With offseason programs in the books, NFL teams will next month turn their attention to training camp as preparations for the 2021 season ramp up.

Every coaching staff in the league knows that having a reliable offensive line will be crucial to their hopes of success in the coming campaign.

Too many holes in the trenches can doom a team's chances in a hurry regardless of the talent at quarterback and the offensive skill positions.

Reflecting the importance of strong play up front, five offensive linemen were taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

And, using combined run block and pass protection data over the past three seasons, Stats Perform has produced projected offensive line rankings to see how each team stacks up in the trenches.

Here we look at which teams are in the best shape, which O-Lines could cause problems for their quarterback and which appear to ready to make the leap to the league's best in 2021.


THE ELITE

1. Dallas Cowboys

LT – Tyron Smith, LG – Connor Williams, C – Tyler Biadasz, RG – Zack Martin, RT – La'el Collins

Injuries decimated the Dallas O-Line in 2020 but, when healthy, it is tough to see another unit in the league that can match this group for overall talent.

That may be a substantial caveat but, should the Cowboys keep their starters in the line-up in 2021, Dak Prescott will have the benefit of excellent protection from several spots up front.

Tyron Smith missed all but two games last season but remains the top pass protecting left tackle in our projected ranks. Zack Martin is second in pass protection among right guards and, if he can return to his best after missing six games in 2020 and right tackle La'el Collins can stay on the field and play at a high level, a stacked Cowboys offense will be in an excellent spot to produce at an historic pace as they did last year before Prescott went down.

2. New England Patriots

LT – Isaiah Wynn, LG – Mike Onwenu, C – David Andrews, RG – Shaq Mason, RT – Trent Brown

The Patriots lost Joe Thuney in free agency but, despite the departure of one of the most dependable guards in football, New England heads into 2021 with an elite group hoping to help the offense bounce back from a dismal 2020.

Trent Brown's return should fortify the right side of the line while left tackle Isaiah Wynn shouldn't have to worry much about his inside shoulder with Mike Onwenu ranking as the second-best pass protecting left guard in the NFL after an excellent rookie season.

David Andrews grades out as the top run-blocking center in football -- he allowed a run disruption on only 5.3 per cent of his snaps in 2020, with Corey Linsley well adrift in second on 6.2 per cent -- while Shaq Mason is in the top three in that area at right guard.

Regardless of whether it's Cam Newton or Mac Jones under center in 2021, the O-Line is constructed in a way where the quarterback and a replenished set of skill-position players should have every chance to succeed.

3. Baltimore Ravens

LT – Ronnie Stanley, LG – Bradley Bozeman, C – Patrick Mekari, RG – Kevin Zeitler, RT – Alejandro Villanueva

Baltimore's presence in the top three may raise a few eyebrows given they traded right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs.

However, their lofty position is largely a testament to the play of Ronnie Stanley, the left tackle who will be looking to bounce back after seeing his 2020 season ended by an ankle injury.

Stanley ranks tied-fourth among left tackles and was stellar in pass protection prior to getting hurt, with his pressure rate allowed of 4.4 per cent bettered only by David Bakhtiari and Andrew Whitworth at his position.

Having given up a pressure rate of 11.9 per cent at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, Alejandro Villanueva will have a challenge replacing Brown, who allowed pressures on just 5.8 per cent of his right tackle snaps in 2020.

But the interior was the main issue for the Ravens last season and, with fourth-ranked right guard Kevin Zeitler arriving from the New York Giants, Baltimore should be confident of a noticeable improvement in the middle of their line.

THE STRUGGLERS

30. Chicago Bears

LT – Teven Jenkins, LG – Cody Whitehair, C – Sam Mustipher, RG – Germain Ifedi, RT – Elijah Wilkinson

After surprisingly allowing Charles Leno to leave, the Bears are banking on Teven Jenkins successfully making the switch from college right tackle to NFL left tackle as a rookie. That he will do so successfully is a dubious presumption to make and there is little to rely on at any spot on the trenches for Chicago.

Cody Whitehair at least provided a solid presence at left guard but the interior protection for Andy Dalton, or rookie first-round pick Justin Fields, will be suspect if Sam Mustipher cannot make strides at center.

Tied as the third-worst center in the NFL in the projected rankings, only Hroniss Grasu (2.8%) fared worse than Mustipher (2.3%) in terms of adjusted sack rate allowed in 2020.

31. Carolina Panthers

LT – Greg Little, LG – Dennis Daley, C – Matt Paradis, RG – John Miller, RT – Taylor Moton

Carolina looks set at right tackle, with Taylor Moton ranking as the fifth-best player at the position, but they have little in the way of solutions elsewhere up front.

The left side looms as a massive issue for the Panthers. Greg Little grades out as the worst left tackle in football and Dennis Daley is 30th among left guards in the projected rankings.

It is far from an ideal scenario for Sam Darnold to step into as quarterback, and he will hope center Matt Paradis can do a significantly better job snapping the football. Paradis' bad snap percentage of 3.49 was fourth-worst in the NFL in 2020.

32. Minnesota Vikings

LT – Christian Darrisaw, LG – Dru Samia, C – Garrett Bradbury, RG – Ezra Cleveland, RT – Brian O'Neill

Offensive line issues have long since plagued the Vikings, who invested a premium pick in a new left tackle by using their first-round selection on Christian Darrisaw of Virginia Tech.

Darrisaw named Trent Williams and Laremy Tunsil as his favourite linemen to watch prior to the draft. If he replicates their impact, he will be a success, but there are substantial problems on the interior.

Dru Samia is the worst left guard in the NFL in the projected rankings, and center Garrett Bradbury allowed pressure on 8.1 per cent of his pass protection snaps. Only two players to take snaps center had worse pressure rates in 2020.

READY TO MAKE THE LEAP

Kansas City Chiefs

LT – Orlando Brown Jr, LG – Joe Thuney, C – Austin Blythe, RG – Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT – Mike Remmers

The Chiefs completely remodelled their offensive line in the wake of giving up 33 pressures in the Super Bowl LV, and there is little doubt they head into 2021 with a much-improved group as they attempt to win back the Lombardi Trophy.

Kansas City will need an improvement from Brown following his trade from Baltimore. In his 221 pass protection snaps at left tackle after Stanley's injury, Brown gave up a pressure rate of 10.9 per cent. Having campaigned to play on the left side, Brown's performance figures to come under significant scrutiny.

He will be helped by the presence of Thuney, second among all left guards in the projected rankings after allowing pressure on just 4.3 per cent of his snaps in his final season in New England.

With Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returning to man the right guard spot, the Chiefs' line has an air of solidity about it. Eleventh in the projected ranks, the Chiefs could jump into the top 10 if not the top five should their additions perform to their potential.

Los Angeles Chargers

LT – Rashawn Slater, LG – Matt Feiler, C – Corey Linsley, RG – Oday Aboushi, RT – Bryan Bulaga

Staying in the AFC West with a Chargers team many will be backing to surge towards postseason contention after an Offensive Rookie of the Year season from Justin Herbert, for Los Angeles much hinges on the performance of rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater in his first season in the league.

That is a lot of expectation to place on a player who did not feature in the 2020 college season, but the optimism should come from Slater's 2019 performance for Northwestern, which saw him give up just six pressures on 220 pass protection snaps.

Yet the most important addition for Herbert may be that of center Corey Linsley, who arrived from the Green Bay Packers. Just three centers graded above Linsley in the projected ranks and his ability to quickly develop a rapport with Herbert will be pivotal to the Chargers realising their potential. History suggests the 2020 first-team All-Pro should succeed in doing so.

Arizona Cardinals

LT – D.J. Humphries, LG – Justin Pugh, C – Rodney Hudson, RG – Brian Winters, RT – Kelvin Beachum

The Cardinals must be strong up front if Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury are to have a chance of inspiring Arizona to a successful season in an NFC West loaded with pass-rushing talent, and they made an astute addition on the interior this offseason in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders that saw them acquire three-time Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson.

Tied for fourth with Linsley among centers in the projected rankings, Hudson's experience will be a valuable asset to Murray as he looks to take a step forward in year three, the former Kansas City Chief recording a pressure rate allowed of 1.7 per cent that was the second-best in the league at his position.

Kelvin Beachum is a substantial asset to the ground game. His run disruption percentage of 5.9 per cent was third among right tackles in 2020 and, with D.J. Humphries allowing only 28 pressures on 450 pass protection snaps last season, Murray will have three dependable players at the most important positions on the line in a year where another underwhelming campaign will not be acceptable.

Tom Brady said Aaron Rodgers is going to make the "choices he feels are best for him" as the NFL MVP holds out from the Green Bay Packers.

Rodgers – who skipped Green Bay's organised team activities (OTA) – is officially a holdout following his absence as the Packers reported for their mandatory minicamp last week.

The three-time MVP and 37-year-old is pushing to leave the Packers – a team he has represented since 2005, winning a Super Bowl.

Reports of Rodgers' unhappiness first emerged on draft day this year, though Green Bay are unwilling to trade the veteran.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Brady, whose team topped Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC Championship Game en route to Super Bowl glory last season, weighed into the drama.

"I mean, I respect Aaron a lot," Buccaneers QB Brady told USA Today Sports.

"Aaron's going to make the choices he feels are best for him. Everyone has different dynamics in their work."

With Rodgers absent, second-year QB Jordan Love has been working with the starters at Packers minicamp.

Green Bay's first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft did not play a single snap last season as Rodgers rolled to NFL MVP honours. 

Many speculated the Packers' surprise move to select the young quarterback is at the root of Rodgers' displeasure with the team, something the latter has denied.

Amid the uncertainty, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters there is only one approach, whether it is Rodgers or Love.

 "We'll have one plan," LaFleur said. "We've kind of pretty much laid that out. Just going to fine-tune some things over the next few weeks in terms of the logistics of our schedule and whatnot.

"We've got what we feel is a pretty good blueprint in terms of how to get our guys ready to play.

"Obviously, it is a little bit different this year in terms of the number of preseason games and then you compare it to last year, so you're kind of leaning back on the 2019 season.

"We feel confident with what we'll have in place with the guys. We'll look forward to getting them back July 27."

Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent for the Packers – who lost to eventual Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers.

Rodgers' quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage and the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers is level with Brady, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three MVP honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

The Packers will open their 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints on September 12.

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers joked about his "quiet offseason" amid continued uncertainty of the quarterback's future with the NFL franchise.

Rodgers – who skipped Green Bay's organised team activities (OTA) – is officially a holdout after the NFL MVP's absence as the Packers reported for their mandatory minicamp last week.

The three-time MVP and 37-year-old is pushing to leave the Packers – a team he has represented since 2005, winning a Super Bowl.

Reports of Rodgers' unhappiness first emerged on draft day this year, though Green Bay are unwilling to trade the veteran.

Amid the ongoing speculation, Rodgers showed his sense of humour in a promotional video ahead of the July 6 golf exhibition match, involving Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady.

"It's been one of those quiet offseasons you dream about, where you can kind of just go through your process on your own, quietly," Rodgers said.

"And that's all you can ask for as an older player in the league and someone who's been around for a long time and just enjoys that time to yourself, just relax, to not be bothered, to not have any obligations or anything going on.

"I think that's what this offseason has been about. It's been about really enjoying my time and spending it where I want to spend it, not feeling like I have to go anywhere but still be an NFL player at the same time. It's been great."

Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent for the Packers – who lost to eventual Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers.

Rodgers' quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage and the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers is level with Buccaneers quarterback Brady, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three MVP honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

The Packers will open their 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints on September 12.

T.J. Watt refused to discuss the subject of his contract negotiations with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday as he enters the final year of his rookie deal.

The star edge rusher is set to be a free agent in 2022 and, regardless of whether he remains in Pittsburgh beyond 2021, is primed to receive a lucrative contract following a stellar start to his career.

A first-round pick in 2017, Watt has 49.5 sacks to his name since entering the league, with that tally third behind three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald (57.5) and Chandler Jones (50).

Still only 26, Watt can likely expect a deal in the region of the five-year, $135million extension signed by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa in July last year.

But, as the Steelers continued their preparations for the 2021 campaign with their mandatory minicamp, Watt decided against discussing his talks with Pittsburgh.

"With respect to the process, I'm not going to be talking about any contract stuff today, " Watt told reporters.

Watt missed out on the Defensive Player of the Year award despite a 2020 season that saw him lead the league in sacks with 15. Donald was second with 13.5, though his pressure rate (28.2%) was superior to that of Watt (25.8).

However, Watt is not thinking about being snubbed for that prize.

"I don't think it's driving me. [The] big thing for me is realizing all the plays I didn't make last year," he added. 

"Yeah, there's a lot of good from last year, but there's still a lot to improve on."

Danielle Hunter has reportedly secured favourable new terms with the Minnesota Vikings ahead of attending for mandatory minicamp this week.

NFL Network, having earlier revealed Hunter would report on Tuesday despite his desire for a better deal, outlined the agreement on Monday.

Hunter, who missed the entirety of the 2020 season following neck surgery, will receive $5.6million of the money owed to him in the coming season as a signing bonus.

Crucially, there is then an $18m roster bonus in 2022, meaning the Vikings would have a big call to make, potentially paying $20m to keep him on the team next year.

On the evidence of the past season, though, it might be a price worth paying.

Minnesota gave up 393.3 yards per game in 2020, ranking 27th in the NFL. They had been 14th with 341.6 opponent yards per game the previous year when Hunter started all 16 games.

 

That was the second consecutive season in which Hunter had 14.5 sacks – tied-fourth in the league – while he also had a career-high 22 quarterback hits.

Hunter pressured the passer 95 times, including 88 from the edge – the third-most in that position.

Ifeadi Odenigbo underwhelmed in Hunter's place in 2020, with 3.5 sacks, 15 QB hits and 40 pressures (31 from the edge).

Chris Godwin believes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' continuity in the 2021 season gives them an opportunity to be even better than in last year's Super Bowl-winning campaign.

The Buccaneers won their second Lombardi Trophy in the 2020 season, routing the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV 31-9 as Tom Brady capped his first year in Tampa with his seventh title.

Brady is under contract for two more years and will be 44 by the time the new term gets under way. However, the seemingly ageless quarterback appeared reinvigorated by his switch from the New England Patriots and will again have a stacked roster around him in 2021.

Despite working under the constraints of a salary cap negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bucs kept the core of their roster intact, with wide receiver Godwin retained on the one-year franchise tag.

The Bucs also gave head coach Bruce Arians a pay rise and extended the contract of general manager Jason Licht.

Godwin is poised be a free agent in 2022, but his focus in the more immediate future is on ensuring the Bucs compete to defend their title.

"This offseason, we became the first Super Bowl winner ever to bring back all of our starters, our key subs, our coach and coordinators and our GM," Godwin, guest-authoring Peter King's Football Morning in America column, wrote. 

"We appreciate what the GM, Jason Licht, did bringing us all back to take our best shot.

"No one knows what kind of impact that will have, when you bring all the players back. But I think it's a really good thing because we felt like we hadn't played our best ball, even in the Super Bowl.

"We scored 31 points, but it wasn't a great game for our offense for four quarters. We know we can be better. And I think we will be better.

"Our offseason gives us a really good opportunity to do that. But anybody who comes in saying we're automatically in great position to win again because we brought everyone back? You're lying to yourself. Familiarity guarantees nothing except giving us a good starting point."

Godwin has little doubt in Brady's ability to make the most of his supporting cast, and he expects the NFL's most serial winner to allow no team-mate to rest on their laurels as the season draws near.

"As for Tom, we've thrown a few times this spring. His arm is so live," Godwin added. 

"What I appreciate about him is the ball he throws is so receiver-friendly—the touch, and putting it right where you want it.

"I think, mentally, he has a good feel for the fact that he knows everyone isn't like him. Because he's like, "Okay, on to the next one".

"But he's not forcing his attitude onto anyone. Now, if we get to training camp, and guys keep saying, Remember this and that from last year? Then he'd say something. But I don't see that happening. We know what the mission is."

Russell Wilson said he never requested a trade from the Seattle Seahawks, insisting "I'm here to win it all" as he looks to see out his career with the NFL franchise.

Wilson's future has dominated headlines since his agent told ESPN that the star quarterback would only accept a trade to four teams amid his frustrations.

At the end of last season, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback and eight-time Pro Bowler voiced his frustration over the number of hits he had received and spoke of wanting a greater say in team affairs.

Wilson addressed the speculation and drama regarding his relationship with the Seahawks on Thursday.

"Obviously I love Seattle, I love playing here," Wilson said. "I've had a great career here so far. I've always wanted to play here for my full career obviously.

"I think there was some unfortunate frustrations after the season. Obviously you want to win it all and do it all and do everything you can. I think everybody on our team does.

"You want to win it, and I think unfortunately I think it got a little blown out of proportion a little bit."

Wilson appeared to be in MVP contention as Seattle made a 6-1 start to the 2020 season, but a lack of effective pass protection meant the 32-year-old could not maintain that standard.

The 47 sacks he suffered in the regular season were the third-most among NFL QBs.

Wilson has been sacked on a league-high 394 occasions in his Seahawks career, well clear of Matt Ryan (325) in second on that list.

Wilson's completion percentage of 72.3 fell to 61.6 under pressure in 2020, but this was good enough to rank third in the NFL in these situations – behind Teddy Bridgewater (65.9) and Kirk Cousins (62.2).

"I did not request a trade. I've always wanted to play here, and the reality is, I think calls were getting thrown around, this and that, and I think that's just a reality," Wilson added.

"But I think at the end of the day, the real reality is that I'm here and I'm here to win and I'm here to win it all."

Jordan Love says he will "definitely" be ready to start the season at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers if needed. 

The second-year QB has been working with the starters at Packers minicamp as Aaron Rodgers continues his absence from offseason workouts and seems to be making progress. 

By all accounts, Love had a strong showing at Wednesday's practice, and he told reporters he will be ready if called upon to start the September 12 season opener. 

"A hundred percent," Love said, according to ESPN. "Obviously, this is a time where I'm getting a lot of extremely valuable reps that I might not have been getting in a normal circumstance. So I'm just going to take it day by day. 

"But yeah, that's what I'm here for. I was drafted here to play quarterback, so I'll definitely be ready Week 1."

Green Bay's first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft did not play a single snap last season as Rodgers rolled to NFL MVP honors. 

Many speculated the Packers' surprise move to select the young quarterback is at the root of Rodgers' displeasure with the team, but the veteran has said he has no problems with Love. 

Likewise, Love said his approach to workouts would be the same even if Rodgers was present. 

"My mindset this whole off-season's been to get ready, get myself ready, and that's been my mindset since I got here," Love said.

"Whether Aaron was here or not here, that's going to be my mindset regardless, because I have to get myself ready to play and be able to go out there and take charge of the team and be able to perform at a high level and do my best so everybody else can do their jobs as well and just be able to perform at a high level."

Still, with Rodgers away from the team, Love has inevitably taken center stage and impressed coaches and team-mates alike. 

"He's tapped into it," said receiver Davante Adams. "I see he has a heightened awareness and his focus is definitely off the charts right now.

"I can tell the way he's coming in talking to everybody. I hear him more. Last year I felt like he kind of just blended in. This year I'm starting to feel him, and it's good that he's starting to step into his own, get more comfortable."

While ensuring Love gets as much practice time as he can, head coach Matt LaFleur is trying to keep the pressure off the young QB. 

"It just goes back to kind of taking what's there, and the opportunities presented themselves today for him to take some shots down the field," said LaFleur.

"One emphasis for Jordan is just to treat each play as its own entity. We're always grading the decision-making, the timing, the accuracy and we want to see the consistency just continue to get better and better."

The NFL has launched a process to find a partner city to host regular-season games in Germany.

Regular-season games in London have been a consistent feature of the NFL calendar since 2007 when the New York Giants faced the Miami Dolphins at Wembley, though none were held outside of the United States in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With two games set to be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2021, the tally of games held in the United Kingdom will soon be taken to 30.

The league has also staged four games in Mexico City while the Buffalo Bills previously played a string of regular-season contests in Canada. 

And the NFL is now looking to take regular-season matchups to another of its biggest international markets.

"The International Series has become a highlight of the sporting calendar in the UK, with many fans travelling from Germany to attend," said Brett Gosper, NFL Head of UK and Europe.

"We are very excited about the development of our German fan base, and the time is right to identify a partner who can execute a game at NFL standards as part of our international growth strategy.

"This process is designed to explore potential local partnerships, stadium suitability and game logistics. We need engaged and motivated host partners that span the public sector, venue, sport, community and major event spheres and can help us deliver a high-impact event and a long-term partnership.

"Identifying a preferred host city is a key step in bringing regular-season NFL games to our millions of German fans."

Five preseason games were held in Germany between 1990 and 1994 while the country had five professional teams that competed in NFL Europe before its dissolution after the 2007 season.

The NFL's pursuit of a host city in Germany comes after the league passed a resolution stating that all 32 teams will play internationally at least once every eight years from 2022 onwards.

Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers team-mates Davante Adams and David Bakhtiari threw their support behind the wantaway quarterback but denied any divide as his standoff with the franchise rolls on.

Rodgers has been absent from the Packers' mandatory minicamp, having already skipped organised team activities (OTA) practices last month, as the reigning NVP MVP seeks an exit.

The 37-year-old cast a shadow over the first round of the NFL Draft in April when it was reported he did not wish to return to the Packers.

The saga has drawn out since then, although Rodgers clarified his stance did not relate to the Packers trading up to select his heir apparent, Jordan Love, in last year's draft.

Packers All-Pros Adams and Bakhtiari offered their support for Super Bowl-winning QB Rodgers at the minicamp.

"I've got his back through everything so he knows that, at the end of the day, if there's ever a wonder if he's lost a teammate or something because of all that's come out, he knows where I stand," Adams said.

"I'll stand on the f****** mountain and scream on the mountaintop that I've got his back."

Wide receiver Adams was careful not to criticise the organisation, amid speculation the situation is dividing the franchise.

"I think that any GM [general manager], any president, any owner, they should want the type of guys that are backing their players, especially a player like that," Adams said.

"That's just a good trait to have. It's not like I'm saying, 'Forget the front office,' like I don't respect what they have going on."

Long-time Packers offensive tackle Bakhtiari added: "For me, I care about Aaron Rodgers from a friend perspective. Whatever he wants to do, whatever the situation that comes out, I will never hold any grudge against him. That is my friend. That is someone that I have appreciated, and he has done a lot for this organisation and a lot for me as an individual.

"Now, as a team-mate I would be idiotic to say that I don't want the MVP back. He's the MVP of the league last year. He's done amazing things as from the quarterback perspective, our quarterback position, but not only for the franchise. So absolutely."

In Rodgers' 2020 MVP season, he amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent for the Packers – who lost to eventual Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rodgers' quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

The Packers will commence their 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints on September 12.

Aaron Rodgers was not present as the Green Bay Packers reported for their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, officially making the league MVP a holdout.

Rodgers skipped Green Bay's organised team activities, which began last month, and has seemingly decided to do the same with a phase of the offseason program he is required to attend.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Rodgers did not show up for minicamp, with the stand-off between the star quarterback and the Packers showing no sign of coming to an end.

Rodgers cast a shadow over the first round of the NFL Draft in April when it was reported he did not wish to return to the Packers.

The San Francisco 49ers were said to have spoken to Green Bay about a potential trade for Rodgers before selecting quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick in the draft.

Many believed Rodgers' frustration with the Packers stemmed from them trading up to select his heir apparent, Jordan Love, in the first round of last year's draft.

However, in an interview with ESPN, Rodgers' rejected those claims.

"With my situation, look, it's never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan," he said last month.

"I love Jordan; he's a great kid. [It has been] a lot of fun to work together.

"I love the coaching staff, love my team-mates, love the fan base in Green Bay. [It has been] an incredible 16 years.

"It's just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It's about character, it's about culture, it's about doing things the right way.

"A lot of this was put in motion last year, and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year.

"This is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that. But it is about the people, and that's the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people."

Rodgers' MVP season in 2020 was the third of his Hall of Fame career. He led the NFL in completion percentage (70.7) and passing touchdowns (48) while throwing for 4,299 yards.

He had a well-thrown percentage of 82.4, per Stats Perform data, with only Philip Rivers (84.7) and Ryan Tannehill (82.6) producing an accurate, well-thrown ball more often last season.

Yet the Packers lost in the NFC Championship Game for the second successive season and their quest to go one further, which begins on September 12 against the New Orleans Saints, looks increasingly like it may begin with Love under center rather than Rodgers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly agreed to a revised deal with Super Bowl-winning head coach Bruce Arians to increase his salary while signing general manager Jason Licht to a contract extension.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and The Athletic each reported that Arians will receive a pay rise but no extra years on his contract.

Licht, the Bucs' GM since 2014, will have additional years added to a contract that had been due to run through 2023.

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Arians came out of retirement after a brief spell as a broadcaster to take over the Bucs in 2019.

He led them to a disappointing 7-9 record in his first season but the arrival of Tom Brady last offseason saw Tampa Bay make the leap back to the elite and they clinched their second Lombardi Trophy with a 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV in February.

Having kept the core of that roster intact this offseason despite a salary cap negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bucs are expected to challenge to defend their title.

They begin that defence against the Dallas Cowboys on September 9.

A. J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill are relishing the arrival of Julio Jones after the Tennessee Titans sealed a trade for the star wide receiver.

The Titans sent a 2022 second-round draft pick as well as a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Atlanta Falcons to get Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick in return.

Jones had been connected with a number of NFL franchises after expressing his desire to leave the Falcons – who struggled to a 4-12 record in 2020 – after 10 successful seasons.

He will now team up with Pro Bowler Brown to catch passes from quarterback Tannehill on a Titans team that also contains Offensive Player of the Year running back Derrick Henry.

"I looked at my phone, and my daughter was laying next to me and I jumped out of bed, and said, 'Is this really real?' I kind of woke my daughter up," Brown – who has said Jones has inspired his journey to the NFL – said about the moment he found out a deal had been done.

"I had to calm down for a little bit. When I got the news, it was kind of crazy. My phone started blowing up. 

"I think this is really huge for Tennessee, not just for me, but this is huge for the city, our team. We are glad to have him.

"The city right now is electric, [fans] are pumped to get a guy like Julio Jones on the team. I think the team loves it, guys are reaching out. I think everyone is really pleased with it."

Jones has topped the NFL for receiving yards twice in his career (2015 and 2018), making the Pro Bowl on seven occasions.

While injuries limited him to nine games and 771 yards in 2020 and he turned 32 this year, the Titans hope Jones can still produce elite play that will help them launch a Super Bowl run.

"It is wild," said Tannehill. "I am excited, I am fired up. I didn't know if it was going to happen or not, and was kind of along for the ride like everybody else. My agent called me and said it was going to happen.

"I am excited. How could you not be excited to play for a guy with the calibre of talent Julio is and has been for his whole career? 

"I am excited to get to know him as a person and welcome him to the team."

Titans general manager Jon Robinson insists Jones will play the team game in pursuit of success despite his illustrious individual achievements.

"In my discussion with Julio, what's his number one goal, it wasn't about [receiving] targets, it wasn't about that, his goal is to win," he said.

"That's the mindset we're looking for, whether that's nine targets, whether that's two targets or no targets. Contribute to winning the football game – that's the mindset he has and that's the mindset we have as a football team.

"He's big, he's fast, he's tough, he's great with the ball in his hands, willing blocker. 

"A lot of the things we ask of our receivers, it's get open, catch and block. He certainly checks those boxes and has done it at a high level for a lot of years in the National Football League."

The Titans have had five straight winning seasons, reaching the AFC Championship game in 2019 before going 11-5 to win the AFC South last year, only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wildcard round.

With Jones joining Tannehill, Brown and Henry, hopes are high for a deep postseason run.

"We don't set expectations," added Robinson. "Everybody has a chance to go the distance and win the thing. 

"Ultimately, it's our job to try to put a team out there that's going to be competitive, that's going to play stylistically the way that we want to play and I'm excited about this team."

The Tennessee Titans have agreed trade terms with the Atlanta Falcons for wide receiver and seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones.

Jones signed a three-year contract extension with the Falcons in 2019, reportedly worth $66million.

However, the two-time NFL receiving yards leader, who has called Atlanta home since being drafted sixth in 2011, wil join up with the Titans pending a successful medical. 

The full terms include Tennessee trading their 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to Atlanta in exchange for Jones and a sixth-round pick in 2023.

Jones played in nine games last season after suffering a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of the second half of the campaign as the Falcons (4-12) finished bottom of the NFC South.

The 32-year-old caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.

Since entering the NFL with the Falcons, Jones has led the league in receiving twice (1,871 yards in 2015 and 1,677 yards in 2018) and three times in yards per game (2015, 2016 and 2018).

Overall, Jones has amassed 948 receptions for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns throughout his career.

Aaron Rodgers has divided the Green Bay Packers fan base by attempting to force a move away from his only team.

That was the admission Packers president Mark Murphy made on Saturday as Green Bay continue to attempt to forge a route forward with their veteran quarterback.

Widespread reports of Rodgers' dissatisfaction emerged on draft night, overshadowing much of the event.

Rodgers, selected by the Packers in 2005, was the NFL MVP for the third time in 2020 following a career-high 48 touchdowns.

The 37-year-old also had his highest completion percentage since becoming a starter (70.7) and a passer rating of 121.5 that he only previously surpassed in 2011 (122.5).

Green Bay are understandably keen not to lose the QB, but Rodgers did not attend voluntary organised team activities last month and discussed his unhappiness, although he clarified 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love – his backup – was not the cause of the friction.

"It's about character, it's about culture, it's about doing things the right way," Rodgers told ESPN's SportsCenter.

It has therefore been easy for fans to criticise the team for their part in the fiasco, even if some supporters are unhappy with Rodgers.

"The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base," Murphy wrote on the team's website. "The emails and letters that I've received reflect this fact.

"We remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond.

"We are working to resolve the situation and realise that the less both sides say publicly the better."

Rodgers, who has three years left on his contract and will count for $37.2million against the cap in 2021, ranks 11th all-time for passing yards, although he is only 230 shy of catching John Elway and breaking into the top 10.

Meanwhile, his 412 TDs rank seventh, with Rodgers having thrown more than 1,500 passes fewer than every other QB with over 400 scores.

A touchdown percentage of 6.3 ranks fifth among players with 50 or more games, with Rodgers' next regular season appearance set to be his 198th.

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