Looking at which NFL stars could hold out during training camp, plus the biggest need for every NFC team

Happy Tuesday, everyone! John Breech may or may not be scouring the jungle for Bengal tigers, so you’ve got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the NFL latest, right here in the Pick Six Newsletter.

Be sure to subscribe right here, to ensure you never miss a daily dose of NFL updates. And keep on reading for everything from an Aaron Rodgers update to reported training camp holdouts:

1. Rodgers’ reason for absence finally revealed

Weeks after Aaron Rodgers surprisingly skipped New York Jets minicamp with what coach Robert Saleh called an “unexcused absence,” we finally know why the quarterback was a no-show: He was traveling on a pre-planned trip to Egypt, according to SNY. Rodgers apparently has a fascination with Egyptian culture, and had booked his trip before the Jets finalized their offseason schedule, giving himself something to look forward to in the middle of his recovery from a torn Achilles. He’s expected back for training camp.

2. Biggest NFC team needs ahead of training camp

Just because camp is around the corner doesn’t mean every team is totally settled going into the 2024 season. Josh Edwards has surveyed the entire NFC to identify top remaining needs for each of the conference’s 16 contenders. Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the concerns:

  • Commanders: Offensive tackle. After taking LSU’s Jayden Daniels as the quarterback of the future, the Commanders also need a left tackle of the future after releasing Charles Leno. A competition between Cornelius Lucas and third-round selection Brandon Coleman ensues.
  • Cowboys: Running back. A year after parting with Ezekiel Elliott, the team bid farewell to his replacement, Tony Pollard. Elliott has since returned, but how much does he have left in the tank? Deuce Vaughn, Malik Davis and Snoop Conner are positioned for a hotly contested training camp battle behind him.
  • 49ers: Interior offensive line. The 49ers removed right tackle Mike McGlinchey (in 2023) but did not replace him with a similar investment. Trent Williams is the only former first-round pick and Aaron Banks was the only Day 2 selection prior to the selection of Dominick Puni. They need to invest more now before Williams retires and the bottom falls out.

3. Holdout watch: Lamb, Sutton seeking new deals

Which big names could be absent come training camp? Here’s the latest on key contract situations:

4. Future NFL prospects with legendary fathers

Former Cowboys star Dez Bryant called attention this week to his son, Dez Bryant Jr., who made a highlight-reel catch at a youth football camp. It got us thinking: Which future NFL prospects have legendary bloodlines? We identified 16 different college football players whose fathers already starred at the pro level, and could soon follow in their family‘s footsteps. Here’s a sampling:

  • Shedeur Sanders (QB, Colorado): The Jackson State transfer has recently been one of college football’s most accomplished signal-callers, and his father, Deion, was one of the NFL’s premier playmakers during his heyday, an eight-time Pro Bowler and Hall of Fame cornerback.
  • E.J. Warner (QB, Rice): Transferring from Temple after two seasons with the Owls, Warner is looking to become the latest in his family to defy the odds under center: His father, Kurt, enjoyed a storied career as a two-time NFL MVP, guiding the Rams to a Super Bowl championship in 1999.
  • Eden James (RB, Howard): James has averaged more than 5 yards per carry in each of his first two college seasons. His father, Edgerrin, joined the Hall of Fame in 2020 and ranks just outside the NFL’s top-10 career rushing list after a dominant career with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals.

5. D.C. preparing bid for 2027 NFL Draft

Detroit hosted this year’s NFL draft, Green Bay will have it next year, and Pittsburgh will showcase the event the year after that. Already, however, Washington, D.C. is preparing a bid for the 2027 NFL Draft, The Washington Post reported this week. D.C. has never hosted before, and organizers are hoping to establish draft stages near famous landmarks such as the National Air and Space Museum.

6. Bears to excuse Owens for camp due to Olympics

Besides holdouts, at least one veteran NFL player will be absent from training camp: Jonathan Owens, the former Houston Texans starter who signed with the Chicago Bears this offseason. That’s because the Bears are set to excuse the defensive back, whose wife, Simone Biles, will be hunting a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Paris. Biles, who married Owens last year, told USA Today that she’s grateful for Owens’ planned in-person support, which is a rarity considering their schedules as top-level athletes.

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