Month: March 2018

Is AJ McCarron even good?

AJ McCarron’s path to unrestricted free agency was far from conventional, but it will likely be a venture for the quarterback that ends up with a chance to compete for a starting role.

Oakland’s signing of Martin, also known as the “Muscle Hamster” due to his 5-foot-9, 223-pound frame, is intriguing.

Martin has been a lead back his entire six-year NFL career, and returning Raiders coach Jon Gruden has said he looks forward to coaching Marshawn Lynch, who is due a $1 million roster bonus on Sunday.

Lynch posted a cryptic tweet on Wednesday.

Still, Gruden could be trying to replicate the Thunder and Lightning backfield from his first tenure as Raiders coach, with Lynch and Martin playing the roles of Tyrone Wheatley and Napoleon Kaufman.

Or Martin could be the Raiders’ new lead back.

Martin, who was born in Oakland and grew up in Stockton, California, told reporters Thursday, “This is my homecoming.” He said that he met Lynch after his rookie year at the Pro Bowl and “can’t wait to pick his brain and watch him and see how he plays the game and practices and all that.” Martin said he will accept whatever role the Raiders need him to play and called Lynch “a great back.” “He’s definitely made his mark in the league.

Based upon the staggering $114 million Bradford has earned in eight previous NFL seasons, Arizona now joins the Rams, Eagles and Vikings as teams who spent big bucks believing he could be a bona fide franchise QB.

There were flashes. Those three clubs saw the prototype size (6-4, 222 pounds), good arm strength and accuracy that helped Bradford dink-and-dunk his way to a then-NFL record 71.6 completion percentage with Minnesota in 2016.

“We have definitely moved on to a different and perhaps more difficult stage of this whole process. We’re thrilled in the amount of progress we’ve made in the last year, in the talent and even the camaraderie that these players have shown,” Hahn said.

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Redskins re-sign Pro Bowl LB Zach Brown

After losing multiple key contributors on both sides of the ball, the Washington Redskins are keeping one of their own. According to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, the Skins have re-signed former Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Brown.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the deal is said to be worth up to $24 million for three seasons.

The former 49er becomes the Browns’ lead back (for now), joining QB Tyrod Taylor in a new-look backfield. However both players could be bridge and/or backup options if GM John Dorsey is able to get Saquon Barkley and/or a rookie quarterback with his pair of top-five draft selections.

Jerick McKinnon agrees to a four-year, $30 million deal with the 49ers.

The Vikings’ third-down back now likely assumes the same role in San Francisco and may get the bigger role he covets given Hyde is on his way out of town. The Niners currently have no clear-cut starter, but Kyle Shanahan tends to employ multiple backs.?

The Lions drafted Whitehead in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Temple. The Lions have added linebackers Devon Kennard and Christian Jones in free agency, making Whitehead expendable.

The addition of Whitehead would be the first on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders this offseason.

Ninety-five percent of the questions have been football-related with me, or about his personality, Riley says.

Responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, protections, the stuff that’s tough to pick up on film. Communication in the meeting room, installing new plays.

I haven’t been asked a whole lot about the off-the-field stuff. They asked how he handled that stuff behind the scenes. I think they’re interested in the aftermath, when he did have a mistake, how did he handle it and how was it received by the team.

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The 30-year-old was due to count $7.7 million against the 2018 salary cap.

Once the Raiders brought in former Packers Pro Bowler Jordy Nelson for a Wednesday night visit, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Crabtree’s roster spot was in jeopardy. Nelson promptly signed a two-year deal Thursday afternoon, leading to Crabtree’s release.

Going back to December, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has repeatedly questioned Crabtree’s staying power, citing locker-room issues.

LB Nigel Bradham, Eagles Grade: C Do the Eagles have to let anyone leave after all? It seemed like Bradham was one of the few concessions Philly would have to make to the realities of the salary cap this offseason, but after the Eagles let Bradham hit the market, they were able to bring him back on a whopper of a deal.

The former Bills starter, whom the Eagles signed to a two-year, $7 million deal two seasons ago after hiring former Buffalo defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, signed a five-year, $40 million deal to stick around in Philadelphia.

That amount of money — $8 million per year — is certainly at the high end of the market for linebackers who don’t rush the quarterback.

The 25-year-old caught 50 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns for the Jets?last season. He stands at 6-6 and weighs in at 262 pounds.??

Seferian-Jenkins was taken in the second round by the Buccaneers in 2014. Tampa Bay cut Seferian-Jenkins in 2016 after he was charged with DUI.

OT Nate Solder is signing with the Giants, per multiple reports.

Analysis: The exodus from New England continues as Big Blue finally reshapes its offensive line. After missing out on Andrew Norwell and watching Weston Richburg depart, the Giants had to make a splash up front. Reports indicate Solder will be the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL now, a reflection of how badly New York needed to address the position after years of struggles with Erick Flowers. The Patriots meanwhile, lose another piece but have shown the ability to find the next man up. – Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

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His latest deal will far outpace the two-year, $2.6 million contract he’d signed with the Patriots prior to the 2016 season.

That low-risk gamble paid off. Though injuries limited him to just 14 regular-season games in his first two seasons in Foxborough, Lewis’s role as a dynamic threat out of the backfield helped keep New England atop the NFL hierarchy. He played his first 16-game season in 2017, setting career highs in rushing yards (896) and total touchdowns (nine) while upping his asking price as free agency loomed.

His absence will sting for the Patriots, who watched him grow from a lottery ticket into one of the game’s biggest bargains while pushing the team to Super Bowl 52 this winter.

The Titans parted ways with one-time rushing leader DeMarco Murray, but have power back Derrick Henry to compliment Lewis. Henry has a ton of upside, and pairing him with a shifty, versatile back like Lewis could make for a potent combination.

Marcus Mariota will be more than happy to have a back like Lewis, who can catch as well as he runs. Mariota’s quick release and Lewis’ twitchy running should give opposing defenses nightmares, especially if they’re already hurting from running into Henry over and over again.

What makes Lewis worth a four-year deal?

Formerly worked as analyst at CNBC Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print comment Nike president Trevor Edwards has resigned and will retire in August, the brand announced Thursday, moments after Nike sent out a company-wide email to its employees alluding to workplace behavior issues.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve become aware of reports occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment at a time when we are accelerating our transition to the next stage of growth and advance of our culture,” Nike CEO and chairman Mark Parker said in the internal communication obtained by ESPN.

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NFL free agency: Kirk Cousins a risk worth taking for Vikings, Rick Spielman

It took an $84 million fishing expedition, but Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has finally harpooned his white whale.

The Bucs have plenty of cap room, and their deals are almost always two-year contracts with what amounts to team options tacked on, but it’s hard to believe they’ll use Brate frequently enough to justify this sort of outlay.

The Harvard product finished his first full season in 2017 and still played only about 55 percent of Tampa Bay’s snaps in 2017.

The Bucs will point to his success in the red zone with Jameis Winston under center, but red zone performance is wildly inconsistent from year to year.

We’re still waiting to see the exact structure of this deal, but it’s entirely possible we’re looking at a top-five tight end contract over two and three years for a player who might not even be the best tight end on his own roster.

This feels a lot like Tampa Bay paying for the player it wants Brate to be as opposed to a realistic evaluation of his play.

There’s so much free-agent depth right now that we could probably split them into two petty good squads. Martinez, Neil Walker, Carlos Gonzalez and John Jay would anchor the NL lineup, with Hosmer, Moustakas, Morrison, Carlos Gomez and Eduardo Nunez in the AL. Arrieta, Lynn and Greg Holland would anchor the NL pitching staff, with Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Doug Fister and Jaime Garcia pitching for the AL.

Various publications put out team and player predictions and various other rankings around now, but the way the offseason has progressed, taking rankings and projections like PECOTA seriously at this point is foolish. There’s so much “offseason” activity left that one or two impact moves for a team could dramatically affect where it ends up in the 2018 standings. There’s never been a baseball offseason that’s been more incomplete after being nominally completed.

Unless a team gave Watt $20 million up front for the 2018 season, the star defensive end would have looked back longingly at that long-term deal he passed up after 2013.

Kirk Cousins will make $28 million per year — all guaranteed — in Minnesota.? Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports None of that is to say that what Cousins is doing is wrong, or that players should take the first guaranteed deal they’re offered by any team.

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The NFL legal tampering period has begun and Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are now the busiest men on Twitter.

Rapoport, of NFL.com, recently tweeted that he is getting the sense that the Eagles do not want to trade Nick Foles.

It’s easy to see what the tea leaves say about Drew Brees and the possibility that a future Hall of Fame quarterback actually hits the open market when free agency formally opens Wednesday in the NFL.

How likely are the Cardinals to draft a QB? 90 percent. The draft’s quarterback class is deep enough to give the Cardinals options at No. 15 or make it enticing enough to move up into the top of the first round. If they can’t land their top option, they’ll likely draft a quarterback in the second or third round. If they don’t draft one, it’s because they’re happy with whomever they signed in free agency and think he is the long-term answer. — Weinfuss

Top draft needs: If the Cardinals miss out on Cousins (and can’t pull off a trade for Nick Foles), they should look for an affordable veteran such as Sam Bradford or AJ McCarron. Even if they sign one, don’t be surprised if Arizona makes a jump up from No. 15 like Houston or Kansas City did last year to grab a QB in Round 1. Arizona needs a starting cornerback, help along the offensive line and another starting wide receiver opposite Fitzgerald, as both Jaron Brown and John Brown are free agents. — McShay

So, in theory, he could choose to take less money to return to a team and scheme he’s comfortable with on a one-year deal. If he stays healthy and demonstrates the Achilles injury is nothing to worry about, he can hit free agency with a higher stock a year from now.

But that seems like an unlikely scenario mainly because the idea that Sherman needs to take a one-year, prove-it deal to rebuild his value isn’t totally realistic. Sure, Sherman is coming off a torn Achilles and will turn 30 later this month, both of which will undoubtedly lower his value, but it’s not like Sherman has morphed into a subpar cornerback who is coasting off his name and reputation alone.

He’s still really damn good, though he’s no longer the league’s top cornerback. He’s more than just a name. He allowed a 75.5 passer rating in coverage last year, a 68.4 passer rating in 2016, and a 67.6 passer rating in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus. Those are legit CB1 numbers, which Sherman, who is acting as his own agent, is well aware of.

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Why the Phillies could make a surprising playoff run in 2018

The breadth and volume of a baseball season causes a lot of leveling, for individual players and teams alike, but it also creates opportunity for a few surprises.

Sometimes it’s one guy who steps forward, like Chris Taylor for the Dodgers last season, and sometimes it’s a team that reaches the postseason just a year removed from an abysmal finish, like the Twins reaching the wild-card game last season after losing 103 games in 2016.

Let’s say that a shortstop makes a play on that ball about 25 percent of the time. If Andrelton Simmons can’t make a play on that ball, he receives -.25 credit. If he makes the play, he receives .75 — essentially, the credit for making the play versus missing the play, leaving out the expectation that a player would make the play.

DRS then looks at how many bases batters go for on the play. If Simmons misplays it and allows the runner to go to second, then Simmons is charged with -.25 times two bases, or -.50 bases allowed on the play. If he made the play, and on those types of batted balls runners received 1.25 bases on average, Simmons receives credit for .75 times 1.25, or .9375 bases saved.

According to multiple reports, the former Giants and Angels pitcher is signing with the Rangers.

Texas had a lot of trouble with their closers in 2017, so there is certainly a possibility of him stepping in and giving the role a shot.

The 33-year-old did not pitch in MLB in 2017 and threw just 38 1/3 innings in 2016 with the Angels. He has made just eight appearances out of the bullpen in MLB.

Miami’s large adult son is the clear leader for the first base job. Bour was limited to just 108 games and a trip to the Home Run Derby last year, but he very quietly hit a wonderful .289/.366/.536 and is going to be the most important bat on this team (that’s not a good thing). Whether he’s able to replicate that level of production remains to be seen.

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Trimmer Hanley Ramirez says he wants 30-30 season, but that’s a super long shot

Welcome to spring training, where everything’s made up and the runs don’t matter.

It’s that magical time of the year when baseball seeps back into the world, when our timelines are filled with grainy photos and videos of players in t-shirts and shorts jogging on the warning track and playing catch.

Hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. Do it at age 34 after your speed has been fading away for years. Commit yourself to a new diet and new workout regimen to make it happen after your team signs a couple of players to eat away at plate appearances that used to be yours. Make the All-Star team. Get some down-ballot MVP votes. Revitalize your career.

It’s not a good thing to bet on. It’s almost certainly not going to happen.

Crazy goals can be a good thing to have, so good for Ramirez for getting in shape and giving himself a puncher’s chance.

The game of musical chairs among NFL game announcers has sped up in recent days. On Friday, Richard Deitsch of? Sports Illustratedreported ESPN was reassigning “MNF” play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough back to college football after two disappointing?seasons in the booth with Jon Gruden.

With Gruden now the head coach of the Raiders, ESPN will have to cast a new team in the booth to join sideline reporter Lisa Salters. The Post reported?Joe Tessitore will become the new “MNF” play-by-play announcer, but ESPN declined to comment. If Witten is interested in TV, a source said ESPN would love to talk to him.

The Lions are keeping Ezekiel Ansah with the franchise tag, but they still need to upgrade the edge pass rush for new coach Matt Patricia and coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. Davenport could have the same situational impact as the Eagles’ Derek Barnett did as a rookie.

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Despite the setback, Hernandez’s status has been listed as day-to-day after X-rays came back negative.

Thomas still hasn’t publicly announced whether he’ll play in 2018, but Friday’s flurry of trades by the Browns , which included deals to acquire Jarvis Landry and Damarious Randall , might have been enough for general manager John Dorsey ensure his top QB protector will be back. While Thomas wants to make his decision before free agency begins Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that Thomas is already preparing to play next season .

Although Thomas has certainly earned the right to walk away after a Hall of Fame-caliber career in the trenches, it appears less and less likely he’ll have to endure another winless or one-win season in the Dawg Pound. If the body that carried him through 10,363 consecutive snaps is up to the task, Thomas could very well be back on field in 2018.

The Yankees were linked, but they traded with the Diamondbacks for Brandon Drury — a cheaper option. The Royals were interested in re-signing him until Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer left, leaving them in a full rebuilding mode. With most contending teams set at third base, Moustakas finds himself in an odd situation. He may have to settle for a short-term deal with the likes of Minnesota or the White Sox and hope for better in a year or two.

Hernandez left Monday’s game against Chicago after being struck in the pitching arm by a line drive. He exited with one out in the bottom of the second after being hit by a comebacker off the bat of Cubs catcher Victor Caratini. Hernandez appeared in considerable pain as trainers checked him before he left the field.

Hernandez, 31, pitched just 86? innings over 16 starts last season. The 2010 Cy Young Award winner has been hampered by injuries and dealt with two stints on the disabled list in 2017 due to right shoulder inflammation and right shoulder bursitis.

Translation: “No one has sucker-punched anyone else in the clubhouse — yet.”

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LeBron James congratulates himself on Instagram for reaching 30k points

Amid controversy surrounding the Cavaliers’ reported discord in the locker room, LeBron James led them to a 115-108 win over the Pacers Friday by recording his eighth triple-double of the season.

James scored 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while also dishing out 11 assists and hauling in 10 rebounds. James also had 11 turnovers, a shocking amount for the star forward, but he was vindicated by his strong overall performance.

James’ eight triple-doubles are already his second-most in a season in his 15-year career. It’s also the most he’s ever had before the All-Star break. James’ career high for triple-doubles is 13, done last season.

Kevin Love, who was singled out as a target by players in the locker room, scored 10 points with 13 rebounds in 33 minutes. Love has already said he will not ask for a trade, and coach Tyronn Lue remained faithful to his forward by keeping him in the starting lineup amid the shakeup.

All-Star Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He has scored at least 20 points in all but four games this month.

The Cavs entered the game losers in six of seven games, but they got back on track to remain third in the Eastern Conference standings, six games behind the Celtics.

Clippers guard Lou Williams added fire to the trade rumors swirling around his name by scoring 40 points with 10 assists and four steals off the bench in a 109-100 road win over the Grizzlies.

The Raptors lost 97-93 at home to the Jazz, but center Jonas Valanciunas scored 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting with 14 rebounds. Valanciunas now has four double-doubles in his last five games.

The Nets starting lineup produced just 45 points in a 116-91 loss to the Bucks. DeMarre Carroll scored 14 points, and Allen Crabbe added 13, but the rest of the starting lineup struggled to get anything going. Breakout star Spencer Dinwiddie scored just nine points on 1-of-6 shooting.

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