What you missed at NFL training camps: Record contracts, injuries and a RB debate

Welcome back, NFL.

Training camps for the 2023 season are officially underway this week across the league, and with it came plenty of news on contracts, injuries, holdouts and more to fill the offseason football void.

To summarize: Aaron Rodgers is seamlessly adapting to life as a New York Jet, Joe Burrow suffered a non-contact calf injury, Justin Herbert became the highest-paid player in NFL history, Saquon Barkley had an epiphany and a Vikings rookie was cited for driving 85 mph over the speed limit.

For more on the latest news out of training camp, watch the NFL Live: Back Together Weekend special on Saturday on ESPN, ABC and the ESPN App.

Here’s a quick recap of everything you missed this week:

Who got new deals this week?

Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert became the highest-paid player (based on average annual value) in NFL history Tuesday with a five-year, $262.5 million deal that ties him to Los Angeles until 2029.

Here are the other players across the league who signed extensions:

Wondering who the highest-paid players are in the NFL? Here’s a breakdown by position.

The New York Jets quarterback voluntarily reduced his salary by about $35 million over the next two seasons, a source said Wednesday, helping provide the team with financial flexibility. Rodgers will receive a $35 million roster bonus in four days, plus a $1.8 million salary. In 2024, his salary is $38.2 million. He’s now tied with Derek Carr for 12th among quarterbacks in average annual salary ($37.5 million), one spot below Daniel Jones ($40 million).

The great running back debate

On Tuesday, Saquon Barkley signed his franchise tag, a revised one-year deal that included incentives, after a contentious offseason in which he was debating holding out for a new contract. Barkley showing up for training camp and signing the tag was unexpected (did he cave?), but the running back value discourse doesn’t stop with him.

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs has decided to hold out of camp while he waits for a new deal. With these two high-profile running backs not getting the deals they wanted, a larger conversation on running back value has been had on social media and apparently on a videoconference among the league’s top running backs.

Wednesday, Steelers RB Najee Harris added that he thinks running backs are devalued only in terms of pay, and on Thursday, Chargers RB Austin Ekeler said the players need to take back the narrative. This is worth keeping an eye on this season.

Who’s holding out of camp?

Four players have decided not to report to training camp in hopes of signing a new contract extension.

  • Chiefs DT Chris Jones did not report for the start of training camp, and the sides are “far apart” on an agreement for a new contract, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on July 22.

  • Raiders RB Josh Jacobs did not sign his franchise tag and, therefore, did not report to training camp this week. Because he does not have a signed contract, he will not be fined for holding out.

  • Representatives for 49ers DE Nick Bosa and GM John Lynch are working on a contract extension for Bosa. He is unlikely to attend training camp until the deal is done.

  • Cowboys G Zack Martin did not report for training camp and is facing a 50,000 fine for each day he misses. Martin is unhappy with his current contract and the team’s lack of interest in reworking the deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Friday that quarterback Joe Burrow will be sidelined “several weeks” after suffering a right calf strain in practice a day earlier. What impact will Burrow’s injury have on his season, contract and the Bengals? NFL Nation reporter Stephen Holder and injury analyst Stephania Bell answer these seven questions.

Who else was injured?

Vikings rookie cited for driving 85 mph over speed limit

Minnesota Vikings rookie receiver Jordan Addison said he was driving 140 mph last week because his dog was having an emergency at home, according to a citation filed Monday with the Ramsey County District Court and reviewed by ESPN. Addison, 21, the No. 23 overall pick of the 2023 draft, issued a public apology a day later, saying he “made a mistake and used poor judgment.”

What we’re watching for every team

Our NFL Nation reporters previewed camps for all 32 teams and also did early 53-man roster projections. A snippet of the biggest storylines:

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