Training Camp Notes: July 28

Training Camp Notes: July 28

This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.

Although the NFL still has work to do before it successfully implements its training camp plans, the NFL news has still taken on a more daily nature as of today, so we'll begin our daily Training Camp Notes series to keep up with the daily news going forward.

First, there are a number of important player opt-outs to lead off with. Not all are fantasy-specific names of interest, but their absences all affect the plans of the teams in question. Some of the names, moreover, absolutely do carry mainstream fantasy implications.

Check the section following the opt-out list for the general news from the day otherwise, including notable names on PUP lists.

Although not a full list, here are the most important names to opt out Tuesday, in no particular order.

Player Opt Outs

Devin Funchess, WR, GB

Signed to a one-year deal with Green Bay earlier this offseason, Funchess' absence for 2020 will put more pressure on Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and Jake Kumerow behind lead wideout Davante Adams. Although something of a punchline in the fantasy football world due to a memorable drop-plagued performance with the Panthers two years ago, Funchess is one of the league's most athletic big wideouts and throughout his whole career has drawn targets at a standout rate. Lazard was promising in 2019 and seems capable of more, but unless St. Brown shows growth after last year's season-ending ankle injury then the Packers will struggle to field a competent three-receiver rotation. Perhaps tight ends like Jace Sternberger, Robert Tonyan, and Josiah Deguara will pick up some of the resulting slack, but Green Bay arguably has more ammo on the ground than they do in the air at this point, especially with second-round bruiser AJ Dillon added to a backfield that already featured Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, PHI

Goodwin and his Olympic-caliber speed would have provided Philadelphia with a second veteran field-stretching threat behind the increasingly brittle DeSean Jackson, but in Goodwin's absence the Eagles will only have rookie options to provide speed behind Jackson now. The uniquely explosive first-round pick Jalen Reagor is one such player, while Day 3 prospects John Hightower (fifth round, Boise State) and Quez Watkins (sixth round, Southern Mississippi) both offer their own upside despite their more modest pedigree. The problem is that Goodwin is faster than any of them and already knows what he's doing – in this compromised offseason it might not be easy for rookies to establish a rhythm with Carson Wentz.

Dont'a Hightower, ILB, NE

Functioning almost something like an off-ball defensive tackle, Hightower is maybe a one of a kind at linebacker and someone the Patriots probably can't replace. Although Hightower's gap-holding functions don't lend themselves to tackles or IDP relevance, Hightower's absence will force Bill Belichik to all but start from scratch in his run defense schemes.

Eddie Goldman, DT, CHI

One of the league's top run-stopping defensive tackles, Goldman is a player in his prime whose absence leaves the Bears short on upwards of 600 reps on the defensive line. Not only do the Bears need to answer the question of replacing those reps, but they need to especially worry about who's going to anchor the defensive line in general. Goldman's tasks are thankless, but his reps aren't easily imitated.

Brandon Bolden, RB, NE

More of a special teams player than a featured running back, Bolden's absence will still leave the door open a bit more for Damien Harris to push for snaps after spending almost all of his rookie season as a healthy scratch. 

Marcus Cannon, OT, NE

Cannon has been a fixture for nearly 10 years on the New England offensive line, and his absence leaves the Patriots with an urgent question at right tackle.

Patrick Chung, S, NE

Chung isn't a great player, but he's started 10 of the past 11 years for New England, and his absence occurs as the Patriots were already facing profound turnover on defense. Rookie second-round pick Kyle Dugger will have to play sooner than the Patriots planned on.

Michael Pierce, DT, MIN

Already a patchwork replacement option for the great Linval Joseph, who signed with the Chargers this offseason, Pierce was still a credible two-down tackle for the Vikings to place at nose tackle. With lots of turnover in the secondary, this defense could be a headache for Mike Zimmer.

Star Lotulelei, DT, BUF

A run-stopping specialist who played under 500 snaps each of the last two seasons, Lotulelei's absence is at once challenging but survivable for the Buffalo defense.

Other News

-Deebo Samuel might miss multiple games to start the season as he recovers from the surgically-repaired Jones fracture in his foot, according to GM John Lynch. According to San Jose Mercury-News reporter Cam Inman, Lynch told KNBR radio, "Not trying to put an exact timeline on it but it's fair to say [Samuel] may miss some games at the start of the year."

Thursday will mark the six-week mark in Samuel's recovery from surgery, and the injury was given a roughly 10-to-12 week prognosis. Four weeks from Thursday would be August 27, while six weeks from then would be Sept. 10. San Francisco's Week 1 game against Arizona is currently scheduled for Sept. 13. If Samuel is unable to play in that game or others, some rotation of Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, and Kendrick Bourne would need to pick up the slack.

-Dalvin Cook and the Vikings have yet to settle his contract situation, but the star running back still reported to Vikings training camp for COVID testing. It remains to be seen whether he'll participate in planned activities, or if instead a soft holdout is still ahead.

-Sony Michel (foot) might not be cleared in time for New England's training camp opening August 12, according to the Athletic's Jeff Howe. Michel underwent a procedure in May to reportedly relieve discomfort in his foot, but by August 12 he would at least be more than two months removed from the surgery. The less Michel can do, the better for the likes of Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, and maybe even undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor.

-Marquise Brown reportedly turned a corner in his recovery from the Lisfranc injury he suffered prior to his still-impressive rookie season, and his trainer offered rave reviews in a Baltimore Sun article Tuesday. Brown's trainer claims Brown is up to 180 pounds after falling under 160 at one point in his rookie year. All this, yet Brown's low 4.3 speed supposedly remains intact.

-Wendell Smallwood signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, giving them additional depth behind James Conner. Smallwood would give the Steelers a speed back option if rookie fourth-round pick Anthony McFarland is unavailable.

-The following players ended up on the PUP list:

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Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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