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Sunday NFL Thoughts: Quarterbacks, Injuries, and Officials

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The league only requires officials to attend three practices before the season. This is part of the problem.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Chargers just gave quarterback Philip Rivers a 4-year, $83.25 million contract, with a whopping $65 million guaranteed. Of course, "guaranteed" means nothing until the terms are fully understood. It could entail annual options by the team, where Rivers won't know if he'll receive the money until the first day of the season. Still, $65 million is a record guaranteed amount and it surpasses the 4-year contracts by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, both of which were recently signed and span the same time frame.

Keep these numbers in mind as Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is up for a new contract. He'll be on the receiving end of some combination of greatest total amount and greatest guaranteed amount. Rivers' structure for guarantees will play a major role in how Luck's contract is structured.

2. The Patriots have suffered a rash of injuries early into the preseason, which can lead to a snowballing effect. When players are injured and unable to play, the healthy players are expected to play more snaps in practice and on the field, leading to greater exertion and potential for injury. For whatever reason, four of the most promising young players- Trey Flowers, Darryl Roberts, Eric Martin, and Rufus Johnson- all have gone down with injuries, and James White is already dinged up. There is a long season ahead and these practices and game opportunities that are missed are crucial for the development of young players. Let's hope the injuries can stop and the team can inch closer to full strength.

3. The Patriots double dipped at wide receiver in the 2013 draft with Aaron Dobson (2nd round, 59th overall) and Josh Boyce (4th round, 102nd overall). Needless to say they haven't panned out as expected. Dobson is still hampered by injuries and Josh Boyce didn't step up when the opportunity was presented in the first preseason game. 1st round pick DeAndre Hopkins, who was selected 27th overall and then the Patriots immediately traded down from 29th overall, is on the verge of becoming a bona fide star. 3rd round picks Keenan Allen and Terrance Williams are both quality receivers, and 5th round pick Kenny Still was improving as a threat and was traded from the Saints to the Dolphins. 2nd round pick Robert Woods is a slightly limited number two receiver.

While few players after Boyce panned out, and it was considered a high upside pick, the Dobson pick really hinges on how he performs once he gets back on the field. What was originally lauded as a strong class at wide receiver has fallen short of the accolade.

4.

For how awful the NFL as an entity has handled every single disciplinary action and injury lawsuit, the league is an undeniable juggernaut. No matter what Roger Goodell continues to fail to do, fans will continue to tune in and watch preseason games of undeniably less value than a competing league's finals clincher. One just has to think how much better the league could be perceived with stronger leadership.

5. Apparently officials only have to attend three days of training camp to constitute their practice for the upcoming season. Since officiating is only considered a part-time job, it's unreasonable to expect them to devote more of their limited time to attending camps. In addition to the complete oversight by the officials during the DeflateGate debacle, and all of the missed calls on a weekly basis, the fact that officials will only attend three days of camp highlights the need for the league to consider officials as full-time employees. They need to hire them. They need to protect the product and when officials can have such a large impact on the game, they need to ensure they're game ready.