Aaron Donald, Donald Penn headline camp holdouts

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The first week of training camp wouldn't be complete without the concomitant holdouts.

As the Rams report for duty, All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is withholding his services in search of a life-changing contract. One of the NFL's quietest superstars, Donald has been as dominant as any defensive player in the league over the past two seasons.

Due to transition from a three-technique defensive tackle to defensive end in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, Donald is smart to strike now in case the position switch meets an adjustment period. We suspect the Rams' most valuable building block will end up surpassing Ndamukong Suh as the league's highest-paid defensive star.

While Donald's stance comes as little surprise, the holdout of Raiders left tackle Donald Penn was not expected. The stalwart blindside protector for $125 million quarterback Derek Carr, Penn allowed just one sack last season -- the one that led to Carr's broken leg. Seeking one last payday at age 34, Penn is determined to gain compensation as one of the top-10 left tackles in football.

Barring a new deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, Penn will not show up to Raiders camp.

Here's what else we learned from training camps around the league on Friday:

1. Joe Flacco told reporters Friday that he expects to miss only a week with his back injury, which leaves the Ravens in a holding pattern at quarterback. After discussing the prospect of signing Colin Kaepernick, the team opted instead for a camp arm in former Kansas City Phantoms quarterback David Olson. Should Flacco's injury persist for multiple weeks, coach John Harbaugh explained, then the Ravens would reconsider adding a fringe starter such as Kaepernick. After watching No. 2 quarterback Ryan Mallett melt down in Friday's practice, Baltimore's brass might just feel a greater sense of urgency.

2. Although the agent for Devonta Freeman has left Flowery Branch without a deal, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported the Falcons have discussed a five-year extension that would make the former fourth-round draft pick one of the highest-paid running backs in the league. To protect himself against injury until an agreement is reached, Silver added, Freeman has signed up for a $10 million insurance policy.

3. While a new Freeman contract seems inevitable, wide receiver Jarvis Landry has yet to receive an offer from the Dolphins. At this point, Landry is expected to play out his contract, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. With DeVante Parker poised for a breakout season and $20 million in guarantees committed to Kenny Stills, it's no surprise that Miami would be reluctant to shell out top-tier money for a slot receiver -- even a premier one.


Deja Vu

1. Two summers after Mychal Kendricks first began to question his future in Philadelphia, the veteran linebacker revealed that he requested a trade this past offseason. The Eagles promptly denied that request, citing Kendricks' youth (26 years old) and talent. The older brother of Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks signed a four-year extension with the Eagles in August of 2015.

2. Steelers president Art Rooney II never took Ben Roethlisberger's offseason retirement chatter seriously, chalking it up to "frustration" stemming from the AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots. Rooney was far from alone in that assessment, as skepticism prevailed until Roethlisberger announced his return in early April. Pittsburgh's quarterback has doubled down on the retirement talk, insisting he will "sit down and do some [thinking] again" after the 2017 season.

3. With J.J. Watt healthy and Jadeveon Clowney wreaking havoc, the Texans like their chances of repeating as the NFL's top-ranked defense.


Transaction Corner

1. The Titans' biggest defensive star has been rewarded with a much-deserved mega contract. One of the most disruptive -- and most versatile -- defensive linemen in football over the past four years, Jurrell Casey has landed a four-year, $60.4 million extension with $40 million guaranteed.

2. No NFL coach has reached the 100-win mark faster than Mike Tomlin, whose success has earned him a new payday. Tomlin's win total has triggered a vesting option in his contract, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, extending his deal through the 2019 season. The Steelers, in the meantime, have been discussing a longer deal with their head coach.

3. 49ers defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft, signed his rookie deal just in time for the first practice of training camp.

4. The Raiders agreed to terms with their own first-round pick, cornerback Gareon Conley. That leaves Titans wideout Corey Davis as the last remaining unsigned first-rounder.

5. The Friday afternoon news dump came and went without word of Ezekiel Elliott discipline, but not all Cowboys avoided the long arm of the NFL's law. Defensive lineman Damontre Moore has been suspended two games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Dallas' defensive front is going to be short-handed to start the season.

6. The Seahawks are hoarding first-round draft busts. After signing former Jaguars offensive lineman Luke Joeckel and ex-Dolphins pass rusher Dion Jordan, Seattle added recently released linebacker Marcus Smith, the Eagles' top draft choice in 2014.

7. After singing the praises of Kevin Pierre-Louis the past couple of summers, Pete Carroll has finally given up the ghost. The Seahawks have traded the freakishly athletic linebacker to the Chiefs in exchange for Pro Bowl special teamer D.J. Alexander.

8. The Raiders cut ties with veteran offensive lineman Austin Howard, a 39-game starter over the past three years in Oakland.


Injury Updates

1. Broncos linebacker Shane Ray is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks after suffering a torn ligament in his wrist in Thursday's practice. Slated for a full-time starting role with DeMarcus Ware now retired, Ray has an outside chance to be back on the field by Week 1.

2. Headlined by a theoretically stout defensive front seven, Chicago's 2017 roster has infused coach John Fox with abundant optimism. If the Bears are going to exceed otherwise marginal expectations, though, they need key players to stay healthy. That prospect is off to an inauspicious start, as Fox revealed that star edge rusher Pernell McPhee had his knee scoped on Friday.

3. After an initial scare last week, Chargers first-round wideout Michael Williams is "responding well" to treatment on his back, general manager Tom Telesco offered.

4. John Brown has been the talk of Cardinals camp, flashing impressive 2015 form after a string of freak injuries sabotaged his 2016 season. Bruce Arians might be without his services for a week, as the speedy wideout tweaked his quadriceps.

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