OTAs have begun around the league and the Spring Owner Meetings are finished. This week we discuss the happenings at the owners’ meetings and some contract talk in this week’s NFL Weekly Report.
Approved Rule Changes
A few notable changes will be seen in the NFL for the upcoming season, and these include a new fair catch rule on kickoffs, a 3rd “Emergency” QB on the gameday rosters and finally the owners agreed that they can flex Thursday Night Football games as well. For the kickoff rule, this will be a one-year trial to start. The rule allows returners to wave for a fair catch inside the 25 and then receive the ball at the 25-yard line to begin their offensive series. While this is a loss for the fans, it’s a win for player safety. The new 3rd quarterback rule will allow any team to dress an “emergency 3rd QB” on gamedays in case they lose the other two to injury or ejection. We saw this happen in last season’s NFC Championship game when both Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson when down with injuries and San Francisco was left to play an injured Purdy. It should be noted, that 3rd QB cannot be play if they bench the other two. Finally, the owners approved the flex scheduling of Thursday Night Football games. Lots of moving parts with this one but teams will be given notice in advance and as of right now it will be towards the end of the season to allow maximum exposure for all the teams and players.
The NFL has passed a new rule instituting all fair catches and touchbacks come out to the 25-yard line on kickoffs, source said. Now the same as the college rule, the thought is that this should make it safer, though special teams coaches around the league oppose the change.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 23, 2023
Roger Goodell Extension
Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay broke the news that the owners will approve a contract extension for Roger Goodell that will keep him as commissioner through the 2027 season. There seemed to be a moment of indecision on whether the contract would be extended during April’s draft, but it appears the deal will get done. Terms have not been disclosed. While some fans have never warmed up to Goodell, he has made the NFL the most powerful sports league and they are profitable, which is all the owners care about at the end of the day.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 23, 2023
Austin Eckler Resolution
The Austin Eckler contract dispute has come to an end. The Chargers and Eckler agree to add $1.75 Million of incentives to his contract this year before his contract expires next season. He is entering the final season of a four-year $24.5 million contract. While this is a temporary solution, he is still expected to test free agency next season. Over the past two seasons, Eckler has scored an NFL-high 38 touchdowns. With incentives, Eckler can now earn up to $8 million this season. Chargers have franchise QB Justin Herbert up for extension as well this offseason and when it comes to either extending a QB or a RB, we have seen which direction the franchise typically moves toward.
DeAndre Hopkins Released
It appeared that it would happen after the franchise struggled to find a trade partner post NFL Draft. Arizona Cardinals star WR DeAndre Hopkins has been released and the Cardinals will now have about $22 Million in dead cap space this season. Where Hopkins goes is anyone’s guess but signing on with a contender would make the most sense for him. There are reports that he wants a long-term deal and may not be open to a one-year deal. This would complicate things for him as many contenders would have to work some deals or re-structure contracts to make his signing work under the salary cap rules. Kansas City, Buffalo, and Detroit make sense for playoff teams that will want to sign him. Other non-playoff or fringe playoff teams that would be interested include Indianapolis, Atlanta, and New England.
Jimmy Garoppolo Fails Physical
This comes as a bit of news out of Las Vegas, as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is in danger of being released. Not only did he fail his initial physical with the team, but he failed it because of the lingering foot injury from last season with San Francisco. It appears that he did not have surgery on his Lisfranc injury of his foot. Instead, the doctors recommended rest and rehab. With the failed physical, Garoppolo risks his future with the team already as it was written into his contract. As the contract states they have the “ability to terminate the agreement with no further obligation” for any reason related to the foot injury. The Raiders must think this can be fixed fully with surgery, but this continues the injury plagued career he has endured. If he can pass the physical at any point in the season and play the contract will be played out as normal. If he cannot play, the Raiders are in a load of trouble as their backup is veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie QB Aiden O’Connell. A signing of Carson Wentz might be warranted if Jimmy’s foot doesn’t heal properly.
𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭: QB Jimmy Garoppolo failed his #Raiders physical in March and he could lose his entire contract, per PFT.
The Raiders can move on from Garopplo at *no cost* if he doesn't pass a physical by the time the season starts.
More details here.https://t.co/eqwKiO1RLK
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 28, 2023