How the 2017 Eagles finally built their ‘dream team’ through free agency

Now the Eagles are almost $10 million over the salary cap. They have to be under the cap by the time the new league year begins Wednesday, so something’s got to give. Luckily for Philadelphia, Howie Roseman was ready for this.

“We had anticipated what was going to go on in this offseason certainly last year,” Roseman said at the NFL Combine. “Some of the moves we made were with that in mind. From our perspective, we attempted to look at the free agent classes over a two-year period and felt like we would try to balance where our resources would go.”

It’s good that the Eagles thought ahead, but the changes they’ll have to make to this roster will still be felt. They’ve already traded away Torrey Smith and Marcus Johnson and brought in Michael Bennett and cornerback Daryl Worley.

It’s unlikely that the Eagles will be able to hold on to Trey Burton, starting inside linebacker Nigel Bradham, and Blount, all of whom could walk in free agency. They will likely cut or trade defensive end Vinny Curry. They’re also saddled with a tough decision to make about Foles, who won them a Super Bowl but isn’t going to take the starting role from Wentz. How does Roseman plan to accomplish that?

“Our intention is to find creative ways to do that,” he said at the combine.

The Eagles don’t have the cap space to follow the exact blueprint they used in 2017, but their overall goal is still the same: using free agency to jump-start a path to the Super Bowl.

Playing as a strongside linebacker in New York, Kennard did enough as a blitzer to rack up 9.5 sacks over his four seasons with the Giants.

He wasn’t a particularly active run defender, although the Giants were an excellent run defense after importing Damon Harrison in 2016.

The USC product’s rookie season — when he generated 4.5 sacks and five tackles for loss despite starting just six games — might have been his most productive campaign.

It’s possible that Kennard projects better as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but as Patricia noted earlier this month, the Lions will be spending the vast majority of their time in their sub packages anyway.

More likely, Detroit will send Kennard after the quarterback more frequently than the Giants did and will expect him to contribute on early downs.

The issue with the New England comparison is that Bill Belichick really doesn’t value players at this position all that much.

MLB 2018: Mariners’ contention window could close after this season

It’s been more than four years since Robinson Cano first put on a Seattle uniform, and more than two since Jerry Dipoto took over as general manager of the Mariners.

Dipoto was supposed to bring a radically different school of thought to the Mariners’ front office and lead the team to success. Cano, signed by predecessor Jack Zduriendcik, was supposed to spearhead a push for relevancy, backed by Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.

Although the Vikings have not made any offer to Cousins yet, there’s “mutual interest,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The Jets can outbid the Vikings, but they’re worried that the Vikings will land Cousins anyway because he wants to play in Minnesota, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.

Adam Schefter said the Vikings were one of the four finalists to land Cousins.

The Vikings don’t plan to apply the franchise tag to Case Keenum, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport and his colleague Mike Garafolo both reported that the Vikings are expected to be in on Kirk Cousins once legal tampering begins.

No one should expect Kaepernick to get a call, though, for the same reasons (good and bad, right and wrong, true and false) that kept him out of the NFL in 2017, and for another that wasn’t a factor last offseason. Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the league, filed in October, is still in play.

Yahoo! Sports reported last month that Kaepernick’s attorneys had requested depositions from several owners, team and league executives and even commissioner Roger Goodell’s wife, Jane. With discovery still going on, no timetable is set for when the arbitrator can hear the case.

It’s not impossible or impermissible for a team to sign or even negotiate with Kaepernick while the grievance is in play … but it’s impractical and unlikely. Kaepernick could receive damages lost salary from last season and, conceivably, this season if he wins the case.

Hopkins’ new pact came in at $49 million over three years.

The difference between the three-year money and the difference between those fifth-year options is essentially identical, but even so, it’s a surprise that Evans and his representation weren’t able to get more given the 6.1 percent rise in the salary cap over last season.

The Giants and the NFL acknowledged only that they know of their existence.

ESPN has been unable to confirm where or when the videos were filmed.

“We’re aware of the video, but we don’t have any comment beyond that,” a Giants team spokesman said via email Friday night.

The NFL, through a spokesman, also declined to comment further.

Hawkins said no receiver in the NFL plays as hard as Landry.

Thomas called the trade for Randall “fantastic” and said it would be good for Kizer to go to Green Bay.

“I really think Kizer has a future in this league, but he needs some time to learn and grow,” Thomas said. “The situation in Green Bay is going to be so much better than it is if he would’ve stayed in Cleveland. For Kizer, this is a great trade. For the Browns, it’s a great trade.”

Hawkins and Thomas both said that Shelton would be a better fit in the 3-4 defense with New England than in Gregg Williams’ 4-3 defense in Cleveland.

The Giants (3-13) badly missed their top receiver after he fractured his ankle during a Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. They finished 31st in the NFL, averaging 15.4 points per game.

Beckham has reached the Pro Bowl and set numerous records in his first three professional seasons.

About a month ago, Thomas said the rehab for the torn triceps tendon that ended his 2016 season and his consecutive snap streak at 10,363 was going well.

In January, Thomas told WKYC-Channel 3 in Cleveland that he feels he’s still playing at a high level and he loves the game. But he has struggled with knee and shoulder issues during the past few years to the point that he only practices one day per week.

Female umpire Jen Pawol gets first taste of MLB action

Jen Pawol, one of only two women umpiring in MLB-affiliated professional baseball, was behind the plate Thursday in the Tigers’ 6-1 exhibition win over Division II Florida Southern in Lakeland, Fla., earning praise from Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire and minimal abuse from either team.

The native of New York state says she doesn’t know yet where she’ll be assigned this season, but presumably she’ll work some Grapefruit League games this spring.

“I’m the luckiest woman in the world,” she said. “I get to take the field every day with the best men the world. I am so thankful for the opportunity.”

Behind Ohtani, Tyler Skaggs is sort of a question mark, but Matt Shoemaker has a few successful seasons under his belt. After a season marred by injury in 2017, the hope for the Angels is that Shoemaker can pitch like he did in 2014 and 2016 in particular, when he kept his ERA well under 4.00. But the beauty of having Ohtani in the rotation is that the Angels will not need to lean so heavily on pitchers like Skaggs or Shoemaker.

Finally, once-in-a-generation talent Mike Trout missed a large chunk of last season thanks to a torn ligament in his left thumb, and while it’s not necessarily likely that a full year of Trout would have put the Angels in the 2017 playoffs, losing him for nearly 50 games didn’t help. Trout, at only 26, is garishly talented and was worth nearly 7 WAR in his abbreviated season last year, so having him return to the lineup almost every day in 2018 only bolsters the Angels’ case for making the playoffs.

The road to October won’t necessarily be easier for the Angels this season, but thanks to the additions of Ohtani and a few veterans, they are better equipped to traverse it.

MLBPA files grievance against Pirates, A’s, Marlins and Rays

The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance to the MLB against four teams to find out why some teams aren’t spending more money.

According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the union is claiming the teams in question — the A’s, Marlins, Pirates and Rays — failed to comply with rules on how they spend the revenue-sharing money during the 2017 season and the current offseason.

“We also have made significant investments in scouting, signing amateur players, our player development system and our baseball facilities. It is regrettable and that the MLBPA would react to a free agent market that is apparently not to its liking by filing a frivolous grievance against a Club that has continued to invest heavily in all areas of its Baseball Operations notwithstanding steadily diminishing revenue sharing receipts.” reported Sunday that the Red Sox are not worried about Martinez’s current health, but the exam revealed a problem that might arise down the road. The 30-year-old outfielder suffered a sprained ligament in his foot last year, and battled an elbow injury the season before. He’s missed 85 games the past two seasons.

The Boston Globe had a similar take on the situation Saturday, noting that the Red Sox were just looking to protect themselves with terms of the contract, and that Martinez is expected to join the club soon.

Martinez hit 45 home runs, with a 1.066 OPS, last season between the Tigers and Diamondbacks.

The current way to make sure a sign isn’t stolen is for the catcher to jog out to the mound and, with his glove covering his mouth, talk to the pitcher. These mound visits happen over and over during the season, especially during the biggest moments in the postseason. These trips aren’t the only reason postseason games last forever, of course, but they certainly are a contributing factor.

Rodgers-Cromartie joins a slew of top-to-mid tier cornerbacks in the free agency pool.

The move comes one day after NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported DRC was asked by the new Giants regime to take a “significant pay cut” from his $6.5 million salary for the 2018 season. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport added that Rodgers-Cromartie was also asked to move to safety, but the corner will instead test the open market as an outside cornerback.

Former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman spent just one day on the market before signing an incentive-laden deal with the San Francisco 49ers . Sans Sherman, Malcolm Butler , Trumaine Johnson , Bashaud Breeland , E.J. Gaines , Brent Grimes , Morris Claiborne and Prince Amukamara lead this season’s free-agent cornerback class. Of those top talents, the 31-year-old?DRC is older than all of them but Grimes.

What does this mean for the Bills? : It wasn’t difficult to see Taylor’s departure coming. He was a candidate to be cut last spring before restructuring his contract with the team. The writing on the wall got even darker when he was benched for Peterman in Week 11 despite a 5-4 record. While Taylor would return to mark 14 starts on the season and help get the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, the franchise’s lack of faith in him meant his days in New York were numbered.

The Chargers have great edge?rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, plus?a shutdown corner anchoring their secondary in Casey Hayward. Their 3-4 defense, however, is one speedy,?playmaking linebacker away from being truly elite. Evans?would be a huge?asset against?the pass, both in coverage and in blitz packages.

The Seahawks need to end their nightmare of duct-taping the offensive line and trying to solve problems by?moving players around. McGlinchey’s athleticism will allow him to be a rock of a right tackle for the long haul.

Stephen Curry to skip 3-point shootout during All-Star Weekend

Stephen Curry always told himself he’d participate in the NBA’s 3-point shootout until he won the event.

That happened in 2015. After losing the event to teammate Klay Thompson in 2016, Curry skipped last year. He told ESPN Friday he won’t participate this year, either.

“I told myself I was going to do it until I won,” Curry told the San Jose Mercury News last year. “Then I won. Then I had to defend. And then Klay beat me. So it’s a little bit of an internal battle.

Laine opened the scoring by putting a wrist shot past Lundqvist at 19:05 of the first period. He added on midway through the second period when he snapped off another wrist shot, then scored into an empty net with 34 seconds left.

Laine, the third overall pick of the 2016 draft, scored 36 goals in his rookie season. He leads the NHL in goals since entering the league with 74. Ovechkin and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov each have 73.

Considering its talent, Milwaukee (24-22) has largely been considered an underachieving team this season. Bucks general manager Jon Horst has been clear that the franchise’s ultimate goal is to compete for championships.

Horst added that Prunty “has the knowledge and experience, along with the respect of our players and staff, to get the job done.” Prunty has spent 22 seasons around the NBA and has served as the head coach of Great Britain’s men’s national team.

In addition to the Prunty announcement, the Bucks announced the addition of Vin Baker to their coaching staff. Baker is a familiar face in Milwaukee; he spent the first four seasons of his NBA playing career there and played in three All-Star games as a Buck. More recently, Baker was a member of the Bucks’ broadcast team and will be leaving the broadcast booth for the bench.

MORE: With Jason Kidd out, Bucks could target these 10 coaching candidates

The Bucks, who currently hold the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed, plan to conduct a thorough coaching search in the offseason.

Tight oblique to sideline Cards closer Luke Gregerson

Cardinals closer Luke Gregerson is expected to be sidelined for at least several days of spring training with tightness in his oblique.

“No sense in trying to pitch him at this point,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday.

Here’s one more way to look at it: In 2014, 30 home runs were equal to, in Player Rater terms, roughly 27.75 stolen bases. In 2017, they were worth roughly 17.25. That’s a huge downward shift, and it shows how precious steals are by comparison.

This is why you’ll find many modest-power, middling-to-low-batting-average hitters ranked in my lower tiers than perhaps expected. A player like Morrison, for example, is projected for .256-33 numbers by us, .249-19 by Steamer (he’d project to 27 homers there if granted the 503 at-bats we’re granting him) and .255-25 by ZiPS. He simply isn’t worth a pick before the final rounds in a mixed league due to the overabundance of players capable of meeting those thresholds. It’s not that I don’t like the guy; I just think those numbers are less valuable than they seem, relative to what a replacement-level player might provide.

“It’s not part of baseball,” Hamels said Saturday after the Rangers’ spring training game against the San Francisco Giants. “I know that’s the new analytical side of trying to reinvent the wheel, but I was brought up in the minor leagues on the five-man [rotation], and that’s what I’m designed and conditioned for.

“That’s the mental side of how you prepare, how you get ready for games, how you condition your body. You throw in the six-man, you might as well be in college. … That’s just not what MLB is to me. That’s not how I learned from my mentors, and that’s not the type of way that I’m here to pitch.”

Hamels, 34, went 11-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 148 innings over 24 starts last season with the Rangers. It marked the first time since 2009 that the left-hander did not log at least 200 innings in a season.

“Thirty-three or 34 starts are what I design; that’s what my goal is and that’s what I intend to do,” Hamels said. “This is what I’ve done. I’m a guy that pitches 200 innings. I know that’s something you don’t see as often, but that’s what’s made me, and that’s what I’m going to stick to.”

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said that he is not yet fully committed to using the six-man rotation, saying the team is “exploring it” but that “we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Sean McVay, Baker Mayfield sat next to each other on flight to Indy

Sean McVay spotted reigning Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield walking down the aisle of his flight from Los Angeles to Indianapolis on Tuesday and called him over.

Mayfield took the middle seat, just to sit next to the Los Angeles Rams’ second-year head coach, and got a little bit of advice before interviewing with and working out for an assortment of NFL teams at this year’s scouting combine.

McVay and Mayfield met during Super Bowl week in Minneapolis earlier this month. McVay, who was flying Southwest, which allows passengers to select their seats when they board, got the window with an earlier boarding group. He called Mayfield over because he said he preferred to sit with someone he knew, but he was conscious of giving him his space during the four-hour flight.

McVay called Mayfield an impressive guy, very likeable. You see why his teammates thought the way they do about him.

While Altman was involved in the meeting, he and Mike Gansey — at that point officially the head of the Cavs’ G League team — were only keeping the ship afloat on an interim basis and had yet to be formally elevated to their current roles as GM and assistant GM, respectively.

It was a lapse in judgement that is looked back at by some still within the franchise as the consequential moment that led to the trade that sent Irving to Boston and put Cleveland at a disadvantage for most of the 2017-18 season prior to Altman’s trade deadline deals.

The Falcons did the opposite, throwing into the second half a little longer than they should have after taking a [hops in car, drives to local library, visits newspaper archives, finds a copy of USA Today dated Feb. 6, 2017, reads game recap, asks librarian if this is a typo] 28-3 lead late in the third quarter.

At this point, teams should expect the Patriots to have an advantage in the fourth quarter. They are maniacally well-conditioned, and they consistently make the right corrections to render what you were doing hopelessly ineffective.

Moment of silence, uniform patches among Panthers’ tribute to Florida shooting victims

The Florida Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Luongo made 33 saves in his third game since returning from a groin injury to lead the Panthers to a 3-2 victory. Vincent Trocheck scored the winning goal with 19.1 seconds left for Florida, who celebrated his go-ahead goal by encouraging fellow players to sign his stick. He plans on donating it to the students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas..

Players from both teams stood for the ceremony, some wiping tears from their eyes.

“We had little angels helping us tonight to help us pull out a big win here,” Luongo said.

The Panthers wore decal stickers Thursday on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their sweaters. They debuted those additions during their road game at Calgary on Saturday and will continue to wear them for the rest of the season.

“They’re nice and gritty and I think we like that style of game,” Hellebuyck said. “We like to get in the mud and really work and grind teams down and I think they fit right into game role.”

Nic Petan and Patrik Laine also scored to help the Jets win for the fourth time in five games.

Jake Allen made 19 saves for the Blues. They are 0-4-1 in their last five.

“Just too many mistakes throughout 60 minutes, including myself,” Allen said. “You see the turnovers against a top team like that with tons of speed and they shoved it back down our throats pretty quick. We need to limits those and tonight it just kind of snowballed on us.”

The Jets, with 81 points, have a solid grasp of second place in the Central Division. The Blues, with 72 points, could lose their hold of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a Los Angeles or Calgary win Saturday.