Rams have plenty of cap space in 2019, and they’ll need it

The Rams are building a team designed to go for broke in 2018, with the offseason acquisitions of players like Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. But can they afford to keep all of those players in 2019?

The good news is, the Rams are in great salary cap shape for 2019: According to Spotrac.com, the Rams have $81 million in 2019 cap space, the second-most of any team in the NFL.

The bad news is, the Rams are going to need every penny of that cap space in 2019 to keep their top players in Los Angeles.

Peters, as the Chiefs’ 2015 first-round draft pick, has an affordable salary of $1.7 million this year. But that salary will skyrocket to $9.5 million when the Rams pick up his fifth-year option for 2019. Ditto for the Rams’ own 2015 first-round pick, Todd Gurley, who whose salary likewise skyrockets from $2.3 million this year to $9.6 million next year.

Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner is on the franchise tag this year, which means he’s not under contract in 2019, which means the Rams are either going to lose him or pay him a whole lot of money a year from now.

After a full medical evaluation, it became clear that Cravens was dealing with head trauma.

“The Redskins brought me in, they told me they wanted me to get checked out, make sure I was all right,” Cravens said. “I go to a doctor and he tells me I’m going through something I didn’t even know I was going through. He said this is the reason why you feel this way and you’re in no condition to be making these decisions because of this and I guarantee if you rehab and get yourself better, you won’t be feeling this way.

“Once I got cleared in December, it was like I was a completely different person. Looking back at myself I’m thinking, that’s crazy. I thought I was just messed up but come to find out, I was going through something I wasn’t even aware of.’’

His former team wasn’t willing to wait for Cravens to get healthy; Washington placed him on the reserve/left squad list before Cravens could return from a four-week leave. His new team wanted him, obviously. And Cravens is now preparing to make an impact on the Broncos defense; he says that he’ll play strong safety in the base package and linebacker in third-down packages.buccaneers_044

New catch rule passes unanimously

The NFL’s owners voted 32-0 to approve a new catch rule, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

But when we look ahead to 2018 and the uptick in snaps McKinley should see after defensive end Adrian Clayborn left in free agency, I expect the former UCLA star to elevate his game as a pass-rusher with more technique at the point of attack.

For the majority of edge rushers in the league, that developmental jump comes in their second seasons. With tape to study, and game reps to lean on as teaching tools, this is when we see real growth in counter moves and the ability to set up offensive tackles. McKinley already has displayed the burst to get off the ball — and his motor never stops. Now, add in the core fundamentals to pair with that 4.59-second 40 speed on the edge Look out. McKinley is in a spot to boost his profile as one of the top young edge defenders in the NFL.

Butler, entering his sixth NFL season, played the past three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and totaled 43 catches for 794 yards and six touchdowns while serving mostly as the No. 4 receiver behind Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.

Butler was selected by Oakland in the seventh round out of San Diego State in the 2013 draft and played his first two seasons with the Raiders.

Overall, the 28-year-old receiver has appeared in 61 games, with 73 catches for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns.

When free agency opened, the Chiefs surprisingly paid a premium price to land wide receiver Sammy Watkins. But when we look at the Kansas City offensive system under coach Andy Reid, Watkins is yet another weapon — in an offense loaded at the skill positions — to build around Mahomes. And the young quarterback brings the big-time arm, the ability to make off-schedule plays and the movement skills that mesh with Reid’s playcalling.patriots_089

Oakland considers suing NFL, Raiders over relocation

It will be fitting if the final year or two of the Raiders’ existence in Oakland occurs under the murky cloud of the thing that late owner Al Davis loved so much: Litigation.

As explained by the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland and Alameda County officials are considering filing an antitrust lawsuit against the league and the Raiders over the looming relocation of the team to Las Vegas.

Mauro, who was released by the Cardinals last Friday, started seven games in 2017 and made 22 tackles, including one sack.

Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.Nen time right?Watson was steady not spectacular as Pittsburgh slowly faded from contention, finishing with 15 saves and allowed a career-high 10 home runs 70 appearances.

I wish they were more influential.

Sometimes, they warm without coming.He attributed the hacking of a 2015 to faulty software.

Now no one knows yet whether Gettleman intends to trade or re-sign Beckham, 25, who wants a mega-deal that matches his incredible talent. But by trading Pierre-Paul, Gettleman has brought himself to a crossroads:

He is now at the juncture where he must decide to pay Odell — and he freed up cap space to do that with the JPP move — or trade him to a team that will.

The main thing I want to emphasize when you talk about these guys, it’s a starting point.Did he have his yet?Part of the reason Segura was Fantasy MVP is because nobody saw his 2016 coming, and though the explanation for it has some credibility and his track record makes it not completely isolated event, investing him, whether real life or Fantasy, is a risky proposition.If the Rockies decide to move CarGo or Blackmon this, we be seeing Dahl as the replacement.

At 8 a block by Tariq Owens led to a Ponds fade away jumper and the Johnnies were down by one.If Escobar does regress, expect him to be ousted from his starting position by July.Alvarez is still quite, and he turn 27 years old mid-.49ers_127

Let’s talk with theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett about the nature and perception of time.

We’re here learning about time itself.

In a way, there are actually really two broad perspectives on time: One is the physical, the other is psychological, Mallett says. By the physical, what I mean is the perspective that physics has on it, which is independent of us.

James added that roughly half of the championship teams during his career thus far — six out of 14 — have come from the supposedly weaker East.

I’ve been a part of the Eastern Conference my whole career and we’ve been very, very competitive, James said. There’s been years where we weren’t as good. If I can think from once I got into the league, it’s been us, I’ve done it three times, Detroit, Boston, Miami in ’06, that’s like [six] championships out of 14 years. That’s [about] half, right? So what are we talking about?

An NBA-record seven teams are at least 20 games below .500 at the All-Star break. And those seven teams will face one another a combined 17 more times, which is when we may learn the true depths of this year’s tanking.

Not only do the current standings have an unprecedented logjam at the bottom, but many experts anticipate a loaded NBA draft, assuming certain underclassmen declare.

“You can probably get five franchise-changing players this year,” ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose told host Bob Ley on Outside the Lines this week. “[Tanking is] almost worth it for those teams.”

Hornacek will likely use some combination of Ntilikina, Burke and Mudiay regularly in the backcourt.

After averaging 19.2 PPG, 17.4 FGA and 3.3 FTA in January, Andrew Wiggins has averaged just 12.9 PPG, 12.7 FGA and 1.4 FTA in seven games this month. What is the likelihood he returns to his January-level production?49ers_077

Murray’s 38 points lead Nuggets over Trail Blazers 104-101

Nuggets: Murray’s previous career high was 32 points. … F Wilson Chandler came off the bench after starting all 42 games in which he had played this season. … F Kenneth Faried was inactive with left ankle soreness.

Denver caught a break when the officials reversed themselves and decided to review a ruling that the Nuggets knocked the ball out of Lillard’s hands with 9.2 seconds left.

Tennessee (14-5, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) earned its fifth win in six games and withstood a brilliant performance from Vanderbilt’s Riley LaChance, who scored all of his 25 points in the second half as the Commodores got to within two in the closing minutes.

Bowden is shooting 53.8 percent (35 of 65) from 3-point range this season. His efficient night came after he had just two points in a loss at Missouri and went scoreless in a victory at South Carolina last week.

“It’s tough for me,” Middleton said. “He took my game to another level. He took this team to a whole other level. Today was a tough day.”

Assistant Joe Prunty was promoted to replace Kidd for the rest of the year. After a slow start, the Bucks heeded the new coach’s call to focus.

The sharpshooting Middleton couldn’t miss in the final minute.

Brogdon had a steal with 40 seconds left after the Bucks double-teamed guard Devin Booker in the backcourt. Brogdon lobbed a cross-court pass to Middleton, who hit a jumper from the left corner with 24 seconds left for a 105-100 lead.

Told that teammate Al Horford had suggested that the Celtics need to play like “we’re fighting for our lives right now,” Irving downplayed Boston’s first three-game losing streak of the season.
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Redskins’ uniforms vs. Cowboys still a mystery

“That would put us on edge, put us on go,” he said. “You feel good, look good, you play good. … We’ve been trying to bring that all-burgundy back for a minute now, you know what I mean? I’d love if they let us decide to play in ’em.”

“The Committee is continuing its work towards finalizing a contract extension with the Commissioner, consistent with the mandate provided in the unanimous May 2017 Resolution. Regardless of what may have been reported, the Committee is working within the financial parameters outlined to the ownership at the May meeting. The negotiations are progressing and we will keep ownership apprised of the negotiations as they move forward. We do not intend to publicly comment on our discussions.”

A unanimous 32-0 vote by owners in May authorized the six-member compensation committee to finalize and approve the extension for Goodell, and normally that would be the only vote needed.

The Vikings’ offensive line was down two starters against the Panthers as Minnesota, looking to clinch a playoff spot in Week 14, lost 31-24.

Minnesota was also without starting right tackle Mike Remmers for a fifth straight game. Remmers went down with a concussion against Cleveland and was in the league’s concussion protocol until Week 12. He then sustained a lower-back injury during the week of practice for Atlanta and has not practiced since Nov. 29.

Nick Easton, who competed with Elflein at center throughout training camp, slid over from his spot at left guard to fill in for the injured rookie. Easton last started at center against Chicago in Week 17 last season.

Reserve lineman Jeremiah Sirles started at left guard, while Rashod Hill started again at right tackle in place of Remmers.
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Surging Iowa State must be wary of West Virginia

The week-to-week grind of the Big 12 season has featured four straight wins for surging 15th-ranked Iowa State, including two in the past month against teams ranked in the AP top 5.

Campbell said the pattern of success was built in the preseason, when his team worked away from the limelight when nobody was watching.

“January and February and March and April and May — that’s where our team earned its confidence in its ability,” Campbell said. “The good thing about us is we haven’t changed our approach in the year-and-a-half here. We don’t worry about anything but what goes on between our walls.”

The Arizona matchup has not an easy one for USC recently, despite the Trojans losing just twice in the past 16 years. Every game from 2007 through 2015 came down to a single possession.

Restarting that trend on Saturday would not be any deviation from the norm for either team in the context of this season, either. Arizona has played four games decided by six points or fewer; USC has played three.

Georgia ranks last in the SEC in passing yards per game with 162.6 per game. But that number is deceiving. Because of the running game, the Bulldogs haven’t had to throw that much, although freshman Jake Fromm has been efficient when called upon.

In fact, among starters in the SEC, Fromm leads the league in passing efficiency with a rating of 171.9, completing 75 of 138 passes for 1,263 yards and 13 touchdowns.

South Carolina has tightened things up since giving up 237 rushing yards to Texas A&M in the last weekend of September. The Gamecocks have held Arkansas to 106 yards, Tennessee to 120, and Vanderbilt to 107 in their last three games.patriots_322

James Harrison finally finds a home, as the Steelers defensive closer

After the Pittsburgh Steelers essentially benched their all-time sack leader the past two games, Mike Tomlin decided to make a change. To use some baseball terminology, he put Harrison in the bullpen.

I may be crazy, but if the Steelers are smart, not holding my breath on that one just yet, they would use Harrison like this every week. Maybe not waiting until the fourth quarter every week, but if the situation dictates you need a polished pass rusher, who still can get the job done, in an obvious passing situation — call on the closer.

The days of Harrison being on the field for four quarters are behind him, at least we hope so, but that is okay. T.J. Watt has proven he is very capable, even as a rookie, but when he is fatigued bringing in a fresh Harrison, who can bench press a house, by the way, could be a recipe for disaster for the opposing offense.

Harrison might not be the next Mariano Rivera, in regards to closers, but he just might be the wrecking ball the team could use to put teams away. He did just that in Kansas City, and could certainly continue to do it in the future.

Peppers, 37, continues to show opposing offenses that he can still dominate games the same way he did in the early 2000s. He isn’t done climbing the all-time sacks list, either. Doleman only leads Peppers by half a sack, while Greene had 160.

Peppers racked up 150 career sacks in 240 games and averaged 9 1/2 sacks per season from 2002 to 2016. He’s been a model of consistency throughout his entire career. The Panthers used the second pick in the 2002 NFL draft to select Peppers. During his first stint with the Panthers — which lasted from 2002 to 2009 — he compiled 81 sacks and 30 forced fumbles.

Following the 2009 season, Peppers took his talents to the Chicago Bears and continued to dominate opposing offensive linemen. He racked up 37 1/2 sacks in four seasons with the Bears.
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Brown said after the game that he’s a passionate player and got excited over a big-play opportunity.

Washington receivers coach Ike Hilliard, among others, walked past Pryor during the exchange, and Hilliard briefly turned around as Pryor started toward the fan. Another fan shouted to Pryor, “Do something, Terrelle! Do something, baby!”

But Pryor said his initial anger stemmed from a fan calling him the N-word during the Redskins’ 29-20 loss.

Via Instagram Stories, Pryor wrote that he was called this “several times to the point where an NFL employee had to step to me and stand by me the whole game from second quarter on is the exact reason why guys are kneeling during the anthem.”

Pryor, who has only stood during the anthem, said that after hearing someone call him the N-word and then having fans shout obscenities, “me flicking the person off is more deserving.”

Roethlisberger also told 93.7 that he prefers Brown talk to him about missed plays instead of creating a distraction. Asked whether Brown will get the message, Roethlisberger said, “I’m sure.”

“He’s a professional,” said Roethlisberger, who added that the players have moved on from the flare-up. “He’s probably the best wide receiver in the game now, maybe to ever play.”

On Wednesday, he tweeted an apology.

Defensive end Cam Heyward joked it’s not as if Brown acted like former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight, who once famously threw a chair across the floor in the middle of a game.9

Pats fan who helped find Tom Brady’s missing jersey gets front-row seat for Chiefs game

The Patriots fan who helped discover the culprit behind Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey has been rewarded handsomely by team owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft met with Dylan Wagner, 19, on Thursday morning to give him a front-row ticket to the Patriots’ opener against the Chiefs. Not only that, but Wagner will also sit in seat No. 12 (Brady’s number) and was given a signed Brady jersey.

That is unlikely to happen, but more importantly, the move gives the Colts the option to play Luck prior to Week 6, which he would not be able to do had they left him on the PUP list.

While he would be eligible to come off of the list Week 6, if he were on the list he would be unable to participate in team activities with his Colts teammates. Luck can now ease his way back into throwing now with his fellow Colts rather than someone else.

This does not mean Luck is ready to start yet. Scott Tolzien is expected to start in Week 1 against the Rams. It should also be noted that while the Colts did trade wide receiver Phillip Dorsett for Patriots backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett Saturday. Brissett is not expected to start in Week 1 either because it is likely he will be familiar enough with the offensive system.
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