filling their counterpart to Darius Slay in the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive secondary was an objective of high importance to the Philadelphia Eagles over the course of the 2021 NFL offseason.
- Cincinnati Bengals Extend Contract of Defensive End Sam Hubbard
The Cincinnati Bengals granted their defensive end Sam Hubbard a 5 – year contract extension valued at $40 million. Hubbard was heading in to the final year of his rookie contract this year, and the former Ohio State defensive standout has developed in to one of the Cincinnati Bengals’ best pass rushers over the last few NFL seasons.
- Pass Rushing Specialist Chandler Jones Requests Trade from the Arizona Cardinals
The NFL All – Pro pass rushing sack specialist and linebacker Chandler Jones has asked the Arizona Cardinals for a trade during the 2021 offseason of the National Football League. Jones is apparently unhappy with his contract, and he would like to be traded to another NFL franchise at this point in his career. If the Arizona Cardinals do not trade Chandler during this 2021 – 2022 NFL season he will enter the free agency market by early 2022 following the conclusion of this upcoming football season.
- Chicago Bears Trade Wide Receiver Anthony Miller to the Houston Texans
The Houston Texans recently acquired wide receiver Anthony Miller through a trade with the Chicago Bears. News broke on this NFL blockbuster trade on the night of Saturday, July 24th, 2021. The Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears traded late – round draft selections in this recent transaction between these two franchises of the National Football League. Anthony Miller tweeted, "Houston Let's Get It!!!!!!!" and "Thank You Chicago."
The Chicago Bears previously traded up to pick Miller by the second round back in the 2018 NFL Draft, and Anthony led the historic Chicago Bears with 7 touchdown receptions that year (2018 – 2019 NFL season). However, “Miller – Time” has caught only 4 touchdowns since that amazing season by Anthony. Last year in Chicago with Da Bears Miller pulled in 49 receptions good for 485 total receiving yards as well as 2 touchdown catches. Last January during the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints first round NFL Playoff match – up, the emotional and aggressive wide receiver, Anthony Miller, was ejected from the game for fighting as the Chicago Bears ended up losing in the first round of the 2020 – 2021 NFL postseason.
- Aaron Rodgers Future with the Green Bay Packers Still up in the Air
As of Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 the status of the Green Bay Packers’ veteran superstar starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, remains a huge question as we continue to inch closer and closer to the start of the 2021 – 2022 regular season of the National Football League. The disgruntled and frustrated QB has been the primary signal caller for the Green Bay Packers since Rodgers took over for Brett Favre in 2008. Aaron already has accomplished so much throughout his illustrious 16 – year career in the National Football League, but he has several solid years left in the tank before needing to hang up his cleats for good.
After a tumultuous 2021 NFL offseason in which Aaron has refused to report to the Green Bay Packers’ meetings, practices, and other team activities it is anyone’s guess as to his plans for the upcoming 2021 – 2022 NFL regular season that begins on September 9th, 2021. The Green Bay Packers have publicly announced that they will not be trading Rodgers even at his request to do so. Currently Aaron is under contract with the Green Bay Packers through the 2023 – 2024 NFL season after which he would become an unrestricted free agent.
According to top sources covering the National Football League, this week Rodgers just declined a contract extension offered by the Green Bay Packers which would make him the highest paid player in the NFL. Reportedly this deal would have kept the 37 – year – old future hall of fame quarterback with the Green Bay Packers for an additional five years. It is obvious to everyone that Rodgers is calling the shots, and he will end up doing what he wants at this point in his career whether that may be returning to the Green Bay Packers just prior to the start of the 2021 – 2022 NFL season or hold out and not play professional football this year. Only time will tell what his future holds.
- New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas may Miss Games following Ankle Surgery
The New Orleans Saints’ most productive and highly - talented wide receiver, Michael Thomas, underwent ankle surgery in June of 2021, and he will most likely miss a little game time at the beginning of the 2021 – 2022 NFL season as a result of his latest operation to repair his injured knee. The 28 – year – old wide receiver was beleaguered by that ankle injury throughout much of the last year, and it was anticipated by the New Orleans Saints that he would undergo a surgical procedure in order to repair the torn deltoid and other ligaments that he injured in his ankle over the 2021 NFL offseason.
No one is sure why Thomas had surgery so late in past offseason of the National Football League, but the goal for Michael and the New Orleans Saints is a full recovery as opposed to rushing him back in to NFL game action. He will most likely be out a few games at the start of the 2021 – 2022 NFL season.
- Miami Dolphins Sign Linebacker Shaquem Griffin
The Miami Dolphins just decided to sign the former Seattle Seahawks one – handed linebacker Shaquem Griffin to a 1 – year contract on Friday, July 23rd, 2021 after a visit to the Miami Dolphins facilities was considered as quite successful. The Miami Dolphins also inked a deal with another solid defensive player recently by signing the NFL veteran cornerback, Cre'Von LeBlanc, last Friday. The Miami Dolphins also waived their defensive end in Nick Coe as well as their long – snapper Rex Sunahara in corresponding moves late last week.
Griffin had to have his left hand amputated when he was four – years – old because of the amniotic band syndrome which is a congenital condition that frequently leaves him in pain and limits functionality of his effected limb. Now, he joins the Miami Dolphins right before training camp with something to prove to everyone including his new team in which he hopes to make the 2021 – 2022 fifty – three – man team roster of the Miami Dolphins this year.
- Davante Adams and the Green Bay Packers do not agree on a Contract Extension at this Time
It was reported on just prior to Davante Adams reporting to the Green Bay Packers’ training camp that he and the Green Bay Packers’ front office executives could not come to terms on a new contract extension prior to the 2021 – 2022 NFL season. As seen just below his decision seems to be based upon the future of Adams’ favorite quarterback in Green Bay with Packers in Aaron Rodgers. Although Rodgers’ future with the Green Bay Packers is yet to be determined so is the same for the near future of Davante Adams with his current team.
"That's the only guy that I've had -- other than that 2017 season, when he got hurt. That's the only guy that I've played with," Davante Adams expressed to the media this week when referring to his teammate in the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "We've built up a special connection over the years that has put us both in really good positions in our career. Not that he needed me to come along for it, because he was already in that spot, but we've established a lot together. So, it would change a lot. Doesn't mean potentially I'd be gone, but I'd definitely have to do some extra thinking if my guy wasn't here."
- San Francisco 49ers Extend Contract of Linebacker Fred Warner
On Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 the San Francisco 49ers announced that they have signed their young and highly skilled All – Pro interior linebacker, Fred Warner, to a five – year contract extension that is reportedly worth approximately $95 million. This new deal now makes Fred the highest paid off – the – ball linebacker in the National Football League at the moment.
- DeMarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys will begin Training Camp on PUP List
The Dallas Cowboys defensive end and master of getting to opposing quarterbacks, DeMarcus Lawrence, will open the Dallas Cowboys training camp on the physically unable to perform list resulting from his offseason back surgery which happened to be the 3rd back operation of his football career.
"It's more of a cleanup, so there's no high concern," the Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy explained to the media just prior to the Cowboys' first training camp practice. "He looks great (Lawrence). It's probably more us than him as far as the timeline of him coming back."
DeMarcus did not take part in the organized team activities or minicamp held by his Dallas Cowboys, but the surgery was not disclosed to the public until Thursday, July 22nd, 2021. He has previously had back surgical procedures back in 2016 as well as in 2017 too. These assisted in correcting an issue that first appeared in the defensive end’s life around the year 2015. Lawrence had a career – high 14.5 sacks during the 2017 – 2018 NFL season, and he followed that performance up with a 10.5 sack season the following year just before he signed a 5 – year contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. That deal was reportedly worth $105 million give or take.
NFC East Division
This division of the National Football League is currently the weakest and possibly the easiest to predict out of all 8 NFL divisions between the NFC as well as the AFC. The Dallas Cowboys should once again be front – runners to win the NFC East as Dak Prescott has been paid and should be 100 % recovered from the serious injury that he suffered during last year. Ezekiel Elliott should be a force not to be messed with as he looks like he is in the best shape of his life. Plus, the Dallas Cowboys have underperformed over the past few seasons in the National Football League.
It will be up to the other 3 teams of the NFC East that include the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants, and the Washington Football Team to spoil the Dallas Cowboys season once again like they have the last couple of years. All of these three outsider teams looking in should be equally equip and prepared to make a run at the NFC East division of the NFL especially now that Saquon Barkley should be fully – recovered from his devastating injury and ready to play once again for the New York Giants.
NFC North Division
The NFC North division is a very difficult to predict for the vastly approaching 2021 – 2022 NFL season. The Green Bay Packers are not sure if they will be starting Aaron Rodgers at quarterback or if it will be time for his back up QB in Jordan Love to take over for Rodgers as Aaron had done to Favre back in the day.
The Chicago Bears and many analysts across the landscape of the NFL are not sure who is going to lead this team in battle at the quarterback position at the half way point of the 2021 – 2022 season of the National Football League. It might be Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, or possibly even Nick Foles. The Detroit Lions as well as the Minnesota Vikings seems to be very far away from contending for Super Bowl, but you never know what can happen when predicting this controversial division of the NFL known as the NFC North.
NFC South Division
This division houses the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tom Brady would love nothing more than to win back – to – back Super Bowls with his newly well – established Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The New Orleans Saints are now moving forward without their recently retired signal caller in Drew Brees, and the New Orleans Saints may be without Michael Thomas at the beginning of the 2021 – 2022 NFL regular season as he recovers from surgery so they may be taking a step back in the NFC South division. It seems like the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons are rebuilding so in my opinion the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should easily win this division of the National Football League.
NFC West Division
This highly – contested division is full of extremely talented players and teams that have quality NFL playoff experience. The San Francisco 49ers should have a great season as long as they stay healthy as last year’s team was plagued by injuries. The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson are consistently making it to the NFL playoffs, and the Arizona Cardinals made a lot of huge offseason moves in order to progress as a top team in this tough and rugged NFC West division.
I am not exactly sold on the Los Angeles Rams at the moment as they traded quarterback with the Detroit Lions, and it will be interesting to see how Matthew Stafford does in his new offensive system in Los Angeles with the Rams. Currently I like the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West.
AFC East Division
The Buffalo Bills will most likely win the AFC East, but the Miami Dolphins have quietly built up a stronger team out east. The New York Jets are far from being competitive, while the New England Patriots are possibly average at best. The Buffalo Bills are looking to build on their recent success, and I think they are a playoff team once again.
AFC North Division
This division seems to be a toss – up of very average ball clubs. The Cleveland Browns could be good, but they often show signs of inconsistency. You can pretty much say the same thing about the Baltimore Ravens. The Pittsburgh Steelers may need to start looking to replace Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback position soon as he is aging out of the league by the minute. The Cincinnati Bengals are far from ready to make a big splash in this mild division of the National Football League.
AFC South Division
The AFC South should be a fight between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts, and give the edge to the Tennessee Titans in that battle. The Jacksonville Jaguars are still trying to find their identity and their rookie quarterback in Trevor Lawrence may help them to do just that. The Houston Texans may be the most troubled team in the NFL, and with all the controversy hanging over the head of their quarterback Deshaun Watson it is tough to see them finding any success over the course of the no 17 – game regular season in the National Football League.
AFC West Division
The AFC West division should and will most likely dominated by the mighty Kansas City Chiefs as they have arguably the best player in the league in Patrick Mahomes. Especially after being embarrassed in last season’s Super Bowl by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they should be highly – motivated to make another deep postseason run this year. The Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders have potential to improve, but they do not have the caliber of a team roster like the Kansas City Chiefs possess. The Denver Broncos struggle and do not seem to be much of a problem for the rest of the AFC West division of the NFL.
“NFL Teams”, espn.com, July 25, 2021.
“Houston Texans acquire WR Anthony Miller in trade with Chicago Bears”, Sarah Barshop, espn.com, July 24, 2021.
“Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason back surgery, will start training camp on PUP list”, Todd Archer, espn.com, July 22, 2021.
“Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams unlikely to agree to extension at this time, sources say”, espn.com, July 23, 2021.
Written by: David Green