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Chris Harris Jr. could get a new deal, but it won’t be without a bumpy ride

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is now in territory where Von Miller, Peyton Manning and a long list of Denver Broncos players have been before: facing John Elway over money.

And Elway, the Broncos’ president of football operations/general manager, has developed a reputation as an ice-water-filled supervisor of the team’s checkbook.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

But if the negotiations with the high-profile players who came before him are any indication, it most certainly will be far from a smooth ride. So, Harris has not reported for the Broncos’ voluntary offseason program because he’d like a contract extension, and Elway has said he won’t address it until after the draft.5

“Once we get through the draft, we’ll see where we are, we’ll see where we are budget-wise,” Elway said. “Obviously, Chris has been a good football player for us for a long time. We’ll have to see where that goes. It’s something that we’d like to look at.”

And there you have the themes that have been in every major negotiation the team has had on Elway’s watch — with Broncos director of football administration Mike Sullivan — that Elway routinely says the new deal “has to make sense” and that he always says he needs to “see where we are budget-wide.”

One of the most familiar missives has been “we want to keep everybody, but there’s only so much money.”

That’s the situation as the Broncos have moved through their big-ticket business in free agency, including the trade for quarterback Joe Flacco, with his $18.5 million salary for 2019, to go with $105 million worth of contracts to tackle Ja’Wuan James and cornerbacks Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The Broncos, with family ownership, have always had to time their spending to when the cash came in and then when the cash went out. Even in the free-agency pursuits of Mike Shanahan to Manning’s arrival to Miller’s $114.5 million deal in the summer of 2016.

Yanks’ Andujar (shoulder) upbeat about recovery

An upbeat Miguel Andujar reported to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, one day after the New York Yankees third baseman was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a serious shoulder injury.

Season-ending surgery to repair the small labrum tear in Andujar’s right shoulder could be an option. So could simple rest and rehab. The latter would get him back on the field at some point later this season.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“The plan right now is to do physical therapy for the next couple [weeks]. We’ll see where we’re going to be after that,” Andujar said through an interpreter. “The good thing is that I feel good, I feel better, and throughout the whole thing, you have to have positive thoughts. That’s very important.”

Manager Aaron Boone echoed those optimistic sentiments.6

“We’re in the very early stages, so it’s just got to play out over the next few days, and then as he starts ramping back up, it’ll become clear,” Boone said. “Try not to speculate on it too much right now when it’s a bit of an unknown.”

One reason both men are encouraged about Andujar’s recovery is the strength of the 24-year-old’s shoulder. In the 24 hours since an MRI revealed the tear, he has already been put through his share of physical activities to test it.

So far, he’s been passing.

“The physical test on my shoulder came back with good results,” Andujar said. “My strength is there.

“That’s encouraging. I feel good. I feel positive. I feel that the first step is the right step, which is to do physical therapy and see where we are in a couple of weeks.”cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Andujar experienced the tear when he was diving back into third base while standing near the bag as a baserunner in the fourth inning of Sunday’s loss at home to the Baltimore Orioles. Even after what he called the “weird” headfirst slide, he finished the game.

Despite some discomfort the rest of that evening, Andujar didn’t think he had been seriously hurt.

While the Yankees wait to figure out exactly how Andujar’s recovery will progress, they could soon get back two of the other injured stars also on their stacked IL.

Celtics’ Ainge presents Wade with Garden parquet

Celtics president Danny Ainge presented Dwyane Wade with a plaque featuring a photo and a piece of the TD Garden parquet floor from 2008 on Monday to commemorate his retirement.

Ainge met Wade in a TD Garden hallway before the Celtics hosted the Heat in Wade’s final regular-season game in Boston.

“Thank you for your amazing career and inspiration. We’ve all benefited from it,” Ainge told Wade in front of a group of media. “You’ve been a remarkable player. We’ve had some good battles.”

“Yes, we have,” Wade said.cheap nfl nike jerseys china5

Ainge then took a not-too-subtle jab at Wade, bringing up an incident from the 2011 playoffs in which Wade and Rajon Rondo became tangled and Rondo came away with a dislocated elbow. Rondo later said Wade was a dirty player.

“I now forgive you for messing up Rondo’s elbow,” Ainge said.

Wade finished the game, a 110-105 loss, with 17 points and seven assists in 29 minutes off the bench.

“Like we talked about out there, we’ve had so many battles,” Wade said after the game. “I appreciate the respect they showed me as a player. I appreciate the respect of them to present me with a plaque, representing the history of Boston. That was so cool. I definitely didn’t expect it at all. I appreciate that gesture.”

The outpouring of appreciation was mutual and extended to Celtics forward Marcus Morris.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Playing against D-Wade these last few years and watching him as I grew up — he’s everything,” Morris said. “He’s been a veteran. He did a lot for the NBA. I’m happy that he’s going out on his own terms, and this is big-time, being able to play against him on his way out.”

Patriots’ Bill Belichick advocates for more time working with players

Coach Bill Belichick might have been tight-lipped with reporters at the NFL’s annual owners meetings in Arizona last week, but he was especially vocal behind the scenes on one topic he believes would benefit the game. He wants more time to work with players in the offseason, which struck a positive chord among his fellow coaches.

“I’m in total support of his position,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told china nike nfl jerseys cheap. “There’s so much down time for these guys. I think there was a time when older players were bargaining for these breaks when they thought less was better. But these guys [today] love the game and want to be part of it. And we love coaching and helping them.

“The game would just be better if we were able to do that, and if we were in connection with them more, they would be healthier as well — we could monitor their well-being. You don’t even have to mandate that. Just give them the option.”

When the most recent collective bargaining agreement was struck in 2011, offseason programs were reduced by five weeks.6

As for how the topic surfaced at last week’s annual meeting, it was described to me that the context of Belichick’s remarks came as coaches, general managers and others were being briefed on the successes of the league as it enters its 100th season. Belichick then passionately chimed in, and essentially said something along the lines of: While it is nice to hear good things, the focus should be on how it can be even better. One of the ways to do that, he said, was giving coaches more time with players.

“There’s so many positive things that could come out of it, in terms of development of young players, helping to really make sure these guys are learning the game and getting them ready for their opportunity,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera told ESPN.com. “Keeping players in a structured atmosphere, there are so many tools we have in terms of player development, it makes so much sense that the sooner we can get them and work with them, the better it will be.”

Given Belichick’s standing as a six-time Super Bowl-winning coach who enters his 45th NFL season, his advocacy on the issue was well-received.cheap nike nfl jersey

“It has a tremendous amount of weight,” Rivera said of Belichick leading the discussion on the topic, while also crediting Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid for taking a similar approach on league issues.

“He’s one of the soothsayers. He deserves that and has earned that,” Carroll said of Belichick. “He’s been very active, and we all appreciate it.”

Panthers could take a long look at Charlotte native Will Grier

In Will Grier’s home in Morgantown, West Virginia, there’s a photo of him as an 11-year-old wearing a Lake Norman Giants uniform, preparing for the 2006 Christmas Town Bowl.

A few weeks ago, Chad Grier noticed the picture as he and his son discussed the upcoming NFL draft.

“I said, ‘If somebody told you that little boy is going to get picked in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills, how happy would that kid be?’” Chad recalled. “I told him, ‘Man, you’re going to get picked before the seventh round and it’s not going to be by Buffalo.’”

Most draft analysts see Grier being selected in the second or third round, behind Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, who are considered likely first-round picks. The Carolina Panthers could be one of the teams that could target him on Day 2.

Born just five months before the Panthers played their first NFL game, Grier grew up a stone’s throw from Carolina’s Bank of America Stadium in nearby Davidson, North Carolina. From the time he was 3, Grier sat in the stands and cheered for his hometown NFL team.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

During the April 25-27 draft, Will will be with his father and famous brothers — social media stars Nash and Hayes — at his uncle’s house, only four miles away from the stadium.5

“If the Panthers draft him, I will drive him there,” Will’s father told ESPN.com. “That would be incredible. From Day 1, we’ve been Panthers people.”

There’s definitely interest from Carolina. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner recently attended West Virginia’s pro day, and they reportedly had a steak dinner with Grier the previous night.

The Panthers don’t plan to spend their first-round pick (No. 16) on a quarterback, as Cam Newton’s prognosis is good as he rehabs after shoulder surgery. But as the Carolina starter approaches 30, looking for a long-term replacement in this draft might be in the Panthers’ plans.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Not that Grier believes he should fall that far. He told reporters at the NFL combine, “I’m the best quarterback in the draft.” Chad Grier, who coached his son in high school at Davidson Day School before moving to Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, agrees.

“I admire Will’s confidence and willingness to say that,” the elder Grier said. “He’s a guy, from a total quarterback perspective, he is the best quarterback in the draft.

“He’s not going to be a risk off the field. He’s just going to be an all-in guy that wins. Strictly from a football perspective, he’s the lowest-risk and highest-return quarterback in the draft.”

The Knicks’ Rookie Center Is A Statistical Enigma

Mitchell Robinson is a unicorn. His forte is shot-blocking in an era when offenses are designed to attempt field goals 25 feet from the rim. On offense, the almost-21-year-old rookie shoots mostly at the iron — and “shooting” is probably not the right word to describe what he does with the ball on offense, since nearly half of his field-goal attempts are dunks. Robinson stands 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-4-inch wingspan, so it’s hardly a surprise that he is virtually unstoppable around the rim, explaining his 68.2 field-goal percentage that would lead the league if he had enough attempts.

Robinson’s skills run counter to today’s game. And the various performance-rating systems disagree radically on how to assess his value. Maybe he’s one of the best rookie players in NBA history, as is indicated by win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48) and Box Plus/Minus (BPM). Or perhaps he’s just a bottom-rung NBA center, as ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus (RPM) system says. On the one hand, Robinson is a player who can go a long way in helping pull the Knicks up from the pit in which they’re currently mired as the NBA’s worst team. But on the other hand, he is a mere statistical mirage to Knicks fans so thirsty for hope.nfl nike jerseys for cheap6

There’s not even broad agreement on Robinson’s defensive prowess, despite his historic rate of blocking shots. While rejections are not required to be a great defender, it’s the most obvious manifestation of stopping an opponent from scoring. And in this area, Robinson is unquestionably a generational talent. Forget about being tied for 12th since the 1983-84 season1 with his (current) streak of two or more blocks in 22 straight games. Sure, only three other rookies have topped that. But even more impressive is that he’s blocking an all-time best 10.9 percent of 2-pointers, a stratosphere that no NBA player has approached since the heyday of 7-foot-7 Manute Bol three decades ago.

And Robinson is blocking 3-pointers, too — though that might remind Knicks fans of the team’s best chance for its only championship since the Nixon era, which was snuffed out by an athletic center who ventured out beyond the arc.

ESPN’s RPM doesn’t even rate Robinson’s defensive performance highly. He’s just the 46th best defensive center this season — likely because, according to RPM, his shot blocking doesn’t do much to help his teammates stop opponents from scoring.2

In BPM, however, Robinson’s on-court performance is placed in the context of an average player on an average team, according to Basketball-Reference.com. This metric says Robinson is the best defender in basketball, at 5.7 points better than average per 100 possessions.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

If BPM is accurately assessing Robinson, he’s on pace to become one of the better second-round draft picks of all-time — and certainly the best, value-wise, in recent Knicks history. Robinson is having the fourth-best rookie season ever by this metric,3 at 6.3 points over average on an average team. But the rookies ahead of him — 1984-85 Michael Jordan (8.2), 1975-76 Alvan Adams (6.7) and 1989-90 David Robinson (6.5) — were all Top 4 picks. Mitchell Robinson was picked 36th overall.

Agent: Ex-Seahawk McDowell medically cleared

Former Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Malik McDowell has been medically cleared by independent doctors and is expected to play in 2019, says his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

McDowell was drafted in the second round by Seattle in 2017 but never played for the team after suffering a head injury in an ATV accident that summer. The Seahawks waived McDowell with an injury designation earlier this month. He has since visited the Dallas Cowboys.
“His doctors believe he is ready to go,” Rosenhaus said. “So we’ve got experts that are saying he will be cleared. So hopefully he will be able to continue his career, possibly with [Dallas]. In any event, he has been cleared independently. But the Seahawks, they tried their best to work with him, and unfortunately they didn’t feel that he could continue to play.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Seahawks general manager John Schneider declined to comment on McDowell at the scouting combine. That was in keeping with the team’s refusal to publicly discuss any specifics of McDowell’s situation, which is in part due to privacy laws, as McDowell was injured in a non-football activity.6

Coach Pete Carroll has also been mum on McDowell’s situation but at one point described the injury as a “really bad concussion.”

“Unfortunately, Malik got injured and [it] was a brain injury, a head injury,” Rosenhaus said. “And the Seahawks, they did a wonderful job of exhaustively checking to see if they could get him cleared to play. Ultimately, their doctors were not comfortable clearing him. He has since been cleared by independent doctors.”

Asked if the Seahawks considered keeping McDowell until he could be cleared, Rosenhaus said: “I don’t think they were comfortable with the medical side of it. I think he is going to have to play for somebody else. … He has doctors who have cleared him independently, so we are in the process of meeting with teams. He went to visit the Cowboys last week. We are trying to get that done.”

It’s not clear whether the Seahawks are attempting to recoup a portion or the entirety of the $3.2 million signing bonus they gave McDowell after drafting him 35th overall out of Michigan State. The Seahawks paid McDowell only $5,000 while he spent his rookie season on the non-football injury list. That dropped his salary from $465,000 to $85,000. The team did not pay McDowell while he was on NFI in 2018.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

McDowell’s injury had a significant ripple effect on the Seahawks. Once it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to play in 2017, the Seahawks acquired Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and receiver Jermaine Kearse (the teams also swapped seventh-rounders). Richardson left in free agency after an underwhelming 2017 season in Seattle.

Playing two upfront becoming a viable approach again in the Premier League

The Premier League remains Europe’s most international, multicultural top-flight league in terms of players and managers, and yet somehow there often seems to be a distinctly old-school feel to the football. For instance, Pep Guardiola has spoken of the importance of coping with winning second balls, while Jurgen Klopp has spoken about the need to deal with the inclement weather.

Tactically, things are somewhat different: We’re in the age of false nines and gegenpressing, rather than long balls and the use of 4-4-2 formations. But the past couple of weeks have felt like something of a throwback, with various sides using two centre-forwards upfront together, often with great success.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The most interesting example came the weekend before last, in the contest between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates. This fixture always stirs up memories of the 1990s, and tactically both sides started the contest with two forwards, albeit in very different formats. Arsenal started with a 3-4-1-2, featuring Mesut Ozil behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Manchester United began with a 4-4-2 featuring Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford, numbers 9 and 10 respectively.6

These remain the principle two ways to deploy a two-man strike force, especially because the midfield diamond — as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has occasionally used this season — now largely means the two forwards are starting from the flanks, too far apart to combine regularly. The difference, of course, was that Arsenal had a designated playmaker conducting things from behind the lines, while Manchester United’s duo needed to cope by themselves.

Arsenal’s back three, in theory, should have been capable of coping with two strikers, but Rashford and Lukaku appeared to be on the same wavelength. They may not be quite at the level of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole yet, although the familiar sight of Solskjaer on the bench offers a link between the two that the manager will surely mention.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Lacazette and Aubameyang have a curious relationship. Off the pitch they’re extremely close; on the pitch they can function together in the same side, although their combination play isn’t particularly notable, and there are questions about whether the 3-4-1-2 suits Arsenal’s other players. Ozil hasn’t particularly thrived in his No. 10 role, despite that being his best position on paper.

Who gets Golden State in Round 1? OKC’s worst-case scenario looms

It was supposed to be the kind of night that could jump-start the Oklahoma City Thunder. For a moment, it even appeared poetic.

On a night when the organization retired the jersey of Nick Collison, a prototypical glue-guy role player known for his charge-taking and backdoor bounce passing, the Thunder roared back in the fourth quarter to tie the Toronto Raptors on Russell Westbrook’s streaking layup with 4.8 seconds left. The Raptors cleared out for Pascal Siakam on their final possession. He drove hard at the basket, but Dennis Schroder stepped in and took a charge.

The Thunder’s first possession of overtime was a scrappy grind, but eventually Steven Adams connected with Westbrook on a backcut near the baseline. Westbrook didn’t quite handle the pass and dropped it off to Jerami Grant, who couldn’t finish at the rim. With Paul George fouled out, the Raptors eventually scored the first nine points of overtime, with the Thunder’s first basket coming with just 31 seconds left as Toronto handed OKC a fourth straight loss, 123-114.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Once viewed among the elite in the Western Conference only a month ago, a couple injuries and a few other setbacks sent the Thunder sliding to eighth in the conference based on tiebreakers. If the playoffs were to start today — OKC does have 10 games remaining — the Thunder would draw the first-place Warriors in the opening round.6

George has said he checks the standings and watches the scoreboard some. After the game, he looked up and saw the Thunder were now eighth. At the All-Star break, they were 17 games over .500, third in the West. They’re 5-10 since the break, with two separate four-game losing streaks.

There’s some context there, like George’s shoulder injury that left OKC without its MVP candidate for three games and has obviously affected him some since coming back. Or Westbrook’s one-game suspension served against the Miami Heat on Monday, a game during which the Thunder clearly missed his explosive energy and playmaking.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

But that’s a self-inflicted wound, a compromised position Westbrook created himself after accumulating 16 technical fouls this season. After avoiding the topic following the game on Monday with only “next question” responses, he skirted past taking any responsibility for it again on Wednesday morning.

It’s somewhat indicative of what ails the Thunder: There’s an understanding of what’s going wrong — such as going 15-of-29 as a team from the free throw line against the Raptors — but an inability to course correct. In spurts, they’re very good. But it comes out of desperation, such as the frantic comeback that forced overtime with a 32-18 fourth quarter.

Westbrook was brilliant with 42 points on 16-of-29 shooting (5-of-10 from 3-point territory). But with teams loading up on George, the Thunder’s auxiliary players, much like over the past month, didn’t produce.

Dolphins’ plan to find a franchise QB: 2019 or 2020 NFL draft?

Get ready for FitzMagic in Miami next season — a high-risk, high-reward offense that could create excitement for a rebuilding team unlikely to contend for the playoffs or even reach .500.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins know their recent pairing is just a mutually beneficial, shotgun marriage with a quick expiration date. They seem accepting of their roles in each other’s lives and eager to maximize their time together.

Fitzpatrick’s signing this week doesn’t fill the gaping hole at quarterback. It has been an NFL-record 23 seasons since a Dolphins quarterback, Dan Marino in 1995, was selected to the Pro Bowl. Fitzpatrick is set to become the 20th starting quarterback in Miami since Marino retired in 1999.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Fitzpatrick is satisfied with the chance to start, and he isn’t worried about the rest — a good sign that Miami picked the right veteran to handle its fluid situation.6

“I’m going to come in from day one and act like and be the starting quarterback for this organization until they tell me that I’m not,” Fitzpatrick said. “I know that this is the NFL, which means that nothing is promised.”

The Dolphins will almost certainly try to select their future franchise quarterback in the 2019 or 2020 draft. The lingering questions are which year and which player.

By the conclusion of next month’s draft, in which Miami has the 13th overall pick and enough assets to trade up if needed, we should have clarity.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The “tank for Tua” train is already moving full-steam, with many fans expecting Miami to pursue a historically bad 2019 season in hopes of drafting Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in 2020.

The idea of tanking seems shaky because the NFL isn’t the NBA. But the Dolphins are doing things differently — essentially buying draft picks by eating money on their players’ deals before trading them. We saw this with quarterback Ryan Tannehill last week, and it will likely be the template if defensive end Robert Quinn is traded.

“We’re not trying to tank or lose every game,” general manager Chris Grier said at the NFL scouting combine. “We’re trying to build it right and see how it plays out.

“I don’t make any judgments on any [draft] classes until we really sit down and get to know the players first.”