Month: March 2018

Graham finished the 2017 season with the second-most receptions from Wilson, racking up 520 yards on 57 targets.

Graham’s true value to the Seahawks last year was seen in the team-best 10 touchdowns he hauled in. The 2017 season was the first time since he was traded to the Seahawks in 2015 that he’s been healthy enough to play in all 16 games. But it’s that production the Packers are banking on with the signing.

The Packers have long been on the hunt for a tight end to add a new dynamic to the team’s offense. That’s what Green Bay hoped it would get a year ago when it added Martellus Bennett on a three-year deal. But the tight end played just seven games before he was released due to concerns about a shoulder injury the Packers say he didn’t disclose.

Graham was the highest-paid tight end in the league, and that likely won’t change this season. He would have made more money if Seattle had tagged him, but his future would have been a big ol’ question mark beyond this season. Now he’s got some job security past this year with the Packers.

Sheldon Richardson, DT 2017 team: Seattle Seahawks | Age: 27 A preseason trade from the Jets to Seattle, if nothing else, gave Richardson tape in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.

The Seahawks, who gave up a second-round pick and receiver Jermaine Kearse to get Richardson, might want him as a younger replacement for Michael Bennett.

Richardson made a few splashy plays in Seattle, but he probably wasn’t dominant enough to spark a frenzied bidding war.

Tyrann Mathieu, S 2017 team: Arizona Cardinals | Age: 26 Although he has been slowed at times by knee injuries, Mathieu started all 16 games last season and is as young as anyone on the free agent market.

Safeties are critical to current defensive schemes and he should find many suitors. packers_122

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The Bills are angling to trade for a top QB in the 2018 NFL Draft but will any team bite?

Indianapolis’ willingness to move down in the draft will depend on how healthy the team believes Andrew Luck is. If the Colts think he’s ready to go, if they don’t see a need to invest in a new passer or see Jacoby Brissett as a better-than-expected option behind center in another emergency it makes sense to collect the kind of assets to overhaul a depleted roster.

Drafting Allen, or Darnold, or Mayfield, or Rosen is a risk. There’s no slam-dunk top prospect in this year’s draft like Luck in 2012 or Cam Newton in 2011, but a deep class should provide Buffalo some comfort. Even if No. 3 is the highest they can shoot for, there’s still a chance the player the Bills take there winds up developing into the best quarterback of his class.

At least, until the Buffalo curse takes over and turns him into J.P. Losman Jr.

The following is a team-by-team tracker of notable moves signings, trades, cuts, tags, etc. made by all 32 teams in 2018. Some have been more busy than others, but the start of free agency should open the floodgates.

Bell has joked about big deals with other teams, but it would be surprising to see the game’s most versatile and still-young feature back leave Pittsburgh. He should get the long-term deal he wants.

The Cowboys never planned to let the breakout pass-rusher, coming off a 15-sack season, get close to the market. They fell back on the franchise tag before hammering out the contract both sides know needs to get done.

Alex Smith is set to replace Cousins in Washington, and the rumors of the Redskins tagging and trading him won’t become reality. Consider the Vikings as Cousins’ top team, with the Broncos and Jets tied for a distant, fading second. He would be a great mental and physical fit in Minnesota.packers_155

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Nate Solder has spent his entire NFL career with the New England Patriots.

That could change this offseason. The left tackle will become an unrestricted free agent March 14 and is expected to draw plenty of interest on the open market. From which teams, you ask? According to the MMQB’s Peter King, the Houston Texans may be leading the pack. “I bet Houston will be all over Solder,” King wrote Monday morning. “The Texans haven’t replaced a solid left tackle, Duane Brown, after dealing him to Seattle at the trade deadline last October, and don’t have a pick until 68th overall in the third round, and so will have to make some hay in free agency.”

Top draft needs: I keep hearing Denver is likely to get its starting quarterback in free agency, which means it can focus on other needs at pick No. 5. Denver’s offensive line has several areas of need, especially at guard and right tackle. The Broncos also could look at another cornerback after dealing Talib. — McShay

Mayfield could be another option; his leadership and energy would be tough to pass up. Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson is the top offensive lineman in the draft and would be a significant upgrade at guard. Fitzpatrick also would make a lot of sense. — McShay

Denver Broncos defensive end Adam Gotsis has been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Georgia in 2013 while he was a member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Gotsis of Lone Tree surrendered on March 7 at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on a charge of strong-arm rape, according to a Atlanta police incident report. He was released after he paid a $50,000 bond, said Tracy Flanagan, spokeswoman for the Fulton County Jail. Gotsis, who is 6 feet, 5 inches and weighs 295 pounds, is accused of overcoming the will of a 25-year-old woman on March 9, 2013, in Atlanta. The woman, who is now 30, reported the alleged rape on Feb. 1, according to the police report.

The Green Bay Packers are reportedly interested in bringing in some new weapons for Aaron Rodgers, and that could spell bad news for his old ones. Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network Monday that the Packers are among the teams that have shown interest in Watkins, who was not franchise tagged by the Los Angeles Rams last week. Green Bay is also said to be keeping an eye on Allen Robinson, which seems to indicate they are in the market for a No. 1 wide receiver.

Best prospect fits: Versatile Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick would be a great fit as New York’s No. 1 cornerback, as the Jets took safeties with their top two picks in 2017. But if NC State’s Bradley Chubb, the best edge rusher in this class, makes it to No. 6, Maccagnan & Co. should run to the podium to make the pick. If the Jets land Cousins and want to help protect him with pick No. 6, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson is the draft’s best offensive lineman. — Kiper

Three-year payout: $45 million after Year 1, $68 million after Year 2, $91 million after Year 3.buccaneers_070

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Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, 80, in critical condition after ‘cardiac incident’

Baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Giants star Orlando Cepeda, 80, remained hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition following what the team describes as “a cardiac incident” Monday evening in the Bay Area.

Unlike Raines, the 36-year-old Alexander was a bit past his prime, but he was still a reliable starter (4.14 ERA in 34 starts in 1986). The Braves offered him a two-year deal at $2.3 million, but when he turned down the offer, no others existed. He re-signed with the Braves on May 5 for just $400,000 with an option and another potential $200,000 in incentives.

Alexander’s 1987 season isn’t memorable for the way he signed; he was traded to the Tigers in August and went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 starts, helping Detroit to 98 wins and the AL East pennant, surpassing the Blue Jays by two games.

The two teams, who played a two-game series in Japan to begin the 2012 MLB season, will open the 2019 season in Tokyo. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported Wednesday the A’s are “eager” and “enthusiastic” about playing overseas.

“If we’re in the running, I’d be 100 percent all for it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters Wednesday, via the Chronicle. “Not only did we have a great time, it’s a life lesson as much as anything, but it significantly helped our team come together in 2012.”

The A’s also played the Red Sox in Tokyo in 2008 and veteran Brandon Moss was a member the Sox when the teams split a two-game set.

“I hit my first major-league home run, it was awesome!” Moss said, via the Chronicle. “I love Tokyo, I love Japan, I loved everything about it. I would go back in a heartbeat even without baseball.”buccaneers_001

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Why the Angels are poised for a playoff run in 2018

Almost a week into the exhibition games of spring training, some of the storylines of the upcoming season are gaining clarity, and among them is the case for which teams might surprise us by making the postseason after missing it in 2017.

In the National League, the Phillies have a strong case thanks to their youth, and in the American League, the addition of a few key veterans has the Angels poised to make their own surprise run at the postseason.

The Angels acquired Justin Upton at the waiver deadline last season, and he has been a steady power hitter for about a decade. Upton’s defense has always been a little wobbly, but with a career ISO of .210, he can more than make up for a weak glove with his bat. Upton was acquired to try to make a push for the wild card last season, but his greatest contribution to the Angels will come with what he can offer over a full season.

In Green Bay, Kizer will have time to develop and the Packers can attempt to mold him into the player the Browns thought they were getting when they took him at No. 52 overall.

Aaron Rodgers is still the starter, but the Packers saw very little to believe that Brett Hundley is a player worth developing much longer. Kizer can be that player and learn from one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks without the pressure that he had in Cleveland.

If pitchers and catchers could communicate with each other with actual words, with headsets or earpieces, the trips to the mound wouldn’t be necessary. Opposing teams can’t steal signs if there aren’t signs to steal, y’know? And if there are no signs to steal, there’s no need to be worried about stolen signs and far fewer reasons for time-consuming mound visits.

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In 1995, Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife and Goldman.

Two years later, Simpson was found liable?for their deaths in a civil trial and was ordered to pay over $33 million to the families of the victims.?

The special, hosted by Soledad O’Brien, features Simpson’s?sit-down interview with book?publisher Judith Regan, and will include a panel of analysts,?including Christopher Darden, one of Simpson’s prosecutors from his criminal trial.

Rodgers-Cromartie thanked the organization that?afternoon, saying “once a Giant, always a Giant.”

Rodgers-Cromartie?was entering the?final year of a five-year?contract worth?$35 million, though the team will save?$6.5 million in salary cap space by cutting?him.

On the mound, the Phillies are admittedly less intimidating. They were a middle-of-the-pack staff in 2017, and barring some additions to the group before the 2018 campaign begins this is not likely to change much. Rumors that the Phillies have been in talks with Jake Arrieta are intriguing, and adding him would bolster the rotation significantly. Even if they don’t reach an agreement with the 2015 Cy Young winner, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn remain available, so there are options aplenty.

Finally, the NL East is under the reign of the Nationals, and that is unlikely to change this year. However, the rest of the division is questionable at best, and the Marlins at worst. The Phillies will reap some benefit from their weak division while the Dodgers are engaged in the dogfight that will be the NL West and the Cubs are busy fending off the Brewers and Cardinals.

Colorado, of course, allows the recreational use of marijuana, and apparently that’s been a problem for Jeffcoat, a former pitcher who had a 10-year MLB career, six with the Rangers.

In an email to Gavin Bell, a baseball player at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado, Jeffcoat wrote from his university account, “Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”seahawks_051_d37efff2d950c03f-180x180

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Celtics vs. Nuggets: Preview, time, TV channel, how to watch online

After coming up short against the Warriors, the Celtics look to close a four-game west coast trip with a victory when they visit the Nuggets on Monday night.

Despite holding the East’s No. 1 seed, the Celtics (35-15) have struggled throughout the month of January. Boston enters the Pepsi Center having lost five of its last six games. In the 109-105 loss to Golden State, All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford combined for 52 points, but the Celtics could not overcome 49 points from All-Star guard Stephen Curry.

“We just need to learn how to put two points together on the road,” Avalanche forward Tyson Jost said. “We have to regroup in Columbus.”

Semyon Varlamov started in goal in Chicago, but Jonathan Bernier could return Thursday night. He was responsible for the shutout against the Blue Jackets in January.

Colorado forward Sven Andrighetto is also close to returning after missing two months with a lower-body injury.

Nathan MacKinnon produced his 12th power-play goal of the season in the second period against the Blackhawks to extend his points streak to six games (seven goals, six assists). The Avalanche have scored a power-play goal in five consecutive games for the first time since 2015.

The Celtics (36-15) led by 11 after the first quarter, but Denver chipped away at the lead. Tied entering the final minute, the Celtics hit a couple clutch shots and stymied the Nuggets on defense.

Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. The versatile center is averaging a double-double this season. Trey Lyles came off the bench to score 20 points, while Will Barton added 19 points.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points with 18 rebounds and six assists in a 107-95 win over the 76ers. He became just the fifth player with 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and five-plus assists in a game this season, joining DeMarcus Cousins (four times), Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook.lions_001

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Joe Johnson to sign with Rockets, report says

Veteran shooting guard Joe Johnson is nearing a deal with the Rockets after completing his contract buyout with the Kings on Saturday, according to .

Johnson, 36, started just three games for the rebuilding Kings this season, averaging 7.3 points per game. He averaged at least 14 points per game in every season from 2003-2015.

Tuesday’s loss, if only temporarily, knocked the Nuggets out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff standings. Though the Clippers (32-27) and Nuggets (33-28) flipped spots, Denver is just two games back of fifth place in the tightly packed conference.

Ball hasn’t been allowed to speak to reporters since the Lakers announced they were treating the knee as a long-term one injury (he initially was listed as day to day and questionable the day after he suffered the sprain).

That was three weeks ago this past weekend, and a sprained MCL typically takes one to three weeks to heal.

Ball has missed 10 games with the injury, on the heels of a shoulder injury that sidelined him for six.

The Lakers (21-31) have five games before the All-Star Game, two at home this week before three on the road going into the break.

But Ross told the newspaper that he felt the message being sent by kneeling players was unpatriotic and anti-military, an interpretation that was taken by President Donald Trump.

Last season, Dolphins coach Adam Gase had established a team rule requiring players to either stand for the anthem or stay in the tunnel, but he later told players that if they wanted to kneel, they could do so and wouldn’t be punished.

Ross was in New York on Monday to be honored with the ROBIE Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation. On its website, the foundation recognized Ross’ work in the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality to improve race relations and drive social progress.

The deal was also completed without consulting James, one source with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic. (Koby) Altman called James when it was essentially done and informed him of what was happening.lions_107

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Frazier went for an MRI on Friday.

We’ll see what the results are from that, Boone said, and just continue to gradually build his workload and see how he responds to different things.

Also on Friday, the Yankees signed veteran Adam Lind to a minor league contract, giving them a backup option to Greg Bird at first base.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that although Lind has outfield experience, he was added for his glove at first base and the possibility for his bat off the bench.

Zimmer said tight end Kyle Rudolph and Bradford went skiing last week. Rudolph told KFAN that he underwent surgery recently on his right ankle, which he injured during a game at Carolina.

Whether Bradford can stay healthy is Zimmer’s chief concern.

It’s his history of being hurt, Zimmer said. That’s the monkey wrench in the whole thing. Can you believe he’s going to play the 15 games he did two years ago or he’s going to play the one game where he hit the turf this year? That’s the big dilemma.

Russell Wilson is spending the week with the New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida, as part of the latest spring training tour for the onetime minor league baseball player-turned-four-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

The way Carroll sees it, Wilson is going to use this time to train his body one way or another. What difference does it make if he’s taking batting practice and fielding grounders?

Obviously you’re very proud he’s going to represent our great country, said Bailiff, who might make a last-minute trip to see his former player. Anything can go wrong when you’re doing it — you know, you see track athletes getting disqualified coming out of the blocks — so you’re just proud for him that his hard work has paid off. We love it when he comes back to Houston, and we maintain a locker for him (in the) Rice football locker room that says Sam McGuffie that has Olympic rings on it. We’re quite proud of Sam.patriots_001

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