Why Jets’ Kelvin Beachum isn’t ready to rave about Sam Darnold just yet

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has gotten a lot of praise recently, including acting owner Christopher Johnson saying Tuesday that the Jets drafting Darnold will eventually be seen as a turning point in the team’s path to greatness.

But the Jets’ veteran left tackle, Kelvin Beachum, isn’t ready to heap praise on Darnold just yet.

He was such a dependable player for us during his time here, missing only three games over nine seasons, and he was always among our leading tacklers, Strunk said in a statement. His play earned him two Pro Bowl selections and the respect of his teammates. Michael also was invested in our community, finding ways to make a difference.

If you think the Detroit Lions are in for another mediocre season, well, Vegas agrees.

The Lions’ opening over-under win total for the 2018 season is eight, according to odds released by Bovada on Tuesday.

That places the Lions third in the NFC North, behind the Green Bay Packers (10 wins) and Minnesota Vikings (10) and ahead of the Chicago Bears (six).

The New England Patriots have the highest projected total at 11, while the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns are tied for the lowest at five.

The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are one of four teams listed at 10 wins.

You have to hit the open market to get that kind of money, said former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry. But in the meantime, you have to risk getting hurt on the [franchise] tag, and players like the illusion of security that comes with long-term deals. ‘Rodgers will get more,’ which means a lot for Carson Wentz Ryan’s deal effects a few quarterbacks who are due for new contracts soon, starting with Green Bay star Aaron Rodgers, who isn’t slated to be a free agent until 2020 but has historically done his extensions with the Packers two years early.sharks-006

Mike Budenholzer, Hawks agree to part ways after five years

Budenholzer spent 17 years as an assistant under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich before his hiring in Atlanta in 2013. He won four NBA titles as a member of the Spurs’ staff.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard told reporters, “You win games up front. Y’all are gonna love him.”

The Colts gave up a league-high 56 sacks last season. Asked whether quarterback Andrew Luck would like the pick, Ballard said, “I’m sure he will. I think we see now the importance of the entire offensive line, not just tackles.”

Nelson told reporters: “I would say that I’m a very nasty offensive lineman. I wanna play for the best offensive line in the NFL and protect the best quarterback in the NFL.”

The 49ers also put a premium on protecting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

McGlinchey is expected to take over at right tackle in place of Trent Brown, then possibly transition to left tackle when Joe Staley retires.

The pick came as a surprise to McGlinchey, who did not take a pre-draft visit to the 49ers.

“I had no idea,” McGlinchey said. “It’s definitely a shock but I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the San Francisco 49ers organization. It has a lot of great history with a lot of great quarterbacks and a lot of great Super Bowls.”

Mike Minor (2-1) allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings to win for the first time in three starts. He walked none and struck out four.

Kevin Jepsen got two outs and Alex Claudio got one, Chris Martin worked the eighth and Keone Kela finished for his fifth save in five opportunities.

Justin Smoak had four hits but was thrown out twice on the bases for the Blue Jays, who have lost six of eight.

Stroman allowed six runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, and has given up at least four earned runs in all five starts this season. His ERA rose from 8.55 to 8.88.

The Rangers jumped on Stroman with a four-run first. Mazara hit a two-run single and Gallo followed with a drive to left, his eighth.

Smoak hit an RBI single in the bottom half, but the inning ended when Smoak was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Kevin Pillar’s two-out double. Smoak was also thrown out in the third when he tried to go from first to third on Yangervis Solarte’s single.sl_cardinals_049

Penguins erase 2-goal deficit, beat Capitals 3-2 in Game 1

After the Capitals scored early, the Penguins scored often to stun their rivals with yet another comeback.

Patric Hornqvist, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel scored in a 4:49 span to help Pittsburgh erase a two-goal deficit in the third period and the Penguins beat Washington 3-2 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the second-round series.

“I thought he was locked in all night long,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He made some big saves for us, especially when they were pressing down the stretch there. … When you get those types of saves, it’s easy to play with some confidence in front of him.”

Murray couldn’t predict a furious comeback, but he wasn’t shocked, either. Not after Pittsburgh has won nine consecutive playoff series dating to 2016, including two against these Capitals.

They provided background about the case, shared information about the parties involved and familiarized the 12-member jury — whose understanding of the NCAA and college football was treated as minimal or nonexistent — with the background needed to understand what will be presented.

In 2010, the NCAA Committee on Infractions issued a report that concluded that McNair “knew or should have known” that former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush was engaged in violations with a would-be agent while playing for USC and McNair “provided false and misleading information to the enforcement staff.” As a result, it issued McNair a one-year show-cause penalty and one-year recruiting ban that McNair’s lead attorney, Bruce Broillet, said effectively ended his career as a high-level coach.

Broillet called the NCAA’s process “a botched investigation that produced a recklessly constructed record upon which a committee of the NCAA, having been inappropriately influenced in violation of its own rules, rendered a report published everywhere that defamed and misrepresented the facts based on that recklessly constructed record.”

Much of what was presented has been reported at length over the past several years, but what had been less clear before Monday is what McNair has done to pursue employment in coaching in the years since.jets_102

Does Cooks deal slam door on Beckham trade?

Unless the Rams are hoping for the offensive equivalent of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, the trade for receiver Brandin Cooks likely means that they won’t be trading for Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The question now becomes whether anyone else will.

Reports and speculation have surfaced that other teams could be or should be interested. The 49ers and Chargers make plenty of sense; the other L.A. team has even more incentive now to bridge the sizzle gap between franchise competing for the same hearts, minds, and wallet in the nation’s No. 2 market.

Hey, look, late-season player development that isn’t resting your best players with fake injuries, benching them in crunch time, and playing young guys grotesquely out of position!

Smith has recorded 14 post touches this season, and half of them have come over the past 10 days, per Second Spectrum. This is absolutely worth trying. Smith is 6-3, physical, explosive, and a little nasty. The point guard post-up is an underrated weapon. Post-ups are best used now to draw help and unlock kickout passes. It makes sense to try them with your best passers.

And now the Patriots, who have added the 23rd overall pick to go with the 31st pick and two second-rounders, can try to make a move up the board to get one of the best quarterbacks in the incoming class.

It’s no secret that the Patriots are once again looking for a potential successor to Tom Brady, given the trade that sent Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers in exchanges for a second-rounder. And if coach Bill Belichick is truly considering a trade that would send tight end Rob Gronkowski to a new team (a proposition that becomes less plausible with receiver Brandin Cooks gone), Gronk could yield another high pick to be added to the pile — or he could be the player who, coupled with the two first-round picks, gets the deal done.

However it plays out, Belichick may have one or more tricks up his cut-off sleeves. Watching it play out over the next three weeks will be one of the most compelling aspects of the offseason.bills_055

Jordan Matthews’ Patriots Contract Is Big-Time Bargain For New England

Jordan Matthews’ forgettable one-year stint in Buffalo allowed the New England Patriots to sign the wide receiver to a seriously team-friendly deal.

Matthews’ contract with the Patriots is a one-year, $1 million pact that includes just $170,000 in guaranteed money, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB. Matthews can earn an additional $700,000 in unspecified incentives.

The power play always drives a lot of the Penguins’ success, so there’s bonus points available in the form of Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Hornqvist. Interestingly, Justin Schultz has been leading the Penguins’ defensemen in power-play ice time for a couple of weeks now, despite Kris Letang being healthy. Whether that continues into the playoffs is unclear, but it muddies the potential of Letang and makes Schultz a potential sleeper.

Matt Murray heads into his first postseason as the unquestioned starter, but it hasn’t been a pretty entry. In eight starts since February, Murray has allowed three or more goals seven times. Still, when you play behind the Pittsburgh offense, you can allow three or four goals and still win. That said, this is just his third NHL season, and he already owns a 22-9 record in the playoffs with a 1.95 goals-against average (second-best to Chris Osgood for the past 10 years among goalies with at least 30 playoff games).

Gurley was fired up about the rumored and at-this-point hypothetical possibility of the Rams trading for the Giants star, though he made it clear he thought he and coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff could make it work within the framework of an already good offense.

“Oh yeah, that’s my guy,” Gurley said of Beckham, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “There’s always enough snaps. There’s always enough snaps.

“If we had him, man, it would be awesome. I’d be happy, Goff will be happy, coach McVay will be happy, [owner Stan] Kroenke, the whole team would be.”

Gurley was less forthcoming with confirmation that he had talked to Beckham about the possibility. There was a report that Beckham had told a couple of Rams players he was hoping to go there, but Gurley wasn’t going to admit to being one of them.

“Hmm, I don’t want to say all that,” Gurley said. “That’s my boy.”rams_062

I haven’t talked to him in the last 24 hours.

I talked to Phil who talked to him last night. He seems to be doing OK. I think he’s just sitting there anxiously waiting on some good answers.

“We’ll see,” Shurmur told reporters during the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando last month. “We’re having those discussions. We’re in discussions with teams [about practices], but you can suggest to the league a team you want to play against and then the league eventually will just tell you who you’re playing.”

Shurmur and the Giants likely will work towards organization joint practices this summer, but announce them as well as the opponents at a later date. Previously, Shurmur took part in joint practices with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens when he was the offensive coordinator on Chip Kelly’s staff with the Eagles from 2013-2015.

The preseason is a prime opportunity for coaches to see bottom of the roster players in action to help determine who makes the team and who gets cut. Rarely a harbinger of how the regular season will play out, the Giants finished the 2017 exhibition slate with a 2-2 record.

The NFL is expected to release the 2018 regular season schedule later this month.

Even if Johnson returns to dominant 2016 form, that’s a fantastical forecast considering the dubious state of the offensive line and receiving corps.

The past two years’ worth of Vikings tape, however, bolster Johnson’s claim about Bradford’s potential in Arizona.

The scarlet letter attached to Bradford this offseason is similar to the one Carson Palmer sported when the Cardinals stole the former Raiders quarterback for the bargain price of a sixth-round draft pick in 2013: Can his body withstand the weekly poundings long enough to showcase his special arm talent?

Within two years of his arrival in the desert, Palmer was being hailed as a ” godsend ,” leaving a trail of skeptics in his wake.

That’s not to suggest Bradford is bound to follow in Palmer’s footsteps as an MVP runner-up in Arizona, but Johnson’s inferences are far from unfounded.rams_007

That sort of track record would send most players to the cutting room or the trade block, but Burfict isn’t most players.

The team shopped Ebron at the trading deadline and he seemed resigned to the possibility he wouldn’t finish out the year in Detroit, but a deal never came to fruition. It proved fortunate for both sides as he had a strong finish to the campaign, nearly doubling his production from the first half with 35 receptions, 379 yards and three scores the final eight weeks.

The Lions picked up the fifth-year option on Ebron’s contract after the season, a one-year deal that would have become guaranteed at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The team reportedly continued to field offers throughout the week, but never found a taker. Now he’ll have an opportunity to explore free agency a year early, and should draw serious interest given his skill set and age.

That leaves Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tyler Eifert, who has missed most of the past two seasons because of back injuries, and Martellus Bennett, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Packers last year, in the middle of his first season with the team, as the best remaining options.

That’s why Bengals coach Marvin Lewis flatly said no when asked if he’d consider moving on from Burfict. Tobin echoed those sentiments even if the idea of parting ways with Burfict has come up before.

Do we have conversations on that a lot Sure, we have conversations on that a lot, Tobin said. But at the end of the day we are a player-oriented business and the players are the ones that win or lose for us. We try to collect as many players that can help us win. That’s our job. That’s what we do. That’s our responsibility as an organization: To try to put the best football team on the field that we possibly can.jets_056

Reports: Justin Ellis agrees to 3-year deal with Raiders to avoid free agency

The Oakland Raiders have agreed to a three-year contract worth more than $15 million to keep defensive tackle Justin Ellis off the free-agent market, according to multiple reports.

Ellis will be guaranteed at least $6 million, according to the reports.

The Rams appeared to enter the offseason with serious question marks at cornerback, but in a matter of two weeks, they’ve pieced together what might be the best cornerback duo in football. After trading for Marcus Peters, the Rams added another playmaking veteran on the outside by dealing a fifth-round pick to the Broncos for Talib, whose departure from Denver had been rumored since the end of the regular season.

Denver had clearly made the decision to promote fifth-year corner Bradley Roby into an every-down role at the expense of Talib, who failed to pick off more than one pass for the first time in his professional career last season. Given that decision, John Elway did well to create a market and pick up a fifth-round pick for a player the Broncos seemed likely to release. With Roby and Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos should still be set at cornerback for years to come, and Denver can put the $11 million they owed Talib toward a new deal for Roby and/or their bid for Kirk Cousins.

When the season ended, Kizer lamented the fact he would be remembered as the quarterback of an 0-16 team. After the season, Jackson said Kizer would be back and would compete for the starting spot. His trade is a bit of a surprise in that the Browns never gave any indication they were eager to move him.

Even after Friday’s deals, the Browns still have the Nos. 1, 4, 33, 35 and 64 picks in this year’s draft. The Bills now own two picks in each of the first three rounds: Nos. 21, 22, 53, 56, 65 and 96.

The stockpiling-draft-picks era of the Cleveland Browns has come to a close. With Sashi Brown fired and replaced by traditionalist general manager John Dorsey, it’s no surprise that the Browns put some of their record-setting draft capital to work by trading for a trio of veterans on Friday afternoon. In three separate deals, the Browns sent out midround selections in the 2018 and 2019 drafts along with former starting quarterback DeShone Kizer for three veterans who should help the team win in the short term. It’s not difficult to understand why the Browns made these trades, but it’s a sign that they’re stuck paying what amounts to a competitiveness tax.

In the case of their trades for Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry, the Browns sent out draft picks to acquire a veteran they likely would not have been able to woo in free agency unless their markets totally failed to materialize.buccaneers_095

Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner: ‘People are concerned about us’

“That’s a big contract, a lot of money, and we already have a few outfielders,” Steinbrenner said. “But I was very interested in the idea because if you have chance to get a player like him, you’ve got to look at it.”

“David Kaval has had a huge positive impact on the A’s. What’s your take on that? I’m in Virginia and will stay up late to watch A’s games.” — @pol_4_infinite8

That’s tough. It would be tempting to say Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb to add a frontline starter who could anchor a young rotation (Jake Arrieta would be too expensive), but I’d make a move strictly with 2018 in mind. One thing the Braves definitely need this season is pop in the lineup. Apart from Freddie Freeman, there doesn’t look to be a consistent home run source — unless/until Ronald Acu?a becomes an everyday player.

J.D. Martinez is gone to the Red Sox and with him the 29 home runs in just 62 games with the Diamondbacks last season (after coming over from Detroit in July).

But the Diamondbacks hardly missed a beat, announcing Monday that they had agreed to a two-year, $7.5 million deal with Jarrod Dyson shortly after the Red Sox announced a five-year, $110 million contract with Martinez, clearly out of Arizona’s price range, then reportedly acquiring Steven Souza from the Rays on Tuesday in a three-team deal.

“To the extent that we see what we think are upwards of a third of the league,” Clark said. “Some of which have voiced their interest, or lack thereof, publicly in regards to the value of winning, or the value of competing day in and day out, that’s where our concern comes from.”

Clark, the head of the MLBPA, was particularly miffed with the changes Manfred made in regards to pace of play and limiting mound visits to six per game per team.

“There was no agreement on what was put in place,” Clark told reporters at Pirates’ camp Thursday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “As a matter of fact, I’ll go so far as to suggest there were fundamental disagreements over what makes the most sense moving forward.”

While the players and union may not like the rules put in place, the way the changes were made were what bothered one Pirates pitcher.seahawks_123_09e47cbf345250a6-180x180

After receiving the franchise tag, Landry is due to make more than $16 million in 2018.

Landry , 25, has been one of the NFL’s most productive receivers in his four seasons in the NFL with 400 receptions for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns. He led the NFL in receptions in 2017 with 112 and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl for a third consecutive season.

But now he’ll bring that to Cleveland, where the Browns are trying to rebuild an offense of a team that went 0-16 in 2017. Shortly after trading for Landry, the Browns also traded for quarterback Tyrod Taylor .

With the leverage on his side, and three consecutive Pro Bowls under his belt, the Dolphins were going to be forced to make Landry one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL if they aimed to keep him for the long-term.

That just wasn’t a price tag the Dolphins — a team that is near the bottom of the league in cap space — wanted to pay.

There were also reports that the organization was becoming increasingly frustrated with the receiver, who was described to the Miami Herald as a “pain” and “hard to reach.” That, however, may have been the Dolphins’ attempt to cut away at the value of Landry to get him at a more affordable price. Either way, Landry didn’t appreciate it.

Lawrence is the only one of the Cowboys’ recent additions who has developed into the pass rusher the team need. Losing him wasn’t an option.

“Our first goal is to sign him to a long-term deal, obviously,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the Senior Bowl, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . “To me, the only reason you use a franchise tag is to hopefully protect yourself if you can’t get a long-term deal signed that you like. That’s normally the route we like to go.

“Certainly, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and see if we can do something with DeMarcus without having a franchise tag.”

That did not come to fruition, but it doesn’t mean a multi-year deal won’t be in place soon. For now, the Cowboys did what was necessary to make sure one of the best pass rushers in the NFL stayed in Dallas at least for one more year and likely more.seahawks_121_94a49af8144fd5aa-180x180