The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles dubbed themselves a “dream team” after winning free agency that offseason.

The Eagles weren’t in the top 10 last year in terms of free agency spending. Instead, they strategically added talent that put the team in a position to win it all despite losing quarterback Carson Wentz to an ACL injury late in the season. That balanced approach is what worked for the Eagles.

Crabtree, 30, caught 58 passes for 618 yards last season for the Raiders.

But he did catch at least eight touchdowns for the third straight season.

The turn of events with Grant isn’t the first time the Ravens have backed out of an agreement because of a medical issue.

In 1997, the Ravens were set to introduce Cowboys safety Brock Marion at a news conference before X-rays revealed a problem in his left shoulder.

Marion went on to play for another seven NFL seasons.

It’s tough to stand out on a roster as stacked as the one in Washington, but if Difo can find a spot in the infield to get regular starts, he’s bound to become a favorite of new Nationals manager Dave Martinez. Signed out of the Dominican Republic when he was 18, Difo took little time to reach the majors. But once he got there, it took some time for him to be a part of the lineup with any regularity.

Difo spent almost the entirety of 2017 with the Nationals, the lone exception being an 11-day spell in Triple-A Syracuse in June. In the 389 plate appearance that he managed while grabbing starts at six different defensive positions, Difo supplied healthy offense to the lineup, notching 14 extra-base hits to go with his five home runs.

Why he could break out: Difo might be an unhealthy Daniel Murphy away from fully breaking out in 2018. He made his debut in 2015, but it took until last season for Difo to see any significant playing time. This came thanks to him functioning like an ultra-utility man, but that might not need to be the case this season. Murphy underwent knee surgery in late October, and his status for opening day is still uncertain.

If he can master the slider to a greater degree, it holds the potential to be one of the best pitches in baseball.

His average spin rate is over 400 rpm above the league average, and it moves nearly seven inches horizontally. For comparison, Jake Arrieta’s version of the pitch, though not exactly the same, moved about half as much even at his peak during his 2015 Cy Young season.

Maples might be the riskiest pick in this series because the extremes between his best and his worst are so far apart. But his slider is a monster, and if he can command his pitches in a way similar to what he did in 2017 before hitting the majors, he’s going to drastically affect how Joe Maddon manages his bullpen.

The Red Sox have a stable of young hitters in their lineup, and Devers is the latest of their home-grown talent to emerge from the farm system and make an immediate impact.

WR Allen Robinson, Bears Grade: B+ We’re two years removed from the monster season (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) of Robinson’s career, when he single-handedly convinced people that Blake Bortles was a promising quarterback.

As was the case with Bortles, though, it’s fair to wonder whether Robinson benefited from spending much of that year in garbage time.

Robinson racked up 556 yards and six touchdowns on drives that began with the Jags having no more than a 20 percent chance of winning; that yardage mark ranked third in the league behind DeAndre Hopkins and Jarvis Landry.

The only other receiver with six touchdowns in those situations? Teammate Allen Hurns.

Maples’ greatest struggle is that he has fought to command his pitches, something he has not yet fully accomplished. Despite his quick ascent through the minors in 2017 with a collective 2.84 ERA before taking the mound at Wrigley, Maples came to a halt against major league hitters, giving up hard contact a brutal 70 percent of the time.

Why he could break out: While there are serious red flags in his profile, the potential to change the face of the Cubs’ bullpen his undeniable. Maples posted an unbelievable strikeout rate of nearly 41 percent in September, which was only slightly higher than what he did as a minor leaguer last year, so even with some regressing to his norm he’s going to strike out a lot of batters. They might sit on his fastball when he struggles with his command, but even that comes in at 97 mph on average.

In a league in which guys like that go for around $5 million per year, Siemian is a relative bargain for the final year of his deal at $1.9 million.

Tom Benson, owner of Saints and Pelicans, dies at age 90

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson died Thursday, about a month after he was first hospitalized with flu. He was 90.

“Tom loved New Orleans, where he was a generous and caring philanthropist. Within the NFL, he was a true leader among NFL owners.”

In 2012, Benson bought the New Orleans Hornets from the NBA for $338 million. The team, which had moved to New Orleans from Charlotte in 2002,?was in flux after the league bought it from George Shinn in 2010.

At the time of the purchase, Benson said that he would seek to change the name to something that better fit the city. He chose to call the team the?Pelicans, which had been the name of the minor league baseball team in the city from the late 1800s until 1959. Benson had bought the rights to the name in the late 1980s.?

As a screens-and-bombs receiver, Gabriel can be a useful part of an offense, but good teams find those players lurking for relatively cheap on the bottom of rosters or on the waiver wire, which is exactly where the Falcons found Gabriel.

Gabriel might end up playing the Hill role in Chicago’s offense, but he’s going to have to take a step forward as a player to live up to the four-year, $26 million deal and $14 million guaranteed he got from the Bears this week.

CB Trumaine Johnson, Jets Grade: C+ I wrote on Tuesday about how players at other positions would struggle to emulate the Kirk Cousins path of repeatedly betting on yourself and ending up with a fully guaranteed deal in free agency.

But based on empirical research, we know that a win is worth approximately 10 runs, and we can quantify run production. Note that this is not simply scoring runs but creating runs: for example, if a player hits a single, the number of runs scored in that inning increases by an average of.47. If a player hits a single regardless of the context of that single he receives credit for creating that many runs.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started three games replacing the injured Jameis Winston last season, re-signed with the Buccaneers for $3.3 million.

Tom Savage, who played for four seasons in Houston and was 2-7 as a starter, signed with the Saints to back up Drew Brees.

Chase Daniel, who was Brees’s backup in New Orleans last season and has attempted three passes for three teams in the past three years, signed with the Bears for $7 million guaranteed.

Also, besides the aforementioned potential return to the Dolphins, Chad Henne, a backup in Jacksonville the last six seasons, reportedly will visit the Titans about their backup job.

On the trade market, Trevor Siemian, made expendable when the Broncos signed Case Keenum from the Vikings, was packaged to the Vikings for draft picks, presumably to be Kirk Cousins’ backup. Still on the Broncos’ depth chart are Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch.

Kaepernick, 30, last played a regular-season game on January 1, 2017.

The Broncos are signing Case Keenum, and they still may draft a quarterback in the first round, which effectively takes them out of the Cousins sweepstakes.

9News’ Mike Klis says the Broncos won’t get into a bidding war for Cousins.

The Broncos are one of the finalists in the Cousins sweepstakes, per Adam Schefter.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo reported that the Broncos are going “all-in” on targeting Cousins.

The Broncos might not be major players in the Cousins sweepstakes if, like John Elway said at the NFL Combine, they will take a hard look at Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.

This is more of an educated guess than a rumor, but it makes sense. Peter King of The MMQB believes the Broncos are the most logical landing spot for Cousins because he thinks John Elway will be willing to spend big to have some peace of mind at the quarterback position.

For what it’s worth, NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano says that D.J. Swearinger, Cousins’ teammate in Washington, agrees.

Browns will sign Carlos Hyde. Does that put an end to the Saquon Barkley rumors?

One of the top running back free agents this offseason, Carlos Hyde has signed a three-year deal worth more than $15 million with the Cleveland Browns, according to Ian Rapoport, including $6 million in the first year. It feels like Hyde has been in the NFL forever, but in reality he’s fresh off playing his final season under his rookie contract and was a first-time free agent heading into the offseason.

Editor’s Picks Browns’ new additions ready for 0-16 challenge When asked about last year’s 0-16 season, the Cleveland Browns’ new additions said they’re ready to take on the challenge.

The Browns originally had announced they were releasing McCourty, but they worked out a trade before the release became official at 4 p.m.

Devin McCourty is a Patriots captain, entering his ninth season with the team.

Aside from the temperate, windless conditions of playing inside U.S. Bank Stadium eight games per year, Minnesota has plenty to offer its new starter. The league’s No. 1 ranked defense was able to take over on Keenum’s less prolific days in 2017, providing the backbone for the team’s run to the NFC title game. In three seasons with Washington, Cousins won just two games when his team scored less than 18 points. Keenum matched that total in just 14 starts during the regular season, while making sure his higher scoring efforts didn’t go to waste.

Cousins will also have a more comfortable pocket in which to work; the Vikings ranked seventh in the league after allowing sacks on just 4.65 percent of their dropbacks last fall. Washington ranked 19th (7.06 percent). Cousins had an average of 2.69 seconds to throw the ball in 2017; Keenum had 2.78.

Instead, he declined the offer and the Browns gave a similar deal to Kenny Britt, who flopped and was cut in December after making $10 million guaranteed.

Terrelle Pryor could be coming back home, and the Browns will consider tackles such as Nate Solder to replace Joe Thomas, sources tell What’s more, the Browns’ trade for Packers cornerback Damarious Randall won’t preclude them pursuing big-name cornerbacks in free agency such as the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson, who played for Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for four season with the Rams.

Pryor also didn’t fare well in Washington, but struggled with foot and ankle injuries for most of the season and ultimately underwent season-ending ankle surgery in November.

His numbers in Washington were similar to what Britt’s were here: 22 catches for 240 yards and a TD in nine games, including two starts. But Browns coach Hue Jackson likes Pryor and actually tried to get him back in a trade before the deadline in October. Under Jackson and then-receivers coach Al Saunders, Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards in 2016.

This is one of multiple moves the Seahawks have made or will make this offseason in an effort to build a younger, more cap-friendly defense that will allow the team to rebuild from a 9-7 campaign and their first missed postseason since 2011. And while neither side has closed the door on the possibility of Sherman returning at a discounted price later in free agency, Friday’s news opens up several intriguing possibilities for the three-time All-Pro corner. The field has several favorable options like the Green Bay Packers.

New general manager Brian Gutekunst has talked about being “aggressive” in free agency, something the past regime was widely known for not being. No contending team needs cornerback help more than the Packers — only the Jets ranked work in pass coverage last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Sherman’s California connections make the Raiders, (+550), Chargers (+600) and 49ers (+1,500) intriguing options as well. Whichever team lands Sherman might not get the All-Pro-caliber player that he was from 2012-14, especially after he tore his Achilles nine games into the 2017 season, but in a league always looking for help shutting down elite passing attacks, Sherman will certainly have plenty of suitors.

Sherman, 29, joined the Chiefs in a 2013 trade with the Arizona Cardinals.

2018 Free Agency Preview: Running Backs More With free agency set to begin later this month, previews the 2018 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today’s focus is on the running backs.

Keenum threw for 318 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Divisional round win over the New Orleans Saints with his improbable heave to Stefon Diggs in the closing seconds for the win. Keenum is also a player the Broncos felt like they knew well given the team’s senior personnel advisor and former coach Gary Kubiak coached Keenum for two seasons when Kubiak was the Texans’ head coach. Kubiak has an increased role in the Broncos’ personnel evaluations this year and has been a major voice as the Broncos have prepared for free agency and the draft.

He played in all 16 games in each of his five seasons in Kansas City, making 22 starts, and was a valuable special-teams player.

He was an effective lead blocker and productive on the few occasions when he did get the ball. Sherman got the ball only 75 times between rushes and pass receptions but still managed to score three touchdowns.

The news of Sherman’s deal was first reported by Barstool Sports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Eagles are one of the most aggressive trading teams in the league and built their Super Bowl success around a deep, dominant defensive line, so it’s no surprise that they acquired Michael Bennett from the Seahawks today. Bennett will slot in as a replacement for Vinny Curry, and with three years and $22.1 million left on his deal, Bennett won’t break the bank as part of one of the league’s best defensive lines.

The Bucs have been adamant about re-signing their own this free-agency period, locking wide receiver Mike Evans into a five-year deal Friday worth $82.5 million.

The Rams free up cap space as part of this deal, which marks the second expensive defender they’ve dealt away in a week after trading Robert Quinn to the Dolphins. It now seems more likely that they’ll hang on to fellow linebacker Mark Barron, who seemed like a plausible cap casualty. L.A. will have $6.5 million in dead money on its cap for Ogletree this year, but with $47.3 million in space, the Rams can use the savings to bring back receiver Sammy Watkins, who would otherwise be an unrestricted free agent.

The Cleveland Browns added several pieces to the roster Friday, but made an addition by subtraction, too.

They dealt quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers late in the day, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The trade also sends cornerback Damarious Randall to Cleveland .

In addition, the two teams swapped their fourth- and fifth-round picks so that the Packers will select earlier in each round.

The Browns also traded for quarterback Tyrod Taylor and receiver Jarvis Landry earlier Friday .

The Ravens need to end their nightmare of recycling receivers, specifically?one-trick speedsters who have?durability issues. Mike Wallace is a free agent, Jeremy Maclin might?get cut and Breshad Perriman, the 2015 first-rounder, can’t be trusted to stay healthy. Ridley is an excellent route runner cut from the Amari Cooper cloth. He can deliver everywhere on the field with good hands for Joe Flacco.

There was the organization’s top prospect, 18-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr., collecting four hits and scoring a pair of runs in his spring debut. Bo Bichette, the 20-year-old who sits right behind Guerrero among top Jays’ prospects, had a pair of run-scoring hits in his first game. And 23-year-old Anthony Alford continued his solid spring with three extra-base hits, three runs scored and an RBI in the Blue Jays 9-3 victory over the Orioles.

Guerrero and Bichette, who both appeared in last year’s Futures Game, rank third and eighth respectively on Baseball America’s list of Top 100 Prospects. Alford, the former college quarterback who suffered a knee injury last season, is listed 60th on the same list of top Major League prospects.

Though none of the three will break camp with the big club, it won’t be too far down the road where they are pacing the Jays offense just as they did in Thursday’s 16-hit attack against the Orioles.

The top of the seventh inning showcased all three youngsters. Alford led off by reaching third base on a double and an error — his second double of the afternoon, he also had a triple. Bichette, who tapped out weakly to the pitcher his first at-bat after entering the game at shortstop, drove Alford home with a sharply struck RBI single. He then proceeded to steal second base with one out, move to third on Guerrero’s infield single behind the second base bag, and score on Andrew Guillotte’s RBI base hit.

Noah Syndergaard strikes out seven straight against Nationals

Noah Syndergaard does not appear to be far off his All-Star form in 2016 as he struck out seven straight Nationals batters in an 8-5 Grapefruit League win for the Mets Thursday.

As impressive as the scoreless outing was over 3 1/3 innings, he was the first to say he was not at his best.

The truth is, the Mets have a talented roster on the whole. But as always with the team from Queens, their issues lie on the training table.

Last season, Conforto missed time with the aforementioned shoulder injury. Cespedes landed on the DL thanks to his piano-string hamstrings and played in exactly half the season.

And then there’s that pesky rotation, which faces issues every year. Hopefully, Noah Syndergaard decided adding 17 pounds of muscle as he did last offseason was a terrible idea. (Reminder: It was as bad of an idea as showering with a toaster.) Matt Harvey used to be the hero that the Mets needed, but now he’s become an afterthought in their rotation. Zack Wheeler has seen the mound so few times in recent seasons that he probably forgot what dirt under his cleats feels like.

But the Browns still have a bunch of space to work with under new general manager John Dorsey.

Expect the team to still make a splash or two in free agency, but the biggest impact Friday is that it probably takes the team out of the market for AJ McCarron .

After McCarron won a grievance making him an unrestricted free agent , a reunion between Hue Jackson and the Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback was almost considered inevitable. After all, the Browns came close to trading second- and third-round picks to Cincinnati for McCarron in October.

But Taylor now fills that veteran role, and the Browns can use one of their two first-round picks to take a franchise quarterback to build around for the future.

Cleveland addressed three of its biggest needs Friday and left itself the room and ability to go after another big fish in free agency. It just probably won’t be McCarron or any other quarterback.

How will this affect the Browns’ draft plans?

Better All-Star squad, Team Stephen or Team LeBron? ‘NBA 2K18’ decides

The NBA has implemented a format change for this year’s All-Star Game, going from East vs. West to a pick-up style draft by the respective top vote-getters from each conference. Stephen Curry and LeBron James have chosen their teammates (you can see the full rosters here), and immediately after doing so, the debate began over which superstar ended up with the stronger squad.

Curry finished as the MVP with 31 points and eight assists for his victorious team. James Harden added 24 points and 11 assists, and Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 19 points and 11 assists.

On the other side, James finished with 25 points and 13 assists. Former Thunder teammates Russell Westbrook (27 points) and Kevin Durant (26 points) had impressive outings in the loss.

Most of the statistical categories were practically even, except for possession control and presence down low. Team Stephen had more steals, rebounds and second-chance points than Team LeBron in the win.

“We can’t knock facts,” he said. “The fact of it is we haven’t been producing the way we know we’re capable of producing. People are going to critique us and criticize us to a T, and we do the same to ourselves.”

Beal is averaging career highs in points (23.6), rebounds (4.3) and assists (3.7), but the Wizards are currently 26-21 on the year and just 14-13 against teams with records below .500.

Fellow Wizards guard John Wall called out his team’s performance against sub-.500 teams after a loss to the Hawks in December, but the team continues to struggle against opponents who are simply not the caliber of Washington.

Beal and the Wizards know this and they are as upset about it as anyone.