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When it comes to showing up for voluntary portions of the NFL offseason program, the reality is that not all situations are equal.
When Robert Quinn didn’t show up to OTAs last year — or even mandatory veteran minicamp for that matter — no one really blinked an eye. Quinn was a veteran player with one job: go get the quarterback. He also clearly wasn’t in the Bears’ long term plans.
On the other hand, cornerback Jaylon Johnson not being at OTAs this year matters — at least on the surface. He’s a good, young player entering a contract year. It suggests a holdout could be a possibility.
Or maybe not.
Bears defensive passing game coordinator Jon Hoke told CHGO Wednesday that Johnson — who lives elsewhere with his family in the offseason — has been involved in meetings via Zoom and watches the team’s practice film, sometimes texting Hoke with questions.
That doesn’t exactly sound like a holdout.
“I think he’ll be here sooner than later,” Hoke said.
Meanwhile, new right guard Nate Davis not being at OTAs is an interesting one. Newly signed players typically show up to get acclimated to their new teams and schemes. But as Cody Whitehair pointed out, Davis has plenty of experience in this scheme having played his first four seasons in Tennessee.
You can probably live without your right guard at OTAs. It’s not like he’s your quarterback. Imagine being in Baltimore when Lamar Jackson — fresh off a new contract that made him the highest-paid player in NFL history — didn’t show up to the first day of OTAs. With the Ravens installing a new offense, that was a head scratcher. The Ravens weren’t happy, but Jackson showed up the next day.
Even Aaron Rodgers is at Jets OTAs. Rodgers didn’t attend Packers OTAs the last two seasons, and despite defending that decision in a story via The Athletic this week, it stands to reason that Green Bay’s young group of receivers may have developed faster last season had their quarterback been around in the offseason.
So yes, OTAs are “voluntary.”
But that doesn’t mean that all absences are viewed equally.
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