Up until this week, the offseason workouts scheduled for teams across the NFL were optional, which means we haven't gotten a firm grasp on what these clubs will look like once Week 1 rolls around in September. However, that changes for nine teams this week as they are set to open up mandatory minicamp. This three-day period brings veterans and rookies together as they continue building a foundation for 2023.
As they do that, there are naturally some notable storylines worth monitoring as everyone gets together on one field. Below, we'll highlight the nine teams that are opening up minicamp this week (for a look at when every team will hold minicamp) and cover one of their bigger storylines.
49ers: The QB carousel
Brock Purdy is in line to be the team's starter in 2023, but the quarterback is recovering from right elbow surgery and has only recently resumed throwing. With that in mind, Purdy likely won't see the lion's share of work at minicamp, thrusting either Trey Lance or Sam Darnold into the primary role, which has been the case throughout OTAs. If Lance can flash the talent that made him the No. 3 overall pick just a few years ago, it'll be interesting how that could set the stage for training camp, especially if Purdy is still not 100%.
Dolphins: Is Dalvin Cook on the way?
Looming over this three-day minicamp for the Dolphins is the potential addition of Dalvin Cook. The star running back is currently still a member of the Minnesota Vikings, but a divorce does seem inevitable judging by the latest reporting. If/when Cook is released, to the 27-year-old. The Dolphins have Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. currently situated as the top two backs along with rookie third-rounder Devon Achane. While seeing how these three perform during minicamp will be interesting as they continue to hammer out a pecking order, Cook could turn the backfield upside down.
Browns: What does Jim Schwartz's defense look like?
Cleveland hired veteran coach Jim Schwartz to be its next defensive coordinator this offseason and it looks like he's reshaping the unit and making it his own. Specifically, Schwartz is implementing a new scheme along the defensive line that will free up players like Myles Garrett to tee off against the opposing quarterback. With Garrett missing a couple of OTAs along with Za'Darius Smtih and Dalvin Tomlinson, getting them in-house to get familiar with this new scheme will be important for Cleveland to hit the ground running later this summer at training camp.
Titans: Can Treylon Burks take a Year 2 leap?
Treylon Burks had an up-and-down rookie season. The wideout was put in a tough position out of the gate after Tennessee traded away A.J. Brown for the first-round pick that would be used on Burks. So, not only was he coming in with first-round expectations, but he was also being asked to replace a Pro Bowl-caliber player in Brown. Burks then dealt with injuries and was limited to 11 games during the regular season and had just 444 receiving yards. With those injury problems behind him and a year of experience under his belt, Burks will look to have a breakout sophomore season in 2023. He reportedly has put together a strong offseason thus far, with reports out of OTAs noting his strong chemistry with Ryan Tannehill.
Raiders: Jimmy Garoppolo's left foot injury
Jimmy Garoppolo underwent left foot surgery after signing with the Raiders earlier this offseason, so he won't be ready to go for minicamp. That now puts either Brian Hoyer, Aidan O'Connell, or Chase Garbers in the driver's seat during this period as the primary quarterback. It's hard to imagine the Raiders finding some offensive identity during this period without their starting quarterback, but it was recently revealed that if this foot injury continues to linger. With that in mind, it may be good for these backups to get some valuable reps.
Cowboys: The tight end room
The Cowboys saw Dalton Schultz leave in free agency this offseason, but have plenty of depth to cushion the blow of his loss. The club drafted Luke Schoonmaker in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Michigan but he has reportedly been dealing with a case of plantar fascia. That has limited him throughout OTAs and could very well limit him during minicamp. With Schoonmaker limited and/or sidelined, Jake Ferguson will likely carry a heavier workload along with Peyton Hendershot and Sean McKeon.
Commanders: Sam Howell ascending to QB1
Not only do the Commanders have a new offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy, but the organization is also getting second-year quarterback Sam Howell up to speed to be the team's starter in 2023. Howell's progression in Bieniemy's offense will be the story to follow at Commanders minicamp and will remain so throughout training camp later this summer. While he is the presumptive starter, head coach Ron Rivera has continued to note that Howell needs to earn the job, which means beating out veteran Jacoby Brissett. Howell has , including wideout Terry McLaurin, but it will be interesting to see how he fares once the competition ramps up in camp. Howell started in Washington's regular-season finale against Dallas and completed 11 of his 19 passes for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 35 yards and a touchdown
Lions: The rookie class
Detroit made waves at the 2023 NFL Draft, particularly on Day 1 and Day 2 when they brought in several players they hope to have an instant impact. First-round running back Jahmyr Gibbs is expected to be a key piece out of the backfield as is fellow first-rounder Jack Campbell on the defensive side at linebacker. The club also selected tight end Sam LaPorta and defensive back Brian Branch in the second round and they are also in line for a sizable role out of the gate so this is a critical integration period with the full roster intact. While all of these rookies will have the spotlight on them, Gibbs takes center stage. He'll be able to show off his dual-threat ability as a pure runner and pass catcher that made Detroit take him No. 12 overall.
The Seahawks had two first-round picks this year and decided to take corner Devon Witherspoon at No. 5 overall and then wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 20. Their progression at minicamp will be worth following as they both were reportedly limited during OTAs with hamstring injuries. It'd be smart for Seattle to ease these two players into minicamp workouts given those injuries, but they'll also need to balance giving them enough time to get acclimated before training camp. The Seahawks are a dark horse in the NFC and if both of these first-rounders can contribute in Year 1, it'll go a long way in their playoff aspirations.