The team could resort to free agency or the draft to fill the need at the position.

The franchise tag is a relatively simple process, but the ramifications can be big for both teams and players. Here¡¯s everything you ever wanted to know, and more, about the tag, how it works, how much tagged players get paid, etc.
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That could be a reality, too. ¡°I¡¯m at the top, and if not, I¡¯m the closest; I¡¯ma need 15 a year, and they know this,¡± Bell (who goes by the name Juice) rapped in his single, ¡°Focus,¡± suggesting he could want to get paid as much as $15 million per year, an astronomical amount for a running back in today¡¯s NFL.

Rivera was born in California, but his father ¡ª a native Puerto Rican ¡ª was in the military. Rivera spent part of his childhood in Puerto Rico and avoided being a target of racism while surrounded by people who shared his heritage. That all changed when his family moved back to the mainland and another kid called him a pejorative term.

¡°I didn¡¯t feel racism until I came back to the United States,¡± Rivera said. ¡°But there was one term that set me off one time, and that¡¯s ¡®wetbacks.¡¯ That was the one that got me.¡±

It felt personal to Rivera, whose mother¡¯s family had emigrated from Mexico, across the Rio Grande and into Colorado and then on to the Salinas Valley in California.

Rivera played linebacker at UC Berkeley in the early ¡¯80s, and even an All-American at a school widely considered to be liberal in thought and practice was not exempt from racism.

The team could resort to free agency or the draft to fill the need at the position. Right now, Dan Kadar has Pittsburgh taking pass rusher Takkarist McKinley in his latest mock draft. Guys on the market to keep an eye out for include Alex Okafor, DeMarcus Ware, Lorenzo Alexander, and former AFC North rival Paul Kruger.

Backup running back DeAngelo Williams, who performed at an incredibly high level in spot starting duties, could also hit the market. With Bell¡¯s durability concerns, keeping Williams around or signing a back of comparable value could go a long way.
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Denver Broncos don’t pick up Russell Okung’s option

A year after negotiating his own deal in free agency, Broncos offensive tackle and former first-round pick Russell Okung finds himself back on the market.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Broncos have declined to pick up the option on Okung’s contract. His initial deal was essentially a one-year, $5 million pact with an option for a four-year, $48 million agreement. Only after the option would any guaranteed money kick in. Rapoport noted that Okung did make the extra $3 million available in incentives, so Okung leaves Colorado with $8 million in total.

Fox Sports first reported the development.

Gronk’s December surgery to fix a herniated disc was the third on his back, dating back to his college days. The most recent back injury stemmed from a brutal hit by Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. The tight end previously missed time in 2016 with a hamstring injury and bruised lung.

Throughout his football career, the 27-year-old Gronk has endured eight surgeries. He played just eight games in 2016 and has only appeared in 16 games twice in his career.

Despite the litany of injuries, Gronkowski isn’t planning on hanging up his cleats anytime soon.

“I’m not really sure,” he said when asked how long he plans on continuing his career. “I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I can possibly play. My mindset is to keep on going.”

With Gronk’s injury history, the question for the Patriots this offseason is whether to possibly break the bank to keep free agent Martellus Bennett in New England as insurance at the position.

Details of Warren Sapp’s arrest were released in a police report

Now Nick and Raven are climbing a water tower because we need to know that RAVEN IS A COUNTRY BADASS! The cops show up. The producers totally called the cops, didn¡¯t they?

Yes, they did, because the cop is Raven¡¯s brother. He¡¯s all like, ¡°Hah! You thought you were in trouble but you¡¯re not, I¡¯m her brother. What¡¯s up, Nick?¡± This is garbage.
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“He told her several times that she needed to leave but she was irate,” the report said. “At one point, she used Warren’s phone to call security to his room.”

The woman said she was collecting her belongings when Sapp grabbed her by the arms and threw her into the hallway, the force of which knocked both women down, according to the report.

“I do what I do, but that doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on me,” the 23-year-old told police.

The evidence presented to police reportedly includes a cell phone video that Sapp took of the 23-year-old performing the initial sex act.

Elite Brent Burns Jersey The 23-year-old is reportedly facing a prostitution charge, while the 34-year-old was cited for failing to register as an escort.

Details of Warren Sapp’s arrest were released in a police report. Sapp allegedly offered two women — one a 23-year-old, the other 34 — $300 each to come up to his hotel room. Both women reportedly took their clothes off in the room, and the 23-year-old began performing oral sex on Sapp while the 34-year-old hid in the bathroom.

The 34-year-old emerged when she heard arguing, according to the report. Sapp allegedly told police that the 23-year-old asked for more money when he asked her if she would have intercourse. When Sapp refused to pay, a fight reportedly ensued, which resulted in Sapp physically removing both women from the room.

2016 NFL Combine: Offensive line bench press results

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Most positions at the NFL Scouting Combine see the majority of players take part in the bench press on their third day in Indianapolis, but how much the results actually matter for each position is up for debate. It’s always interesting to see which kicker can put up the most reps of 225 pounds, if any, and find out which receiver or quarterback stands out among the rest at his position.

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The Pelicans are taking on Cousins’ penchant for being overly emotional on the court. Since Cousins debuted in 2010-11, he leads the NBA in technical fouls (105, 29 more than Westbrook), times fouling out (46, 24 more than Amir Johnson) and ejections (12, three more than Matt Barnes).

The Sacramento Kings tried to make Cousins their centerpiece but could not win with him. In his seven seasons in the league, the Kings have a .353 winning percentage, no winning seasons and no playoff appearances. Their 10-season playoff drought is the second longest in the NBA (Timberwolves, 12). They were a better team with him on the court than off it this season — outscored by 2.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the court and 7.2 points per 100 possessions when he was on the bench.

It is highly unusual for a player of Cousins’ scoring exploits to be traded at this point in the season. Cousins is averaging 27.8 points, the third-highest mark for a player at the time of a trade, minimum five games into the season. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the only players who averaged more were Wilt Chamberlain in 1964-65 (38.9 points at the time of his trade from the Warriors to the 76ers) and Allen Iverson in 2006-07 (31.2 when he was traded from the 76ers to the Nuggets).

Is this the year the Mets’ Fab 5 finally stays healthy?

From the far end of the clubhouse, David Wright gazed across the room at the side-by-side lockers of the men who will determine the fate of the 2017 New York Mets:

If those five names form the best starting rotation in the National League from start to finish this season, we’ll be seeing the Mets in another World Series telecast. If those five names spend more time in Dr. David Altchek’s office than they do on the mound, well, never mind.

According to a new forecast we’re calling MiPS (Metropolitans Projection System), the team from Queens will be healthy — and hard to beat — next season. You only have to take their word for it.

If that 50-word burst of pithy analysis comes as a shock to the Yoenis Cespedes Fan Club, just listen to the only man in the room who has worn a Mets uniform for the past 14 seasons.

“You could ask anybody in here, ‘What’s this team based off of?'” Wright said. “And the answer would be, ‘It’s our starting pitching that we’re built around.’ And that’s no knock on our offense, our bullpen, our defense or anything else. But when I think of, ‘Whose back can you jump on to get us to where we want to go?’ I don’t think there’s any question: It’s our starting pitching.”

“I didn’t realize how many fans we had around the country,” Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (right) said. “I got a sense of that this year.”

The front office hopes this isn’t a one-and-done feeling. Could a new generation of Cubs fans avoid going through life as lovable losers?
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Torey Krug Kids Jersey “After a World Series, you either get complacent or get even hungrier now that you’ve tasted it,” Epstein said. “There’s no real in-between. I never doubted it for a second: They will be extremely hungry.”

Why coaches sign way better recruiting classes in Year 2

We’ll get to see if Muschamp can build on this in one of the most interesting recruiting landscapes in the country, the SEC East.

The Gamecocks have some good recruiters on staff, but where do you slot them in the division’s recruiting ecosystem? If Georgia keeps up this pace (which is absolutely lapping the division, by the way) and Florida recruits to its elite potential, there’s no hope to catch either of those teams consistently in recruiting.

Tennessee is an interesting benchmark for South Carolina to shoot for on the division’s second recruiting tier. The Vols shocked us all with two top-10 recruiting classes in Butch Jones’ first two full cycles. But now they’ve come back down to earth with the No. 14 class in 2016 and No. 17 class in 2017. South Carolina ranked No. 21 in 2016 and No. 25 in 2017. If the Vols are sliding, the Gamecocks could catch them.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t unfathomably terrible for a single team to lose one of its best pitchers every year.

Every danged year, y’all. The only things the Cardinals can count on are a) being good and b) losing a pitcher they’re counting on.

How far back does this stretch? This is year seven. A recount:

Helped stabilize the post-Carpenter rotation, throwing 20 starts with a 2.97 FIP. He made just one start in the 2012 NLDS before being shut down for the year.

In 2012, originally (see above), but he came back and made a few starts before tearing up his shoulder in May. This is the weakest entry of the bunch, as there were reasons to expect an injury, and it didn’t come right when Cardinals fans had an inordinate amount of preseason expectations and hope. But it still stung.

Michael Wacha emerged from the draft on a flaming motorcycle and drove straight to Busch Stadium. Metaphorically. He stopped off for a hamburger along the way, but he didn’t dilly-dally.

Rudolph and the project’s architects asked for the input of patients such Casey O’Brien

“Through the course of a five-, 10-, 15-month stay in the hospital, the hours and days and months go by. At times, these people don’t leave their rooms — not because they’re not healthy enough. There’s just nothing else for them to do. You can only play with video games for so long. You can only sit and do puzzles and color coloring books [for so long]. At some point, these kids want to be real kids. We wanted to provide a space for them where, no matter what their situation or circumstance is, they can come down here and be kids.”

Rudolph and the project’s architects asked for the input of patients such Casey O’Brien, the former quarterback at Cretin-Derham Hall High School (St. Paul, Minnesota) who spent more than 160 nights in the hospital during two bouts with bone cancer before he was cleared to return to his team and hold for extra points last season.
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Perfect attendance is nearly impossible in the injury-ravaged, ever-specialized NFL. Even if a player stays healthy, chances are high that he will be taken off the field at some point as coaches employ situational strategies.

So it’s worth noting the relative handful of players who cut through those obstacles and were on the field for every snap for their side of the ball that their teams took during the 2016 regular season. For the most part, they come from positions that are not often subject to rotation: offensive line and quarterback.

A total of 34 players accomplished perfect attendance this season, including 26 offensive linemen. The achievement requires health, skill and some luck as well. Dozens more played all but a few of their teams’ snaps, felled only by a quick health check, equipment issue or late-game replacement.
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Below are the regular-season snap totals for the eight players who are not offensive linemen; the O-linemen’s totals are in the chart. The listed ages are as of Week 17.

He had his chance to have Romo for the present and Prescott for the future.

Schaub told me last week he wants an opportunity to start in the NFL once again. The chances of him doing so in Atlanta are slim to none, with reigning MVP Matt Ryan going nowhere for “many, many, many” years, as general manager Thomas Dimitroff put it. ESPN’s Adam Schefter previously reported Schaub could be headed to San Francisco to reunite with new 49ers head coach and former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Schaub, 35, could help Shanahan buy some time before finding the franchise QB of the future.

But now Jones is facing a tough personal decision, because of his fondness for Romo.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere Game Jersey He had his chance to have Romo for the present and Prescott for the future.
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Now he will have to see Romo in another uniform and remember what Jones said on 105.3 The Fan after the Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round:

“I really believe that Tony Romo will play in a Super Bowl,” Jones said. “Now try that one on. I know that if he’s healthy enough, he’ll be in a Super Bowl. I strongly believe that.”

It just won’t be for the Cowboys.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are on record as wanting to improve quarterback depth behind Ben Roethlisberger. They have resources to do just that, and they don’t have to use the NFL draft — at least not yet.

Re-signing Landry Jones is a possibility, but if the team opts for a seasoned backup while grooming a draft pick over the next two to three years, there’s enough help available.

The Vegas Golden Knights are swimming in an unprecedented NHL expansion coaching pool

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee is staring down one of the most unprecedented positions in NHL history. With the Bruins firing head coach Claude Julien unexpectedly on Tuesday morning, the Golden Knights¡¯ coaching pool just expanded to yet another big name.

Derek Roy Limited Jersey Here¡¯s a quick refresher of the coaches fired this year that are no doubt, 100 percent on Vegas¡¯ radar:

That¡¯s four NHL head coaches that have won a combined two Stanley Cups in their coaching careers. Between them, they¡¯ve led their teams to the playoffs 26 times in 38 full seasons.
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To put it plainly, McPhee and Vegas have the pick of the head coaching litter.

99.9% of the Boston sports world (which, admittedly, isn¡¯t the only place Bruins fans come from) is paying no attention to the goings-on on Causeway Street this morning.

98.5 The Sports Hub isn¡¯t going to break into their parade coverage to discuss the Julien move.

WCVB and NESN aren¡¯t going to pack up their crews and move from Boylston Street over to the Garden.

WEEI isn¡¯t going to call off its radio hits to get reaction from the players.

While it¡¯s entirely possible that this is a coincidence, it¡¯s pretty unlikely.

The Bruins could have fired Julien tomorrow, with no games scheduled until Thursday. They could have fired Julien this evening, after the day¡¯s festivities had ended.

Hell, they could have, you know, not fired Julien at all, instead choosing to view it as a mix of bad luck (being at the bottom of the PDO barrel usually isn¡¯t a recipe for team success) and woefully poor shooting.

Durant’s skill set might include everything but screening

Authentic Womens Justin Faulk USA Jersey The roadblock likely has something to do with how rarely Durant acts as, well, a roadblock. Durant’s skill set might include everything but screening, an underappreciated if often ignored aspect of basketball. While Green relishes pursuing defenders like a linebacker and cutting off the right angles, Durant almost never so much as grazes his mark. Often that’s intentional strategy, as Durant prefers slipping his screens, running away before defenders decide on what to do. But he likely has to start making contact for this to be a viable play under pressure.

It’s key to making the Warriors’ crunch time function, as they often move from a motion offense to a deliberate pick-and-roll attack late in games.

Authentic Womens Iman Shumpert Jersey “Late in games, holds and grabs aren’t going to be called, and that’s not an indictment of referees,” Kerr explained of the strategic shift. “Look at the last play of the Cleveland game on Christmas. League comes out, and says, ‘Oh yeah, he got tripped.’ If that’s in the middle of the game, they call that. If that’s at the end of the game, they don’t. There’s not as much freedom of movement late in games.”

Years of failing to build infrastructure around quarterback Andrew Luck have caught up in consecutive 8-8 finishes despite playing in the weak AFC South. That failure cost general manager Ryan Grigson his job, but coach Chuck Pagano appears set to return for at least one more season. Colts quarterbacks were pressured on 34.6 percent of their dropbacks, tied for second most in the NFL this season. It takes a while to overhaul an offensive line, and Luck already is approaching his 28th birthday.

New general manager Chris Ballard has a strong reputation as an evaluator, which provides optimism that he can accelerate the process of rebuilding the Colts’ line and finding Luck more playmakers. Ballard should have about $50 million in cap space to work with, and he’ll need to spend some of it on defense, particularly on the edge and in the secondary.