NFL opened its mandatory minicamp on June 15th and it concluded on June 17th. It’s the un-official start of the season, when teams can start to see the roster they have assembled and start the journey to a Super Bowl Championship. However, it wasn’t all roses for the NFL teams and their players. There were some notable names missing from camp. Some players like Saquon Barkley did not show up for medical reasons, as Barkley is still recovering from his season ending ACL tear. But some players choose not to show up to camp because of various issues off the team. Here’s my rundown of notable no shows.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The Packers/Aaron Rodgers saga has been well documented and talked about on Sport City around water coolers. You would think the 2020 NFL MVP couldn’t wait to get back on the field to redeem himself after the NFC Championship Game. But Rodgers has let it be known after the season he isn’t happy with the organization and does not want to return. There are a lot of factors to the crumbling of this relationship: the drafting of Jordan Love, 2 straight loses in the NFC Championship Game, the questionable personnel moves, etc. But at the end of the day, Rodgers seems to be happier hosting Jeopardy for the late, great Alex Trebek than playing for the Packers. Jordan Love is saying all the right things as he assumes the #1 spot. He says he would be ready to start if asked, but there’s a difference between starting in this league and replacing Rodgers. I think Green Bay will have to come to the table, trade Love and pay him the richest NFL contract in history. Until then, Rodgers has a $94k fine to pay and possibly more on the way.
Jamal Adams, Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks knew what they were getting when they traded for Jamal Adams. An impact safety from the New York Jets, Adams instantly improved that defense and he them think Super Bowl run. But the Seahawks also knew they were getting a player on a 5th year contract extension and looking for a new deal. He set to earn $9.86M this season, but he wants a new deal with more guaranteed money. He’s also injury prone and remaining healthy is a major concern. To make the situation murkier, Adams was excused from minicamp for personal reasons as contract negotiations are still on-going. Sources told the NFL Network that Adams was excused for a personal / family reason. Because of this, Adams won’t be subject to the up to $94k fine for missing camp.
Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots
Stephon Gilmore is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and a 2019 Defensive Player of the Year. But Gilmore, likely unhappy about his current contract situation, failed to report to Patriots’ minicamp this past week. Gilmore is set to make $7M this season, clearly underpaid compared to some of his contemporaries at his position (see Jalen Ramsey’s contract). "I don't expect him to be here," Bill Belichick said. "We'll just focus on the guys that are here." The problem is when Gilmore signed his 5-year / $65M deal, it was a great deal for a cornerback. Then the cornerback market went up, as before mentioned Jalen Ramsey scored a massive contract averaging $20M per season. While Gilmore is technically rehabbing his partially torn quad injury loss from last season, being on injured reserve makes his absence almost excused.
Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins
Everyone knew that Xavien Howard was not happy with his current contract and the rumors of him missing camp were circulating. But Howard eventually no showed, and the Dolphins star cornerback sent a message to his team. Howard signed a 5-year / $75.25M contract extension in 2019. His $15M average per season net out to be the 6th-highest annual average salary in the NFL. So why is he holding out? Because his contract at his position over the life of the deal with make him the 15th highest paid cornerback in 2020, the 11th highest paid cornerback in 2020, the 11th highest paid cornerback in 2020. Howard is about to hit the 30-year age wall where his value at cornerback begins to depreciate. He needs to get his money now or he won’t get it again. But the Dolphins gave him a fair deal at the time and works in their favor over the life of the contract. Eventually the deal will get done, until then the $94k fine is in his future.