The same can be said for Matt Ryan, who’s entering the final season of his contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

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McCarron, 27, has four starts in his NFL career: three in the regular season and one in the playoffs. But all of those appearances came at the end of the 2015 season when Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb. McCarron wasn’t called into action at all in 2014 or 2016, and threw just 14 passes in 2017.

The pay difference in a fully guaranteed deal is mostly cosmetic at this point, but the shift in freedom near the end of the contract is a win for players moving forward and could affect future negotiations.

In the NFC North — and really, close to the entire NFL — Rodgers has been the golden standard for quarterback play.

But now he’s the third-highest paid player in his division behind Cousins and Stafford.

A new contract from the Green Bay Packers is likely on the way this offseason and there’s no reason for Rodgers to ask for anything less than what Cousins just received.

Cousins is a quarterback who doesn’t have nearly the career accomplishments of Rodgers or Ryan.

With the new Vikings’ signing setting a new standard, contract negotiations could become much less muddy if the top-tier quarterbacks refuse to settle for anything less than a fully guaranteed deal.

After all, if the Bears were going to lose with Glennon and a lousy supporting cast, anyway, getting Trubisky some much-needed game experience made far more sense in building toward the future.

The Cardinals did not display such foresight at quarterback in the previous four years under then-head coach Bruce Arians. Only one QB, 2014 fourth-round pick Logan Thomas, was drafted in that span even though Arizona knew the clock was ticking on a quickly aging Carson Palmer.

Logan wasn’t just a washout. He isn’t even playing the position anymore, having converted to tight end in salvaging his NFL career with Buffalo.

Arizona’s two backups in 2017, journeymen Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert, also showed no signs of being capable replacements for Palmer when they got to play as the latter ended his career on injured reserve.
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Saints get $3 million cap credit related to Nick Fairley’s contract

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The New Orleans Saints and defensive tackle Nick Fairley have had an ongoing grievance for months, and it appears at least some of the issue has been resolved.

The Saints’ salary cap breakdown for 2018 now includes a $3 million credit related to Fairley, according to a source who’s seen the numbers. ESPN first reported the credit.

Fairley, who had a career year for New Orleans in 2016, signed a four-year deal with the Saints last March, but he never played in 2017 because of a heart condition the team discovered during his physical. Fairley spent all of last season on the non-football illness list, and the Saints released him in February.

While the Saints saw success under Benson, he wasn’t always the most beloved figure in the city. Years before Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in 2005, Benson threatened to move the team if state and local regulators didn’t approve funding for a replacement of what he called the “dingy and depressing” Superdome. He seemed to do the same after Katrina, but instead the team helped drive a resurgence in New Orleans.

The Saints did return to the Superdome, where hundreds of people sought refuge in the aftermath of Katrina, as the Saints agreed to a lease extension through 2025.

Benson was a New Orleans native and attended Loyola University after he served in the Navy. Benson gave $11 million to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the stadium that hosts a preseason NFL game each year, formerly known as Fawcett Stadium, now bears his name.

It’s the kind of trade that would make sense for both teams, assuming the Colts are confident in Andrew Luck’s return from injury. According to the draft’s oft-cited trade value chart, the 12th and 22nd picks score a value of 1980, while Indianapolis’ third pick scores a 2200. Adding third-round picks in 2018 and 2019 (~116 points each) would make that a fair trade in the eyes of front office evaluators.

At the same time, though, Robinson was brilliant while playing with a quarterback who needed him to shoulder much of the workload.

The talent is clearly there, and while Robinson struggled in 2016 before missing virtually all of 2017 with a torn ACL, I’d chalk up the subpar year to quarterback issues.

The Penn State product saw his catch rate drop to 48.3 percent in 2016, but he was thrown 50 “deep” passes (throws 16-plus yards downfield).
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Cleveland’s constantly churning roster continues to add and drop names at a fever pitch.

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The Browns on Thursday traded away veteran cornerback Jason McCourty and a 2018 seventh-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for New England’s 2018 sixth-round pick.

At this point, he profiles as a third-down back with big-play ability, but asking him to run the ball more than five or six times per game is probably too much.

Jerick McKinnon had 12 total touchdowns in four seasons with the Vikings.  Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire It was shocking, then, to see the 49ers give McKinnon a four-year deal for $30 million.

The only running back on a multiyear deal with a larger annual salary than McKinnon is LeSean McCoy.

San Francisco did this last year when it fell in love with Kyle Juszczyk, didn’t trust its ability to mold a fullback, and gave him a deal more than 200 percent larger than any other fullback’s contract.

That judicious approach likely reflects what’s readily apparent about Indianapolis: The roster is dotted with holes, and an overnight solution is unlikely. Even as Andrew Luck works his way back to playing form, the Colts can afford to strike a deal with a quarterback-starved team to move back from No. 3 and still land a top defensive player, such as North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb. And while new Browns GM John Dorsey is already operating with a war chest of picks and might be inclined to cash in, he could have multiple bidders hoping to land the No. 4 selection to jump the Broncos.

Perhaps no prospect gained more from several teams settling for short-term solutions behind center than Jackson. Widely seen as a fringe first rounder a few days ago, the Louisville product now could be in demand among for any franchise that needs a long-term play maker but can afford to keep one on the bench to start next season. The most intriguing landing spot for him would be the Cardinals, who have a tenuous outlook given Bradford’s health.
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Jimmy Graham was Russell Wilson’s go-to target in the red zone last season.

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Now he’ll be catching balls from Aaron Rodgers after reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with the Green Bay Packers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

There was a chance the Seahawks would tag Graham to keep him in the fold for 2018, but they opted to let him hit the market. The price tag for Graham under the franchise tag wasn’t cheap it would have cost Seattle upwards of $15 million for 2018, according to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry.

The tag for tight ends will run teams around $10 million this year, but Graham was already making that. Under the franchise-tag rules, Graham would then have to be paid 120 percent of his salary last season. Because his prorated signing bonus from the Saints in 2014 would have been lumped in for the calculation, it added up to that hefty price. That’s why they let him walk. Now he’ll see what he can do in Green Bay.

CHICAGO The word Jose Abreu uses to describe his role with the young up-and-comers in the White Sox system is papá.

Though he turned just 31 earlier this week, Abreu has become the senior member of the Chicago roster. He made his debut in 2014, and only a handful of his teammates have been there as long.

But as the White Sox enter what GM Rick Hahn called “phase two” of the rebuild and another wave of heralded prospects prepares to debut in 2018, Abreu’s approach with his teammates is a crucial piece of the culture that has helped the rebuild succeed through the first phase. And this culture is especially important when so much of the young talent has come via trade from other organizations. These young players need a papá to teach them the tradition and family culture of south side Chicago baseball.

“I try to help them as much as I can, just to teach them the things that they need to learn,” Abreu told Sporting News. “Be an example for them, teach them respect, and teach them how to do things on and off the field. … I think that’s the most important thing for me, as my role right now with this team.”

The first baseman has a .301 average and 124 home runs in his first four seasons in the majors, so his attitude about where he brings the most value to his team might be surprising. But it’s a microcosm of the culture being built in Chicago’s clubhouse, and this culture of camaraderie is important as the White Sox prepare to navigate the challenges of bringing up more of their cadre of blue-chip players.
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Why the Jets are an ideal landing spot for Teddy Bridgewater

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The Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft with the expectation that he would be a long-term answer at quarterback. A gruesome knee injury changed that, and now Bridgewater will get a fresh start with the Jets when he signs with them as a free agent on Wednesday, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

Bridgewater was one of the more intriguing quarterbacks who hit free agency this offseason. His ceiling is high and he showed promise before the injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of two full seasons. But he only played a handful of snaps last year, leaving plenty of questions about what type of player the Jets are actually getting.

Bridgewater played in just one game for Minnesota and attempted two passes, one of which went incomplete and the other was intercepted. So it’s hard to say just how football-ready he actually is at this point.

In theory. If Bridgewater can return to his 2015 form, then yes. But there’s a lot of uncertainty there until we actually see what he can do in preseason.

Not one Jets receiver surpassed 1,000 yards last year, but Robby Anderson was close, with 941 yards and seven touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse was just behind him with 810 yards and five touchdowns. Devin Smith, the Jets’ second-round pick in 2015, missed all of last season with a torn ACL. But he should be back in 2018.

If Bridgewater is fully healthy and can play at the level he did before his knee injury, it should work out just fine for the Jets. Plus, the Jets can commit to Bridgewater short-term and still draft their quarterback of the future in 2018.

Rodgers should be looking at all these QB contracts, led by those of Garoppolo and Cousins, and knowing he’ll get his relative discount contract double-checked again by the Packers. Martin, the best guard in the league, becomes a free agent in 2019. After what Norwell got, Martin should already hear all that cha-chinging coming out of Jerry Jones’ cash register.

Landry is the game’s ultimate high-volume possession receiver. He’s more of a reliable extension of a running game and short-area scorer than he is a gamebreaker, but he’s very good in his niche role.

Lewis in 2017 was an excellent return man and remained an open-field threat as a receiver, but he also proved he can be a complete runner working between the tackles and handling a good workload. He was a key cog for New England, but that team doesn’t typically spend much to keep backs.
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Well here’s a twist in the Richard-Sherman-to-the-49ers saga.

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According to an account of the negotiations published Monday on Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com, the Seahawks declined a chance to match the contract offer Sherman received from the 49ers, with general manager John Schneider saying the incentives were “a little too rich for me.”

Top draft needs: Outside of a starting quarterback (which should be solved in free agency), this isn’t a roster with many holes. Riley Reiff stepped in and solved the left tackle issue, but right tackle (or guard) is an area to address. Drafting one would allow Minnesota to move Mike Remmers inside. Defensive tackle is another area of potential need, with Sharrif Floyd potentially out of football and Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen about to hit free agency. — McShay

Best prospect fits: Ohio State guard/center Billy Price, UTEP guard Will Hernandez and Texas guard/tackle Connor Williams could fit along the offensive line for Minnesota, which picks near the end of the first round. If the Vikings target a defensive tackle, Florida’s Taven Bryan would work — if he lasts to Minnesota’s pick.– McShay

A Pro Bowler in 2014, Bennett has 433 catches for 4,573 yards and 30 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons with the Patriots, Packers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and the Chicago Bears.

This contract would set new benchmarks for average per year, full guarantee at signing and three-year payout. The Jets, cognizant that it probably will take more than money to lure Cousins, will try to sell their vision for building a championship team.

They have a war chest of salary-cap room for 2018 and 2019, which will allow them to be aggressive in free agency. It also means they won’t have to dump salary; they can keep building what they started last year. They have five of the first 107 picks in the upcoming draft; they haven’t had that many since 2006. They have a bright offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in Jeremy Bates, whose mentor was Cousins’ first NFL coach — Mike Shanahan. It means they speak the same language and see the game the same way.buccaneers_071

Astros prospect Forrest Whitley suspended 50 games for violation of MiLB drug program

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Astros right-handed pitcher Forrest Whitley, the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, has been suspended 50 games without pay for violating the minor-league drug program.

Whitley was the Astros’ first-round pick in 2016 and is coming off of a year in which he struck out 143 batters in 92 1/3 innings across three levels. He finished the year with Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks and struck out 11 batters in six innings while allowing no runs in his debut against the Tulsa Drillers.

Aside Shohei Ohtani, he is the No. 1 right-handed pitching prospect in baseball.

The 20-year-old was not invited to spring training by the Astros, but he was expected to see time with the team in games and possibly even earn a late-season call up.

Whitley is the third Astros’ prospect, along with Dean Deetz and Jonathan Singleton, to be suspended for violations of the minor-league drug prevention program this offseason. Including David Paulino, he is the fourth prospect to be suspended in the last year.

The 24-year-old Sano could be subject to a suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy for allegations made by Betsy Bissen, a photographer for a Twins website, that Minnesota’s All-Star third baseman assaulted her in 2015.

Bissen detailed her encounter with Sano at an autograph signing, saying he recognized her from the games she worked as a photographer. Bissen claimed Sano grabbed her wrist and forced her to accompany him to a nearby store afterward, where he tried to kiss her and get her into a bathroom against her wishes. Despite cries let out during the 10-minute struggle, no one helped her.

“No, he didn’t rape me, but he sure did assault me,” Bissen said. “When I said no, it should have been the end of it. He should have respected that and stopped. Instead he hurt me and kept going.buccaneers_002

Baseball must embrace technology in pitcher-catcher communication

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Back in 1994. 1994!!!

And why did the NFL approve this radical technological idea in 1994? From NFL.com бн

All legitimate, but very solvable, dilemmas. Baseball probably should have done this years ago. But let’s announce it soon and implement it next spring to get everyone used to it for the 2019 season.

It’s about time MLB catches up with the NFL, circa 1994.

And despite that, Taylor couldn’t keep his job in western New York.

But he’ll have a strong chance of starting in the NFL again after getting traded to the Cleveland Browns on Friday for a third-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter .

What does this mean for the Browns? : Taylor now joins a young roster that traded for wide receiverJarvis Landry earlier Friday. Shortly after, the Browns traded last year’s starting quarterback, DeShone Kizer, to the Packers for cornerback Damarious Randall.

The Brows now have a quarterback in Taylor, a few dynamics targets for him (Landry, Josh Gordon, David Njoku), a versatile running back (Duke Johnson), and a sturdy offensive line.

“We’re definitely aware of the email sent out by our baseball coach and the comments he made are in no way a reflection of Texas Wesleyan University, its values or its recruiting practices,” John Veilleux, vice president for marketing and communications for Texas Wesleyan, said at the onset of the investigation, per the Houston Chronicle. “This is a personnel matter and it is currently under investigation. We follow due process here. It is our university policy to not discuss personnel.”

The Giants are ready to spend ?in free agency in order?to upgrade their offensive line, and they?will need to put a stud workhorse behind?that improved run blocking. Barkley will be?a heavy favorite for 2018 offensive rookie of the year?no matter where he goes. seahawks_163_59bfc6d562979b02-180x180

Simpson was asked about removing a glove before taking a knife from Charlie, and continued to say he blacked out.

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Former NFL running back O.J. Simpson detailed how he would have?hypothetically murdered?Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in a never-before-seen 2006 interview. Fox aired that interview Sunday night on a program titled “The Lost Confession.”

The interview was with?book publisher Judith Regan and the it was aired in a??a two-hour special. The special covered several topics, including the night in question. During his?hypothetical confession, Simpson brought up a man named Charlie, and claims after he took a knife from Charlie he blacked out.

This comes off?news that the Jaguars are unlikely to re-sign Allen Robinson . Goedert would be?intriguing if he’s available, but Sutton, a big-bodied receiver with underrated downfield speed, is built to be a direct,?cheap?replacement for Robinson as?Blake Bortles’ go-to guy.

Lynn, like Cobb, was more popular early in the offseason, and seems to have dropped off the radar just a bit. Lynn’s best fits are still in the NL Central, where he enjoyed a successful career with the Cardinals. Returning to St. Louis would be good for both sides, as Lynn is comfortable in the ballpark and the Cardinals still need some rotation depth.

Out of all the remaining pitchers, Lynn might be the most likely to end up in Milwaukee. The Brewers reconstructed their outfield this offseason, but really need at least one more strong arm to realistically make a long postseason run. Lynn could help there.

The catalyst for this current conversation is the pace-of-play changes MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced recently. He held off on implementing a pitch clock, but he did introduce a rule limiting the number of non-pitching-change mound visits to six a game (with one extra visit per each extra inning). This new definition of mound visits includes catchers and infielders who stroll over to the mound; those visits were previously unlimited.seahawks_052_4c5862a69a60bb38-180x180

Tim Duncan recoups $7.5M from former adviser in lawsuit

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Tim Duncan has been repaid $7.5 million of the more than $20 million he claims to have lost in bad investments coaxed by former adviser Charles Banks IV, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

The settlement ends a legal battle that’s lasted nearly two years.

“I wouldn’t say this makes him whole,” said Richard C. Danysh, one of Duncan’s attorneys. “But given the amount of time expended by Mr. Duncan and his lawyers and the courts, the amount of money spent chasing this fellow, and Mr. Banks’ statements that he doesn’t have any (more) money, it seemed like the wise thing to do — bring it to a conclusion.”

It also separates him from Whiteside, whose career-high in assists in a single season is 57. Whereas Whiteside has the reputation of being a ball stopper when he catches the ball in the post and at the elbows, Adebayo’s quick decision-making helps keep the offense flowing.

There are still times when Adebayo forces a tough shot instead of making the right pass, but he’s already reading the floor better than he did at Kentucky. Assuming he still has room to grow, it raises his floor considerably as an offensive player.

The Clippers “clearly believe they can make it onto LeBron James’ free-agent short list come July and, according to league sources, will indeed move DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams before the Feb. 8 trade deadline if they can find workable deals to help them in that quest,” the New York Times reported.

NBA reporter Keith Smith added that the Clippers have a realistic shot at landing James should they be able to shed Jordan’s contract, enough of a shot to make the Lakers — who many believe are the favorites to land LeBron — uncomfortable.

James has a player option on his contract with the Cavaliers at this season’s end, but most NBA observers anticipate him leaving Cleveland, and the Clippers will be among his long list of suitors.

Otherwise, Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski and Mark Giordano each had a goal and an assist, while Sean Monahan and Dougie Hamilton also scored for Calgary.
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