Sat Mar 2 6:12pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Nick Bosa found himself in the news again last week when Zion Williamson sprained his right knee in the opening minute against North Carolina.
The sight of his left shoe tearing apart and Williamson grabbing his right knee unleashed feverish debate over whether Duke's freakish freshman forward should ever again play for Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils.
Many wondered if he should just turn his attention to the pros like Bosa did six months ago when he got hurt in Ohio State's third game of the season. Instead of rehabbing for a return to the Buckeyes, Bosa began training for the combine, the draft and a career in the NFL.
Bosa figures to get drafted higher than his father, John, who went 16th overall to Miami in 1987, and maybe even higher than big brother, Joey, the third overall pick by the Chargers in 2016.
Williamson is the consensus top pick in the NBA draft this summer.
So, Bosa was asked at the NFL scouting combine Saturday what advice he'd give Williamson, who missed his third straight game Saturday with a mild knee sprain.
''I mean, just lean on the people that you love and go with your gut,'' Bosa said. ''I faced a pretty serious injury. I had surgery that took me out for the rest of the year, so kind of the choice was made for me.''
Bosa dealt with something much more serious than Williamson did - a torn bilateral core muscle, an excruciating injury that occurs when the rectus abdominus or adductor muscles are torn off the pubic bone. Surgeons fix it by inserting a mesh cone into the tear to plug the hole formed in the muscle.
''It's literally the muscle used to breathe, to cough, to go to the bathroom,'' Bosa said.
Bosa got tangled up with Horned Frogs left tackle Austin Meyers on a third down pass rush on Sept. 14 in Arlington, Texas, and stayed on the turf.
''I know what a serious injury is,'' Bosa said. ''I knew my season was in jeopardy and I had a doctor confirm that.''
Bosa had gotten off to a terrific start, collecting a team-high 14 tackles, including six for loss, and four sacks when he got hurt.
''It was the year that I been waiting for my whole career,'' he said. ''I kind of split reps my freshman and sophomore year. Coming in I was going to be the guy. ... It just got torn away from me. It's something that I'll always think back to.''
That first night was the toughest, he said.
''When I got home from that TCU game I was lying in bed, I could barely get up,'' Bosa said. ''It was one of the darkest moments of my life so far.
''So, for me to just talk to my family and let them bring me up and just know that my life is still good and I still have amazing blessings and a bright future, that's what helped me get through it.''
Five days later, he underwent surgery and in mid-October, Bosa had decided he wouldn't return.
He moved in with Joey in Los Angeles and after the Chargers' season was over, the brothers returned to their hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Bosa said he's finally back to 100 percent and wouldn't hold back during his testing at the combine nor skip any drills.
Bosa said that while he was told the injury likely came about because of the enormous torque his body experiences playing football, he's not worried that he'll reinjure himself.
''This is one of the injuries that once you get it fixed, it's pretty guaranteed to be good,'' Bosa said.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah rates the 6-foot-4, 263-pounder the best player in the draft. Although he's an inch shorter and 13 pounds lighter than his brother, ''I expect similar dominance and production at the NFL level,'' Jeremiah said.
''That would just mean so much to be thought of as the best player in the draft,'' Bosa said.
The top pick belongs to the Arizona Cardinals, who recently hired Ohio State linebackers coach Billy Davis.
Joey Bosa said his brother made the right decision not to return to Ohio State: ''If anyone had the opportunity to hit the lottery tomorrow, would anyone risk that? He has that opportunity. There is a difference between high draft stock and No. 1 pick in the draft.''
Forget sibling rivalry , too: Bosa said his big brother wants him to do better than he did three years ago when only quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were drafted ahead of him.
''It's crazy that both of us are in this position so soon after each other,'' the younger Bosa said.
Bosa finished his college career with 29 tackles in 30 games, 17 1/2 sacks and two fumble recoveries.
''I don't have as much tape as some people, but clearly my tape was enough to get me this far,'' Bosa said.
While Bosa will never forget the sudden end to his college career, he'd rather think about what lies ahead.
''I'm going to show it this year as a rookie,'' Bosa said. ''I didn't get to show as much as I wanted at Ohio State, it was very short, but I've got a lot of football to play in my career.''
July 5th: Tightend Preview
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who is currently in the middle of an armed-robbery case, is allowed to be at training camp and is expected to report later this month. Dunbar recently hired a second attorney for his case despite the team hinting at positive developments for Dunbar's case in June. He has pled not guilty to his armed-robbery charges, and his lawyer has claimed that Dunbar had no involvement in a robbery during his night out with DeAndre Baker in Florida. Even though Dunbar will be a allowed to take part in training camp, there's no guarantee that he'll be available for the entire 2020 season, depending on how his case plays out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith expressed his concerns about playing football during the coronavirus pandemic. Expecting his first child in three weeks, Smith is rightfully questioning how the league will keep players and their families safe. These concerns are warranted, considering that social distancing is effectively impossible on a football field. In addition to concerns about safety, Smith called for salary raises, considering the risks the players will be undertaking. The veteran tackle isn't the only player feeling this way. It will be interesting to see what the league does to assuage the players. If Smith chooses not to play this year, it will be a downgrade on quarterback Tom Brady's blind side in his first year in Tampa.
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a one-year deal to re-sign backup quarterback Matt Moore on Friday, according to a source. The Chiefs hope they won't need Moore or Chad Henne after signing superstar QB Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year, record-breaking extension this week, but Moore will provide valuable depth. Moore is heading into his age-36 season and made two starts for the Chiefs in his first season in KC in 2019 when Mahomes was dealing with a knee ailment. The veteran completed 59 of his 91 pass attempts for 659 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. You can ignore him for fantasy purposes obviously.
Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift, a second-round pick in April, is "ready to compete" with Kerryon Johnson and wants to start in 2020. Head coach Matt Patricia won't shy away from the idea of listing both Swift and Johnson as starters in the backfield this year. Johnson has run for more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns through 18 games in two seasons, and he also has 340 receiving yards and two TDs, but he's dealt with knee injuries in both seasons. Swift had more than 2,800 rushing yards and 20 TDs, adding 600-plus receiving yards and five TDs in his three years at Georgia. The 21-year-old was one of the top running backs in this year's draft class and has considerable upside. He'll be slightly more attractive than Johnson in fantasy drafts as a high-end RB3.
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons accepted his franchise tender on Friday and is expected to sign it this weekend, according to sources. A third-round pick in 2016, the 26-year-old played at a Pro Bowl level in 2019 and was tied for second on the team with 93 tackles. Simmons led the team with four interceptions and 15 passes defensed and was named an All-Pro for his efforts. Re-signing Simmons to a long-term deal will require elite money, with the five highest-paid safeties in the league all having contracts that average between $14 million and $14.6 million. He could be just as good or better in his second season with Vic Fangio at the helm, and Simmons is in the picture as a starting defensive back in IDP leagues.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry is eager to begin working with his new quarterback. Cam Newton and Harry were seen working out together for roughly two hours. They were reportedly running plays from the Patriots playbook. Harry is likely going to be the No. 3 receiver to start the season behind Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu Sr. on the depth chart. Last season, Harry hauled in seven receptions, 105 yards, and two touchdowns through seven games. His fantasy value should be on the rise, assuming he's able to stay healthy. Harry likely won't have much standard league value, but could be a decent deep league option. It's going to depend on what kind of chemistry the two of them can develop.
Seattle Seahawks third-year linebacker Shaquem Griffin is one of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta's "bubble" players for training camp this summer. He has yet to carve out a role as a starting linebacker after being a fifth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2018. Seattle has also added three draft picks in the last two years -- Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven -- at the position, in addition to starters Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Veteran Bruce Irvin is also in the picture. Griffin will likely need to add something as a pass-rusher in order to have a shot at making the regular season roster out of camp. His salary cap number also continues to go up ($829,405) this year, but with practice squads likely being increased to 16 in 2020, there's a chance he sticks with the team even if he doesn't make the roster.
The Miami Dolphins have yet to discuss a contract extension with running back Matt Breida after giving up the No. 153 overall pick in April's draft to acquire him from the 49ers. The running back is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2020 season and is scheduled to make $3.3 million in the final year of his deal. Breida's career highs of 153 carries and 814 yards came with San Francisco in 2018. He is expected to share the backfield load with free-agent pickup Jordan Howard. Miami has understandably held off on extensions with uncertainty over how COVID-19 will affect the 2021 salary cap. The 25-year-old had 623 rushing yards in 2019 and is the better and cheaper fantasy option over Howard if he can just stay healthy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed second-round wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. to his rookie deal on Thursday. When fully healthy, Shenault can end up being one of the most explosive receivers in a stacked class at the position. Shenault played at Colorado and was the 42nd overall pick in the draft. He was twice an All-Pac 12 player and is expected to make an immediate impact in Jacksonville's passing attack in 2020. The 21-year-old is versatile and could fill a variety of offensive roles with the Jags right away, but that typically hurts the development of young players like Shenault. He does have injury concerns and will have one of the weaker QBs in the NFL throwing to him, Shenault can put up big numbers if he's given the opportunity. Consider him a late-round flier in redraft leagues with DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook ahead of him.
The New York Jets announced on Thursday that they signed rookie running back Lamical Perine to his rookie contract after they selected him in the fourth round (120th overall) back in April. The Florida product became the fourth of the team's nine draft picks to sign. He rushed for a team-high 826 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and ran for 676 yards and six touchdowns in 13 starts in 2019. Perine also added a career-high 40 catches for 262 yards and five touchdowns. There's upside in the long-term in New York once Le'Veon Bell is out of the picture, but there's not a lot of 2020 upside with Bell and veteran Frank Gore in the backfield. The rookie could factor in on some third downs in his first season, but he's way more attractive in dynasty/keeper affairs.
New England Patriots WR N'Keal Harry was filmed running routes with QB Cam Newton Wednesday, July 8.
Fantasy Spin: Harry was never able to find a true groove with former Patriots QB Tom Brady (Buccaneers) last season while being limited to just seven games. He caught 12 of 24 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie. Newton could take better advantage of Harry's downfield abilities if fully healthy in 2020. The early reps are certainly a good sign for what hopes to be the Patriots' top duo in the passing game.
New England Patriots QB Cam Newton will win the starting competition against QBs Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in training camp, according to former Patriots executive vice president Michael Lombardi Thursday, July 9. 'Watching Cam Newton throw and move, there is no doubt he will win the starting job,' Lombardi tweeted.
Fantasy Spin: Newton is widely expected to win the starting job by fantasy football enthusiasts and it would certainly be the best result for all the other members of the offense in 2020. He'll be at least a low-tier QB1 and should be given plenty of opportunities to make plays with his legs.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry has less than a week to sign a long-term contract, or he will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel stressed Thursday, July 9, deal's like these take time and patience is needed on both sides. 'Derrick signed his franchise tender, he's under contract,' Vrabel said. '... Having been involved with the NFL for a lot of years, getting deals done is about being patient, hopefully keeping them private and confidential. So I'm going to try to respect that, and understand that we love Derrick and he understands how important he is to our football team. Again, his leadership that grew last year, I'm looking forward, I know our team is looking for more of that this year.'
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins led the NFL with an average depth of target of 19.2 yards on touchdown passes in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.
Fantasy Spin: Cousins could see a dip in this department in 2020 following the offseason trade of WR Stefon Diggs, but it bodes well for rookie WR Justin Jefferson, who is the most likely replacement across from WR Adam Thielen. Cousins relies heavily on efficiency and is a low-upside QB1 in a run-first offense.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert is looking to be paid similarly to what the highest-paid running backs on the roster are scheduled to make, according to Mostert's agent. RB Tevin Coleman is scheduled to make $4.55 million next season, which is what Mostert would like to make.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert has asked for a trade, but the 49ers may decide to keep him with or without a new contract. He is coming off his best season and would have a significant role if he stays with the 49ers. Fantasy players should monitor the situation because Mostert could be at least a flex option in fantasy leagues.
Miami Dolphins RB Matt Breida has not had any contract extension talks with the Dolphins this offseason, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Breida will be sharing playing time with Jordan Howard this season, but it is not known which back will win the starting job. Breida has posted solid numbers over the last few seasons and could be a No. 3 or No. 4 fantasy running back depending on his role.
Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Cam Newton can earn $7.5 million next year if he hits all the incentives and wins the Super Bowl. He has a $1.05 million base salary, which $550,000 is guaranteed. He can earn $43,750 per game in roster bonuses, up to $700,000. He can earn a maximum of $3.75 million in playing-time incentives with $500,000 in Pro Bowl and All-Pro bonuses. He can earn a maximum of $1 million from $250,000 bonuses for each playoff win with above 50 percent playing time.
Fantasy Spin: Newton is in the best spot he could have wished for, but the team still lacks proven weapons around him. He'll be a midrange QB2 in fantasy, but he could ultimately outplay that draft status if he's finally healthy.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been negotiating a long-term deal with the team but the two sides still differ on the length of the contract as the extension deadline looms. The Cowboys have a contract offer on the table, but it is reportedly longer than Prescott wants. Prescott is scheduled to make $31.4 million under the franchise tag this year, but both sides have expressed desire to keep the Mississippi State Bulldog in Dallas long term. Franchise tagged players have until July 15 to work out a contract extension. Only two quarterbacks have played under the franchise tag, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins, and both signed with new teams in their ensuing free agency which could affect Prescott's dynasty value if the sides cannot agree on a new deal by next week.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II is ready to get back to playing football, but he also wants to make sure it is in a safe environment. In a short interview clip that aired on NFL Total Access on Wednesday, Ingram said, "I'm basically just listening to the updates from the team, from the [players association], from the league and, I want to play ball, but I think it needs to be in a safe, effective and efficient way. I know there's standards and protocols and guidelines and all that to make sure everybody's healthy and safe. And we're doing everything to make sure nobody's at risk. I'm hopeful that we'll be playing." The concern for safety has been shared by several of Ingram's colleagues of late and will be a frequent topic of discussion as training camps are scheduled to begin at the end of July. Ingram faces increased competition for backfield touches with second-round rookie J.K. Dobbins in the fold, rendering the veteran as more of a flex option in fantasy for 2020.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy (elbow) is expected to be play primarily on special teams in 2020 after missing most of last season with an elbow injury.