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Tyrann Mathieu’s skill set has to intrigue Steelers

A rangy safety who can line up as a cornerback or linebacker with a mix of athleticism and physicality?

That’s the kind of hybrid weapon the modern Pittsburgh Steelers defense covets. Versatility is why they drafted Ryan Shazier and Sean Davis.cheap nike nfl jerseys china And that’s why the team should at least have a detailed conversation about free agent Tyrann Mathieu, who was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday due to a bloated salary.

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The reasons for not signing him are clear — money and injuries. Despite turning 26 in May, Mathieu has battled through two significant knee injuries and a shoulder issue. The Steelers sit at $6.512 million in cap space as of Thursday, the third-lowest clip in the league, so meeting Mathieu’s demands would be a challenge. Mathieu is used to making $10 million per year, which should be his market. The Steelers barely have enough cushion to sign a rookie class.

But since signing a former Pro Bowl defensive back fresh off a release worked out well last summer with Joe Haden, maybe the Steelers employ a similar strategy. Haden carries a $11.916 million cap number and the Steelers don’t seem to care much because he’s their best player in the secondary. Haden is one of five Steelers with a cap hit of more than $10 million, which has them in cost-cutting mode this time of year, but no move is impossible. The Steelers did just make $26 million of space disappear with four contract restructures since February.

Point is, if the Steelers really wanted to make a run at a wrecking-ball safety in free agency,nfl nike jersey cheap they can make it happen. They passed on the top inside linebackers at $5-9 million per year, but only the elite linebackers can swiftly cover the pass as well as the run, which is crucial in today’s NFL. Mathieu can do both.

Steelers teammates have nudged Mathieu on social media, with Haden teasing a phone call to the Honey Badger. Recruiting won’t be enough to move the Steelers into a deal. And all signs point to bargain-shopping once again.

UConn is favored in NCAA tournament, but BPI likes field

The world knows UConn is the favorite. But the Huskies’ edge is less than most might think.

ESPN’s brand-new Basketball Power Index (BPI) for women’s college basketball gives Geno Auriemma’s team a 37 percent chance to win this year’s NCAA tournament,nfl jerseys cheap authentic one year after the Huskies came up short in the Final Four. (You can read a little bit about the methodology behind our model here).

That would be overwhelmingly favorable odds for virtually any other team in any sport but for UConn? In women’s basketball? It’s … just 37 percent?

That’s more than double the next team’s chance to win — Notre Dame at 16 percent — but it probably doesn’t dull the shock value for the many who figure the Huskies hanging another banner this year is essentially a foregone conclusion.

So why is our model, relatively, down on the Huskies?71

Mainly: their draw. Though the top overall seed in this year’s field after a thus-far undefeated season earned the Huskies the top rank in Strength of Record, Auriemma’s team somehow managed to land reigning national champion and BPI’s sixth-ranked team South Carolina in its region. While UConn has virtually no chance of losing its first couple of games, its road gets considerably tougher at the Elite Eight stage. The Huskies have “only” a 78 percent chance of beating the Gamecocks, and waiting for them in the Final Four is likely Notre Dame,nike nfl jerseys cheap the second-best team in Division I, per BPI.

Though there’s a solid chance that the Irish and Huskies would have squared off no matter where they were located in the bracket, being on the same side of the Final Four puts the likelihood of them meeting at 42 percent. It would be the fifth time they have met in the national semifinals, with Notre Dame winning three of the previous four meetings.

Timeline set for an Aaron Donald extension with Rams

The Los Angeles Rams had what general manager Les Snead described as “productive talks” with Aaron Donald’s CAA-based representatives at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, specifically because they were able to agree on a timeline for a potential extension.

“Obviously, they represent other players, and coming into this weekend, they’re juggling a lot of things too,” Snead said from Rams headquarters on Wednesday,nfl jerseys cheap nike the first day of the new league year, shortly after introducing Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters as the team’s new starting cornerbacks. “We came up with a nice timeline that we’re going to work with, and we’ll get to work and try to hammer this thing out. The theme will always be that we want Aaron to be a Ram a long time.”

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Donald, who held out so long last summer that he missed the regular-season opener, is heading into the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, set to pay him $6.89 million. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year instead seeks an extension that would make him the game’s highest-paid defensive player and potentially put him among the top earners at any position, including quarterbacks.

But the Rams have other business to take care of first. They previously made four significant trades — adding Talib and Peters, parting with Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn — but didn’t add anybody on the first day of free agency. The Rams are still in desperate need of players who can rush the quarterback and stop the run, and Snead said he is “definitely” confident that he can find fits on the free-agent market, even though most of the best available assets are off the board.

Soon, the Rams will begin their offseason program, and Donald might not show up if his contract is still up in the air. The hope is that his absence doesn’t extend into another training camp.

“Until the issue is fully resolved, you never know exactly how it’s going to play out,” McVay said.cheap nike nfl jerseys china “What I do feel better about is the personal relationship that Aaron and I have now established, having been together over a year. I think one of the things that was unique to that is when he holds out [last year], when he’s not taking part in the offseason programs or in training camp, there’s no personal rapport that prior to that even existed. So, it was a lot easier for him to ignore my texts. Now, I think it’ll be a little bit more difficult. I can be more persistent.”

49ers wanted to trade for Talib, he said he wouldn’t go to San Francisco

The Broncos agreed to trade cornerback Aqib Talib nfl authentic jerseys to the Rams last week, but not before trying to trade him to the 49ers.

Denver had agreed to ship Talib to San Francisco but it was called off when he rejected the trade, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Talib really couldn’t have rejected the trade —nfl jersey for cheap  he doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract — but he could have made it difficult for the 49ers by threatening to refuse to show up to work, 879748244-e1511901085423

perhaps holding out all the way through the preseason only to show up to start collecting paychecks when the nfl jerseys cheap authentic  regular season began. The 49ers may have sought an assurance from Talib that he would be a happy camper in San Francisco, and when he wasn’t inclined to give that assurance, the 49ers decided to move on.

For the 49ers, moving on meant signing cornerback Richard Sherman instead. Sherman’s contract with the 49ers is actually a more team-friendly deal than Talib’s because much of Sherman’s pay is wrapped up in playing and playing well, with per-game roster bonuses and a Pro Bowl incentive bonus. Talib gets an $11 million base salary this year even if he plays poorly custom nfl jerseys cheap  or gets hurt and doesn’t play at all. So the 49ers are probably happy in hindsight to have Sherman for a better price,custom nfl jerseys  and not have to give up any draft picks to acquire him.

The Rams ended up agreeing with the Broncos on the Talib trade, and he apparently said he’s willing to go to Los Angeles.