The winners and losers from a crazy start to NFL free agency


Wednesday at 4 p.m. marked the official free-agent signing period, though negotiations were permitted prior to that. And, based on the flurry of activity in the past two days, particularly Tuesday, a lot of teams and players already have either bettered themselves or find themselves in a lurch.

Here’s a look at the winners and losers based on the early frenzy of activity leading into Wednesday’s official signing period.

2. Da Bears: Chicago added some key weapons to surround second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, especially in landing Allen Robinson, the best receiver on the open market this offseason. He’s coming off a knee injury, but Robinson is a terrific route-runner who has the ability to break a game open and is highly productive.

The Bears also agreed to terms with former Eagles tight end Trey Burton, who’s best known for throwing that TD pass to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in the Super Bowl. They, too, are bringing in receiver Taylor Gabriel, a speedster who can stretch the field.

The 27-year-old was serving life without parole for the 2013 murder of Odin L. Lloyd and had recently been acquitted of committing a double murder in 2012.

Baez, who insists the ex-NFL star was innocent, chose to come forward in a two-part docu-series on Oxygen titled, Aaron Hernandez Uncovered, which aims to explore the athlete’s secret double life before his sudden death.

It also features interviews with former teammates, detectives, as well as Shayanna Jenkins, his fiancée and the mother of his only child.

After his death, I can tell you it really disturbed me how many people were throwing out stories and saying certain things that were not only factually inaccurate, but just outright abusive, Baez told Fox News about his involvement with the show.

I thought and I felt, and I still do to this day, that the real story has to get out there. … No one has ever captured the true Aaron Hernandez. It’s been bothersome to me and that’s why I decided to take part of it.

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The space Giants can clear if they want Ogletree’s dream signing


Not long after he was traded to the Giants, linebacker Alec Ogletree took to Twitter to try to lure safety Tyrann Mathieu, recently released by the Cardinals:

Come to the big apple bro!!! It’s going to be lit bro I promise. #1 defense.

It has not reached a level of financial desperation for the Giants but they do not have much more to spend in free agency, edging ever closer to owning almost no space at all under the NFL-mandated salary cap of $177.2 million per team. The trade last week for Ogletree and the signing this week of left tackle Nate Solder trimmed a hefty $20 million off the cap, as each player will count $10 million on the 2018 salary cap. The expectation is the Giants will convert Ogletree’s $7 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, which would free up $5.25 million in cap space.

It is not possible for a down-to-the-dollar accounting of where the Giants are as far as cap space, given that contracts for their free-agent additions are being tabulated in real time. The Giants are about $5.3 million under the cap, according to Spotrac, but that does not include the contracts for linebacker Kareem Martin (expected to be in the three-year, $15 million range) and guard Patrick Omameh (three years, $15 million for a cap hit of $2.5 million).

The Giants can gain a decent chunk of cap space if they trim their roster. They would gain $7.5 million in cap space by releasing receiver Brandon Marshall ($5.1 million cap savings) and receiver/special teamer Dwayne Harris ($2.4 million cap savings).

Ostensibly, the former Minnesota Vikings starter will be the backup to incumbent Josh McCown, but the Jets are expected to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft, acquired last Saturday in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts.

On Wednesday, coach Todd Bowles and the Jets’ top decision-makers attended Sam Darnold’s pro day at Southern California, and they will be in Wyoming on Friday for Josh Allen’s pro day. On the way home, they will stop in Oklahoma for a private workout with Baker Mayfield, the NFL Network reported. UCLA’s Josh Rosen also will have a private workout with the team.

Bridgewater’s contract includes only $500,000 in guaranteed money, so his roster spot can’t be considered secure. He’s a wild card, not having played a full game since the 2015 playoffs. The following training camp, he wrecked his knee in practice — a torn ACL, a dislocation and other structural damage. Some feared that his career was over.

Speaking on a conference call, Bridgewater, 25, wouldn’t say if he will participate in offseason practices, which begin in May.

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What NBA scouts will be watching in each Thursday tourney game


What are the best NBA draft matchups of the day in the NCAA tournament, what’s at stake, and what will scouts be watching for? We’re breaking down the field game by game.

Up first: a Thursday slate featuring nine prospects in the lottery in our latest mock draft.

While trying to develop neophyte point guard Dejounte Murray, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is trying to keep a 20-year postseason streak alive. Troy Taormina/USA TODAY
The loss to the Rockets left San Antonio sitting at 10th in the West behind the LA Clippers, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, teams that occupy the Nos. 7, 8 and 9 spots. The Jazz own the tiebreaker with the Spurs, while a tiebreaker with Denver will come down to both teams’ final conference records.

The Spurs are on pace to win just 45 games.

We’re in a position now where we’ve dropped, veteran center Pau Gasol said. We’ve lost a few in a row, and now, there’s no margin for error anymore. Before, it was slim. Now, there is none. So now we’ve just got to go out there, and compete and win.

The current playoff format really hampers the Jets in that they’d have to face the titan of their own division in the second round. I just think Nashville is a deeper team overall — even though I don’t think the gap is as significant as you might think — and after getting so close last year, the Predators are even better now. On the other side, the Caps are used to the playoff format putting them in a tough spot, but you have to find a way, right? They might have just enough to get past the Penguins this time, but I’m going to need to see it to believe it.

Regardless of which team goes further, I think this is going to be an important building-block season for Winnipeg. The Jets are right on the cusp of taking their place among the league’s heavyweights. They have a few key contracts to resolve this summer, namely Hellebuyck’s and Jacob Trouba’s new deals as restricted free agents, but the Jets’ core has a chance to be special over the next few seasons. That Stanley Cup window seems like it’s peeking open. It will be interesting to see what Winnipeg can do during this postseason, where it should be viewed at least as a legitimate threat.

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Ivan Nova will start Opening Day, might not finish season with Pirates


Ivan Nova will be the Pirates’ Opening Day starting pitcher at Detroit on March 29. It is unclear whether he will remain with Pittsburgh through the entire season.

Following the offseason trades of 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and former 19-game winner Gerrit Cole, Nova is a veteran on a team that has turned toward youth. Nova is owed $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons as part of a $26 million, three-year contract.

I said it when I signed here, and I still feel this way: This is [the] place I want to be, Nova said. I love playing for the Pirates.

There is an intersection here between Antetokounmpo, arguably the most productive fantasy player in the NBA when everything clicks, his Bucks team that has fallen to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but that is still only three games out of the four seed (and potential home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs), and the Grizzlies, an opponent that has been wracked with injury and has nothing left to play for this year.

At 6’9, Anderson gets a nice bump from non-traditional point guard stats (10.2 rebounds and 6.4 steals-plus-blocks per 48 minutes over his past six games), and if we are looking at a spike in shot attempts, there is the possibility he smashes value with a well-rounded offensive night in addition to his ability on the defensive end.

Although not a middle reliever, the present landscape is more open to using a third closer in shallower mixed leagues. In previous seasons, the wins and punch outs from the seventh starter outweighed the hurt his efforts put on ratios. Now, the added saves often swing the pendulum towards the closer, since their strikeouts are closer in number to what your SP7 can offer — with no significant difference in the affect on ratios. This is yet another reason for investing in an upper-tier anchor, as their innings and superb ratios helps absorb the impact of poor reliever ratios.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to dealing with the pitching trends, especially give the plethora of formats and league sizes. However, as so much has changed in the pitching landscape over just the last three seasons, the prudent fantasy manager should recognize the trends and enjoy the edge over those languishing behind the curve.

The insurance for Ovechkin on breaking Gretzky’s record is that if he is short of the 894 mark after the next eight full seasons, he has time in his 40s to break the record if he is close — and has the appetite and health to eclipse it.

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Rawson scores 22, Utah rolls Washington State 82-69


Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak acknowledges he doesn’t have NBA-ready players on the roster, but knows his team can be successful when everyone contributes. The Utes got exactly that Sunday night and are now back to .500 in Pac-12 play after a rough first half of January.

Tyler Rawson scored 22 points and knocked down a career-high six 3-pointers as Utah beat Washington State 82-69.

The Utes (12-7, 4-4) won their second consecutive game for the first time since late December and the Cougars (9-10, 1-6) have now lost 6 of 7.

I thought there were several defensive breakdowns, Washington State coach Ernie Kent said. We tried to do a couple of different things to offset that, but our focus and attention to detail on that end of the floor was not there tonight and they made us pay.

Everything, to me, came back to what went on at the defensive end of the floor. When we can get stops and get out and run, we’re very good. When we don’t, we become a stagnant offensive team.

UNC Asheville (12-9, 5-3 Big South) made 11 of 15 3-pointers in the first half and cruised.

UNC Asheville doubled Liberty, 36-18, through the first 13 minutes with 12 points from Thomas and Vannatta’s 10. The Bulldogs led 51-30 at halftime after having 14 assists on 16 field goals and shooting 67 percent overall. Vannatta tied a career-high with five 3-pointers and scored 19 points. The Flames were just 1 of 10 from distance and shot 35.5 percent.

Raekwon Miller added 12 points and Macio Teague scored 11 with three 3-pointers for the Bulldogs, who have won four of their last five.

Scottie James had 19 points for Liberty (12-9, 3-5).

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Shane Beamer to become assistant head coach at Oklahoma


Shane Beamer is leaving Georgia to become the assistant head coach for offense and tight ends coach at Oklahoma.

Beamer was the special-teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Georgia the past two seasons. He was previously associate head coach and running backs coach at Virginia Tech, where he worked for his father, Hall of Famer Frank Beamer.

The Texans and Denver Broncos have been prominent in the Romo speculation. Several agents and coaches and executives with other NFL teams said in recent days at the NFL scouting combine that they regard the Texans as the most likely destination for Romo.

That one makes the most sense to me, a high-ranking official with one franchise said. I don’t think anyone in the league would be surprised to see that one happen.

It is not clear yet if Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will release Romo, putting the quarterback completely in charge of picking his next team, or try to get something in return for Romo via a trade. Even in a trade scenario, Romo potentially could exert some control over where he is headed. He is to count $24.7 million against next season’s salary cap under his current contract. A team trading for Romo would inherit that contract and might be interested in reworking the deal. It’s also unlikely a team would trade for Romo if he does not want to play there.

Evans was a combined 5-of-20 shooting, 2-of-13 on 3-pointers, as Tech lost twice on the road last week. After making 1 of 4 shots before halftime against the Cowboys, he was 6 of 9 in the second half.

Keenan didn’t play any different tonight than he has been. He’s a great shooter, Tech coach Chris Beard said. He’s remained aggressive.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have lost all four of their true road games, all in Big 12 play. At home, they have won their last three games in overtime or on the final shot in regulation.

Texas Tech: After a tough week on the road, the Red Raiders got a much-needed boost with an impressive comeback after halftime. They made only one of 12 field goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half, but made 15 of 28 after halftime, including 6 of 9 3-pointers.

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Jalen Crutcher’s 3 helps Dayton hold off Davidson 65-64


Trey Landers scored 16 points, Jalen Crutcher made a key 3-pointer and Dayton held off Davidson 65-64 on Tuesday night.

Crutcher’s 3 gave the Flyers (10-10, 4-4 Atlantic 10 Conference) a 63-61 lead with 56 seconds remaining. Kellan Grady missed a jumper on Davidson’s next possession, then Landers hit two free throws to stretch the Flyers’ lead to 65-61. Grady’s 3-pointer made it a one-point game with 3.3 seconds left.

Darrell Davis missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Will Magarity grabbed the defensive rebound, but Grady couldn’t get off a midcourt shot as time expired.

With the Hawks poorly defending inside, Markkanen took his game to the rim. The 7-foot, 227-pound Finn, a prolific 3-point shooter, had five dunks. He went 0 for 4 beyond the arc, marking the first time in 17 games that he didn’t hit a 3.

Markkanen hit 100 3s in his first 41 games, faster than any rookie in NBA history, but he wants to make the adjustment inside when teams focus on taking his perimeter game away.

The game was tied at 43 with 49 seconds remaining before the break. The Antelopes had a 22-9 surge that spanned the halves for a 65-52 lead. Braun scored 11 points, and capped the surge with a 3-pointer. The Warriors pulled within nine points, but didn’t get closer.

Vrabel is the other candidate still alive here. The real question is, was there a shift with Patricia being more interested in the Giants job? While Patricia won’t make a call until after his team is done playing, there has not been enough credible information to make one believe he’d pick the Giants over the Lions.

The Giants haven’t officially eliminated candidates, but it’s clear there are four left with legitimate chances at the head coaching job — McDaniels, Patricia, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Patricia has received a lot of love inside the building, but the search is not to the point where anyone is considered a favorite.

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Kansas City drives into LA territory but comes away with no points just before halftime.


The Chiefs move to the Chargers 34 but Alex Smith throws an incomplete pass on third down. Harrison Butker comes on to attempt a 52-yard field goal but he misses wide left. The Chargers take over at their 34 with 12 seconds to play.

Touchdown Chargers. Los Angeles answers the Chiefs score with one of its own. The Chargers string together a 10-play, 75-yard drive that eats up 4:30 of game action and ends with a 2-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon. But Travis Coons misses the extra point and the Chargers now trails 10-6. Gordon has 72 total yards in the game.

Nonetheless, the bad Lakers have been trying and trying and trying to land a big fish in free agency since their downfall after Dwight Howard left and Steve Nash fell apart. Howard walked away despite a full-court press. LaMarcus Aldridge declined. Carmelo Anthony didn’t choose Los Angeles. James didn’t entertain a meeting. Neither did Kevin Durant. L.A. native Russell Westbrook, long rumored to be a future Laker, signed an extension before hitting free agency. So did James Harden. DeAndre Jordan went elsewhere (twice). Blake Griffin stayed with the crosstown rivals.

At this point, to hijack Wyche’s catch-phrase, you’re denying living in Cincinnati or Cleveland. It’s time for both franchises to take real steps toward putting the last 30 seasons away. That’s what makes these next hires so critical.

Lewis must go. The Bengals need to move on, and Jackson is not the next answer. Dave Shula, Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau weren’t the right answers after Wyche, either. The Bengals missed out on hiring former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, but they need somebody of that mold �� to put it bluntly, somebody who won’t side-step an increasingly unhealthy sibling relationship with Pittsburgh.

This season, Harris scored 72 points in two games. Two new career highs of three dozen apiece. In consecutive games? Not quite, but twice in the last nine. Harris is putting things together quickly this season, and his game is blossoming on several fronts. Here’s a few highlights from the first 36-point outing, against Kyrie Irving, no less…

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Jimmy Garoppolo gets his first big test against a good defense after going 3-0 in his first three starts with the 49ers.


Another team from LA, another matchup lopsided in favor of the visitors. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will be in great positions to succeed against the Tennessee defense, while the Titans don’t have the same rushing efficiency and firepower to get the better of the Rams’ defense.

Derek Carr and Jack Del Rio aren’t the aggressive, finishing QB-coach combination they were a year ago. The Eagles with Nick Foles and Doug Peterson are pretty much the same team they were with Carson Wentz and Pederson. The Raiders’ defense will have no answers, and the offense will struggle once Marshawn Lynch is contained.

According to Gutekunst, one of the first pieces of advice that Thompson offered after getting the job on Sunday was to smile more at his first press conference.

John Gutekunst told his son to be humble, and to make sure that he takes care of his staff.

Now, you know, on Mondays after watching our game, the younger Gutekunst said, he’ll tell me some other things.

The run-blocking remained solid to prop up Elliott replacements Alfred Morris and Rod Smith, but Prescott faced more discomfort in key stretches of key games. The Cowboys were often rendered one-dimensional in the atypical way, as running from either their backs or Prescott sometimes was their only source of offense. In a complementary game, those issues were exacerbated by problems at another position.

Prescott still threw to Bryant often but the catches didn’t come close to matching the targets, and the big plays and red-zone scoring prowess were few and far between. As the Cowboys’ go-to wide receiver turned 29 in November, his decline continued through December. So much for being healthier and re-booted for Prescott in Year 2.

When the L.A. Clippers lost both of their top point guards and then lost Blake Griffin and went on a skid, we wrote them off. It turns out that was premature. L.A. has won six of seven and is just a game out of the playoffs in the West!

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Penguins mascot marches with real penguins before NHL Stadium Series game

Fans watching Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series game at Heinz Field didn’t expect Cheap NFL Jerseys Paypal to see real penguins.

Before the Penguins took on the rival Flyers in the outdoor interstate showdown, though, seven penguins from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium waddled across the ice.

If Crosby’s 102-point rookie season was any indication, he was on his way to big things. Still just 19 years old in his sophomore year of NHL duty, Crosby accomplished something never before seen in the NHL or in professional North American sports. In an encore performance for the ages, Crosby recorded 120 points, becoming the youngest player to win the Art Ross and the youngest athlete in the history of North American professional sports to win a scoring title. Crosby finished with 36 goals and 84 assists; he is one of three players (Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton) with an 80-assist season since the turn of the century.

By the time Crosby entered his fifth NHL season, he had plenty of hardware in his trophy case, but was still able to add a new accolade that season. For the first time in his career, Crosby reached the 50-goal plateau and, in doing so, led the NHL in goals for the first time, garnering his first Maurice Richard Trophy. Crosby shared the award with Lightning forward Steven Stamkos in an exciting race that saw both superstars finish with 51 goals, and Ovechkin nipping at their heels with 50.

It truly was a competition between three all-world players that came down to the wire. On April 6, 2010, five days before the end of the regular season, all three players Cheap Blackhawks Jerseys scored (Ovechkin scored twice), leaving Ovechkin and Crosby with 48 goals apiece and Stamkos with 47.

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