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Peterson put up a season-high 159 yards in his next game, but never reached triple digits again.

He went on injured reserve in December due to a neck injury.

Johnson will be healthy for 2018, and the team will likely restock its running back rotation behind him. Peterson was a helpful ally last fall, but if he wants to return to Arizona, it’ll have to be as a backup.

Peterson’s days as a starting running back are probably over. It’s also possible he may have played his final down in the NFL, although Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that his neck is fully healed and he does want to play next season.

The record-setting tailback averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in 2017 and turns 33 years old in March — that’s ancient for an NFL running back. His last two seasons have ended early due to injury, and while he had a pair of 100-plus yard performances last year, he also had six games in which he gained fewer than 30 yards.

He’s also not much of a receiver, a skill NFL teams covet in their running backs now.

Sanders turns 31 in March and is coming off an ineffective season hurt by a midseason ankle injury. Denver keeping Thomas means not keeping Sanders.

Martin’s hot-and-cold relationship with Dirk Koetter will end with the RB’s release at age 29. The Bucs were disappointed with his play post-suspension, and they’ll move on with Peyton Barber and/or others in the backfield.

It seems clear Cobb won’t be returning to Green Bay as the team tries to keep Nelson after signing Davante Adams to a massive extension. Cobb, 27, was a fading blip in the offense with or without Rodgers.

Turning only 29 in August, Taylor has a few good years left as a versatile veteran stopgap. It just won’t be for Buffalo, which will move on to find a true franchise guy it totally trusts. Arizona and Denver are Taylor’s best fits elsewhere.packers_114

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NFL free agency: Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon signings prove Cardinals are lost

Team-wise, that year also marked the most successful season Bradford has ever enjoyed as a starter.

Signing Bradford and Glennon does not preclude Arizona from making QB a high priority in April’s draft. And maybe things will turn around for Bradford in Arizona.

Maybe the Cardinals can manage to salvage another QB off the NFL scrap heap like with Palmer and Kurt Warner earlier this century. Maybe the 30-year-old Bradford can stay healthy long enough to experience success that he still could be capable of achieving. Maybe running back David Johnson can provide enough support to carry the offense.

Mike Zimmer has painted a discouraging picture recently by saying that Bradford’s knee condition is “degenerative.” 16.

Bashaud Breeland, CB* Headed to: Carolina Panthers | Age: 26 News: Panthers plan to sign Breeland as potential starting CB Newton: Breeland first option to replace Daryl Worley The Redskins might not be able, or willing, to squeeze in the market-level contract Breeland has earned as a four-year starter.

They’re already paying fellow cornerback Josh Norman an average of $15 million per year, and they have several young players who could step in.

That could make Breeland one of the more desirable defensive players available.

Along with Jimenez, the White Sox got pitcher Dylan Cease in return for Quintana, and though Cease’s arrival to the majors will probably come later, he has felt swept up in the excitement of a promising rebuild.

“It’s hard not be excited when there’s so much opportunity and so much talent,” Cease told SN.

Cease was a sixth-round pick in the Cubs’ 2014 draft, and he saw firsthand the culmination of an organizational rebuild when the Cubs won the World Series. With the White Sox, he sees something similar in their future.

“It’s really cool to be able to say, ‘Hey, I was a part of that’,” Cease said, both reflecting on his brief tenure in the Cubs organization and looking ahead to what the White Sox hope is to come. “There’s a ton of talent here. I could see it happening.”packers_138

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Taylor is immediately the heavy favorite to be under center when Week 1 rolls around.

Though he’s far from the most productive passer in the game, Taylor is elite at protecting the football and adding points with his legs. Taylor’s 1.29 percent interception rate trails only Tom Brady (1.04 percent) for best in the NFL over the past three years.

He ends his Bills career as the franchise’s all-time leader in passer rating (92.5) among quarterbacks to have started at least one game. His 1,575 rushing yards are also the most in franchise history among quarterbacks and are the second most in the NFL since 2015 by a quarterback behind Cam Newton (1,749).

In Damarious Randall, the Packers’ 2015 first-round pick, the Browns get a cornerback who has been a mix of promise (2015), disappointment (2016) and wild inconsistency (2017).

Last season, Randall posted a career-high and team-leading four interceptions but also got benched and was sent to the locker room in the middle of a game against the Chicago Bears, and then he couldn’t get on the field for the final two games because of a knee injury. Randall also underwent hand surgery last month but expects to make a full recovery.

The MMQB also detailed some of the negotiations between Sherman and the 49ers, including general manager John Lynch and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe. Sherman was acting as his own agent, and Marathe said he was impressed by the cornerback’s preparation.

“Richard came into the meeting with us having read all the contracts for all the top cornerbacks past and present,” Marathe said, adding that Sherman “studied our contracts and knew who we’d given real guaranteed money to.”

Meanwhile, the Dolphins might not have been able to afford the $16 million franchise tag Landry signed earlier this week. Landry reportedly had interest from the Ravens, but given that Baltimore would have needed to totally restructure his deal, it’s unlikely the Dolphins would have been able to make a similar swap to the one they made here. And if there weren’t any other trade suitors for Landry, he probably wouldn’t have signed the franchise tag. The most likely outcome for both Landry and Taylor this offseason was that they both would hit free agency. Instead, they’re both Browns.buccaneers_078

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Stat to the Future: Defending and dissecting Defensive Runs Saved

In a recent installment, I wrote about what WAR is and the way it works; essentially, by assigning run values to plays and crediting players for creating these runs.

Part of those struggles may have just been him adjusting to the new role, and he showed some signs he was getting over the learning curve toward the end of the season. Liriano made nine appearances from Sept. 4 to the end of the regular season last year, facing a total of 19 batters. Of those 19, Liriano struck out seven, walked two and surrendered one hit.

While a 19-batter stretch is way too small of a sample size to take too seriously, the peripherals are still there. According to Baseball Prospectus, only seven left-handed pitchers had a whiff-to-swing rate of at least 35 percent for both their slider and changeup. Liriano was one of them. He recorded a 53.7 percent ground ball rate as a reliever, which would be in the 20th percentile for major league bullpen arms. And he was bringing heat, with Brooks Baseball saying his fastball averaged 95.3 mph in September — the highest of any full month of his major league career (excluding October).

Liriano has already had to revive his career twice, once after Tommy John surgery and again when he was rebuilt in Pittsburgh. The 34-year-old may have a chance to do it yet again.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Honeywell threw a pitch and then swore loudly a couple of times before heading back to the clubhouse.

Rays manager Kevin Cash later said Honeywell suffered a “forearm strain.” However, it’s unclear how severe the strain is.

Honeywell was 13-9 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 172 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings last season while splitting time in Double-A and Triple-A. It was expected for Honeywell to make his jump to the big leagues sometime this season.

After lead-off hitter Keon Broxton homered off Ohtani to begin the second inning, the pitcher retired Nick Franklin on a fly out before getting the hook.

Ohtani’s final line: 1 1/3 innings, two hits, one earned run, two strikeouts, one walk, a wild pitch, and that home run to Broxton.buccaneers_009

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Tim Tebow’s freak injury joins long list of odd spring training mishaps

There’s just something about spring training, and the greater offseason in general, that brings out odd mishaps and injuries in baseball. Tim Tebow’s sprained ankle, thanks to an unfortunate run-in with a sprinkler, is just the latest example.

Type “weird spring training injuries” into the ol’ Google machine and a bevy of articles comes up. But to save you the trouble, here’s a quick rundown of some of the truly weird ones.

And then there’s the urban legend of a young John Smoltz burning his chest when he tried to iron a shirt while wearing it. But, to be fair, Smoltz says that’s not really what happened.

Even before players arrive in spring training, the offseason tends to put people in position to hurt themselves in other ways. Just this past offseason, Royals manager Ned Yost nearly died after he fell while repairing a tree stand used for hunting. And a year before that, Royals pitcher Brian Flynn missed eight weeks after he fell through the roof of a barn. (Note: If you’re associated with the Royals, please avoid high places.)

Spring training is often dull because the games are meaningless and the stats don’t count, so tallying freak injuries is definitely a worthy way to pass time until Opening Day.

The 80-year-old Cepeda was rushed to the hospital last Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest and falling in a parking lot, where he suffered a “severe blow to the skull,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. He had been listed in critical condition.

Cepeda looked healthy last month at former teammate Willie McCovey’s 80th birthday party at AT&T Park, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nicknamed “Baby Bull” because of his thick build, Cepeda earned NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1958, the year the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco.

One of baseball’s top power hitters through the 1960s and early ’70s, the first baseman-outfielder was traded to the Cardinals in 1966 for pitcher Ray Sadecki. He then won the NL MVP award in 1967 as St. Louis won the World Series, cementing the trade as one of the worst in Giants history.seahawks_131_58a762570ecc8749-180x180

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Released by the New York Jets before the 2014 season after going undrafted, Hyder emerged as a pleasant surprise for the Lions .

Hyder’s injury was a big blow to the Lions before the start of the season, and it’s clear the team believes he can reestablish himself as one of the NFC’s top pass-rushers in the wake of the injury.

“I’m looking forward to coming back,” Hyder told the Detroit Free Press in January. “It’s just a small bump in the road on a long journey. I’m not even worried about it. Of course going through it, it was tough initially. But I’ve accepted it and I’ve moved on and I’m looking forward to the 2018 season and I know I’m going to be back better than ever.”

He recorded eight sacks and 23 tackles during the 2016 season. But he was placed on injured reserve after the Lions ‘ first preseason game of 2017.

Minnesota is poised to be the third team to make the playoffs in consecutive years with a lower-third opening payroll in the 10-team playoff era after making impressive signings for its bullpen and bolstering its rotation depth to go with an improving farm system. Their offseason won’t garner the hype of the bigger-market clubs, but the Twins improved their roster in just the right places as they look to made strides in a weakened AL Central.

With Garoppolo secured and a visible turnaround from his presence, San Francisco has quickly morphed from moribund to promising. Adding Sherman to a secondary in need of a corner will only further improve their chances in 2018 and beyond.

One of the biggest questions around NFL free agency is where Kirk Cousins will find a new home, but if it’s up to Von Miller, he would land with the Broncos.

Miller is quickly emerging as one of the most outspoken of the players attempting to recruit Cousins to lead their team. The Broncos linebacker went as far as saying, “I’m all in 100 percent” for Cousins adding that his smile and personality is something Cousins won’t be able to find anywhere else.

“This is a big time for Denver and a big time for the National Football League. You don’t really have, especially quarterbacks, become free like that. So it’s an exciting time in the National Football League,” Miller told . seahawks_092_12bbd8dbc734555f-180x180

NBA wrap: Kevin Durant does something he’s never done in win over T-Wolves

Another night, another Warriors win as Golden State took down the Timberwolves 126-113 at Oracle Arena.

Kevin Durant tallied the 10th triple-double of his career with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Warriors, but it is what he has done on back-to-back nights which is truly special for him.

Durant posted 10 assists for the second consecutive game for the first time in 743 career games. The Warriors had 37 assists on 48 made field goals which gives them 22 games this season with at least 32 assists. No other team in the NBA has done that more than seven times. Golden State is raising the bar for ball distribution and Durant is upping his passing game as well.

Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for his fifth win in his last six starts, and the Wild raised their home record to an NHL-leading 24-5-6. Matt Cullen, another long-time former Hurricanes player who teamed with Staal on the 2006 Stanley Cup champion squad, scored late for the Wild.

Phillip Di Giuseppe and Derek Ryan scored for Carolina in the third period on Dubnyk, who has allowed only nine goals over his last five victories.

The Hurricanes lost points on each of the competitors in the Eastern Conference wild card race, with New Jersey (76) and Columbus (73) currently holding the two spots and Florida (71) also ahead of Carolina (69).

“The players understand, his teammates understand what he’s there for,” Vardon said on the “In The Zone” podcast with Chris Broussard. “So on the one hand, they’re OK with him getting these shots and they understand that right now they’re not falling, but then they’re also frustrated because they know that playing this way is what disrupted a lot of the rhythm.”

Since Thomas came back Jan. 2, the Cavaliers are 3-7, and with him on the court they are 3-5. Thomas is averaging 15.9 points on 39.1 percent shooting and the Cavaliers are allowing 122.5 points per game. In the two games Thomas hasn’t played the Cavaliers have allowed an average of 99.5 points.

Thomas is reportedly the one openly telling players when he was with Boston his team cared more about team defense. He has also complained about the team not practicing enough, which has annoyed teammates. lions_014

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Bears use transition tag on Kyle Fuller, have right to match any offers

The Chicago Bears used the transition tag on cornerback Kyle Fuller, guaranteeing Fuller $12.971 million for 2018 and giving Chicago the right to match any offers.

This hasn’t prevented the occasional disastrous top pick from entering the league. Anthony Bennett would be the most obvious example, although it would have been hard to find many in June 2013 who believed he was the draft’s best prospect. It so happened that one person who did was holding the No. 1 overall pick: GM Chris Grant of the Cavaliers. He lost that job less than a year later.

However, the one-and-dones who have been prominent picks have, on balance, been extremely successful.

There’s no doubt that as you’re watching a 17-year-old grow into an 18/19-year-old NBA prospect, there’s no question the higher level you get to eyeball him at, the more helpful it is in determining whether a guy is going to be a good NBA player or not, said college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla, who covers the draft for ESPN.

That’s why baseball drafts 40 rounds, because oftentimes they’re taking high school players who are going to flame out. It’s harder to evaluate a player at the high school level than if he’s playing in the ACC or Big 12.

Although Martinez will be Boston’s primary designated hitter, he is expected to get time in the field. With the Red Sox playing split-squad games, he played left field and batted cleanup.

Facing Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi, Martinez twice flied out.

“Seeing the ball, just going up there and trying to slow the ball down as best as I can and swing at strikes,” Martinez said. “Really, that’s all I was really worried about — just get a pitch over the plate and put a good swing on it.

“It felt good. It was fun. You don’t realize how much you miss something until you can’t do it and you haven’t been able to do it for a while. So it was fun to get out there.”

The AL East champion Red Sox announced Feb. 26 that they had signed Martinez to a $110 million, five-year deal. The 30-year-old hit a combined .303 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs last season in 119 games with Detroit and Arizona.

In his first game for Boston, Martinez hit behind Hanley Ramirez, who was serving as the DH. It’s a combination the Red Sox hope will add punch to a lineup that finished last in the American League with 168 home runs last season.lions_100

The Oakland Raiders went from 12-4 in 2016 to a 6-10 mark in 2017.

The drop off perhaps wasn’t too surprising, considering the Raiders were 8-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer in 2016. But there’s one match here that matters more than others — and that’s between Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr.

Gruden has earned a reputation as a quarterback guru, between winning a Super Bowl in 2002 with Brad Johnson and his work with ESPN and his quarterback camp segments. Carr received a $125 million extension last offseason, and he was in the MVP conversation for a good chunk of the 2016 season before an injury ended his year. Carr struggled to regain his form in 2017, however.

The Philadelphia native hurt in this way is not disappointed with the outcome either way, because the Eagles won and that time I cracked my skull on the pavement makes for an excellent story.

In this stage, individuals embrace their mortality and revert into a primal state, desirous of fiber wherever it comes from. Typically unacceptable social behavior becomes normal, and the poop eater is often praised by their ilk.

Forte had some decent production when healthy last season, but he was further hampered by knee injuries and turned 32 in December. He’s too expensive for the Jets to retain with limited return on investment.

Quinn is still relatively young, turning 28 in May. After an incredibly slow first half of the 2017 season, he reeled off six sacks in the Rams’ final six regular-season games. The only way Quinn stays in LA is if he agrees to a pay cut.

San Francisco’s quarterbacks were sacked on only 6.6 percent of their dropbacks, a relatively middling rate. A closer look shows those passers dealt with much more pressure than the numbers suggest. 49ers quarterbacks were hit 116 times last season — more than all but four teams in the league. That’s a stark reminder of the pocket-collapsing pressure Garoppolo had to face as his season wore on.patriots_009

Krejci snaps tie late in 3rd, Bruins rally past Oilers 3-2

Patience paid off for the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

David Krejci broke a tie with 1:04 remaining and Boston rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Noel Acciari and Matt Grzelcyk also scored for the Bruins (37-13-8), who have won seven of nine and are one point back of NHL-leading Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division. Boston trailed 2-0 before scoring three times in the third period.

The Oilers scored the game’s first goal with 1:31 left in the opening period — despite being outshot 13-2 to that point — when Strome beat Khudobin on a 2-on-1 break for his ninth of the season.

The Bruins came close five minutes into the second when David Pastrnak’s shot clanged off the post behind Talbot, but instead the Oilers extended their lead just more than six minutes later when a knuckler by Khaira beat Khudobin up high.

The shots favored the Bruins 29-14 through 40 minutes.

Boston got on the board 4:37 into the third when Acciari swung a puck in front of the Edmonton net and it bounced off Strome and in to make it 2-1.

Cousins has been with the Redskins since they selected him in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Washington took Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick that season, but after Griffin was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 2012, injuries derailed him and Cousins stepped in. The former Michigan State quarterback has started every game for the Redskins since 2015 and was a Pro Bowler in 2016, where he threw for 4,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Cousins has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of this three seasons as a starter, but the Redskins have just one playoff appearance and have seen their wins dip each season. After placing a franchise tag on Cousins last season, paying him nearly $24 million, the Redskins signaled the end of his time in Washington when they traded for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.

That Jan. 30 trade didn’t sit right with Swearinger, who was upset the team sent second-year cornerback Kendall Fuller to Kansas City. Swearinger was initially upset Washington traded away the “best No. 1 slot corner” in the league, but said Monday he’s “extremely over it.”jays_319_96df3c75400e9cf8-180x180

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