Fun Fact of the Day: The last rookie to sit out an entire season because of a contract holdout was current ESPN analyst and former NFL QB Kelly Stoufer in 1987. Before the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) was negotiated in 2011, rookie holdouts were much more common. But the 2011 CBA placed limits on rookie wages and has made most negotiations quick and painless.
Signed, sealed, delivered. After a 31-day holdout, rookie defensive end Joey Bosa has finally signed on the dotted line with the San Diego Chargers. Just last week, he turned down the Chargers’ “best offer,” which included the biggest signing bonus of any player in the past 2 drafts. This week, Bosa switched sports agents and reached a compromise with the team for his 4-year, $26M deal. Now, he really needs to run along to practice, because he has already missed all of training camp and the first 3 preseason games. He’s expected to hit the field with the team in Week 1 of the regular season.
A week of firsts… The Denver Broncos have picked their starting quarterback for their first game of the season, and it is… (drumroll, please)… Trevor Siemian. Last year, Siemian was the Broncos’ 3rd string QB behind Peyton Manning (retired) and Brock Osweiler (signed with the Houston Texans). He played in only 1 NFL game, where he took a knee for a 1-yard loss. So no, not a very impressive resume. Siemian will be the first defending Super Bowl champion QB to start a season opening game without a single pass attempt in his NFL career. But over the preseason, he showed his QB chops by beating out Mark Sanchez and promising rookie Paxton Lynch for the starting job. Now, rumor has it that the Broncos are trying to trade or release Sanchez before his full $4.5M salary becomes due.
Spotlight on the First Week of College Football
College football technically started last weekend, but everyone will be talking about the big Week 1 games that are scheduled for this holiday weekend. Here’s what you need to know about the beginning of football season:
It’s a stacked schedule. A bunch of top ranked teams are playing each other this long weekend, including #3 Oklahoma v #15 Houston, #1 Alabama v #20 USC, and #11 Ole Miss v #4 Florida State. On top of that, many of the best teams are playing on the road or at neutral sites. Some people are calling it the best Week 1 schedule they’ve ever seen.
Go big or go home. It’s a risky way to start the season, because losing in Week 1 can have long-lasting playoff implications. What do you mean? At the end of the season, a selection committee decides which 4 teams will duke it out in the College Football Playoffs to become the national champs. So far, no team with 2 losses in a season has been chosen for the playoffs. That said, if you’re going to lose a game, it’s usually better to lose early in the season to a ranked team.
Seen and Heard
Window shopping. The Dallas Cowboys’ rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is expected to be a big star, but he’s got to be a little bit more careful about his recreational activities. Last weekend, he was spotted visiting a marijuana dispensary before the Cowboys’ preseason game in Seattle. Even though weed is legal in Washington state, it’s against the NFL’s substance abuse policy and can lead to suspension. Elliott left the shop without buying anything, but his coaches still weren’t too pleased. Afterwards, he said he was just “sightseeing” and “curious” but he’ll be more careful in the future. Good idea.