NFL trade rumors: Rams pursuing Odell Beckham Jr.

The Rams seem to be very interested in Odell Beckham Jr.

Los Angeles has contacted the Giants about a possible trade for the receiver, the New York Daily News reported, citing league sources.

According to the report, the Giants want a first-round pick in exchange for Beckham, along with other incentives.

It’s no surprise, given Watson and his fellow Clemson Tiger Hopkins found immediate chemistry last season. While Watson will let others decide if they are the best quarterback-wideout duo in the league, he knows there’s a lot more to come from their connection.

“It’s the type of person and player he is. He’s very relatable and you can feel connected with him once you meet him,” Watson said. “He’s easygoing but he wants to be the best and bring the best out of you. We just keep working on everything.”

The tag for Lawrence is worth $17.1 million and both sides have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal. If not, Lawrence will play under the tag for the 2018 season.

Despite recording 58 total tackles and 14.5 sacks in 2017, Lawrence also has a history of injury. He underwent back surgeries in both 2016 and 2017 and hasn’t had an offseason without some sort of injury in four years.

“(My contract) is not my focus right now,” Lawrence said. “My focus right now is getting better and being the best I can be once that season rolls around.”

Colorado fill-in centerfielder Mike Tauchman did his best to help out Freeland in the sixth, jumping into the wall as he tried to pull back Markakis’ shot. The crash, however, knocked Tauchman on his back and catapulted his glove over the wall.

There was some momentary confusion afterward.

Plate umpire Ed Hickox waited a moment after the contact to see if Givens held onto the ball. When he saw the ball still in Givens’ glove, Hickox called Gregorius out, prompting the Yankees to challenge the call, arguing Givens had illegally blocked Gregorius’ path to score.

“I thought he did block the plate before he got there. We certainly thought that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I understand that’s a difficult call to make in that situation.

“It didn’t go our way.”

Johnny Manziel : Browns should’ve done their ‘homework’ about him

Johnny Manziel appears to be putting some of the blame for his downfall in the NFL on the Browns.

The quarterback appeared Wednesday on The Dan Patrick Show, where he said the Browns should have researched him better before drafting him.

If Cleveland did any of their homework, they would have known I wasn’t a guy who came in every day and watch film, Manziel said. I wasn’t a guy who really knew the X’s and O’s of football.

It’s not the best comment for Manziel to make, since the free agent is trying to get back into NFL teams’ good graces.

During the playoffs, however, when James is part of the transition defense, his teams give up an average of only 1.1 points per possession. For some perspective on how big that difference is, regular-season LeBron’s transition defense puts his team as one of the five worst transition defenses in the league, while playoff LeBron’s transition defense would rank his team as the best transition defense in the league, and by a good margin.

The Cavaliers have never needed playoff LeBron more than they do this season. The Cavs have the 29th-ranked defense in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, which puts their odds of reaching the NBA Finals at 3.9 percent — well behind the Raptors (58 percent), Celtics (21 percent) and Sixers (11 percent). Without a significant switch-flip from LeBron, the Cavs’ defense is simply not good enough. If James is going to extend his personal NBA Finals streak to eight, it will be because playoff LeBron again showed his face.

Jets owner Christopher Johnson said Sunday after he and general manager Mike Maccagnan talked that they decided to rescind the offer made to Suh, according to the New York Daily News.

Our thinking just changed a bit, Johnson told reporters at the owners’ meeting (via ProFootballTalk.com).

Johnson didn’t go into much detail but he did say the move wasn’t in keeping with our long-term plan. The owner added he wasn’t involved when the offer was made to Suh, per SNY.

Yahoo Sports first reported Friday that the Jets emerged as a serious contender to land the 31-year-old even though they weren’t one of the three teams that met with him earlier this week. NFL.com later said the Jets made the biggest offer, adding, Suh would have to take less to go to the other teams … which he may do. Suh never arranged a visit with the Jets.

NFL trade rumors: Giants want two first-round picks for Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s future is becoming more and more unclear.

Despite Giants co-owner John Mara saying the Giants are not shopping Beckham, a new report surfaced that the Giants have asked for at least two first round picks in return for the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, according to ESPN.

Speculation started earlier this week that the Rams contacted the Giants about a potential trade, and it was reported Monday that Beckham would likely hold out if he wasn’t given a new contract extension as he’s entering the fifth and final year of his deal with New York.

And the Nationals needed this one. It let them rest a weary bullpen one day after a 12-inning loss to the New York Mets.

Plus, this was the first time they entered a game with a losing record since August 2015. That’s because after starting this season 4-0, they had dropped five in a row, two to the Braves, then three in a sweep against the Mets.

Backes and David Pastrnak had a goal each for Boston, with Pastrnak cutting it to 3-2 shortly before Reimer was hurt. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves.

We didn’t deserve to win and that’s the reality, Rask said. I think it’s mental, just not being sharp enough at the drop of the puck.

After beating the Bruins for the second time in three games, Florida is headed home despite an impressive 25-8-2 run to end the season, including winning their last five.

It’s disappointing. We were really hoping that we’d get a little help from some other teams and maybe get in, Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck said. I think there’s a lot of teams that didn’t want to play us if we did make it in.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the third, Boston made a furious surge, outshooting Florida 26-6 but only scoring once.

Pastrnak scored a power-play goal at 9:54 of the third. Pastrnak led the Bruins with 35 goals and had a career-high 80 points.

It has been a tough schedule for us but that’s not an excuse, Pastrnak said. The last few weeks have not been our best.

Dadonov put the game away when he scored an insurance goal with 1:49 remaining.

Steelers sign three offensive linemen

The Steelers signed three offensive linemen Monday, with tackles Joseph Cheek and Larson Graham and center Parker Collins all getting one-year deals.

Cheek, who started two seasons at guard at Texas A&M, originally signed with the Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016. The Saints waived him before the start of the season, and the Texans signed Cheek to their practice squad. He spent a month there before Houston waived him and Kansas City signed him to its practice squad, where he spent the rest of 2016 and all of 2017.

Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (finger surgery) will be back in Minnesota on Tuesday to meet with team doctors. Molitor said he’s heard Santana wants to see if he can get approval to do more in his rehab.

Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 3.27 ERA) will make his third start of the season in Tuesday’s evening contest. Keuchel gave up two runs — one earned — in five innings his last start against Baltimore.

Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 2.51) will make his first start at Target Field as a member of the Twins. Odorizzi, who made three starts at the park with Tampa Bay, gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings at Pittsburgh last week.

George and Russell Westbrook each scored 24 points, and Oklahoma City snapped Houston’s 20-game home winning streak with a 108-102 victory.

The Thunder were down one with about seven minutes left before scoring the next 11 points.

I’m not adjusting my Ohtani pitching projections, which were already quite generous: 3.25 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 29 percent K rate over an expected 24 starts. It’s his hitting contribution that has taken me by surprise, necessitating an adjustment: I’d now call him capable of a .250-.260 batting average and .210 isolated power, plus anticipate he might come to the plate 325 times, which is enough for him to hit another 13-15 home runs. And that’s a significant advantage for fantasy managers in leagues with daily transactions, since the Angels’ clarity on his role on a day-to-day basis makes it rather easy to maximize his usage from both sides of the ball.

Said Bills coach Sean McDermott, “Whatever position it is. We’ve got a multitude of picks and at the end of the day we’re going to come out of this thing with some good football players.”

Jets don’t have a consensus as to quarterback, yet

Three weeks ago today, the Jets jumped three spots in round one, from No. 6 to No. 3. They presumably are looking for a quarterback. As explained by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets still haven’t settled on which one they want.

The chatter during the league meetings in Orlando was that the Jets want Baker Mayfield. Mehta recently explained that some within the organization have concerns about Mayfield’s height. While other quarterbacks on the short end of the spectrum have thrived from Fran Tarkenton to Doug Flutie to Drew Brees to Russell Wilson success without the ability to see over the scrum of linemen requires, among other things, great anticipation and flawless footwork.

Credit an adjustment to his stance — he minimized a leg kick he exhibited during the early stages of spring training and instead is now utilizing more of a toe-tap in his swing — for Ohtani’s improvement, and while his to-date hitting rates are obviously unsustainable, he looks like an unexpectedly handy contributor with the bat. Chances are, his weaknesses will likely be on pitches on the inner third of the plate, especially breaking balls, where his amount of patience will ultimately determine how streaky a hitter he’ll be. Ohtani’s power, though, sure looks legitimate, and it’s probably unfair to assume he’ll sport a whiff rate of 30-plus percent come season’s end.

The Cowboys used the franchise tag on Lawrence and signed Ealy to a one-year deal.

“We’re excited about Kony,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We spent a lot of time on him coming out in the draft. We visited with him a lot, and we worked him out. He was one of those players we had targeted. At the time, we traded up for DeMarcus Lawrence and that worked out well for us. Kony went to Carolina and had a good career, very impactful in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. We think he’s a good, young player with a lot of potential. We’re going to bring him in here.

“One of the things we try to do with our team is promote competition at every position. That really is the reason for the decisions that we made in the offseason, to create a competitive environment at every position across the position. We feel like that brings out the best in everybody.”

Ealy, 26, has 15 sacks in the regular season in his career. But he has five in five postseason games, including three in the Super Bowl loss to the Broncos to end the 2015 season.

Ginobili’s perfect night keys pivotal Spurs win over Trail Blazers

With Al-Farouq Aminu all over him in suffocate mode, Manu Ginobili peeked over his left shoulder at Rudy Gay.

This decision would zip through Ginobili’s thoughts as quickly as his next move.

“I saw Rudy wide open next to me,” Ginobili said, shaking his head. “I said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Not this time.’ I go. I go because I was feeling really well.”

Manu Ginobili becomes the second player aged 40 or older to score 20 points in a game off the bench after scoring 21 in the Spurs’ Friday win over the Suns.

“Just get out of his way,” Gay said. “Manu finds a way to do it each and every night, even at his age. He’s a Hall of Famer, and he showed why tonight.”

Manu Ginobili made all seven of his field goal attempts the Portland Trail Blazers, including four makes in a 10-point fourth quarter. Soobum Im/USA TODAY
Portland immediately called for a timeout after Ginobili’s broke open the game for the Spurs. As Ginobili walked back toward San Antonio’s bench, point guard Dejounte Murray playfully shoved the veteran in acknowledgement of yet another miraculous feat.

Back when the Cavs beat the Knicks at the Garden in November, Kanter took a swipe at James after the game, saying, “I don’t care who you are. What do you call yourself? King, queen, princess, whatever you are. We’re going to fight. Nobody out there is going to punk us.”

After the Cavs gave up 148 points in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder — Kanter’s former team — in January, the Knicks center piped up on Twitter again.

“It doesn’t matter,” James said when asked about the possibility of Kanter playing. “It doesn’t matter. I didn’t think much of it. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup for them. I’m trying to get our guys healthy, and I think we’re getting our point guards back today, so that’s what I’m excited about.”

Any interaction between the two wouldn’t take place on the court, as Kanter has been ruled out because of his back and wrist.

Cavaliers guards George Hill and Jose Calderon are both officially listed as questionable, according to the team. Rodney Hood, who tweaked his Achilles in Philadelphia, is listed as probable.

No Rays of sunshine for White Sox in four-game skid

The Chicago White Sox will try to stop a four-game losing streak when they host the Tampa Bay Rays in the second meeting of a three-game series Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Chicago (3-6) has been outscored 21-12 during its early season skid. The White Sox are 0-4 at home this season as wet, cold weather has frustrated hitters and pitchers alike. It is the club’s first 0-4 start at home since 1987.

We’ve had a couple over this homestand actually where we haven’t been able to get that big hit, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said to The Athletic. We’re in the mindset sometimes of a hitter, they start thinking about the hit as opposed to the pitch and just getting something that you can handle.

Fulmer has faced the Rays once in his brief career — a two-inning relief appearance in which he gave up one run. He picked up the win out of the bullpen over Tampa Bay, which is about 80 miles from where he stood out as a prep athlete in Winter Haven, Fla.

For Tampa Bay, left-hander Blake Snell (0-1, 5.00 ERA) will try to bounce back after the New York Yankees roughed him up for five runs in 3 1/3 innings his last time out on April 4. Snell gave up home runs to Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez in that game, during which he threw 90 pitches while getting only 10 outs.

Snell, 25, has been far more effective against the White Sox during his two-plus seasons in the majors. The suburban Seattle native is 1-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA in two career starts against Chicago. He has not allowed a run in 9 1/3 innings, including a 6 2/3-inning effort last year and a rain-shortened 2 2/3-inning outing in 2016.

White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia will look to reboot his bat after going 0-for-5 in the series opener. Garcia entered the day with a three-game hitting streak and five multi-hit performances this season to lead the team.

What was the Heisman Trophy winner’s biggest message? Enjoy the process.

Right now you have a little bit of free time. This is the part where they’re all done with their pro day and so you can’t stress about the draft, Manziel said. I stressed about it too much and I think it made my time a little bit uneasy.

If I were to sit back and really enjoy it and enjoy the time with my family because you know the day after you get drafted and you fly to your team, you get two days off and then you go straight back to rookie OTA’s and then you’re straight into regular OTA’s, straight into a couple week break and then you’re straight into the season. And that season in the NFL was a grind and so just for them I wish them all the best.

Kaepernick attended Newsome, Harbaugh depositions

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick finally arrived at the Ravens’ facility. But he wasn’t there to sign a contract. He was there to witness a stream of questions arising from the fact that he was never offered one.

“With just those players alone, we’re going to have more than enough to get going and have bona fide players who played high-level collegiate football.”

Polian also acknowledged potential talent streams like eligible Canadian Football League free agents, including those from the U.S. “who may want to come back home and play.” Another is high school or junior college standouts who were unable to advance enough academically to continue pursuing the game at a higher collegiate level. There are also those who could emerge based on measurable athletic talent in tryout camps that Polian said would be scheduled “in every big city.”

“There will be plenty of kids who have perhaps dropped out of school who didn’t make it all the way to Division I for one reason or past junior college,” he said. “There are guys that maybe play semipro football somewhere who have talent.”

Winston took note of the article and responded on Twitter by writing that he will “personally will make sure we show how valuable” Jackson is during the 2018 season. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter added himself to the list of people who need to do a better job of getting Jackson chances to show off his skills.

“DeSean was where he was supposed to be,” Koetter said. “He was either behind the defense, in between the corner and safety, or he was in position to make explosive plays, and we didn’t get the ball to him. That’s on myself, it’s on Jameis to do better. I think DeSean and Jameis have said they need to spend more time working together, and I think they’re addressing that.”

Plenty of things went wrong for the Buccaneers in 2017 and a bigger offensive role for Jackson would be a way to turn one of them around as they try for better results in 2018.

The Browns are the one team that can almost match what the Rams have done with their bold offseason moves, led by the trades for quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Offensively, the Browns also signed running back Carlos Hyde and right tackle Chris Hubbard. And they still have a ton of cap room going forward.

Mason Rudolph waiting to prove critics wrong in NFL Draft and beyond

The consensus opinion ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft is that Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph is the fifth- or sixth-best quarterback in the class.

The Cowboys quarterback told Jim Rome in January he thinks he’s the best quarterback in the class after completing 65 percent of his passes for a nation-leading 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2017. But most mock drafts and projections have Rudolph — generally considered a late first-round to second-round pick — behind Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson.

Rudolph said he started private training the week after Oklahoma State’s 30-21 victory over Virginia Tech in the Camping World Bowl, but was set back by a mid-foot sprain that left him in a walking boot for three weeks. That prevented him from working out at the Senior Bowl (he attended interviews and meetings) and limited him at the Combine (he abstained from agility drills). By the time teams attended his pro day last week in Stillwater, however, he was back to 100 percent.

It was there Rudolph was seen having an extended conversation with Steelers brass, including head coach Mike Tomlin. Rudolph has also reportedly been targeted by Denver and Arizona, and continues to have meaningful conversations with several teams — though he has been asked not to reveal which franchises have shown interest.

In those conversations, the topics have ranged from how Oklahoma State’s offense translates to the NFL to Rudolph’s strengths, weaknesses and role in the Cowboys’ offense.

Without Andre Roberson, who is a known Harden-stopper (or as much of one as can exist on this planet), George has taken the primary assignment but went to the bench shortly after Harden’s 3 for a quick rest. Russell Westbrook took over the assignment, likely to just spell George until he could return. But Westbrook, who infuriates some with his tantalizing but very inconsistent defensive ability, cranked it up. And when George checked back in after about a minute, Westbrook told him not to switch back. The reigning MVP was taking the expected MVP.

“When the game is on the line, I knew what needed to be done,” Westbrook said. “I told Paul and Corey [Brewer] to take somebody else. I got him.”

He fought over every screen, jumped passing lanes and frustrated Harden. It sparked a 9-0 run for the Thunder to go up eight midway through the fourth, which included a Westbrook 3, a Westbrook layup and a Westbrook steal and pass to George for two free throws.

Westbrook shows relentless defense vs. HardenRussell Westbrook knocks the ball out of bounds and then steals it from James Harden in the 4th quarter.

Rams:It’s hard not to love what Los Angeles has built with its aggressive offseason additions – at least for the short term.

He knows what’s expected of him and now it’s up to him. That, in turn, seemingly led to Monday’s report that Beckham won’t step foot on a football field in 2018 without the new contract he’s consistently made clear he feels he’s earned (no prizes for guessing from where this story leaked). Beckham is seeking either to be the NFL’s highest-paid player, a near-impossible goal considering Kirk Cousins just pushed the ceiling to $30 million per season, or to earn around a reported $20 million annually, a much more realistic target considering his youth, production, and the fact receiver salaries have boomed in recent years.

Kiper also said this of Allen back in February: You have to look beyond the stats, Kiper Jr. said. Stats are for losers in my opinion in a lot of ways. The kid won.

Yet the same standard does not exist in his world when it comes to Jackson, who actually had a better record during the same period of time than Allen did, from 2016-17.

The comments about accuracy not mattering are also quite interesting, because Kiper also said the following about Lamar Jackson, whom he is not high on whatsoever.

The 37-year-old previously played in New Orleans from 2013-2015. He enjoyed the best season of his career with Drew Brees in 2015, compiling 825 yards on 74 receptions with six touchdowns.

Eagles: The best team in the NFL got better, and with Carson Wentz eventually getting healthy, there’s no reason to expect a drop-off.

Texans: They looked unstoppable when Deshaun Watson was under center and healthy, and a potent defense should keep Houston poised for a deep run.

Patriots:I actually don’t feel great about this – and could see the Steelers here – but until Belichick and Brady give me a reason not to include the Pats in lists like these, I’m sticking with them.

Yesterday, Schefter mentioned during an appearance on Golic and Wingo that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants traded Beckham Jr before this year’s draft.