Joe Burrow and the Bengals top this week's headlines
Defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals should be fine in the long-term, since the regular season doesn’t begin for a month.
However, it's already been two weeks since Joe Burrow had his emergency appendectomy. According to Burrow's father, it's still a couple of more weeks before the quarterback is able to return to the field.
Officially, while the team says he's "day-to-day," once those days extend beyond a dozen, it's more appropriate to call Burrow "week-to-week." In the words of Jimmy Burrow, that is where he stands. "It set him back, but he seems to be getting better every day, and hopefully, here in a few weeks we'll be back out on the field."
The Bengals are paying +1000, according to NFL odds, to repeat as AFC Champions, so If you’ve placed that bet online, you shouldn't be concerned. The team begins the regular season against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, then at the Dallas Cowboys.
That's T.J. Watt and Micah Parsons going after Burrow, who might be just a little rusty after missing a month of practice.
They are winnable games for Cincinnati, and according to NFL picks, the Bengals are a touchdown favorite in the opener. It’s a situation worth monitoring as teams break camp this week to head home for the preseason.
Bengals Change Stadium Name
When it comes to generating cash on hand, nothing is sacred. That includes one of the iconic football names in the state of Ohio, Paul Brown.
He was a champion at Ohio State, he was a legend with his namesake Cleveland Browns and he was the founder of the then-AFL Cincinnati Bengals Now, he's having his name removed from Cincinnati's home stadium for the first time since it opened 22 years ago. Paul Brown Stadium is now Paycor Stadium, the team's official HR software provider since 2018.
Of course, HR software doesn't lead to the same feelings as Brown, an NCAA champ, three-time NFL title winner and Pro Football Hall of Famer. However, the cost of doing business in the NFL is rising, and having funds for signing bonuses is beginning to tilt the balance in a league that otherwise prides itself on sharing the revenue.
Current owner Mike Brown, son of Paul Brown, always had said he would never take his father’s name off the stadium. One of the league’s last three remaining teams to not sell naming rights to their stadium (the Lambeau Field Packers and Soldier Field Bears are the others) has caved.
A Joe Burrow extension, looming after the coming season, may have been one factor in this decision, one very big factor with a lot of zeros added.
Baker Mayfield Winning QB Battle in Carolina
So, no one is surprised that in the "open" competition to be the Carolina Panthers' starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield is in the lead. Carolina wasn't good under Sam Darnold last season, and Mayfield is less than two years removed from a win in the postseason.
When Mayfield arrived in camp after Carolina's trade with the Cleveland Browns, coach Matt Rhule insisted the battle was wide open. Now, he says of Mayfield, "He's definitely improving as he gets more and more of a feel for what he can do at the line of scrimmage. What he’s done in 10 days of training camp is pretty impressive."
Rhule won’t officially name a starter for Week 1 until after the Panthers’ second preseason game. Mayfield, however, is the heavy favorite.
Bears' Roquan Smith Requests Trade
With the departure of Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith the Chicago Bears best player on defense, In each of the last two seasons he's been a Second-Team All-Pro, and as he prepares to play the final year of his rookie contract, he wants to get paid.
The team, so far, is not obliging, and his holdout from training camp has turned into his formal request for a trade.
"I had wanted to be a Bear for my entire career in the NFL, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city. However, they have left me no choice other than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table."
As per NFL odds, Smith is a 50-1 proposition, or +5000, to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.