As an NFL season goes on, each team will lose important players to injury or other reasons. You don’t want to start the season without a key player.
That’s the reality for a few teams, who are dealing with holdouts, injuries or suspensions. Here’s a list of some of the key players who will miss at least Week 1, and in many cases games beyond the opener:
Kansas City Chiefs DL Chris Jones: It’s rare anymore to see holdouts, given the fines players rack up when they sit out. But Jones is dug in on his demand to be one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history. He has said he’s willing to sit out until Week 8, despite what would be about eight figures in fines.
San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa: Bosa won NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is still on his rookie deal and wants to get a long extension. The team has put a positive spin on negotiations, but it hasn’t happened yet and the 49ers’ best player is still sitting out. There’s still a chance Bosa could report and play in Week 1, but even if he plays it’s hard to believe he could handle his normal workload after a long layoff.
New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara: Kamara got a fairly light three-game suspension over a battery charge from a 2022 fight in Las Vegas. The Saints signed Jamaal Williams and drafted Kendre Miller, so they should be able to get by without Kamara, but the offense will get a boost when Kamara is reinstated.
Detroit Lions WR Jameson Williams: Williams, a 2022 first-round pick, is by far the biggest name that will be suspended to start this season due to violations of the NFL’s gambling policy. Williams has had a very slow start to his career and missing the first six games won’t help.
Dallas Cowboys RB Ronald Jones: Jones was brought in to perhaps provide depth behind Tony Pollard, but he was suspended two games for a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Jones’ future with the team is uncertain.
Jacksonville Jaguars OT Cam Robinson: The Jaguars left tackle was suspended four games for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. That leaves a thin Jacksonville line in front of Trevor Lawrence even thinner to start the season.
Kansas City Chiefs DE Charles Omenihu: Omenihu was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Omenihu signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Chiefs but will miss the first six games of the season.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: Kelce is a late addition to the list. He hurt his knee in practice on Tuesday, and while he reportedly avoided a major injury, his status for Thursday night’s opener against the Detroit Lions is uncertain. It’s not great for the Chiefs, who rely on their future Hall of Fame tight end to be the biggest part of their passing offense.
Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor: The Taylor situation has spiraled out of control. Taylor wanted to get paid, the Colts wouldn’t do it, Taylor requested a trade, the Colts reportedly made unrealistic requests in any trade talks, and Taylor remained on the Colts. He also stayed on the PUP list, and there has been drama over his injury as well. Taylor had ankle surgery after last season, and he will be out at least four weeks. Then who knows what will happen.
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray: Murray is still working back from ACL surgery, with no timetable for his return. The more games the Cardinals lose early in the season, the less reason for Murray to rush back.
Miami Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey: Ramsey needed the meniscus in his knee repaired. The Dolphins’ big offseason accusation will be out until at least December, when Miami will hope he’s returning for a playoff push.
Miami Dolphins RB Jeff Wilson, Jr: Wilson surprisingly went on IR due to multiple injuries. He was supposed to split time teaming up with Raheem Mostert in the Dolphins’ running back committee. Wilson being out leaves the Dolphins pretty thin in the backfield.
Buffalo Bills OLB Von Miller: Miller tore his ACL last Thanksgiving. There was optimism that Miller would be ready Week 1, but he was placed on the PUP list and will miss at least four weeks.
Denver Broncos WR Tim Patrick: Patrick will miss his second straight season due to injury. He tore his Achilles in training camp, which cuts into Denver’s depth at wide receiver.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers C Ryan Jensen: Jensen suffered a knee injury last year in training camp and is still affected by it, leading the Bucs to put him on IR. That’s a blow for a team in transition after Tom Brady’s retirement.