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What to watch for as 28 NFL squads open minicamp

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The last work before the NFL takes its proverbial summer break kicks off Tuesday for most teams.

Mandatory minicamps run from Tuesday to Thursday (June 12-14) for 28 NFL clubs.

Outside of workouts going from voluntary to mandatory, not much changes from Phase 3 of organized team activities. Practices remain pad-less. No live contact is allowed, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted. Teams can hold two practices per day for the three-day period, as long as the players' time on the field doesn't surpass a total of three-and-a-half hours per day, and the second session is a walkthrough.

The biggest difference between OTAs and minicamp is players under contract not in attendance are subject to maximum fines of $14,070 for the first day, $28,150 for the second day, and $42,215 for the third day -- totaling $84,435. Players, like Le'Veon Bell, who have been franchise tagged but have yet to sign the tender are not under contract and therefore not subject to fines for skipping workouts.

Close of business on Thursday represents the end of the spring portion of the team workout period. Players will be on their own until training camps open in mid-July.

NFL Network will air three live hours of Inside Minicamp Live coverage on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Let's run down one storyline to track for each of the 28 teams running mandatory minicamps this week:

Arizona Cardinals: What is David Johnson's status? The dual-threat running back sat out of workouts last week, and will not participate this week as he seeks a new deal. After he missed most of the 2017 season and is now entering a new offense, will the Cards concede to that request? The Cardinals planned to base the offense around the multifaceted runner. It's hard to prepare for that plan if Johnson is standing on the sideline -- or worse, disgruntled heading into training camp.

Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones' absence will be the main talking point of Falcons minicamp. Despite his previous comments, Jones clearly wants a new contract after four straight seasons of 1,400-plus yards. But with three years left on his deal, it's a tricky negotiation. While all the hullabaloo will be about Jones skipping workouts, let's skew positive for a moment and consider that this could benefit the likes of rookie Calvin Ridley. While it's never ideal for a star to miss time, it's not the end of the world not to have Jones for three more days in the middle of June. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan will have more snaps to break in Ridley. The rookie getting more reps with Ryan before training camp can only aid the rookie's transition into what could be the most high-powered offense in the NFL -- once they figure out Julio's situation.

Baltimore Ravens: Will Joe Flacco make progress with his remade receiving corps? With Lamar Jackson breathing down his neck, this is a pivotal season for Flacco. Building a rapport with Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead will go a long way to helping rejuvenate the frustratingly tedious offense we've seen the past several seasons. There is also the backup QB gig to keep track of in the Charm City, where Jackson and Robert Griffin III are competing for the No. 2 gig.

Buffalo Bills: Will Josh Allen make strides toward wrestling away the starting gig? Thus far during OTAs open to the media, Nathan Peterman and AJ McCarron have taken the reps with the starters. Coach Sean McDermott said he's open to giving Allen first-team reps, calling the situation "fluid." Will Allen earn those starter reps in minicamp or will the bazooka-armed rookie remain in backup mode heading into training camp?

Carolina Panthers: How is the installation of Norv Turner's offense coming along? We should get a better indication of Turner's true plans for Cam Newton this week moving through training camp. How the new offensive coordinator uses running back Christian McCaffrey will also be notable. After Newton missed last year's offseason work, the Panthers' plans for adjusting the offense was scrapped a few weeks into the season. Cam is healthy this time around, which should aid Turner's plans to tweak the game plan for 2018.

Cincinnati Bengals: Is receiver John Ross ready to make noise in 2018? After putting up a goose-egg as a rookie, the former first-round pick is healthy and ready to compete. Ross' speed could bring a dynamic element opposite A.J. Green in the Bengals revamped offense. Andy Dalton's best seasons have come when he's buffered by talent at every level. Ross becoming a deep threat would certainly aid the quarterback.

Cleveland Browns: How will rookies not named Baker Mayfield shake up the depth chart? Hue Jackson insists Tyrod Taylor is the starter, and he's not going to come off that claim for a three-day minicamp in June. The Browns, however, have several other youngsters who could make noise. Everything we've heard about Denzel Ward has been great, and he should lock down a starting spot. Can Nick Chubb begin to siphon snaps from Carlos Hyde? Where will second-round o-lineman Austin Corbett slide in? The Browns have made a bevy of offseason moves. Now we begin the process of seeing how those changes shake out.

Dallas Cowboys: How is Byron Jones' transition to corner? We're sure to hear plenty about the Dez Bryant-less receiving corps and the "Dak-friendly" offense this week. I'm just as curious about the Jones move from safety to cornerback. We've heard little about the former first-round pick changing positions (which is weird because he is a high-profile player for the Cowboys). If he makes some plays the next three days -- or conversely, struggles -- we should hear much more about the transition.

Denver Broncos: How is the Case Keenum revolution working? We've only heard positives about the new Broncos quarterback as a leader. Now he has the chance to build on that rapport within Bill Musgrave's system the next three days. Also, keep an eye on the running back rotation with Devontae Booker, De'Angelo Henderson and rookie Royce Freeman vying for snaps. Booker is the early favorite, but there is plenty of room for others to siphon carries.

Green Bay Packers: What will defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's front look like? With Clay Matthews taking a softball off the schnoz, Pettine will have more snaps to tinker with his backup pass rushers. Behind Matthews and Nick Perry sits a trove of question marks on a re-made defense. Minicamp will also provide Pettine time to work out his talented but young secondary.

Houston Texans: How are Texans players progressing from injuries? Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus are all coming off surgeries. Don't expect them to participate much this week, but we should get updates on their statuses heading into training camp. Watson was working in 7-on-7s and individual drills during OTAs. Could he graduate even further? Any work for the QB would be beneficial as Bill O'Brien re-tailors the offense. Texans safety Andre Hal was just diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma late last Friday, and we should get player reactions this week to that crappy news.

Indianapolis Colts: Will Andrew Luck ever throw a football again???? Hyperbole aside, this week marks the final time in a team setting Luck could toss a pigskin before training camp. Seemingly all offseason the Colts' goal has been for Luck to be ready for training camp. Can the QB be completely ready if he hasn't even played catch in Frank Reich's system before school lets out for the summer? It won't be the end of the world if Luck doesn't throw this week but it's getting awfully close to panic time.

Editor's note: Luck was spotted throwing footballs during practice Tuesday.

Jacksonville Jaguars: How will the wideouts corps shake out? The biggest question heading into training camp for the finally stable Jaguars is how Blake Bortles' pass-catchers will line up. The Jags lack a go-to target but have a bevy of second fiddles with upside. Will Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, second-round pick D.J. Chark or Rashad Greene push their way up the depth chart? Currently Marqise Lee and Donte Moncrief hold the top two spots, but neither is irreplaceable.

Kansas City Chiefs: Can we stream Patrick Mahomes videos straight into my veins? Sure, there are more questions about the revamped defense in K.C., but who isn't giddy about the chance to see some ridonkulous throws from Mahomes this week? The Chiefs have been stingy with their availability this offseason, making mandatory minicamp one of the few times we'll get to see live reports and videos of the quarterback's progress. Soak as much of it in as you can. It will be weeks before more football is practiced.

Los Angeles Chargers: How will the Chargers replace Hunter Henry? The tight end's ACL tear threw a wrench in the 2018 offensive plans. The Bolts have yet to replace their starter. If they decide against re-signing Antonio Gates later this summer, what plan will Ken Whisenhunt employ to overcome Henry's loss? More Melvin Gordon catches? More four-receiver sets with Mike Williams playing a big-body role? We could see some of the tinkering strategies this week, which could inform the front office whether it needs to make a pre-training camp move or stay the course.

Los Angeles Rams: Will Aaron Donald report? The Defensive Player of the Year doesn't sound like he'll be in attendance this week unless something changes at the last minute. Donald deserves to get paid, but he owns so little leverage a deal isn't simple. Surely the Rams would like Donald on the field, but forfeiting around $84,000 might be worth it for the game-wrecking lineman to retain the small slice of leverage he owns -- withholding his services. Donald missed time last offseason and still won DPOY. His absence won't be world-altering for the revamped Rams D.

Editor's note: Donald is withholding his services this week, per NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

Minnesota Vikings: We could point out Kirk Cousins assimilating into a new offense. We could talk about Dalvin Cook coming off injury. We could ask if Laquon Treadwell is still alive. We could point out Anthony Barr still wants a new contract. Instead of those storylines, we'll highlight the looming kicker battle between Kai Forbath and rookie Daniel Carlson. At this stage, it appears the fifth-round rookie has the edge. Will he keep it as the pressure ramps up? For a franchise with a nightmare history when it comes to kickers, this is no small battle.

New Orleans Saints: What effect will Mark Ingram's suspension play? The running back is expected to report for minicamp after sitting out OTAs. Ingram will serve a four-game PED suspension to open the season and wants a new contract. Those are two separate, yet related, issues he'll be asked to address this week. On the field, will Sean Payton give some of Ingram's reps to younger players in anticipation the starter won't be around to open the season?

New York Giants: What will Odell Beckham do? The receiver is reportedly planning to attend minicamp -- he reported for a portion of OTAs earlier this season. If that plan doesn't change, will OBJ participate or will he be a spectator? First, he'd have to be cleared medically, something coach Pat Shurmur previously said the wideout is close to accomplishing. If he is cleared but doesn't have a new contract, will he still sit out? NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this offseason that Beckham didn't want to set foot on the field without a new deal. The report came before the trade rumors swirled and Beckham reported for OTAs. How much OBJ does this week could speak volumes.

New York Jets: How is the QB situation shaping up? Obviously, Sam Darnold will be the No. 1 player to watch -- with beat writers surely charting his every snap and throw. Can the first-round pick continue his offseason progress and set himself up to take over the starting gig earlier than anticipated? Will Teddy Bridgewater continue what's reportedly been an impressive offseason and give the Jets a trade asset or at least a difficult decisioFme roster cuts time? Oh, and how does presumptive starter Josh McCown fit into all the hype surrounding the other two QBs?

Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack is expected to skip minicamp, Rapoport reported on Monday. The defensive leader's absence will be a major talking point, but it's not the most interesting aspect of Jon Gruden's first mandatory minicamp. How will the new coach continue to integrate his system? The Raiders offseason leaves them with some intriguing questions on Gruden's offense. Can Doug Martin continue to impress? How will Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant mesh with Derek Carr? Where will first-round pick Kolton Miller find a home on the line?

Philadelphia Eagles: We're sure to get another update on Carson Wentz, who took part in 7-on-7s in OTAs. The other offensive depth chart situation to watch is the running back rotation. Jay Ajayi is set as the primary back. The rotation behind him is up for grabs. How much will Darren Sproles factor in the offense? Will Corey Clement build on his outrageous Super Bowl performance? Wendell Smallwood, Donnell Pumphrey, Matt Jones and Josh Adams will continue the battle for a roster spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Le'Veon Bell won't be at minicamp as he continues to sit out hoping for a massive new deal. The rest of the Killer Bs will be there, but let's focus on the defense. The Steelers are still trying to fill the huge hole left by linebacker Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh signed Jon Bostic in free agency, but it's been Tyler Matakevich reportedly playing next to Vince Williams in the Shazier role. How will that rotation work out as we head toward the pads coming on in training camp? What role will first-round safety Terrell Edmunds earn moving forward with fellow safeties Morgan Burnett and Sean Davis ahead of him on the depth chart?

San Francisco 49ers: How is the 49ers offense accelerating in a full offseason with Jimmy Garoppolo? The Niners have recently discussed how they were flying by the seat of their pants after acquiring Jimmy G in the middle of last season. They still went 5-0 with Garoppolo starting. Now that he's in the midst of a full offseason in Kyle Shanahan's system, the chemistry should be even better. The addition of running back Jerick McKinnon, the selection of rookie wideout Dante Pettis and the return of Pierre Garcon from injury provide San Francisco some hella intriguing weapons heading into training camp.

Seattle Seahawks: Earl Thomas will skip minicamp sans a new deal. Pete Carroll expects Frank Clark and Byron Maxwell, who have also missed OTAs, to attend. With Thomas boycotting and Kam Chancellor still in career limbo with a neck injury, there are questions at safety in Seattle. Bradley McDougald and Delano Hill have manned the safety spots this spring. How will the depth chart shake out if either Thomas or Chancellor doesn't return? Up front there are questions along the line where the Seahawks traded Michael Bennett and released Cliff Avril. Dion Jordan won't work out this week after undergoing surgery but is hopeful to be back by training camp. A once stable Seahawks defense has many questions heading into the summer.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: How pumped up is the remade defensive line? Jason Pierre-Paul is expected to report to Bucs workouts for the first time this spring. The additions of JPP, Vinny Curry, first-round pick Vita Vea, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein to go along with Gerald McCoy, Noah Spence and William Gholston make the Bucs D-line one of the most improved units on paper in the entire NFL. This week we get to see them together for the first time.

Tennessee Titans: How far along is Matt LaFleur in applying his offense? Any time the Titans O is on the field this offseason it's an opportunity to see Marcus Mariota in a friendlier system. The QB has discussed adjusting his throwing base this offseason to improve his rhythm. How is that progress coming along? Will the usage of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis change at all? How is Mariota's rapport with his receivers improving, especially second-year wideout Corey Davis?

Washington Redskins: How is the Alex Smith acclimation project chugging along? On a similar thread, how will the receiver and running back depth charts start to shake out? Importing Smith has flown slightly under the radar this offseason, which happens after finding a stable veteran following years of uncertainty. Everyone just assumes Smith will slide seamlessly into Jay Gruden's system. How is Smith's link with Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson growing? How will the WR depth chart behind the starting trio begin to unfold? Will rookie Derrius Guice immediately take over the starting role or will the coaching staff make him beat out Rob Kelley for early-down snaps?

Clearly these are not all the storylines that will take place as 28 teams come together for three days of workouts, practices, and meetings. Check back as Around The NFL breaks down all the important talking points this week.

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