NFL wisely not trying to implement “integrity fee”

When it comes to legalized sports wagering, the NFL definitely plans to try to squeeze money out of the various states that allow it. However, the NFL won’t be using the goofy “integrity fee” label that has been pursued by other leagues.

Still, the league will at least try to get a cut from the states that allow gambling. And if the NFL can find a plausible way to demonstrate that the states are getting value in return, that will go a long way toward addressing the obvious concerns triggered by couching the payment in terms of a money-for-nothing notion of integrity, which should exist regardless of any fee.

“It’s rare in our profession that you see family members on the same team, let alone father-son, let alone on the same side of the ball,” the younger Kacy said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN. “It’s been a great experience so far. I’m loving it.”

“It’s a production business, so it wouldn’t matter if my dad were the head coach and my name was Kacy Bowles or if my dad owned the team and my last name was Johnson,” Rodgers said. “None of that matters. It’s a production business. I’ve known that my whole life. I’ve been a coach’s kid for 26 years now, so I know how it goes. I’m just excited for the process.”

Tom Brady regularly has participated in the Patriots’ OTAs in the past, but the quarterback will not be at the opening of the voluntary session Monday, a source told ESPN.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not at OTAs on Monday due to an ongoing contract dispute. Cornerback Marcus Peters, acquired in the offseason, said the team should “pay the man.”

The OTAs are voluntary. The next mandatory activity is veteran minicamp, scheduled to be held June 12-14.ravens_011

Another small positive sign in Carson Wentz’s recovery

This should be a good way for Eagles fans to start their days.

Less than five months after tearing his ACL and LCL at the Los Angeles Coliseum in December, Eagles franchise quarterback Carson Wentz is back on the Eagles’ practice field in his red No. 11 jersey.

With receiving back Theo Riddick also on the roster, Abdullah could be the odd man out of Detroit’s backfield.

Johnson can be the back of the future, Blount can be the ram between the tackles and Riddick can be the pass-catcher. Abdullah could be left without a primary role, and cutting him would save just over $1 million.

Backup quarterbacks have a lot of value in the NFL, especially those who have gained starting experience. That’s precisely why Green Bay Packers backup Brett Hundley likely would get gobbled up quickly should the team release him before the start of the season.

Hundley has spent three years learning behind star signal-caller Aaron Rogers. He also started nine games last season. Though Hundley didn’t play particularly well in Rodgers’ stead—he threw for 1,836 yards with nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions—it’s not like Green Bay surrounded him with top-tier talent.

They’ll look for additions to that list this offseason after announcing deals with 14 players who did not hear their names called in Dallas.

One name should be familiar to longtime Buccaneers fans. They signed safety Godwin Igwebuike, who is related to former Bucs kicker Donald Igwebuike. Igwebuike had 78 tackles and two interceptions in his final season at Northwestern.

The Buccaneers also signed Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen, who joins Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin on the depth chart.

Eastern Michigan wide receiver Sergio Bailey, Temple offensive lineman Cole Boozer, Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger, Buffalo defensive end Demone Harris, Southern Arkansas tight end Tanner Hudson, Arkansas safety Josh Liddell, North Texas kicker Trevor Moore, Minnesota State defensive end Evan Perrizo, Syracuse wide receiver Erv Philips, Missouri tight end Jason Reese, Georgia Tech defensive end Antonio Simmons and Duke runnning back Shaun Wilson round out the group.

Cowboys remain in search of safety help

The Cowboys didn’t address free safety in the draft, and after talking to the Seahawks about a trade for Earl Thomas, Dallas found the price too high.

That doesn’t mean the Cowboys wouldn’t call the Seahawks to renew trade talks about Thomas.

We’ve talked about Byron and Chidobe. We certainly want them honed in on what we want them to do this year. But at the same time, if we saw the right fit — whether at the free safety position or the strong safety position, because we know Jeff [Heath] has flexibility, as well — we’ll certainly look at that. But for the most part, when we look back on this offseason in terms of the free agency aspect of it, in terms of the draft aspect of it, we feel really good about what we were able to get done.

“We’ve got some really good football players on this team. I think the competition levels will be high, and who knows — at the end of training camp, if you’re real strong in a particular area, you might could do something along those lines, as well, in terms of trading a player for a player. We certainly are confident in where we are, but we know we certainly have a lot of work to do.”

The Rams went 11-5 in McVay and Phillips’ first season, a seven-game improvement from 2016. But the season ended in disappointment in the postseason.

They added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Sam Shields, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters among others this offseason in what looks like a dominant defense.

“I think we have a great opportunity here,” Phillips said. “We took a big step forward last year. I don’t know if everyone realizes how big of a step it was, but it was a big step forward last year, and we’re looking forward to this year.”

Phillips won his first Super Bowl as defensive coordinator of the Broncos in 2015. He hopes for his second this season with the Rams.

He still believes that, at the end of the day, the flag won’t be thrown all that often.

Raiders to pick up WR Amari Cooper’s fifth-year option, report says

It looks like Amari Cooper will be staying in Oakland for at least another year.

The Raiders will pick up the wide receiver’s fifth-year contract option for 2019, ESPN reported, adding the deal will happen very soon.

The report doesn’t come as much surprise as coach Jon Gruden told reporters in February that Cooper will be the “focal point” of the Raiders’ offense.

The Alliance of American Football was announced last month by Charlie Ebersol, director of the 30 for 30 documentary on the XFL and son of former NBC sports chief executive Dick Ebersol. ESPN analyst and former NFL general manager Bill Polian is a co-founder of the league.

Atlanta is the second city of eight to be announced. Earlier this month, the league announced that the first team would play in Orlando and would be coached by Steve Spurrier.

Rules for the league include no kickoffs, required two-point conversions after touchdowns, limited replays and no television timeouts. Two games in the 10-game season will air on CBS, with the rest airing on CBS Sports Network and the league’s app.

Other former NFL players involved in guiding the league include Justin Tuck, Jared Allen, Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward.

The Seahawks sent Bennett to the Eagles in early March for receiver Marcus Johnson and two late-round draft picks. They waived Sherman days later.

Shortly after his release, Sherman, who later signed a three-year contract with the 49ers, told “The Tomahawk Show” that Carroll’s philosophy was “more built for college.”

Bennett also told Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated that he would read books in team meetings last season because “he’d heard Carroll say the same thing over and over for seven years.”

“The thing I would tell you about that is that we’ve been through a lot around here, we’ve grown tremendously together and all of that, and changes are inevitable,” Carroll said at a the press conference.

Zunino had an RBI single in the fourth. Cano appeared to hit a two-out homer in the fifth, but his drive was to left was ruled a double after a crew chief video review.

OF Jayson Werth finalized his minor league contract with the Mariners and was 0 for 3 in his debut with Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday. The 38-year-old has a .267 average in 15 major league seasons, the last seven with Washington.steelers_026

DeMar DeRozan’s big game put the Toronto Raptors in a place they’ve never been before: up 2-0 in a playoff series.

DeRozan matched his career playoff-high with 37 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 14 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 130-119 on Tuesday night as Toronto took a 2-0 lead in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.

I didn’t go out there planning to score 37 points, I went out there to be aggressive, DeRozan said.

Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a career playoff-high 12 assists as Toronto set team playoff records for points in a quarter, a half, and a game.

C.J. Miles scored 18, Delon Wright had 11 and Serge Ibaka 10 for the Raptors, who snapped an NBA-worst 10-game losing streak in Game 1s with a 114-106 win on Saturday.

We’re the team that’s in the hole, we’re the team that’s desperate, but we have a lot of confidence, Wall said. We’re not down on ourselves at all.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed eight of 11 shots and finished with nine points. Beal had more fouls in the first half (three) than made baskets (two).

We need him, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. We’re going to have trouble beating this team if he doesn’t play better.

Trailing 100-90 to begin the fourth quarter, the Wizards cut it to 108-103 with 7:52 left on back-to-back 3-pointers by Scott and Lawson, and a pair of free throws from Wall.

Miles stopped the run with a long 3, Toronto’s first of the second half, and the Raptors put it away with a 17-4 spurt over the next four minutes. The sellout crowd roared when DeRozan forced a turnover and saved the ball from going out of bounds, then passed to Lowry who fed Wright for an alley-oop dunk with 3:38 left, putting Toronto up 125-107.

Scheifele scored with 28 seconds left in the first period, spoiling a fine performance on the other end by Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, and tacked on an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining.

The Wild, now without star left wing Zach Parise because of a broken sternum suffered late in Game 3, must now win in Winnipeg in Game 5 on Friday night to extend their season.

Certainly can’t fault us in trying. It’s a disappointing finish, said Dubnyk, who stopped 26 shots. It just shows you, too, you never know which plays are going to be the difference in the game.seahawks_102

Amendola also still feels like the decision to bench Butler had an effect on the players who actually took the field.

Yeah, I did, honestly, Amendola said. Nobody really got an explanation for it. He’s a brother of ours. He was a brother of ours that year. And I hate to see a guy who worked so hard throughout the season not get a chance to play in the biggest game of the year and really get no explanation for it. With that said, I don’t know how the business aspect went into that decision. I don’t know how the personal aspect went into that decision between him and Bill (Belichick).

Looney doesn’t start but he’s part of their jumbo package and offers depth at all three interior positions. Fleming, coming in from New England, projects as a swing tackle, who could start on the right side.

Well, I know the NFL has a process they have to go through and I respect that process, Winston said, via the Tampa Bay Times. That’s not my job to speculate on that process. My focus has been with this organization, getting the guys back in here and focusing on what we can do to be a better team this offseason.

The process began last November, and Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has expressed his frustration with how slow the league’s investigation has been. Since Winston hasn’t been interviewed, he has no idea if/when he will be punished and possibly suspended by the NFL.

Signing Harrison made sense for the Patriots because the regular season was nearly over. Counting on him from Week 1 on is a much different matter.

With his career now over, Harrison can begin polishing up the speech he’ll deliver in Canton, Ohio. As a five-time Pro Bowler and the 2008 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, he’s a lock to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The team reportedly also had a verbal agreement to send the running back to the Miami Dolphins before the trade was nixed, per Troy Renck of Denver7. After apparently unable to find another potential deal, the Broncos released him to clear cap room as well as possible playing time for Devontae Booker and others.

Although teams tend to shy away from signing veteran running backs, Anderson is still young and doesn’t have too much mileage on him with just 693 career carries. He should find a new job before the start of the 2018 season.

I want to be very clear, Bernhard said. I’m not taking credit for the Raiders.

Tucker Barnhart (B), 8 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester): Part of this relates to my overarching belief that Barnhart is going to have a breakout year with the bat, but it’s also based on some general negativity toward Lester’s outlook. This isn’t just about his Opening Day look against the Marlins, but he just didn’t look like Jon Lester throughout much of 2017. A Barnhart breakout will be driven by power and will likely require some improvement against lefties, so why not start here against Lester

He’s a career plus-value hitter with a 108 wRC+ (8 percent better than league average). The Marlins aren’t great, but the top four of Lewis Brinson, Dietrich, Starlin Castro and Justin Bour are capable. J.T. Realmuto will extend the lineup even more. As for this game specifically, Dietrich did manage an .816 OPS against lefties last year, and he already is 3-of-10 against them so far this year.

Tim Anderson (R), 50 percent, Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ): A bit overlooked because of his sketchy plate approach, Anderson did pop 17 home runs and swipe 15 bases last year (in 16 tries). He has a career .323/.336/.470 line against lefties in 258 plate appearances. He started the year off right with a homer against lefty Danny Duffy in a two-homer Opening Day (the other against Blaine Boyer). Happ isn’t a big strikeout guy (21 percent since 2014), nor does he really walk guys (seven percent since 2014), so Anderson’s free-swinging ways might go unchecked.

Meanwhile, construction has begun on the new stadium in Las Vegas. Bernhard has a commemorative shovel with the team logo on the spade from the groundbreaking ceremony propped up in a corner of his office. He’s just down the hallway from the executive boardroom that hosted the first meeting with Davis and up a flight of stairs from the classroom where he met McCallum.

But [the report] was one of those little ripples in the process, and it concludes that, for many of the problems the NFL was concerned about, not only was Las Vegas not the problem, Las Vegas — and more generally, a regulated gaming industry — is actually the answer. Or at least, it’s better than underground bookies.

Snyder, the former UNLV president who attended the first meeting, believes Bernhard is being overly humble and describes the report as being an early catalyst in bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas.patriots_145

Andrew Norwell intends to sign with Jaguars

A report on Monday indicated guard Andrew Norwell had cut his list of suitors down to the Giants, 49ers and Colts, but the picture changed on Tuesday morning.

PFT has learned, via a league source, that Norwell intends to sign a contract with the Jaguars when the new league year starts on Wednesday afternoon. As expected, the deal is a massive one for the soon-to-be former Panther.

Later in Breer’s piece, he reported the following: “He’s going number one,” said one AFC exec, via text from L.A.

The Browns pick first and fourth overall, and seem likely to take the quarterback first to guarantee they get their pick.

He has been sidelined for five days with a sore lower back.Kansas City fought its way back to win overtime a game between two desperate 0 teams.Lacks elite length, athleticism and top-end speed.While the number isn’t going to balloon significantly, most likely, he’s not going to be a.300+ hitter.

Bid now on this jersey worn by Shawn Matthias of the Winnipeg Jets during the 2016 Hortons NHL Heritage., 26, who started three for New England last after three seasons Tampa, said he had no clue he’d be active the pressure package vs.If that move is made, we can only for more bad decisions.

Alex Smith will be traded from Kansas City to Washington tomorrow, and he wants the fans of his old team to know he appreciates them.

“Absolutely it does,” Rivera said. “That’s what we have to do, we have to understand that we have to go out and show we’re very capable at what we do and that we can continue to have sustained success. We have to be on top of our game. It does add a little bit of pressure, but that’s the nature of the game. It really is a one year at a time as far as whether you get next year.

“We’ll approach it that way. We’ve been under pressure before and we’ve had to prove it and come out and produce and that’s where we are.”

While that doesn’t necessarily translate into a coming spending spree in free agency (they have around $27 million in cap space after ditching three veteran starters this week), Rivera said the reality that they can’t afford to miss this offseason is even more tangible than other years.

He follows the pattern of many Patricia hires by being a former Patriot, but he signed with the Lions in 2016 as an unrestricted free agent.

He also clinched a Super Bowl ring in the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots.49ers_219

They wrestled for seven minutes. They stood next to each other on the podium, one standing a bit higher than the other.

Then, away from the capacity crowd at the 2018 NCAA Championships, they shared one last moment together – for now.

“You’re a warrior,” Spencer Lee, Iowa’s 125-pound national champion, told Rutgers’ Nick Suriano, the national runner-up. “We’ll battle a lot.”

Seton Hall was often rattled by a crowd that gave Kansas a hometown advantage. The game was played about 2 hours south of the Jayhawks’ campus in Lawrence, and about 90 percent of the 15,000-plus at Intrust Bank Arena cheered on the home-state school.

Kansas survived without much production from Graham, who scored 29 against Pennsylvania in the first round. He took a wicked shot to the head from a teammate late in the first half, and wound up with eight points on 1-for-7 shooting. He was also 0 for 4 from the arc.

Lee (22-2) took Suriano down late in the first period and then earned an escape point in the second for a 3-0 lead entering the final period. Suriano chose a neutral start rather than taking down, a decision made due to Lee’s riding prowess, as well as the uphill climb Suriano faced.

“I figured I could get two takedowns,” Suriano said. “I got in, but he scrambled out again.”

And Lee added another of his own, too, to put the bout away before Suriano scored with a late escape to get on the board.

The expressions and moist eyes the Scarlet Knights’ contingent wore said it all – this was a devastating defeat for an athlete so determined to grab victory and a program that seemed so close to its final breakthrough. But Suriano will have two more chances to win a national title, and both will likely lead him to see Lee again.

Trevor Bauer blasts ‘disingenuous’ MLB on call for political activism

Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is known to be outspoken and express his opinions on social media, and Thursday was no different.

Bauer shared on Twitter that he was a part of a meeting with MLB where players were encouraged to take a stance and be leaders politically.

DRS and UZR perform their calculations by grouping batted balls into “buckets” — similar types of batted balls grouped together. UZR’s buckets are larger, so on the back end, they’re less precise than DRS, but as Mitchel Lichtman, who performs UZR calculations for FanGraphs, describes , DRS’s data from BIS is not necessarily precise enough to warrant the size of the buckets that DRS uses, so there’s a trade-off with both metrics.

So in that respect, it’s possible that a batted ball is measured by DRS to be much more valuable than measured by UZR, and thus, a player receives less credit from UZR than they might from DRS.

In the long term, these differences even out quite a bit. Here are those same three players as before, but this time I’ve displayed their DRS and UZR values over the past three years.

Coming off a World Series win last season, the Astros are already facing questions as to whether they will be able to defend their championship.

It’s a fair question because a franchise hasn’t repeated as World Series champions since the New York Yankees’ titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000. However, ace Dallas Keuchel made it clear he doesn’t expect the Astros to drop off this season while also taking a shot at the 2016 champions.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve remained optimistic and indicated he wasn’t worried about his team suffering from any championship “hangover.”

“The guys here are smart enough to know what they have to do in spring training,” Altuve said. “If you need to take it easy, you can take it easy. I think we’re going to be totally fine. I tell you what — I like what I see.”