1) Deshaun Watson’s impact on the Browns. With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicating last week that the league’s investigation is nearing an end, the expectation is we might know before the Fourth of July if (or for how long) Watson will be suspended following accusations of sexual misconduct contained in 23 civil lawsuits. Minicamp is an opportunity to see how Watson looks in strictly football terms following his year off the field in Houston, and how receiver Amari Cooper fits into the offense.
2) How will the quarterback shuffle play out? The trades of Russell Wilson to Denver and Matt Ryan to Indianapolis were two cataclysmic changes, adding the key missing pieces to what are expected to be a pair of playoff-caliber rosters. Not surprisingly, the rave reviews have poured in about the quarterbacks’ respective work ethics since their arrivals, and watching these two late-career switches play out will be a major storyline all season long. Will Russ finally be allowed to cook? Will Ryan finally play with a worthy defense and offensive line? The other domino that fell: Can Carson Wentz, traded after one season with the Colts, clean up his mistakes, make good use of what might be his last best chance to be a starter and finally give Washington a long-term answer at quarterback?
3) The dawn of a new era in Pittsburgh. It’s been a long time since there was any question about who the Steelers’ starting quarterback would be, which is only one of the reasons this is going to be an intriguing summer in Pittsburgh. Presumably, the first-round draft pick, Kenny Pickett, will eventually be the starter – the only question is how quickly he will be ready to supplant Mitchell Trubisky as the better option. In the space of two offseasons, the Steelers have almost completely remade their offense, and Pickett’s ascendance – particularly because he was the only quarterback chosen in the first round this year – will be closely watched. Do not forget the defense. It’s now being coordinated by Teryl Austin with an assistant from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. One of their first business orders will be replacing defensive line stalwart Stephon Tuitt, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.