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  • CHI Running Back #4
    Bears running backs coach Chad Morton said he’s “excited” about using D’Andre Swift as a pass catcher out of the backfield.
    “I’ve been watching [Swift] since college,” said Morton, who worked under Bears OC Shane Waldron when Waldron coordinated the Seahawks’ offense. “He’s exciting to watch, man. That guy, he’s got so much ability. He’s fast, he can make guys miss and what we’re excited about now is just opening up the passing game with the backs. He’s got that opportunity to have that one-on-one matchup out of the backfield. We can get him out on empty (formation). We do a lot of empty stuff here, too, so we can move this guy all around. He can win from any spot.” Waldron’s offense didn’t exactly emphasize running back targets in Seattle. The Seahawks last year were 24th in target share to RBs (15 percent), with lead back Ken Walker seeing a meager 37 targets over 15 games. Swift, meanwhile, wasn’t an effective pass catcher last year in Philadelphia. He ranked 47th in running back yards per route run and was graded by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s 49th best pass-catching RB.
  • SF Wide Receiver #11
    Speaking on NFL Live, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said “the benchmark” for a Brandon Aiyuk contract extension “is Amon-Ra St. Brown.”
    Fowler went on to point out that St. Brown is getting $28 million per year on his new four-year deal, adding that Aiyuk “doesn’t have to be the highest paid [wide receiver] in the league” but that he thinks he deserves to be paid like a top wide receiver. Aiyuk has totaled back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the 49ers and went for a career-high 1,342 yards in 2023 while scoring seven touchdowns. He’s currently set to earn $14.124 million in 2024 after the 49ers picked up his fifth-year option, but is hoping to get long-term security before the start of the season. It was reported earlier this month by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the 49ers are planning on keeping Aiyuk for the long term, meaning an extension could be coming before Week 1. Aiyuk has not been present at voluntary OTAs.
  • LAR Quarterback #13
    Stetson Bennett has been participating in full at Rams OTAs.
    Bennett, who was drafted in the fourth round of last year’s draft, missed all of the regular season while on the non-football illness list. Rams GM Les Snead said he believes Bennett’s time away was “very beneficial” while adding that Bennett was “exhausted” after leading Georgia to back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022. Bennett is expected to compete with Jimmy Garoppolo for the backup job behind Matthew Stafford this offseason.
  • NE Wide Receiver
    Patriots signed No. 110 overall pick Javon Baker to a four-year contract.
    Baker becomes the fourth rookie from the Patriots’ 2024 draft class to sign his contract. The former UCF Knight has a chance to compete for playing time in a thin wide receiver room, but will likely be stuck behind Kendrick Bourne and fellow rookie Ja’Lynn Polk for snaps on the outside. Baker has good size and athleticism and averaged 21.9 YPR in his final college season, but he should be viewed as more of a developmental player in his rookie season, assuming he doesn’t get shoehorned into a role due to injuries.
  • CHI Wide Receiver
    Bears HC Matt Eberflus told reporters rookie WR Rome Odunze (hamstring) is expected to return to practice in OTAs next week.
    Odunze was seen working individually alongside Chicago’s OTA sessions this week, managing his ongoing hamstring tightness. Eberflus told reporters that the the plan is for Odunze to “ramp back in there next week during the OTAs”, indicating a gradual return to full participation is expected.
  • IND Quarterback #5
    Anthony Richardson said he won’t change the way he plays in 2024.
    Richardson described his season-ending 2023 shoulder injury as unlucky. “I don’t think there’s any way I could’ve avoided what happened to me. Just a regular, routine tackle,” Richardson said. “I tried to brace myself for the fall and my shoulder just did what it did. … People see me, I’m a big quarterback, so they always think, ‘He wants to run the ball. He wants to be physical, and that is what’s going to get him hurt.’ That’s not the case.” Colts head coach Shane Steichen said Richardson has been “pretty smooth” during OTAs. Richardson has been seen throwing the ball more than 60 yards in Colts OTAs following a careful rehab of the surgically-repaired AC joint injury that sidelined him for most of his rookie campaign. He had 23 rushes over three full games before going down in Week 5 against Houston, scoring four times on the ground.
  • CHI Quarterback #18
    The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports Caleb Williams and the Bears offense has struggled during OTAs.
    Bears beat writers have reported plenty of Williams’ passes hitting the ground, difficulties getting set for plays, and constant pressure on the rookie from the Chicago defense. Greenberg said Williams was “under pressure while his receivers (which didn’t include Rome Odunze or Keenan Allen) tried to get open. There were a few just-missed interceptions. Sometimes, Williams couldn’t even get passes off as the secondary used its space advantage in the red zone to shut down receivers. We saw a lot of screen passes, many of which turned into scores. Occasionally, the offense struggled to line up or get a play off.” Hopefully a full summer of practices against a tough Bears defense will prepare Williams — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft — for live action competition starting with the Titans in Week 1.
  • GB Wide Receiver #9
    Testing on Christian Watson’s hamstrings revealed an asymmetrical stride was the cause of his persistant hamstring injuries.
    Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said in March that Watson — who missed eight games in 2023 — was working with a “special lab” to figure out why he has sustained so many soft tissue injuries. Testing at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health showed Watson had a 20 percent muscle mass difference between his right and left leg. That difference has since been reduced to 8-10 percent. “For me, it really was the asymmetry between the legs,” Watson said this week after an OTA session. “It comes from a lot of things. Obviously, the issues I’ve had in the past with hamstrings, not fully recovering from those strength-wise. I’ve been attacking the strength side of it, trying to get that symmetry back and it’s been huge for me. I feel really, really good. I gotta continue grinding at it.” Green Bay coaches said Watson, 24, showed up to OTAs in great shape. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky said Watson “moved in and out of his breaks with explosiveness and without hesitation” during OTA practices. Jordan Love said a fully healthy Watson would bring a dangerous downfield element to Green Bay’s passing attack in 2024. Thirty percent of his 2023 targets came more than 20 yards downfield.
  • PIT Tight End #88
    The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly reports TE Pat Freiermuth developed a connection with Russell Wilson during Steelers OTAs.
    Kaboly said Wilson was precise and accurate, demonstrating effective play action during the team’s OTA sessions. He frequently targeted Freiermuth, who worked closely with Wilson this spring. Freiermuth is healthy, entering his contract year and finally has an accurate quarterback and an offensive coordinator who will highlight the tight end. He could have a breakout year,” Kaboly said. Coming off a disappointing, injury-ridden 2023 season in which he had 32 receptions for 308 yards and two touchdowns, Freiermuth could benefit from a target spike as the second option in Pittsburgh’s run-heavy offense.
  • DEN Quarterback #10
    Broncos head coach Sean Payton said Box Nix, Jarrett Stidham, and Zach Wilson are splitting reps in OTAs.
    “There’s going to be a time when you read into the reps, I don’t think it’s early in OTAs,” Payton said. “It’s kind of the orphan group, they’re all orphan dogs. They’ve come from somewhere, but they’re doing good. It’s a good room.’' Nix, according to Denver beat writers, has not been sharp so far in OTA sessions, with Stidham standing out among the QB trio. As the team’s first round draft pick and a good fit for the Payton offense, Nix is still the odds-on favorite to start Week 1 barring some kind of training camp meltdown. Stidham, a favorite of Payton’s, could start a few early-season games before ceding the job to Nix. The Broncos will certainly do whatever it takes to keep Wilson off the field this season.
  • LV EDGE #98
    ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Raiders have given Maxx Crosby a $6 million 2024 raise as part of a renegotiated contract.
    They have also reportedly moved ahead another $1.5 million for 2025. They are essentially placating Crosby by moving up some money he was going to see, anyways, as he plays out the final three years of his current deal. Crosby feels like he’s been around forever but is heading into only his age-27 campaign. Raiders coach Antonio Pierce has made it clear he views Crosby as the heart and soul of the team. They are doing more to keep him happy than you would usually see from an NFL team.