Unless something changes in the next few days, Brees (foot) will not have a new contract in place before the Saints kick off training camp, reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Brees, however, has insisted that he will not hold out or skip any practice time, and he fully participated in OTAs and minicamp. Saints' veterans report to training camp in West Virginia on Wednesday.
Brees is entering the last year of his contract, but the Saints appear content to let him play out the year with a whopping salary-cap figure of $30 million. Brees has stated that the unofficial deadline to complete an extension is the start of the regular season. Given that Brees continues to be productive -- he led the NFL in passing for the fourth time in five seasons last year with 4,870 yards in just 15 games played -- it would not be surprising to see the Saints and their franchise quarterback strike a deal prior to September 1.
Ellerbe (undisclosed) said he will be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp in late July, The Times-Picayune reports.
Traded from Miami to New Orleans last year, Ellerbe had 39 tackles (34 solo) in six games, after playing just one game in his final season with the Dolphins. His injury struggles forced him to accept a pay cut in the offseason, even though he could still have a three-down role if he's able to stay healthy. There's been no indication he's dealing with anything serious, but he did miss some practices during OTAs and minicamp while nursing a couple of minor issues. If healthy, Ellerbe will likely join Stephone Anthony and James Laurinaitis in the base defense, but it's unclear which player would get most of the snaps next to Anthony in nickel packages.
Jordan (back) practiced without limitations Thursday, Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Jordan underwent back surgery in February and wasn't expected to rejoin the team until training camp. However, Jordan was much farther ahead in his recovery than expected and was able to return to the practice field in full for the team's OTAs on Thursday. Jordan is coming off a 10-sack Pro Bowl season and with the back injury finally behind him, he'll have the chance to improve on his numbers.
Lewis (hernia) participated in team drills during the Saints' OTAs and should be ready for training camp, The Oregonian reports.
Lewis underwent sports hernia surgery in January, his third time under the knife since last season. Nonetheless, having taken reps in team drills just five months after the surgery bodes well for his availability for training camp. His return to the fold in the Saints' secondary should presumably bolster a unit that ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every major defensive category in 2015, including an NFL-record 45 surrendered touchdown passes.
Steward has been placed on injured reserve due to a back injury suffered in Sunday's win over Houston, BuffaloBills.com reports.
Starter Nigel Bradham may not be able to make it back from his ankle injury this week. If that doesn't happen, the Bills would be down their top two guys at the inside linebacker spot next to Preston Brown.
Williams (hamstring) is competing for snaps at the nickel position in OTAs, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate reports.
Williams lost his entire rookie season after suffering a torn hamstring during training camp last year. Now that he's healthy, the 2015 third rounder will have the chance to show why he was taken so high in the draft. Keenan Lewis (hip) and Delvin Breaux look to have the starting cornerback positions locked down, so Williams will compete with Damian Swann and Kyle Wilson for the nickel role, playing primarily in passing situations. Along with the third corner slot, Williams will likely be one of the team's primary backups, seeing extra time in the event of any injuries to the secondary during the season.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Benjamin (knee) to be ready for the start of training camp in late July, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.
Now 10 months removed from tearing an ACL, Benjamin has stated on multiple occasions that he expects to be ready for the beginning of camp. He was a limited participant throughout OTAs and minicamp, only taking part in individual drills. Benjamin should be ready to practice with his teammates by late July -- at which point he'll likely step right back in as the No. 1 wide receiver, leading a group that includes Ted Ginn, Devin Funchess and Philly Brown.
Brown underwent offseason shoulder surgery, the Charlotte Observe reports.
Brown tended to shoulder concerns in both 2014 and 2015, with the latter forcing back-to-back absences in Weeks 11 and 12. Otherwise, he picked up some of the slack in a receiving corps without top option Kelvin Benjamin, hauling in 31 passes (on 54 targets) for 447 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season. Brown impressed during the Panthers' playoff run, including a four-catch, 113-yard, one-touchdown performance in the NFC championship game, but his departure from the Super Bowl due to a concussion bogged down an offense that found difficulty making inroads against a staunch Broncos defense. Alas, the return of Benjamin should push Brown back to the slot, where he'll look to improve upon a career 57.8% catch rate.
Davis' broken arm is healing well, ESPN.com reports.
Davis broke his right forearm during the Panthers' NFC Championship victory, but had surgery the next day and played through the subsequent pain just two weeks later in the Super Bowl. While Davis still has a metal plate in his arm and is unable to lift weights at the moment, he's been progressing well in his recovery, which has seen the pain in his arm subside. Although Davis still has to temper his offseason preparations, it appears he's on track to make a full recovery ahead of training camp.
Benwikere (lower leg) is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.
Benwikere suffered a lower leg fracture in December, forcing him to miss the final three games of the regular season. He was most recently seen doing some sled pushing on Thursday during a rehab session, which indicates Benwikere has taken the next step in his recovery. While the PUP list is an option to the start the year if he sees any setbacks, Benwikere doesn't expect to take that route and he should be good to go by the start of training camp at the end up July. He'll look to solidify a starter's role after receiving four straight starts prior to the injury.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Kuechly (shoulder) to be ready for the start of training camp in late July, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.
Kuechly suffered a partial labrum tear in Week 17 last season, yet still managed to record 29 tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, four passes defensed and two interceptions (both returned for TDs) in three playoff games. He had offseason surgery and was thus limited to team drills during OTAs and minicamp, but his availability for training camp has never been in much question. Still only 25, Kuechly will look to get back north of 150 tackles after a concussion cost him three games last year.