Linebacker Connor Barwin spent last season with the Rams and the free agent’s search for a job in 2018 will take him to another NFC West team.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Barwin is scheduled to visit the Cardinals this week.
Barwin signed with the Rams last March and went on to start 13 games during the regular season. Barwin had 34 tackles and five sacks and added three tackles and a half-sack in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons.
Barwin has 55.5 overall sacks in a nine-year career that’s also seen him spend time with the Eagles and Texans. If he signs in Arizona, he’d join Markus Golden as complements to Chandler Jones in the team’s pass rush.
Rockets: Paul received a technical foul in the second quarter after arguing after being called for an offensive foul. … Ryan Anderson missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Eric Gordon also sat out for the second straight game with a sore left ankle.
Harden on if the Rockets are where they want to be with the playoffs starting in a week: “We’re good. We’re in a great place right now. We have two more games to close it out and be ready for the playoffs.”
Saturday was just the third time this season where Houston has lost when Harden, Paul and Clint Capela all played. The Rockets are 41-3 when each member of the trio plays and their three losses have come by a total of 11 points.
Not hiring an agent makes more sense for a rookie like Jackson, who is going to be stuck with the contract slotted to his draft position, than for a veteran free agent like Sherman, who was involved in active contract negotiations. So even if Sherman is right that Jackson doesn’t need an agent, that doesn’t mean Sherman made the right call when he decided not to hire an agent for himself.
But agents do more than just negotiate contracts. Agents for draft prospects set up meetings and workouts with NFL teams, and there have been reports that teams have had trouble getting Jackson scheduled for workouts.
The question, then, is whether an agent’s help in setting up meetings and workouts for Jackson with NFL teams would bolster Jackson’s draft stock enough to be worth paying an agent 1 percent to 3 percent of his rookie contract. Jackson and Sherman don’t think having an agent is worth the money. The overwhelming majority of NFL players think it is.
A day after the NFL broadened the helmet-hit rule, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expanded on the decision the league hopes will help make the game safer.
Our focus is how to take the head out of the game and make sure that we’re using the helmet as protection, and it’s not being used as a weapon, and that’s the core of what we’re focused on, and I think we made a tremendous amount of progress in that this week, Goodell said at the conclusion of the Annual League Meeting in Orlando on Wednesday.
Following the announcement of the rule, many current and former players took issue with the change, concerned about how it might alter football. Goodell said that the next phase of the process is to educate players and coaches on what will be a penalty moving forward.
I actually think that the coaches and the clubs and our officials all collectively feel that that is an appropriate thing to do. And it is the first time we’ve used replay for safety and I think that’s a positive thing. As [Competition Committee Chairman] Rich [McKay] said, it’s the first time we’ve used replay in respect to any kind of a foul, but we think that’s warranted for safety-related issues.
The commissioner added that the league is still determining what types of helmet hits would warrant an ejection versus a 15-yard penalty.
Matt Elam finished his workout on his old campus on Wednesday and tears streamed down his face. This is the place where he cemented his status as a first-round draft pick five years ago, a model for everyone who looked up to him. I let a lot of people down, he said. Wednesday was Elam’s second Pro Day. His first came amid tons of fanfare in 2013. He had just ran a 4.54 40 at the combine and was amid a bumper crop of Gators draft prospects.
He was on his way to replacing the legendary Ed Reed in the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary. Wednesday, though, he was a curiosity, a guy who had been washed out of the league after injuries and arrests. Five years ago, everything was ahead of him. Now, he worked out as a long shot, staring down the possibility that his career was over. Not being out there, playing the game I love, Elam said after composing himself. Seeing guys I played in college with, guys that were under me, seeing them ballin’ out. It hurt me. I know they looked up to me. Not being out there with my guys, playing the game I love, it’s tough. Elam was already a bust when he was pulled over early last year in Miami and hit with multiple drug charges. He had only started 26 NFL games, due to a combination of injury and underperformance. He was suspended for a game in 2015 for a substance abuse violation.
After experiencing a wildly successful rookie season out of nowhere, Dak Prescott nosedived in his second season. In Year 1, after only winning the starting job in the aftermath of Tony Romo’s preseason back injury, Prescott led the Cowboys to the playoffs and beat out Ezekiel Elliott in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race. In Year 2, Prescott saw his passer rating drop by more than 18 points while the Cowboys missed the playoffs.
His understanding of what defenses are trying to do to us, how the offense overlays on the defense, he’ll continue to get better at that. But this guy is a natural leader. He’s had a lot of success right away. He has a great hunger to get better. And he’s certainly going to do that.
So, where did Prescott go wrong in 2017 It’s worth noting that before we get into his own struggles, the team around him declined. Dez Bryant’s issues persisted, Ezekiel Elliott finally served his four-game suspension, Tyron Smith’s back acted up, and the offensive line as a whole regressed. So, the amazing support structure that was in place during his rookie year wasn’t there for him in Year 2.
After speaking with several general managers and decision-makers in Orlando, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the Giants would have to be blown away to trade Beckham.
From what I understand just talking to teams… figure it’s going to be a first-round pick plus, Rapoport added on Up to the Minute Live. Percy Harvin, similar situation…. That was a first-round pick and a mid-rounder as well. So figure that’s the ballpark if the Giants want to deal him, which we don’t know for sure.
The other thing that’s kind of frustrating, Murphy said, is there were concussions on touchbacks. So even though there’s no return, [the committee is] looking at what kind of things you can do to make sure people were aware that there’s not even a return. You see this, too: One player lets up, the player covering lets up, and one of the blockers comes over and, you know. That creates problems when you’ve got one player going half-speed and the other one full speed.
The Giants reportedly wanted at least two first-round picks for receiver Odell Beckham Jr. One NFC team reportedly declined to give the Giants a pair of first-round picks.
Michael Silver of NFL Media reports that the Giants asked for two first-round draft picks from an unidentified NFC team for Beckham, and that said unidentified NFC team declined.
It’s possible that the offer was made to the Rams, before they traded for Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks. It’s also possible that the 49ers talked to the Giants about a trade for Beckham.
Roseman: Once again, you’ve got to give a lot of credit to our coaching staff for getting guys ready to play. You lose a guy like Zach Ertz for two games and our second- and third-string tight ends (Brent Celek and Trey Burton) come in and we score 51 points against Denver and 43 against the Rams. We were very fortunate we had guys who were ready to play and step up into roles. If Fletcher Cox goes down, we had Beau Allen and Destiny Vaeao. It’s a great credit to our scouting staff for identifying guys that had value to us and the coaching staff instilling a “next man up” attitude.
What gave you confidence that Nick Foles could play well at quarterback if Carson Wentz were forced to miss time?
Cooks said he has a lot of respect for the coach who traded him from New England, Bill Belichick, but after getting traded two years in a row he hopes he can work out a long-term contract that keeps him in Los Angeles for the long haul.
“As far as making this home, absolutely I would love to do that, and at the end of the day that will take care of itself,” Cooks said. “I just want to go to work and help this team win.”
After this offseason, Cooks is expecting the Ramsg to win a lot.
“I knew I had the natural ability. I just had to put everything together.”
Averett began doing that his junior year. A strong performance in Alabama’s 2016 season-opener — eight tackles and sticky coverage that helped the Crimson Tide limit Southern California to just 130 passing yards — earned Averett a starting spot the following week against Western Kentucky.
The fans are starting to get impatient. The media even seems that way as well.
But the Cowboys apparently are not impatient at all regarding the Dez Bryant situation that keeps being the center of attention.
We’re in an era where nearly every Super Bowl gives birth to some largely manufactured storyline guaranteed to pester us all offseason.
As Butler continues to talk — and be quizzed — about his final game in a Patriots jersey, it’s no sure bet we’ll get to the bottom of this one with Belichick treating the matter like an ancient secret from the bowels of the Kremlin.
Where are you, Nancy Drew Come finish off this case once and for all, please.
Tanaka was dominant for six innings. He retired his last 13 hitters, seven via strikeout. He struck out eight total, allowing three hits and no walks. He threw only 79 pitches.
His only blemish came when he hung a belt-high, 91-mph fastball to Randall Grichuk, who smashed it to left-center field for a long home run.
Closer Aroldis Chapman gave up two doubles in the ninth, including Yangervis Solarte’s RBI rip that made it 4-2 Yankees. Chapman struck out Grichuk with Solarte on second to end it.
All the hits Tanaka gave up were for extra bases and all came in the first two innings. Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar each doubled off him.
Tanaka’s slider was the star of his show most of the night, while his trademark splitter showed flashes.
Before the All-Star break last year, Tanaka was abysmal. He went 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA in 18 starts, having finished seventh in the Cy Young vote in 2016. He flipped the script in the second half, however, posting a 3.77 ERA with a 6-4 record in 12 starts.
Maybe, the Broncos will trade back from their No. 5 overall draft pick and take a receiver later in the first round.
The team needs a pass catcher after saying goodbye to its top two backup receivers this offseason.
Not only are Fowler and Latimer gone and another backup receiver, Jordan Taylor, is expected to miss the bulk of the offseason after undergoing hip surgery.
Carlos Henderson, a third-round draft pick who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, could be facing league discipline after he was arrested in mid-January on a marijuana possession charge.
No wonder Broncos general manager John Elway decided to keep his two starting receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
The NFL Network documented the meeting as part of its Drive to the Draft series. During the March 12 workout session, Rodgers offered Rosen multiple tips on what it takes to be a successful NFL quarterback.
I think we’re very similar personalty types, Rosen said of working with Rodgers. He’s a bit sarcastic and we kind of jab each other a little bit. It was all in good nature, it was a lot of fun. It was an awesome morning.
One of the most interesting aspects of the meeting is listening to Rodgers describe how he practices. The Packers quarterback told Rosen that he likes to make things as difficult as possible during practice because it’s a better gauge for a game situation.
The New York Jets will gain some credit if they use their first-round pick on Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield, but Josh Allen is too much of a project to make a positive impact in 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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.