NFL training camp 2020: Sammy Watkins takes less to stay put; officials reach opt-out deal

As 2020 NFL training camps continue, Sammy Watkins agrees to a pay cut to stay with the world champion Chiefs, while officials have until Thursday to opt out of the 2020 season.

Here's what you need to know from camps across the league:

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Top news of the day

Sammy Watkins OK with less money to win with Chiefs
Having spent the first three seasons of his NFL career in what he saw as a hopeless situation with the Buffalo Bills, Sammy Watkins said he had no interest in leaving what he sees as an ideal situation with the Kansas City Chiefs. "Very important to stay,'' said Watkins, the wide receiver who could have forced his way out of the final year of his contract by refusing to accept a reduced salary. Watkins agreed to a restructured deal that will pay him $9 million, down from an original $14 million.

NFL referees who opt out get $30K stipend, guaranteed job in '21

NFL game and replay officials can opt out of the 2020 season in exchange for a $30,000 stipend and a guarantee that their jobs will be protected in 2021, according to a preliminary agreement announced Sunday between the league and the NFL Referees Association amid the coronavirus pandemic. The agreement was approved by the NFLRA board of directors and will advance to a full vote of membership Monday. If approved, officials will have until Thursday to notify the NFL of a decision to opt out.

Washington activates LB Reuben Foster off PUP list
The Washington Football Team activated linebacker Reuben Foster off the physically unable to perform list, less than two weeks after the team resumed work. Foster had suffered a torn lateral collateral ligament plus the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on the first day of organized team activity work in May 2019. He also suffered nerve damage in his foot, which lengthened his recovery period. Foster, claimed off waivers by Washington on Nov. 27, 2018, has yet to play for the organization. San Francisco waived him because of an arrest for misdemeanor domestic violence and the NFL placed him on the commissioner's exempt list for the rest of the season. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges. Foster is expected to challenge for a starting job.

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Quotes of the day

"This is my happy place so why not take a smaller contract and come out and play with the guys I've been playing with?" Sammy Watkins, Chiefs WR on restructuring his deal
"I don't know if I've ever thought about fully owning a team ... but I'm obviously very interested in all sports and being a part of sports even when hopefully a long time from now my sports [playing] days are over." Patrick Mahomes, Royals minority owner

What our NFL Nation reporters saw today

One emphasis for the Packers in camp will be finding offensive consistency after they finished 18th in yards and in the bottom third of the league in third-down percentage. Part of that, coach Matt LaFleur said, is having more carryover plays from week to week. "I think we have a better understanding of who we are, of what our players can do really well," LaFleur said Sunday. "And then it's just striving for that consistency. "We did have a pretty good stretch where we played really consistent football and then it was kind of hit-or-miss from there on out for the rest of the season." Perhaps related is the fact that so far in early workouts LaFleur said the offensive players have focused more on individual work while the defense has done more group work while they ramp up to the first practice on Saturday. -- Rob Demovsky

Just how focused is first-year coach Matt Rhule? A 5.1 magnitude earthquake rocked the Charlotte area on Sunday morning, and he didn't feel it at Bank of America Stadium. Rhule's focus is on getting the Panthers ready to win now despite low expectations nationally for a team that has had two straight losing records. Reminding his staff that it has taken him three years to take past rebuilding programs at Temple and Baylor to championship level, Rhule said on the team's "Road to Restart'' video: "I don't want to wait three years. I want to try to do it right away.'' -- David Newton

Backup QB Joe Flacco is on schedule in his recovery from April neck surgery. This means he should be able to return in mid-September, which the Jets knew when they signed him in May. He may miss a game or two, so David Fales probably will be kept as the primary backup. Flacco received a positive progress report on Saturday while visiting a specialist in Philadelphia, the NFL Network first reported. -- Rich Cimini