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Ex-Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls joins New York Jets

Thomas Rawls found a new home.

The ex-Seattle Seahawks running back signed with the New York Jets, the team announced Friday.

An undrafted rookie in 2015, Rawls burst onto the scene in Seattle as a between-the-tackles fill-in for an injured Marshawn Lynch. The 5-foot-9 wrecking ball averaged an NFL-high 5.6 yards per carry, going for 830 yards and four scores his opening season.

The rule just needed a re-write, McKay said. We needed to start over, re-write the rule, simplify it, narrow the window of time that was for a catch.

While the simplification is likely to go over well with players and fans, alike, there will likely be more debate around the league’s expansion of a rule that prohibits players from initiating contact with their helmets.

Any player who lowers their helmet to make contact with an opponent will be penalized 15 yards, as well as be subjected to possible ejection. During a Wednesday press conference, Goodell repeatedly expressed the importance of removing the usage of the helmet from the game.

This move comes months after Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury lunging headfirst into a tackle attempt. McKay insisted Shazier’s injury wasn’t a reason for the change, but an example of why it’s needed.

Smith probably needed a fresh start far away as much as any recent New York athlete.

After surprisingly slipping out of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he started all 16 games (8-8 record) as a rookie second-round pick in place of the injured Mark Sanchez. He went 3-10 in 13 starts the next season and never got a fair shake in 2015.

Giants’ salary cap analysis: Closer look at contracts

Smith suffered a fractured jaw in a locker room altercation with teammate IK Enemkpali during the preseason, and Ryan Fitzpatrick took over as the starter. He appeared in just three games with one start in the 2015-16 seasons combined.

When Smith hit unrestricted free agency last offseason, he signed with the Giants to back up iron man Eli Manning. The job has provided limited opportunities for quarterbacks in the past.

And then the Giants’ 2017 season took a turn for the strange. patriots_155-223x223

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The Buccaneers said hello to one defensive end and goodbye to another this weekend.

Vinny Curry was the new arrival as he signed a contract in Tampa shortly after being released by the Eagles. With Curry in the fold, the Buccaneers didn’t have much need for Robert Ayers any longer and released him from the roster.

The move cleared $6 million in cap space for the Bucs and came just ahead of Ayers being due for a $1 million bonus.

Thus, it would be an expensive trade, giving up that much in compensation and a large contract. But Thomas is a six-time Pro Bowler and only 28.

Thomas, a Texas native who ed at the University of Texas, has left no doubt where he would like to. He told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to come get me after their Christmas Eve game.

A spokesman for Rubin declined to comment. His backers included Brooklyn Nets investor and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai.

Remaining bidders include Alan Kestenbaum, chief executive officer of private equity firm Bedrock Industries LP, leading an investor group that the people said is backed by Canada’s third-richest person, billionaire Jim Pattison.

Pattison, reached by phone, said he isn’t currently backing an offer.

Time will tell if Eric Reid’s protests during the national anthem will affect his ability to find a new home. But in terms of on-field fits, Reid will find a hard time beating the one available in Chicago.jets_103

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Glennon’s 2017 season was even worse that of Bradford’s outside of the ridiculous $18 million he received to sign with Chicago as a free agent.

Glennon, who joined the Bears believing he had a legitimate chance to become the team’s franchise quarterback, immediately knew his days were numbered when Chicago made Mitchell Trubisky the draft’s No. 2 overall pick just six weeks after his signing.

The end came after four pedestrian games in which Glennon had committed eight turnovers and gotten sacked eight times while leading an offense that averaged a paltry 15.3 points. Like in Tampa Bay the previous two seasons with Jameis Winston, Glennon spent the rest of the season on the sideline watching a neophyte QB (Trubisky) take his lumps.

Cousins should offer a much higher floor, given that he’s been playing at this level for nearly three full seasons since the famous “You Like That?!” game against the Buccaneers.

He has played with a solid offensive line in Washington and had useful receivers from Jamison Crowder to Chris Thompson alongside him, but the running game was a mess most of the time under Jay Gruden, ranking 32nd in DVOA in 2015 and 28th last season.

(To be fair, they were fourth in 2016.) Just as Keenum got a boost from playing in Minnesota, it would hardly be a surprise to see Cousins reach new heights, too.

The coaching infrastructure should be sound, given that Minnesota blocked quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski from leaving and replaced Pat Shurmur with highly regarded Philadelphia quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

In that limited time of regular-season play, he completed 64.7 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and two interceptions. His career 93.6 passer rating would’ve landed 13th among the numbers put up by starting quarterbacks in 2017 ahead of players like Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott, and Derek Carr.

A fifth-round pick in 2014, McCarron entered the NFL after leading the Alabama Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS National Championship victories. Since then, he’s had four years of learning from Bengals coaches Hue Jackson, Ken Zampese, and Bill Lazor.

In his brief time on the field, McCarron has been relatively efficient and mistake free. With Kirk Cousins drawing the major attention in free agency, a team may be drawn to the idea that McCarron’s best is still ahead of him and he could quickly outplay his price tag.ravens_172

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Lions sign unrestricted free agent G Kenny Wiggins

The Detroit Lions announced today that they have signed unrestricted free agent G Kenny Wiggins. Contract terms were not disclosed.

We see Smoke, but we’re not so sure there’s fire. Brown can step in for Mike Wallace as a downfield threat, but he had just 28 catches last season and can’t be counted on to lift a struggling receiving corps on his own. Baltimore will definitely be in the market for more targets for Joe Flacco.

The move: Former Indianapolis Colts WR Donte Moncrief is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to ESPN.

Analysis: Jacksonville saw Allen Robinson walk, and Moncrief won’t bring the same consistency or highs. But there’s still plenty of upside in this signing, especially if he can get past the injury issues that have limited him the last two years. In a receiving corps looking for a breakout player, he could find opportunities.

The Carolina Panthers have played against him often, and now he’ll be on their side.

Carolina reached an agreement to sign former Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe on Thursday afternoon, a source confirmed to the Observer.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Martin probably doesn’t constitute much more than a backup after averaging 2.9 yards per carry the last two seasons. Jon Gruden said at the NFL scouting combine he’s still “counting on” Marshawn Lynch to be his starter.?

The Packers are giving Graham, 31, a three-year, $30 million deal with $22 million guaranteed over the first two years of the contract, so it’s safe to say that they think they can either get guaranteed production in the red zone or think the guy who could run past linebackers or jump over safeties up the seam play after play will be back.ravens_008

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The Jacksonville Jaguars announced they have signed former Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief.

Cut by the Raiders on Thursday, Michael Crabtree is visiting the Baltimore Ravens, per Rapoport. Ryan Grant, who agreed to a deal with the Ravens earlier in the week, did not sign the contract after something was discovered during his physical and he will not be joining the Ravens, Rapoport reported.

The fifth-year veteran was ranked No. 59 on the Top 101 list.

The Jaguars also signed former Rams safety Cody Davis and former Redskins tight end Niles Paul. Rapoport reported Paul’s deal is for two years and a little less than $5 million, per a source.

Give Henry and Lewis a 50-50 split of the snaps on early downs to keep Lewis fresh, give the former Eagles draftee most of the third-down reps, stick Henry in near the goal line, and you’ve got a functional rotation at halfback.

It does seem bizarre, though, that coaches and personnel men leave the Patriots and fail to notice how Bill Belichick rarely commits serious resources to running backs.

The only running back to ever get a contract this big (after adjusting for cap inflation) with the Patriots was Corey Dillon, and his five-year deal ended up turning into a mess and lasted two seasons.

I wouldn’t doubt Lewis’ talent, but it’s telling that Belichick is confident that he can always find another useful running back, and his personnel tree doesn’t feel the same way.

The move: The New York Jets are adding QB Teddy Bridgewater on a one-year deal after bringing back QB Josh McCown.

As the QB dominoes fell on Tuesday, Gang Green found itself resorting to a backup plan. Bridgewater could pay huge dividends if he is healthy and returns to his pre-injury form, but New York remains very much up in the air at quarterback. The Jets should be squarely in the market to draft a passer, but they might have to move up from No. 6 to leapfrog the Broncos and avoid being jumped by the Bills and/or Cardinals.

The move: The Green Bay Packers are bringing on former New York Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson.canucks_007

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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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