Texans, Jadeveon Clowney making progress toward an extension

Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, with a salary this season of $12.3 million. But even that salary may be dwarfed by what Clowney will make soon.

Clowney and the Texans are making a lot of progress on negotiations for what’s described as “a mega-extension,” according to Albert Breer of SI.com.

Mike Minor (L), rostered in 6 percent of ESPN leagues, Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Somewhat surprisingly, the Rangers signed Minor to start after he appeared to be carving out a career change as a dominant reliever. His first outing was a mixed bag, as five whiffs with two hits and a pair of walks in 4.2 innings is passable. However, he was lifted early after tossing 94 pitches and allowing two earned runs. This is a dangerous matchup, as the Jays can send up nine righty swingers, but if Minor can carry over any of the skills growth he displayed as a reliever, he should rack up whiffs with a chance at a win.

“I was talking to my friends and it was like, ‘What’s your goals?’” Pead told TMZ. “If they let me on the track, I’m going for the gold, period.”

Pead won state championships in the 100 meters and 400 meters in high school, so he knows something about running track. He said he was only recently fitted for a leg he can run on and hasn’t completely figured out the dynamics of running as an amputee, but he believes he’ll be ready for big things in two years.

The Thunder have an extremely wide range of potential finishing spots, with the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage being in the mix, if unlikely. Much more likely is a finish somewhere in the No. 6-9 range, with each of those four spots coming in at about 20 percent likely. Yes, that means there is still about a 20 percent chance, according to our simulations, that the Thunder could miss the playoffs.buccaneers_110

Report: Giants taking calls about Beckham; Rams offered 1st-round pick

The Odell Beckham rumor mill won’t stop, and neither will the Los Angeles Rams ‘ dealings. The New York Giants are listening to trade offers for Beckham, and there have been several already, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports. The Rams have made their first-round pick – No. 23 overall – available for such a deal, according to NFLN’s Steve Wyche. Though the Giants are fielding inquiries about their star receiver, they reportedly haven’t determined whether they’re willing to trade him, Rapoport adds.

Instead, Suh will just go to Los Angeles to form what surely must be the most terrifying pair of interior disruptors on one defensive line in recent memory. There were concerns about L.A.’s pass rush after the Rams traded away Robert Quinn, but Suh and Aaron Donald should be downright unblockable against the weak underbelly of NFL pass-protectors, the league’s interior linemen. They’ve already sacked Russell Wilson four times and the season hasn’t even started yet.

The NFC North isn’t going to be a cakewalk this year. With Aaron Rodgers back, the Packers will be a playoff contender as usual. The Detroit Lions aren’t a great team, but they aren’t a tomato can, either. And the Vikings will play a first-place schedule in 2018.

It may be happy-smiley fun-time in Minneapolis right now, but if the Vikings get off to a slow start, things could change in a hurry.

Are there reasons to think that the pairing might not play out as well as the name value sounds Three, I think. One is that Suh is genuinely coming off of his worst season since 2011, when he was suspended for two games — the only two he has missed in his professional career. Suh has been able to stay remarkably healthy for an interior lineman, but he also has played a ton of snaps by the age of 30. Since entering the league in 2010, he has played 6,773 defensive snaps, more than any other defensive lineman in football. Just three linemen — Suh, Calais Campbell and Cameron Jordan — have topped 6,000 snaps over that span.patriots_034

Brown sees all the potential that the others do in Tatum, but really appreciates the way he handles all the promotion.

Brown sees all the potential that the others do in Tatum, but really appreciates the way he handles all the promotion.

“First off, he’s really talented and super humble,” Brown said. “Me and him connected a lot because we get along and kind of see things the same way. It’s amazing how cool and humble he is. He’s very to himself and, at the same time, he’s a great kid, great to be around.

“He just has that mindset that he wants to get better. He competes and sometimes we pick each up other up when we’re slacking. That’s good because we’re just going to keep pushing ourselves to be better and that’s what I admire about him. He has that mindset, and not a lot of people in our generation do.”

Make no mistake, Tatum is kind of a big deal. The Duke product will earn $5.6 million this year; only Boston’s star trio of Gordon Hayward ($29.7 million), Al Horford ($27.7) and Irving ($18.9) will earn more.

Walton did make it clear, though, that Ball is considered day-to-day, adding that “I assume he will be back” by the season opener against the LA Clippers on Oct. 19.

“I hope not, but yeah, that’s a possibility,” Walton said when asked if Ball could miss the rest of the preseason. “It is different with every player. He is new to the team, so we’ve got to see how long these types of injuries take him to come back from. We’d like to have him back, but again, we are not going to rush him back just to try to get him out there.”

The Australians were not intimidated despite facing some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including guard Russell Westbrook who just signed a $(US) 205-million contract extension and new All-Star recruits Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.

United, led by Casper Ware’s 20 points, six rebounds and three assists and Boone’s 15 points and nine rebounds, including four offensive, remained close throughout the game and held leads for stretches.
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Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette injured, Marqise Lee carted off field with leg injury

Wide receiver Marqise Lee was carted off the field during the Jaguars’ practice on Sunday, but the extent of his injury isn’t known.

According to coach Doug Marrone, the wide receiver was running a basic route when he stopped short and apparently hurt his right leg.

“I know that he was looking to stop,” Marrone said. “I know he stopped and they (the trainers) are evaluating him right now.”

“As a homicide prosecutor and violent crimes prosecutor, I had to try a violent offender or a murderer 100 days after arrest or the person goes free. I know there’s a couple of prosecutors that are working with the league on these personal conduct issues, but I gotta tell ya there’s a whole group of prosecutors and law enforcement folks laughing at them going, ‘Why does it take so long?'”

Smith’s comments echo those of Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones earlier in the week.

“These things are tough for everybody. It’s tough for the league. It’s tough for the team. It’s tough for the player,” Jones said. “I think, at some point, you should be able to get the information in some sort of time frame that it doesn’t carry on like this particular investigation has.”

The Ravens will have Joe Flacco play in a knee brace in his second season back from a torn ACL. Feel free to use that as a metaphor for their 2017 season — they’d better brace themselves, because they’ll be scrambling around to some widespread locations to try to redeem their missed opportunity from last season.

They’re taking a chance on a later bye week instead of an early one following their trip to London to face the Jaguars in Week 3. But it makes sense, because in December they travel back to Pittsburgh on a Sunday night, some 50 weeks after their AFC North chances died on Antonio Brown’s stretch for a last-second game-winning touchdown. Avoiding a third straight playoff-less season is paramount.
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NFL Network gives Chad Kelly most awkward moniker ever

NFL Network probably should have done a little more research into Chad Kelly — aka Mr. Irrelevant — before heaping him with superlatives on Saturday.

After the Broncos took Kelly with the last pick of the draft, NFL Network posted a graphic of Kelly, using one of its bullet points to describe Kelly as a “fearless gunslinger.”

“I’m thinking he might say, ‘Oh, no, don’t say anything like that, that might get them too fired up, might cause a riot out there in that crowd.’ But to my surprise, he encouraged me to say that and to get the crowd even more riled up,” Pearson said of his conversation with Goodell.

Pearson, who was a four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XII champion after going unselected in the 1973 draft, made the pick “on behalf of the five-time world champions” to a chorus of boos. The louder the crowd got, the louder Pearson yelled.

Pearson spent his entire 10-year playing career in Dallas before taking on coaching roles and executive positions following his retirement.

Two small-school tight ends went back-to-back early in the second round — South Alabama’s Gerald Everett (No. 44 to Rams) and Ashland’s Adam Shaheen (No. 45 to the Bears). Then FIU’s Jonnu Smith (No. 100 to the Titans) was the only other tight end taken after O.J. Howard, Evan Engram and Davd Njoku went in Round 1.

It’s unfortunate the torn ACL has cost Butt so much, but he has the makings of a Day 3 steal now.

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K’Waun Williams signs one-year deal with 49ers

After a season spent out of football, K’Waun Williams has a new home.

The San Francisco 49ers announced Wednesday that the cornerback signed a one-year deal with the team.

Williams had fielded four contract offers, including one from the Jets, according to NJ Advance Media, but chose the Niners.

While that could mean anything, perhaps it was a bit of foreshadowing in Kraft’s case. Aside from the highs, he was inevitably asked about the controversies the Patriots have encountered over the past decade.

“When anyone wins at anything too often then you start to bring out feelings that aren’t maybe the most collegial in other people,” Kraft said.

He added: “Envy and jealousy are incurable diseases. The haters still hate. And I understand it and we’ll do our best to keep them in that position.”

On Brady, Kraft said “He’s just not the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. He’s an amazing human being and it’s genuine. And as nice as everybody thinks he is, he’s nicer. And to see anyone attack him as an individual or his integrity, that just was unfair.”

Some other notable items from the interview:

On drafting Tom Brady: “I’ll always remember him coming down the stairs at the old stadium. He said to me ‘Hi. I’m Tom Brady.’ He looked me in the eye and said, ‘And I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.'”

Williams sought a second opinion on his injury, and the independent specialist from the Cleveland Clinic informed him he needed surgery to remove bone spurs. Twelve days after his suspension, Williams was released by the Browns.

Janis absolutely roasted Logan Ryan in the Packers first preseason game

It’s evident on film that Hill was getting better week after week. It was hard not to notice. Even though he generally rushed between the center and one of the guards, which is the shittiest position to pass rush from, Hill was able to consistently push the pocket back into an opposing quarterback’s lap, whether he was double-teamed or not. When teams tried to just let a center or guard try to block Hill one-on-one, they ended up paying for it.

Hill is a big dude — 6’1 and just over 300 pounds — but he has a lot of wiggle to him and that put a lot of pressure on interior linemen who had to be wary of getting run over and getting run around.

Everything was looking up for Hill as the season came to a close and the playoffs beckoned. Then he got hurt in the last game of the regular season. That injury landed Hill on the IR and out of the playoffs. He had to watch from the sideline as his team went all the way down to the wire in the Super Bowl only to lose on that fateful interception at the goal line by not running the damn ball.

Janis absolutely roasted Logan Ryan in the Packers first preseason game, scoring a 26-yard touchdown and setting Twitter ablaze. That’s what we’ve been hoping to see from the former Saginaw Valley standout.

While reports say he’s still a raw project, he’s had a year to work on his game at the NFL level, and he plays in arguably the best offense in the league. Some of the Packers writers seemed disappointed with Janis’ early training camp play, but that highlight for the first preseason game is just a taste of what he’s capable of.

Janis has to battle Ty Montgomery for the No. 4 spot on the depth chart, but he has the tools to do it. Again, when we’re looking at potential opportunities, if Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb or Davante Adams ever went down with an injury, Janis would be in position to make a significant impact with Aaron Rodgers.

The Indianapolis Colts could have grabbed the lead by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars

A key game in the AFC South also happened in the early slate of games. The Indianapolis Colts could have grabbed the lead by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Jags crushed the Colts, snapping their 16-game divisional winning streak. With a tough game tonight for the Houston Texans against the New England Patriots, the win gives the Jaguars a chance to climb back into the race and make it a three-way run for the divisional crown.

Rounding out the notable things to watch in the early slate was the Cincinnati Bengals against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Ben Roethlisberger back in action, the Steelers have one of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses, but so do the Bengals — with a healthy Andy Dalton. But Dalton was injured in the first quarter of the game, and the Steelers were in control from there on out, keeping Cincinnati from clinching the AFC North title. Pittsburgh needed the win to stay ahead in the AFC Wild Card race.

After the early group of 11 games kicking off at 1 p.m., there were just two more games before Sunday Night Football. In the first, the Denver Broncos tried to keep a stranglehold on the AFC West. But they fell to the Oakland Raiders and failed to clinch a spot in the postseason. The Raiders gave their wild card hopes a boost with their win.

No other team that hasn’t clinched a postseason spot can earn a spot in Week 14, although the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals had some rooting interest after locking down spots already. A win for the Panthers against the Atlanta Falcons secured a first-round bye for Carolina, while a loss for the Seattle Seahawks against the Baltimore Ravens would have guaranteed the Cardinals the NFC West crown.

In the AFC there’s little room for error in the wild card race, although unlike the NFC, there are three teams tied for two spots. The Steelers are currently the team on the outside looking in, even after an upset win over the Bengals.

Both the Texans and Buffalo Bills are ready to jump into the race if any team leaves the door ajar for them to do so, but with so many teams in contention, teams like the Raiders and Miami Dolphins would need some help to get back in the thick of the race.

2016 NFL Draft order: Titans will have a top 2 pick regardless of Week 17 results

The Tennessee Titans will lock up the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft if the Indianapolis Colts deal them a 13th loss of the season, but even if the Titans win, they could Limited Mens Roberto Aguayo Jersey still end up picking first.

UPDATE: The Titans wound up with the first pick in the draft.

If both the Titans and Cleveland Browns win in Week 17, it will be Tennessee picking first. While a win for the Browns could mean falling as far as fourth in the draft order, a Limited Kids Noah Spence Jersey win for the Titans wouldn’t be enough to knock Tennessee out of the top two.

Nearly every team in the AFC playoff picture has had to overcome some sort of injury to a primary player. The Patriots have had to deal with injuries to every offensive position except quarterback. The Broncos are marching along with Brock Osweiler, a quarterback in his fourth year who essentially had the experience of a rookie. The Cincinnati Bengals lost Andy Dalton until at least the first round of the playoffs, while backup AJ McCarron is now banged up too. The Kansas City Chiefs are winning but no longer have Jamaal Charles lining up in the backfield, while the Houston Texans have nearly clinched the AFC South with Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer taking snaps.

And then there’s the healthy Jets, the only team in the conference that is approaching the playoffs with its starting quarterback and all his primary weapons still on the field. If the Jets beat the Bills this week and make the playoffs, Fitzpatrick might actually be the second-best quarterback among the six lining up under center for the AFC’s playoff teams.

Injury luck plays a role every season, and this year, the Jets are the ones benefiting from it. Being healthy doesn’t guarantee anything, but being the most well-rounded team of all the playoff contenders is a great place to start. That is, assuming they can take care of business in what promises to be a tough and emotional game against Ryan and the Bills.