Monday's NFL: Jags taking 'cautious' approach with Lawrence's hamstring

Associated Press

Jacksonville, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars expect quarterback Trevor Lawrence to be fully cleared to practice by training camp next month.

Lawrence was a limited participant as the Jaguars opened a two-day, mandatory minicamp Monday that signals the end of their offseason program. The former Clemson star and No. 1 draft pick wore a compression sleeve on his left leg to help his hamstring, which he tweaked during practice last week.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) takes a break during an NFL football practice, Monday, June 14, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Lawrence sat out all of Jacksonville’s 11-on-11 drills Monday, but he did get repetitions in some seven-on-seven situations.

“You yank a hamstring now, you’re going to miss the early part of training camp,” coach Urban Meyer said. “So we’re just being cautious. That’s that one muscle that … you guys have all seen it like I have.

“You pull a hamstring at this point, you’re going to miss all your summer conditioning. So we’re being somewhat conservative on it. But he could actually play a game if he had to.”

Lawrence looked like he might try to do more before he pulled himself out of stretching lines at the start of practice and showed trainers where he was feeling tightness on the back of his leg.

“It’s feeling good,” Lawrence said after practice. “It’s been about a week and trying to work it back to full capacity. Yeah, it’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good.

“I’m just trying to not have any more setbacks, so taking it slow. Got some good reps today. So start getting more and more each day this week and kind of work back into it. Yeah, it’s doing great, trying to work it back.”

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Lawrence has rarely been full go since Jacksonville drafted him in April.

He opened rookie minicamp in May on a pitch count and with teammates under strict orders not to touch his surgically repaired left shoulder. Lawrence had labrum surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in February, days after he worked out for NFL scouts and executives.

He started throwing with no limitations in late May, but then he tweaked his hamstring about a week later. He returned after the tightness and threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

But Meyer said he’s not concerned, especially since Lawrence has shown a command of the playbook, which he got weeks before the draft.

“His retention and carryover have been very good,” Meyer said. “Execution at times, like you would imagine, has been up and down, especially when they start changing the looks up on defense, which obviously can happen a ton. But we’re very pleased with where he is. The summer’s got to be great and the training camp’s got to be great.”

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► Patriots' Gilmore absent as team opens mandatory minicamp

The Patriots opened their mandatory three-day minicamp Monday with their starting quarterback back from an injury, but one of their key cogs on defense was noticeably absent.

Cam Newton participated without restriction after missing the team’s final three voluntary workouts last week with a hand injury. But Stephon Gilmore, the team’s top cornerback and the 2019 NFL defensive player of the year, was one of several players missing.

Gilmore, who skipped the team's recent 10 voluntary workouts, is entering the final season of the five-year, $65 million deal he signed in 2017. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $7 million this season and is in line to receive an additional $500,000 roster bonus. But that $7.5 million would rank him 25th among NFL cornerbacks in 2021.

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Coach Bill Belichick downplayed the absence of Gilmore and others, saying that weather issues had affected some travel plans.

“We’re working through some travel arrangements, so we’ll see what the full level of participation is here today and for this week,” Belichick said.

He added that he expected “a pretty full roster” over the next three days.

“There’s a lot of players we haven’t seen in (organized team activities),” Belichick said. “All the players are important and we’d like to see all of them.”

Gilmore has anchored New England’s secondary since arriving as a free agent from Buffalo and has 11 interceptions in his four seasons with the Patriots.

But the 30-year-old is coming off a season in which he tied a career low with only one INT and appeared in just 11 games after missing time due to a COVID-19 diagnosis and then going on season-ending injured reserve with a quadriceps injury.

Despite losing safety Patrick Chung to retirement, the Patriots did bolster their secondary this offseason. Defensive back J.C. Jackson, who led the team with nine interceptions last season, re-signed, and the team also added Jalen Mills.

An extended holdout by Gilmore, however, could stunt the chemistry-building process of a unit that also added several new pieces up front in free agency, including defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and edge rusher Matt Judon.

Safety Adrian Phillips says he's spoken with Gilmore but will keep their conversations private.

“I support my brother. I wish he was here,” Phillips said. “But I support him all the same. What he has going, whenever he gets back he’ll let you know how that went. But that’s my guy. We all keep in contact with each other.”

► Crowder agrees to renegotiated deal with Jets

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder agreed to a renegotiated deal that will keep him with the team through this season, a person with direct knowledge of the decision said Monday.

Crowder was due to make $10 million in the final year of the three-year, $28.5 million contract he signed in 2019. Financial details of the renegotiated deal were not immediately available, but the Jets had been trying to get the 28-year-old receiver to take a pay cut — or otherwise possibly be cut.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce the deal. NFL Network first reported the new contract for Crowder, who will be a free agent after this season.

Crowder was a reliable playmaker in his first two seasons with the Jets after spending four years in Washington. He has 137 catches for 1,532 yards and 12 touchdowns in 28 games with New York.

Crowder also established himself as one of the league's top slot receivers, but his price tag for this season was a bit too steep for the Jets — especially after they drafted Elijah Moore out of Mississippi in the second round in April. Moore, viewed by some as a successor to Crowder as the team's primary slot receiver, has impressed coaches and teammates during offseason workouts. That gave the Jets and general manager Joe Douglas some leverage in asking Crowder to renegotiate his deal.

Coach Robert Saleh confirmed recently that Crowder was not attending the voluntary program while the the receiver and the team worked out some contract issues. Saleh expected Crowder to attend the Jets' three-day mandatory minicamp, which begins Tuesday.

New York signed Corey Davis in free agency, giving the Jets a suddenly deep group of receivers that includes Crowder, Moore, Denzel Mims, Keelan Cole, Braxton Berrios and Vyncint Smith. That had some thinking that the Jets could cut Crowder — and save over $10 million on the salary cap — if he didn't accept a new deal or pay cut. But Saleh insisted he envisioned the receiver playing for New York this season.

“Absolutely, Jamison’s definitely got a role here and we’re excited to have him,” Saleh said recently.

► Eagles agree to terms with 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens

The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms with quarterback Nick Mullens on Monday.

The 26-year-old Mullens spent his first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, going 5-11 in 16 starts. Mullens has 4,714 yards passing, 25 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and an 87.2 passer rating.

Mullens joins Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco on Philadelphia's roster.

Mullens signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 after breaking Brett Favre's single-season record for yards passing and TDs as a junior at Southern Mississippi in 2015.