Monthly Archives: November 2016

Peyton Manning working with Broncos to restructure contract, per report

The Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning are working on restructuring his contract, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Manning, who has not yet committed to returning to football after a poor final two months of last season, is owed $19 million against the salary cap.

Denver could desperately use the cap space created by a restructure. Normally, moving money around would mean converting base salary into bonus, which pushes some guaranteed money down the road. However, Manning might only be thinking of playing one more season, making this a tad more complicated for general manager John Elway. Currently, Manning has two years left on his deal at $19 million per.

Manning and Elway have already met this offseason, coming together Feb. 12 to discuss a bevy of topics along with the possibility of restructuring the contract.

Last week, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders released a joint statement detailing a proposal to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson that could serve as the home for both teams. The project still needs 8,041 signatures to get the proposed stadium on a ballot, but the Carson city council could follow the same bath as Inglewood and bypass a public vote by voting on the initiative in city council.

The Rams, Chargers and Raiders have all previously called Los Angeles home. For the Chargers, however, it was only in LA for the 1960 American Football League season before a relocation to San Diego in 1961. The Rams and Raiders both left the city after the 1994 NFL season.

Even so, we believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court’s role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court.”

the Jets have recorded only 16 winning seasons — total!

Five thoughts on the game:

1. Mismatch at quarterback: On the stat sheet, this might be the most lopsided matchup of the year. Brady is the No. 1-rated passer in the league (123.3) and Fitzpatrick (67.6) is the lowest. Heck, it might be one of the biggest mismatches in league history based on passer rating. Belichick is looking at a different statistic, telling anybody willing to listen (no doubt, his players) the Jets have averaged 26 points in Fitzpatrick’s past three games.

2. Will boobirds fly?: The fan base has turned quickly on Bowles, in part, because of his decision to stick with Fitzpatrick, leaving Bryce Petty on the bench. The crowd won’t have much patience — the boos will start early if Fitzpatrick gets off to a slow start. The over/under on the first “We Want Bryce!” chant is the first three-and-out series. Fitzpatrick is handling the situation well, as he appeared relaxed during the run-up to the game. He will get the old Geno Smith treatment if he doesn’t give them something to cheer about — quickly. The Jets are 1-3 at home, so there haven’t been many feel-good moments.

3. Sweet 16: Cheating scandals notwithstanding, the Patriots have become the model franchise. Get this: A win by New England would clinch their 16th straight winning season, tying the San Francisco 49ers (1983-1998) for the longest streak since the merger in 1970. That is a staggering run of consistency, the likes of which we may never see again.

4. Paging Brandon Marshall: He’s on pace for 69 receptions and 962 yards, a major decline from last season’s numbers — 109 and 1,502, both franchise records. He has gone five straight games without a touchdown and five straight under 71 yards, his least productive stretch since his 2010 season with the Miami Dolphins.

5. Baby steps: The Jets’ pass defense, an embarrassment in September and October, is showing signs of improvement. Since Week 8, it ranks second in completion percentage (55.5) and yards per attempt (6.0).

The Vikings’ loss Thursday came after a backbreaking interception from Bradford, who has mostly avoided picks this season. It was only his third interception of the year, but it came in a game where his defense had held the Lions to 13 points with Bradford doing little to hold the lead or add to the offensive ledger. He finished the game 31-for-37, but those throws generated just 224 yards, with 119 of those yards — more than 50 percent — coming after the catch.

Smith, 37, continued to defy Father Time last week with eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown, giving him 1,000 receptions for his career. And ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley wrote in this Week’s NFL Nation Insider Buy/Sell fantasy column that Smith will “do everything in his power to finish off his legacy on a strong note,” since Smith is supposedly planning to retire for real this time.

Smith is owned in only 76 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, but Hensley believes he is worth starting down the stretch — especially this week. When Smith last faced the Bengals last year, he caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington is threatening to draft Marcus Mariota

Things haven’t gone well for Robert Griffin III in the two seasons after he won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2012. He was even benched during the 2014 season in favor of Colt McCoy, and according to John Clayton of ESPN, Washington wouldn’t hesitate to move on from Griffin by selecting Marcus Mariota in the 2015 NFL Draft.

A frequent trend in mock drafts has been the projection of a blockbuster trade that features the Philadelphia Eagles moving up near the top of the draft order to reunite Mariota with his college coach, Chip Kelly. However, a trade on Tuesday sent Sam Bradford to Philadelphia and cost the Eagles a second-round pick which could have been used as ammunition in a trade.

With the Eagles now less likely to make a move for Mariota, Clayton joined the Freddie Coleman Show on ESPN Radio and said that Washington could be the logical landing spot for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, via 247Sports:

“And honestly, don’t discount, he’s not going to fall to the Jets at six right now, the Redskins will take him at five. At least Dan Snyder might not think there’s quarterback issues, Jay Gruden and everyone else in the front office thinks there’s quarterback issues.

“And if Marcus Mariota falls to five, it’s not a position where they’re desperate enough to trade up to get him, but if he falls to five, I’m telling you this right now, they’ll take him.”

Washington started three different quarterbacks during the team’s 4-12 season and finished with the No. 5 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Rumors linking the team to Mariota doesn’t necessarily mean that the interest is legitimate or honest, though.

Mariota earned the Heisman Trophy after finishing the 2014 season with 42 passing touchdowns, 15 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.

Josh McCown will start for Browns after Cody Kessler suffers 2nd concussion

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson named quarterback Josh McCown the starter for the team’s Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants.

At halftime, West had outperformed Elliott statistically, with 42 rushing yards, 11 receiving yards, and one touchdown compared to Elliott’s 26 yards on the ground. That didn’t last, though. West didn’t gain another rushing yard in the second half, while Elliott finished with 97 yards on the ground and 30 receiving yards.

McCown, who relieved quarterback Cody Kessler after he suffered a concussion in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers, threw for 118 yards and a touchdown.

The Browns might decide to shut down quarterback Kessler, who has suffered two concussions in his last five games. In a 24-9 loss against the Steelers in Week 11, Kessler took a hard shoulder-to-helmet hit by Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the third quarter and fell to the ground.

The collision happened after Kessler threw the ball, and Timmons was flagged with unnecessary roughness on the play.

After the defeat, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said they will handle the rookie quarterback carefully. There was a possibility that Kessler will sit out for the last five games of the season.

“We’ll see,” Jackson said after the game. “I’m definitely going to talk to our medical staff because this is about a young man’s career and future so we have to do the right thing.”

If Kessler is out for the season, the winless Browns will have to depend on quarterback Josh McCown to finish out 2016 as the team’s quarterback.

“He’s going to have to go out there and play,” Jackson said. “I will expect Josh to play well, and he will.”

Cleveland has been involved in a quarterback carousel this season. Five quarterbacks— plus wide receiver Terrelle Pryor — have taken snaps under center for the Browns this season.

Are the Astros all-in? A status check for all 30 teams

With an offseason of trades, signings and re-signings already underway, it behooves us to lay out where each MLB team stands and what its current big-picture objective is as we head toward the winter meetings in Washington, D.C., set for early December. Here is the current landscape, division by division and team by team.

The O’s are not expected to have a free-spending offseason like they did a year ago, but they are trying to retain free agent Mark Trumbo following the AL home run champ’s 47-homer season. The Orioles are hoping starting pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman continue to develop into top-of-the-rotation starters to go with Chris Tillman; their progress as pitchers will have a lot to do with the Orioles’ chances of winning their division next year. You can expect GM Dan Duquette to be more active in January than he will be between now and then because that’s when he goes after his signature pickups: undervalued free agents who are left standing.

This year’s free-agent class is light on top-tier talent and depth, but there’s plenty of power to go around, including a few 40-homer guys.
The negatives: He just turned 31, and for a player who relies so much on his physicality, there are concerns about how he might age if his body doesn’t hold up, aside from the general risk of signing a player his age to a multiyear deal. Some analysts have suggested that teams are concerned he’ll lose focus if he signs a long-term contract, which could be one reason he didn’t get the lucrative deal he sought last offseason and returned to the Mets on what turned out to be a one-year contract. He will probably be limited to left field for the most part, as he doesn’t like right field and his defensive metrics in center with the Mets were below average.

That said, with few other star options on the market, some team will spend a pile of cash on Cespedes, and projections are in the area of a five-year, $120 million price tag. That dollar amount limits the market, but here are five places Cespedes could land.

For four riveting weeks, we watched games that were being played and managed in a style that often bore zero resemblance to the way this sport has operated for the past two decades. And that’s a tribute to how many people in baseball now look at the way things have been done for a century and ask: Why?

There were 10 games in this postseason in which at least one team used at least 18 of the 25 players on its roster. We also saw games in which the Dodgers and Indians almost seemed to be changing lines on the fly, fueled by data and the constant search for platoon advantages. If rosters expand to 26 or 27 players, as seems likely to happen in the next labor agreement, that trend toward maximizing platoon advantages could be a bigger focus than ever.

But the most significant development of this postseason was clearly the emergence of the “Multi-inning Super Reliever.” And by the middle of next season, we should know definitively that when we utter that phrase, we won’t be talking about only Andrew Miller. Just ask Miller himself.

Andrew Miller was a postseason monster — and now everybody wants to go find their own multi-inning relief solution. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
“I think it’s maybe a little harder to do that for 162 games,” the Indians’ left-handed game-changer said during the World Series. “But I think we’re heading in the direction.”