For about 24 hours, buzz around the NFL world was that Colin Kaepernick may finally find a landing spot in Baltimore. As soon as Wednesday’s report that Joe Flacco (back) would miss several weeks came out, Kaepernick was floated as a possible option. On Thursday, however, the Ravens went a different direction, signing QB David Olson. Olson played for Raven’s coach John Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, at Stanford before transferring to Clemson. Olson threw only three passes during his college career. Olson’s signing does not necessarily rule out a Kaepernick deal, though the former does seem to decrease the likelihood of the latter. Thursday’s signing is sure to increase the speculation that Kaepernick, who led his team to a Super Bowl in 2013, is being “blackballed” as a result of his political protests last season. It remains possible that Flacco will miss regular season games, so there is some value in whoever secures the lead backup role.
Here’s a look across the rest of the league from Thursday:
- Cowboys running backs bulletin – Ronnie Hillman is set to sign with the Cowboys. Hillman may not make the final roster, especially if Ezekiel Elliot is available Week 1. But if Hillman impresses, the Cowboys could choose to use him as a cheaper alternative to Alfred Morris. The Cowboys have been using Rod Smith as the number three back during minicamp, which adds more credibility to the idea that the team is looking to move on from Morris.
- Broncos running backs update – Jamaal Charles did not practice with the team Thursday. With Devontae Booker requiring surgery on his wrist and increasingly likely to miss the start of the regular season, the Broncos signed Stevan Ridley. Neither the Charles nor the Ridley news is likely to impact C.J. Anderson’s probability of being the Week 1 starter.
- Steelers skill players rundown – Martavius Bryant is not yet “permitted to practice or play in any games”, according to a statement from the Steelers GM about Bryant’s status following his conditional reinstatement last April. Though the statement came from the Steelers, it was describing Bryant’s status according to league policy, not team policy. If Bryant can clear the remaining hurdles to full reinstatement, he has considerable fantasy upside. Le’Veon Bell did not report to camp, as he has yet to sign his franchise tender with the team. Sammie Coates (knee) was placed on the Active/PUP list after a recent knee scope. He’s expected to return after a couple of weeks, during the preseason.
- Bears pass-catchers lowdown – Zach Miller (foot) practiced in a limited capacity – and simply getting on the field is a good sign for him at this stage. Similarly, Cameron Meredith (thumb) also made it onto the field, despite suffering an offseason injury to a ligament in his thumb. Meredith has a great chance to become the Bear’s primary receiver this season. Marcus Wheaton (shoulder) also practiced Thursday, though his involvement was less of a surprise. Wheaton is expected to be the third receiver on the depth chart, though it is not impossible that he challenge Kevin White for the number two role.
- Gronkowski sit-rep – Gronkowski should not have any limitations during training camp, according to coach Bill Belichick.
- Carlos Hyde (knee) earned high praise from 49ers management upon his reporting to camp Thursday. He’s apparently in great shape and has lost weight over the offseason, though the team has offered no specific news relating to the MCL injury he suffered during the second-to-last game of last season. The 49ers added running backs through both free agency and the draft, but if healthy, Hyde would likely be the favorite to begin the season as the starter.
- Cowboys rookie Ryan Switzer (hamstring) is listed as day-to-day after injuring it during a drill Thursday. The Cowboys will probably be cautious with the fourth-round pick, but he is expected to return long before the regular season. He’s only a consideration in deep leagues that count return yardage – he has little shot at reaching any higher than fourth on the wide-receiver depth chart, but he is likely to take over return duties.