The NFL is constantly making headlines, and that’s only heating up with training camp and the preseason in full swing. Football is rarely boring, even when the games don’t mean anything. There’s always something happening between franchises and players that make it exciting to follow. From players feuding with their franchises to injuries and team depth chart drama, there’s a lot going on.
So let’s check out 25 NFL stories dominating the headlines. We look at everything from Deshaun Watson’s massage scandal to Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame induction. When you’re talking the ultra fast-paced NFL, the world of football never stops. Check out the list below via ESPN.
25. Josh Allen’s Record Contract
The Buffalo Bills had an excellent season in 2020. One of the biggest stories was Allen’s emergence as a genuine franchise quarterback. Buffalo hadn’t seen an elite QB since the days of Jim Kelly yet Allen finally changed that narrative. His performances led the upstate New Yorkers deep into the playoffs. The Bills naturally rewarded him for his progress.
They awarded him a new contract worth up to $258 million with $150 million guaranteed. This six-year extension made him one of the highest-paid players in the league. It was also good news for the likes of Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson because they are currently in line for new deals. Indeed, Mayfield made headlines when he claimed that Allen’s contract was great for quarterbacks.
Bill Belichick couldn’t have scripted it better if he tried. Mac Jones fell into his lap in the draft and created an interesting conundrum. Cam Newton endured a tumultuous season in 2020 but it could be too early for Jones to be the franchise starter. However, the Alabama star is highly confident and represents the future. The question is, how long will Newton hold Jones off?
It’s been a long time since Newton was the league’s MVP. Those days are almost forgotten now but he is desperate to continue. Allegedly, Jones had a rough start to camp but developed an understanding with the offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels. Meanwhile, Newton was a model teammate and cheered on Jones’ successes. It could be that the two are a match made in heaven.
A fantastic cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, Sherman helped them to their 2013 Super Bowl win. However, things went downhill for Sherman recently aas he suffered significant mental health problems. Unfortunately, he made negative headlines when police arrested him on multiple charges including domestic violence. But the biggest story was that they used a dog to subdue him.
The NFL investigated the incident but several charges were thrown out and help was sought for Sherman. It was clear that he was suffering from severe problems and this shouldn’t be sneered at. It’s uncertain at this point what the source of his health issues is but he needs time to recover. Hopefully, he receives enough support and comes out the other side.
Finally, Peyton Manning is officially a Hall of Famer. That’s far from a secret as he is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. It was a beautiful moment when his father Archie, a college Hall of Famer, presented him. Manning is the only five-time MVP in NFL history. Manning won Super Bowls with the Colts and Broncos.
This was one of the most positive headlines in recent times and brought a smile to a lot of fans. Meanwhile, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson also entered the HOF in their first year of eligibility. Woodson famously beat Manning to the Heisman Trophy in 1997. Manning also invited Tom Brady as a guest and noted that it will be at least 2035 before he is eligible for the same honor.
Remember when NFL analysts thought Bill Belichick planned to bring Jimmy Garropolo back to Foxborough? Now it looks like he’ll be looking to be the Niners’ starter to begin this season. They used the third overall pick to bring Trey Lance to the Golden State. While Jimmy G will likely start in Week One, the question is when, not if, Lance enters the scene.
After investing multiple number one picks in Lance, Kyle Shanahan is determined to make his gamble pay off. Many critics believe that both Justin Fields and Mac Jones were better options than Lance. The young man has a lot of pressure on his shoulders but will hope to make positive headlines when he plays. However, Garoppolo is determined not to leave quietly.
Nassib was responsible for one of the most inspiring stories of the 2021 preseason. The Las Vegas Raiders star came out as gay in a historic gesture. This made the defensive end the first NFL player in history to come out. Nassib admitted that he was surprised by the reaction but that it delighted him. He made global headlines after making the decision to take the weight off his shoulders.
The Raiders player said that he didn’t think that anybody would care but the truth was different. He inadvertently became an instant icon and may have attracted many new fans to the game. Of course, the hope is that in the future nobody will care and that footballers can be themselves without hiding their sexuality. To sum up, it’s a seminal moment and a step in the right direction.
This is the end of an era for the Steelers because it’s likely to be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season. The legendary quarterback is a future Hall of Famer but there’s no doubt that he’s suffering a major decline. His last five games of the 2020 season were appalling. It looked like he was shellshocked against the Cleveland Browns in the postseason. But he’s going to start in 2021 again.
“Big Ben” agreed to a massive pay cut to remain with the team. Meanwhile, the Steelers have slim pickings in support as the unconvincing Mason Rudolph is their backup. It’s highly likely that this will be a lost year for the Steelers as they look to rebuild in next season’s draft. But can Roethlisberger change the headlines and end his tenure in Pittsburg with a bang?
Nobody wants to read this type of story. The Atlanta Falcons released Mingo after police arrested him on charges of indecency with a child. The NFL star voluntarily traveled to Arlington, Texas where he surrendered to police. This left the Falcons with no choice but to terminate his contract. The details of this case are sordid and left football fans shaking their heads in disgust.
A 13-year-old boy accused Mingo of sharing his bed in a hotel and allegedly tugging at his underwear. He also accused the former Falcons linebacker of attempting to initiate sex with him. The authorities released Mingo on a bond of $25,000. Meanwhile, Mingo’s lawyer protested his client’s innocence on social media and threatened the Falcons with legal action after their quick response.
McCaffrey endured an extremely tumultuous 2020. After becoming the most expensive running back in NFL history, he suffered multiple injuries and made a minimal impact for the Panthers. It wasn’t his fault but now he wants to hit the ground running and show fans what they missed. An electrifying talent, if McCaffrey stays fit he’ll be crucial to the Panthers’ hopes of winning this season.
He also has a new quarterback in Sam Darnold to build a relationship with. Darnold lacked weapons throughout his tenure in New York but now has one of the best pass-catching RBs in football at his disposal. Any chance the Panthers have this season relies on these two men forging the tightest bond since Han Solo and Chewbacca. Let’s see what they can do.
After a fairy tale year in Tampa, Tom Brady wants to make it two for two in Tampa Bay. He played for the last team to win back-to-back Super Bowls and plans on replicating the feat in Florida. However, this will be a much tougher task because the Buccaneers definitely aren’t the same powerhouse as the Patriots teams of yore. But Brady refuses to lower his standards and demands his teammates maintain a winning mindset.
He made headlines after slamming his helmet down on the ground during the training camp in August. He became frustrated after several sacks and incompletions during a two-minute drill. Brady admonished his teammates and told them that they had to keep making plays when they were tired. In the end, fans were full of praise for the seven-time Super Bowl winner because of his ruthless mentality.
Jalen Hurts didn’t expect to find himself in this position a season ago. After Carson Wentz signed his massive contract in 2018, the plan was for him to be the franchise’s long-term starter. But he had a cataclysmic 2020 and left the franchise with his tail between his legs. Meanwhile, the Eagles fired head coach Doug Pedersen and replaced him with Nick Sirianni.
Unless the Eagles succeed in trading for DeShaun Watson, it’s likely Hurts will be their starter. This is troubling some fans because he is very inconsistent in the pocket. However, Hurts is excellent on the run and could offer Philly a more expansive threat. This is a team in transition in all departments but Hurts needs to take advantage of this opportunity.
The Jets used the second-overall pick to draft Wilson after trading Sam Darnold to the Panthers. With a new head coach in Robert Saleh, it’s an exciting time for the franchise. As far as their fans are concerned, things can’t get worse. However, Wilson is in a difficult position because the young star is a guaranteed starter. Every other QB in his class will either be a backup or at least has a strong QB2 in support.
Wilson has nowhere to hide because he will start on day one against the Panthers. Saleh made headlines when he admitted that the rookie endured hiccups in the team’s training camp. As a rookie, this is natural but the entire franchise is relying on him. This means that it’s not going to become easier for Wilson. We saw how Darnold broke under the strain in New York but let’s hope Wilson prospers.
It’s safe to say that America’s Team had an underwhelming 2020. After an exciting draft and preseason, fans expected big things from the Cowboys. But Mike McCarthy’s men flopped. A major turning point in their campaign was Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury. He came back determined to make up for the lost time. Now, he’s dealing with a shoulder injury and headed for a second MRI.
Finally, in August, Prescott returned and threw snaps to Amari Cooper. Questions remain about how long it will take for him to reach full fitness and if he will play in Week One. If the Cowboys plan on a potential Super Bowl campaign they will need their quarterback to be healthy and at his best. The worst thing that they can do is rush him back too early and risk damaging that shoulder again.
It’s easy to forget that Darnold is just six months older than Joe Burrow but already entering his fourth year as an NFL starter. After a tumultuous time as QB1 for the New York Jets, he’s finally free. Now he’s playing for the Carolina Panthers but that comes with its own pressure. He has one of the best weapons in the league in Christian McCaffrey and must deliver consistency.
Darnold has no competition in Carolina with P.J. Walker and Will Grier as back-ups. Fans will consider him a success if he doesn’t make headlines about ghosts and stops turning the ball over. Nobody doubts Darnold’s talent but they justifiably question the fragility of his mindset. Adam Gase broke Darnold but it’s now is up to Matt Rhule to fix him.
The New York Giants went under the radar in 2020 because they didn’t do anything impressive but were less dysfunctional than many of their conference rivals. However, this is a massive season for the Giants and their quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones is under pressure but has some relief because of the return of Barkley. The running back is one of the team’s most important players.
Barkley missed 14 games last season because he tore his ACL and meniscus. It was a massive loss because he is such a direct attacking threat. The Giants came within an inch of the playoffs last term and Barkley’s return could make a massive difference for them. However, while Barkley’s recovery is a boost for Jones, the quarterback also has no excuses now.
The Jacksonville Jaguars clearly didn’t want anybody to think that they were becoming a functional franchise after drafting Trevor Lawrence. In order to balance this out, they decided to welcome Tim Tebow back to the NFL. Yes, the same Tebow who played for the Denver Broncos in a chaotic era. While he may not make their roster, Tebow is a member of their 90-man practice squad.
Furthermore, fans raised their eyebrows when they found out that he was not playing as a quarterback. Instead, Tebow attempted to convert to a tight end. He played for Urban Meyer when they were both with the Florida Gators but it’s a big ask to make an NFL comeback. Only time will tell if he pulls it off, but Tebow definitely brings the headlines wherever he goes.
After giving the Detroit Lions more than they deserved, Stafford finally left Motor City. The Lions reached the playoffs three times with Stafford as their signal-caller. But now he hopes to go further with the Los Angeles Rams after Jared Goff went in the other direction. Fans will wait until the regular season before they see Stafford making snaps but they’re excited.
There is no doubt he’s an elite quarterback but his franchise held him back. Now he’s back making snaps in his home state. He’ll hope that his team makes positive headlines for a change after a couple of miserable years in Detroit. Stafford gave that team everything and showed loyalty through thick and thin. If anybody deserves better, it’s him.
It’s fair to say that Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have the smoothest rookie season. The Hawaiian quarterback sat behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first few games of the season before finally becoming the starter. However, his performances were patchy and forced the Dolphins to bench him. He rebounded but cost the Dolphins a place in the playoffs in the final game of the regular season.
This wasn’t what fans expected before the start of the season. When Deshaun Watson made headlines because he wanted to leave Houston, there were instant rumors of potential trade between the two franchises. However, the unsavory allegations about Watson’s sexual misconduct ended this narrative. Now Tagovailoa will be the team’s undisputed starter but he needs to step it up quickly.
It’s a new dawn for New Orleans after Drew Brees retired from football. This means that Sean Peyton has to choose between Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill. Winston started for five seasons in Tampa but was a turnover machine. Meanwhile, Hill started four games in place of the injured Brees last season. He has a reputation as a gadget player but may hold the advantage.
Meanwhile, the Saints have more problems because of Michael Thomas. The disgruntled star receiver is one of the team’s best players. But he infuriated Peyton because he delayed his ankle surgery and his recovery will last deep into the fall. Now Thomas feels underappreciated and wants to leave. They also have issues at cornerback because of a lack of depth. It’s not easy in the Big Easy right now.
Everybody felt sorry for Burrow last season because the Bengals offered him as much protection as a broken umbrella. The Heisman winner played with great maturity but absorbed a ludicrous number of sacks. Meanwhile, he suffered severe ligament damage in his knee as his season came to an early end. Burrow is back but unfortunately generated negative headlines during practice.
This was because it appeared as though he didn’t trust his knee. Burrow admitted his own personal frustration because of mental struggles. Hopefully, the Bengals allow Burrow to regain his confidence and don’t rush him back too early. This young quarterback has all the potential in the world but Cincinnati threatens to break him before he shows it.
Lawrence became one of the most coveted NFL draft picks in recent history in 2021. All eyes are on the Clemson star in his rookie season. There is little doubt that he will start on opening day, but the Jaguars also have Gardner Minshew in reserve to make his transition to the pro game smoother. Jacksonville believes that they possess a generational talent but with that comes incredible pressure.
Coach Urban Meyer insists that he wants results now and not in year four of Lawrence’s time in Florida. It’s likely that as long as Lawrence stays fit and gets enough reps under his belt that the Jaguars will have a good year. After only winning a single game in 2020, their standards aren’t high. Lawrence can be a game-changer if the team handles him correctly.
Jackson was one of the best quarterbacks in the league in 2019 and won the MVP award for his efforts. However, his numbers dropped off in a more difficult year for the Ravens’ star. There’s no doubt that Jackson is a phenomenal player but he is hoping to take a big step forward again. Unfortunately, his preseason stalled because he fell ill twice. This wasn’t ideal preparation because he missed a lot of practice.
Then, he made headlines because of his noncommittal attitude toward vaccinations. Despite suffering from multiple infections, Jackson refused to reveal whether or not he would receive inoculation against the disease. He claimed that it was a personal decision and left his coaches gnashing their teeth in frustration. In sum, it wasn’t the best start to a new campaign.
Watson provided a lot of unwanted headlines because of his issues on and off the field. First of all, the Texans’ QB wanted to leave Houston. There’s no real problem with that because they are a shambles of a franchise. After watching some of his best teammates depart, the blue-chip signal caller wanted to move to a more functional team. However, there was also a darker story.
He attracted negative attention when allegations of sexual misconduct arose. Over 20 women came forward and accused him of acting inappropriately during massages. This was obviously not good for Watson because he was plotting for a life outside of Texas. It’s been a tumultuous time for the player and the franchise because of his allegations and lack of interest in playing for Houston.
The Detroit Lions break their fans’ hearts every year. However, at least this year they plan to crash and burn in style Campbell is one of the most polarizing coaches in the NFL right now. The former tight end made headlines for his insane opening press conference. Since then, things have become even more colorful because he continues to entertain the masses.
Every morning Campbell drinks two Starbucks venti coffees with two additional espresso shots in both cups. In sum, that’s the equivalent of 10 Red Bulls every morning. This is emblematic of Campbell’s coaching style. If the Lions suffer a major meltdown in 2021 it’s going to be glorious. Nobody is certain if Campbell is a buffoon or secretly a genius, but it will be a magnificent ride.
Rodgers dominated the NFL headlines because of his desire to leave Green Bay. This news rocked the franchise’s loyal fanbase because he is an icon in Wisconsin. However, Rodgers was emphatic about his desire to leave with many believing that he wanted to return to his native California. The Packers underachieved for many years but ironically looked like potential contenders in 2021.
In the end, Rodgers agreed to stay with the caveat that they would allow him to depart at the end of the 2021 season. Meanwhile, Jordan Love played through most of the team’s preseason. The team also had issues with Davante Adams because of his contract demands. These were massive issues to deal with before a new season, but at least they’re keeping their MVP for now.