July 25, 2018 / 3:22 AM / 21 days ago

NFL notebook: As camps open, big names remain no-shows

A week after the Atlanta Falcons informed wide receiver Julio Jones his existing contract won’t be addressed imminently, ESPN reported Tuesday the All-Pro will hold out from camp.

FILE PHOTO: Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) celebrates after breaking up a pass play in the fourth quarter in a game against the Buffalo Bills at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 31-25. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

According to the report by Chris Mortensen, the team is hopeful Jones will change his mind. Jones’ current contract allows the team to fine him $40,000 for each day he misses camp, which begins Friday.

Jones is owed $10.5 million in 2018 as part of the five-year, $71.3 million contract he signed in 2015 that included a $12 million signing bonus and $47 million guaranteed. His base salaries are $12.5 million (2019) and $11.4 million (2020) in the final two years of the deal. But recent contracts for wide receivers — including Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans and Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry — have bumped the market ahead of Jones’ average annual value.

—All-Pro safety Earl Thomas likely will hold out when the Seattle Seahawks open camp Thursday, and reportedly is planning to sell his house in Seattle.

According to a report by NBS Sports Radio host Newy Scruggs, Thomas told Raiders owner Mark Davis to “come get him” after reportedly saying something similar to the Dallas Cowboys late last season.

Thomas, 29, signed a four-year, $40 million deal that expires after the 2018 season, but Thomas is not inclined to wait on another contract and agent David Dunn has successfully navigated holdout situations in the past.

—No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold did not report with fellow rookies to the New York Jets’ training camp, the NFL Network reported.

Jets veterans report on Thursday, and practices begin Friday, so time remains for a deal to be reached without the rookie quarterback missing any practice. His contract would pay him a bit more than $28 million over four years, and SNY reported that the team expects a deal to be done by Friday.

Darnold, who turned 21 in June, was taken third after the Jets traded up with the hopes of drafting a quarterback.

—One player who won’t be holding out is Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. The first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft has signed his rookie contract, the club announced.

The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner will receive more than $32.5 million over four years based on his draft slot, with the Browns holding a fifth-year option. The signing comes a day before players report for camp. Cornerback Denzel Ward, taken by Cleveland at No. 4 overall, remains unsigned.

Mayfield finished his college career (Texas Tech and Oklahoma) ranked second in FBS history in passing efficiency rating (175.4), third in yards per attempt (9.7), tied for fourth in touchdown passes (131), fifth in total offense (15,690 yards) and seventh in passing yards (14,607).

—Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams agreed to a four-year extension that reportedly will make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL after his rookie deal is done in 2019.

Per multiple reports, the extension is worth $60 million and includes $45 million in guaranteed money. The annual average of $15 million is more than Le’Veon Bell will receive in 2018 on his franchise tender ($14.5 million) and approaches double the pay of the next-highest running back (Devonta Freeman, $8.25 million) in the league.

Gurley, who turns 24 on Aug. 3, was named Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 after leading the NFL with 2,093 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns. Those totals included 788 receiving yards and six scores on 64 catches. Through three seasons, he has 4,599 total yards and 35 touchdowns in 44 games (43 starts), and has earned two Pro Bowl nods.

—The Minnesota Vikings’ training camp practice on Friday has been canceled to allow players and the rest of the organization to attend the memorial service for offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who died at his home in Eden Prairie, Minn., on Sunday morning at age 56.

The Hennepin County medical examiner determined Sparano died from arteriosclerotic heart disease. His family has asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the American Heart Association.

Training camp will resume Saturday.

—Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Vernon Butler has been accused of pushing a woman down the stairs at a nightclub, according to a report from WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C.

WSOC reported that the woman is pressing charges and has also accused Butler of throwing ice in her face before pushing her down a flight of stairs and having her escorted out of a Dallas nightclub two weeks ago.

The Dallas Police Department is investigating the claim, according to the woman’s attorney, though WSOC said the police would not comment on the matter.

—The Tennessee Titans have informed outside linebacker Kevin Dodd he will be released. The Titans placed Dodd on the reserve/did not report list Sunday after he did not show for training camp with the rookies, quarterbacks and other players with lingering injuries.

Entering the third year of his four-year rookie contract, Dodd will be subject to waivers, and a team will likely claim him to take a chance on the 33rd overall pick from the 2016 draft.

Dodd, who turned 26 on July 14, has 12 career tackles and one sack in 18 games (one start) across two seasons. He had a pair of surgeries to repair a foot injury suffered before his rookie season and has battled foot issues since. He skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workouts before showing for mandatory minicamp.

—The Oakland Raiders placed offensive tackle Donald Penn (foot) and defensive tackles Eddie Vanderdoes (torn ACL) and P.J. Hall (undisclosed) on the active/physically unable to perform list.

—The Detroit Lions placed defensive end Ezekiel Ansah on the PUP list after he reportedly had a clean-out procedure on his knee following the 2017 season. The club also placed fullback Nick Bawden on injured reserve, signed linebacker Freddie Bishop and put wideout Andy Jones on the PUP list.

—The New Orleans Saints placed receiver Brandon Coleman on the PUP list after he missed all of the team’s offseason workouts with an undisclosed injury.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers signed first-round safety Terrell Edmunds to a four-year contract, the team announced a day before the start of training camp. Terms were not reported, but Edmunds will make a little more than $10 million with a $5.4 million signing bonus, based on his No. 28 draft slot.

—The New England Patriots signed safety Eddie Pleasant and guard Nate Theaker, waiving receiver Cody Hollister with an injured designation to open a roster spot. Pleasant joined the Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and spent the last six seasons with Houston, making one start and recording three interceptions and 2.5 sacks.

—The Buffalo Bills signed five-year veteran linebacker Keenan Robinson. After three seasons in Washington, he signed with the New York Giants in 2016. He missed 10 games last season with a quad injury.

—Free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant remains unsigned and reportedly is waiting for a team he considers a championship contender to call, NFL Network reported. He reportedly has declined a three-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens.

—The Patriots have hired former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema as “consultant to the head coach,” the team announced.

Bielema has been working with the team for much of the offseason, spending significant time with the special teams units, but his role wasn’t officially announced until Tuesday.

The 48-year-old was fired after going 4-8 with the Razorbacks last season, bringing his record to 29-34 in five years at Arkansas, including 11-29 in the SEC. He spent the previous seven years at Wisconsin, going 68-24 and taking the team to three straight Big Ten titles from 2010-12.

—Undrafted Miami Dolphins rookie linebacker Mike McCray announced his retirement on Twitter, stating he had been playing football “for the wrong reasons and ... sacrificed my happiness and well being.” The former University of Michigan standout, 23, added, “I am so much more than an athlete.”

The Dolphins then placed McCray on the reserved/retired list and signed San Jose State linebacker Frank Ginda to fill the roster spot.

—Field Level Media

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