May 19, 2024

NFL training camp highlights, tracker: Rookies Anthony Richardson, Bijan Robinson showcase their skills

All 32 NFL teams kicked off training camp this week, and we can now officially say it: Football is back. There are rookies we are all intrigued by, new faces in new places, quarterbacks looking to reestablish themselves and players getting absolutely PAID. The past few days in the NFL have been absolutely wild. 

This page will serve as your “NFL training camp highlights tracker.” Below, we will discuss some major storylines and also compile highlights from training camps around the league. 

Richardson drops it in the bucket

Indianapolis Colts rookie Anthony Richardson is one of the most uniquely talented athletes in the history of football. At Friday’s training camp practice, he showed off his special combination of agility and arm strength as he rolled out to his left, flipped his hips and uncorked a cross-body laser to second-year wideout Alec Pierce. 

The Colts were in the bottom third of the league in explosive receptions last season, so they’d certainly like to see a whole lot more of this when the real games start in a few weeks. 

Who’s in the house? K.D.’s in the house

See what happens when Dan Snyder sells the team? Superstar fans start showing up to training camp. DMV legend Kevin Durant stopped by Commanders practice on Friday to take in the work of his favorite team. 

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this may not have happened if what happened last week, hadn’t happened. 

Elsewhere in Camp Commies, Sam Howell fired a laser down the sideline to Terry McLaurin, who made a sliding catch and took out a cameraman — who nevertheless pulled off a great shot of the play and was, apparently, unharmed. 

Mahomes shows off the cannon

Here’s something we’ll likely see quite a few times this coming season: Patrick Mahomes creating outside of structure, launching the ball from an awkward throwing angle deep down the field, and coming away with an explosive gain. In Chiefs practice on Friday, he did just that to find Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a big-gainer down the right sideline. 

MVS is the most experienced member of the wide receiver corps, and we know he’s out there to use his speed deep down the field. Mahomes knows it, too. 

Hop goes up top

DeAndre Hopkins treated Tennessee Titans camp to a familiar sight. In the first play of one-on-ones on Friday, Hopkins hauled in a deep ball over the top of cornerback Kristian Fulton — and made it look far easier than it had any business being

This is just what Hopkins does. He has been one of the best contested-catch receivers in the NFL for several years now, and his ability to make plays in tight spaces should greatly benefit the Titans offense this season. 

The Atlanta Falcons selected Robinson with the No. 8 overall pick in the draft. Since making that pick, the Falcons have been touting Robinson’s skills not just as a runner, but as a receiver. Early in camp, he showcased exactly what the team envisions him doing in that role. 

It’s worth noting that the poor man getting his ankles snatched is linebacker Troy Andersen, who ranked as the NFL’s fifth-worst coverage linebacker last season, according to Pro Football Focus. (And that these types of one-on-one drills put the defensive player in position to fail more often than not.) Still, that’s a pretty sweet move, and a really slick grab to top it off. 

Damar Hamlin receives epic greeting from fans

On Jan. 2, the sports world came to a screeching halt when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after making a tackle against the Bengals on “Monday Night Football.” It was a scary moment that will not soon be forgotten, but Hamlin is putting together quite the happy ending to his story. 

Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Hamlin has been cleared, and “will be a full go” in camp. Check out how he was greeted by fans on Wednesday. 

Josh Allen makes little girl’s day

Speaking of the Bills, a nice big brother got the ear of Bills star quarterback Josh Allen, and asked him to make his little sister’s day. 

Check out what happened:

Sure, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is a bit small, but he appears to be a pretty good football player. Young earned the title of QB1 from head coach Frank Reich on Wednesday, and showed off what he’s capable of on the practice field. 

On this play, he hit new addition D.J. Chark on a deep post route — splitting two defenders. 

Chiefs trying out trick plays

The Chiefs are so creative that they don’t care to show off some trick plays in training camp. This double pass from Patrick Mahomes to Richie James to Marquez Valdes-Scantling got the crowd going. 

Allen is 31 years old and played in just 10 games last year, but he’s still a major threat in the receiving game. Check out this one-handed catch on a ball thrown from the new richest quarterback in the NFL

The Jacksonville Jaguars made a sneaky addition at the trade deadline last year, acquiring the rights of Atlanta Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley. Jacksonville’s new weaponry helped carry the Jags to the postseason last year, and Ridley is just another receiver that should fast-track Trevor Lawrence’s development. 

Check out this full-extension grab from the new Jag. 

The New York Jets will be on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this year, and while everyone is excited to see Aaron Rodgers with his new team, football fans are also excited to see the Offensive Rookie of the Year take on the Defensive Rookie of the Year in practice as both continue to develop into superstars. 

Check out this epic sneak peak. Iron sharpens iron. 

OBJ already a Baltimore celebrity

Odell Beckham Jr. told CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson that he was, “feeling more love from the Ravens” before signing a one-year deal that’s worth up to $18 million in April. 

Well, that “love” was on full display Wednesday. 

DeAndre the Titan

Five-time All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins signed a two-year, $26 million deal worth up to $32 million with the Tennessee Titans earlier this month, and he was present on the first day of training camp. According to reports, he was pretty active. 

While Hopkins played just nine games last year, his 7.1 catches per game ranked fourth in the NFL and his 79.7 receiving yards per game ranked 10th. Hopkins can still support a passing game. 

Saquon toe drag

Saquon Barkley is on the practice field with the New York Giants after surprisingly agreeing to a reworked one-year deal. Barkley ran for a career-high 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022, and also caught 57 passes for 338 yards. He’s a well-known dual-threat weapon, and made quite the touchdown snag on Wednesday while the Giants completed some red zone work.

Aaron Rodgers takes more than $30M pay cut with Jets

Rodgers was officially traded to New York earlier this offseason, but there was work to do with his contract. After some money-maneuvering, Rodgers was set to be owed more than $107 million in 2024! We knew a new deal was coming, and that new deal reportedly came on Wednesday

Per NFL Media, Rodgers has agreed to sign a two-year deal with $75 million guaranteed through 2024. Tom Pelissero notes that this new contract is technically a five-year deal, but includes two option years to spread out bonus proration. 

From $107-plus million to $75 million. That should tell you Rodgers is serious about competing. 

Players getting paid

While Rodgers took a pay cut, more players have gotten paid. Some of these team facilities appear to be operating as BANKS. We saw several notable names get new deals as training camp kicked off, including: 

PUP list tracker

Unfortunately, not every NFL player is physically ready to roll at this point in the offseason, and we have some notable names that have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Players on PUP count against 90-man offseason rosters during training camp, but can be activated at any point prior to the season.

A couple of players currently on the PUP are Kyler Murray, Von Miller, Chase Claypool, Breece Hall and Jonathan Taylor, but for the full list, click here

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