Summer is here, and that means the sports world is getting ready for football season. Another rite of passage building up to the current season is the release of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 19.
While the game itself isn’t available until Aug. 10, player and team ratings began to trickle out over the weekend.
Three players shared the highest rating of 99 including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
According to EA Sports, the Dallas Cowboys have the most elite talent in the NFL. Offensive lineman Zach Martin leads a group of five Dallas players with ratings of 90 or above. Offensive tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and linebacker Sean Lee are the others.
The Philadelphia Eagles had four such players (safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, center Jason Kelce, and EDGE rusher Brandon Graham).
As did the Vikings (safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, EDGE rusher Everson Griffen, and wide receiver Stefon Diggs).
Here is the full list of top players.
The Rams may not be so happy to see Donald rated so highly. The star defensive lineman is looking for a new contract that will pay him close to $20 million per season.
Donald held out of training camp last season in hopes of reaching a contract extension. He didn’t report to the team until the day before Week 1, forcing him to miss the first game. He is not expected to hold out this season, as doing so would make him a restricted free agent, rather than unrestricted, after this season.
Rodgers is returning from a broken collarbone he suffered in Week 6 last season, causing him to miss nine games before returning for the season finale. The Packers depend on Rodgers perhaps more than any team depends on any player in the league. The team went 4-2 in games Rodgers was healthy, but only 3-7 without him (including the game he left early after suffering the injury).
Brown is coming off another fantastic season, posting 101 receptions, 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017. It was his fifth straight season with at least 100 catches, 1,200 yards, and eight touchdowns.
Notable omissions from the list include quarterbacks Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Russell Wilson, 2017 rookie phenom Alvin Kamara and tight end Travis Kelce.
Who else should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments!