One week. One week to the day until the 2018 NFL regular season kicks off, oh what a time to be alive. For many teams, the starters will be out of the lineup entirely during the fourth and final week of the preseason slate. Meanwhile nearly 40 undrafted rookies, practice squad guys and veterans on every roster find their NFL dreams hanging in the balance. On this Thursday edition of Rotowire Training Camp Notes: Mychal Kendricks is let go by Cleveland, Rob Gronkowski and Robert Woods have restructured contracts, and one of the game's all-time sack leaders retires. Let's get it rockin' and rollin' ladies and gentlemen.
- What a couple of days it's been for Mychal Kendricks. On Tuesday night's episode of Hard Knocks we saw the 27-year-old linebacker scouting his former Eagles teammates for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and the Browns' defense in film study, and the very next day he is charged with an insider trading scheme that netted him roughly $1.2 million in illegal money. Kendricks publicly apologized and took responsibility for his actions, but Cleveland ultimately felt that he could no longer be part of the team's immediate plans, resulting in the release of the Super Bowl LII Champion on Thursday.
- The Rams provided themselves with $7 million in additional salary cap space by restructuring contracts for offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and wideout Robert Woods, thereby lining up a potential record-breaking deal for 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Los Angeles' executives have demonstrated a light-hearted exuberance of late, perhaps signaling a long-term deal on the horizon for the league's most dominant defensive talent. With four Pro Bowl appearances and three First-Team nods since being drafted No. 13 overall in 2014, Donald spearheads a defense that is widely projected to finish as the top D/ST unit this year. Though the linebacking corps has some questions marks coming into the new season, the Rams may boast both the top defensive line and secondary in the NFC.
- In New England we've been seen veteran pass catchers Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Matthews, and Kenny Britt released within the past month, while Eric Decker decided to announce his retirement from the game this past Sunday. But Thursday the Patriots decided to give Rob Gronkowski a raise by way of $1 million in per-game bonuses and $3.3 million in incentives, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead was withheld from the Patriots' final preseason game to avoid aggravation of a slight knee tear suffered three weeks ago. Though he has been practicing on a limited basis for over 10 days, Burkhead did not secure a single carry in any of the team's exhibition games.
- Cowboys' center Travis Frederick's status is completely uncertain at this juncture after his diagnosis of Guillain-Barré Syndrome was announced last week, but Dallas has elected to place the ultra-talented offensive lineman on the 53-man roster to start the season. Frederick has been a symbol of stable dominance since entering the league in 2013, starting in 80 consecutive ballgames to start off his career and earning Pro Bowl honors in four out of his first five NFL seasons. Since receiving the news of his rare auto-immune disease, Frederick has been capable of participating in individual workouts during practice, but was deemed inactive for the team's preseason finale against Houston on Thursday. He'll be relieved by former Cowboys' and Titans' backup offensive lineman Joe Looney should he be unable to return to the field for Week 1.
- Statements from Browns' head coach Hue Jackson earlier this week indicate that Josh Gordon is unlikely to have a major role in Cleveland's offensive game plan for the season opener. "I don't care if he is 100 percent, he's not starting against Pittsburgh," Jackson said Monday. "We'll come up with the right package for him. I wouldn't expect him to play the whole game, but I expect him to contribute to the football team." The 27-year-old Gordon was prepared to rejoin team practice after being removed from the non-football injury list last Saturday, but tweaked his hamstring during conditioning immediately thereafter. Even with his status for Week 1 unclear, the Steelers are sure to devote a considerable amount of film study to surveying Gordon's tendencies as his 1,646 receiving yards in 2013 stand as the third-highest mark for that distinction in the past six years, surpassed by only Antonio Brown's outputs in 2014 and 2015.
- Finally, all-time pass rusher Elvis Dumervil decided to hang up the cleats on Thursday, announcing via Twitter that he has played his final NFL snap after 12 pro seasons with the Broncos, Ravens and 49ers. Originally a fourth-round draft choice out of Louisville, Dumervil was extraordinary at getting after the quarterback from his very first year in the league – picking up 8.5 sacks as a rookie, and at least five sacks in nine of his ten healthy campaigns. The two-time All Pro concluded his career 26th in NFL history in sacks, one spot ahead of Kevin Carter and just 27 sacks shy of Lawrence Taylor.