Report: ESPN offering Jason Witten $4-4.5 million per year

If Cowboys tight end Jason Witten plays football this year, he’ll earn a base salary of $1.05 million and up to $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses. If he accepts the pending offer from ESPN, he’ll make a lot more than that.

The NFL is not as backward or parochial about marijuana use as we sometimes pretend it is for punchline purposes. Most NFL decision-makers know that some players smoke weed for pain control, some to make Saturday night Black Mirror binges a little more mind-blowing, and a few have turned it into a wake-and-bake lifestyle that is almost certain to impair their conditioning and preparation. It’s that third category that coaches and execs worry about, and there is ample evidence Antonio Callaway falls there, especially after he tested positive at the combine. Callaway possesses first-round talent on the field, but if his habits don’t change, he will be the guy who gets out-hustled by undrafted rookies in training camp.

Pairing Callaway with Josh Gordon has obvious implications. Let’s take the high road and assume one will be a positive influence upon the other. But let’s acknowledge the risk factor in the grade.

The Packers announced they released quarterback Joe Callahan, ending his two-year run with the team.

A former undrafted rookie from Wesley College, Callahan was on the active roster for one game last year. He spent most of his time on the practice squad, but the Packers had previously been very complimentary of him.

The Packers acquired DeShone Kizer in a trade with the Browns, and also have Brett Hundley coming back behind some guy named Aaron Rodgers.

Fred Warner, LB, BYU: Apparently this is where GM John Lynch begins acquiring alternatives given Reuben Foster’s tenuous status. Warner’s athleticism should make him a decent fit as San Francisco continues its transition to Seattle’s scheme.
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Red alert: Richard Sherman ‘excited’ to be a 49er

Richard Sherman was dressed to the nines as he was officially introduced as a Niner.

The veteran cornerback entered his introductory press conference Tuesday with a fiery and confident attitude about his future with the franchise.

Very excited to be here, Sherman said. It was a tough decision, but things happen and you got to move on. I’m looking forward to moving on to a new chapter and helping this team win ballgames.

Despite coming off of a year in which he was limited to nine games after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, Sherman is optimistic he’ll get back on the field May-June after undergoing surgery and a procedure to remove bone spurs. He added there’s no doubt he’ll be ready to play Week 1 and looks forward to taking on his former team.

I look forward to helping the 49ers win games, Sherman said. I’m sure the rivalry (with the Seahawks) will be renewed, and that I’ll be at the center of it again.

With assists from general managers and others around the league, I’ve put together a ranking of the 10 best value signings and the 10 worst overpays.

The good news is that Watkins is young, talented and joining a team coached by Andy Reid, who excels at maximizing personnel. The bad news is that Watkins simply has not been very productive, a leading reason he is on his third team in eight months.

The Chiefs are paying Watkins as though he’s a sure bet. They were not the only team willing to spend big for him. Dallas was also interested, as was Chicago. It seems like a case of teams valuing a player based more on their draft reports than what the player has done since college.

The Giants scored their only run in the eighth when Crawford doubled leading off the inning and scored on Blanco’s infield grounder.

Archie Bradley pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.cardinals_283

Colts QB Andrew Luck ‘confident,’ optimistic about return from shoulder injury

Andrew Luck still isn’t throwing a regulation football, and the Colts quarterback isn’t revealing the timetable on when that will happen. What Luck would say, though, is that he wants to head into training camp this summer with no limitations on his surgically repaired shoulder.

“There is a timetable, but I’m not going to share it with you guys,” Luck said Monday. “I’ve very, very confident and very, very optimistic I’m going to be absolutely fine and come back better than I was. I’ll be a better quarterback, a better teammate, a better person.”

Luck’s right shoulder injury has been the focal point of the Colts organization since he underwent surgery in January 2017. Last year, he missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, training camp and eventually the entire season. Luck practiced for a couple of weeks in the middle of October before the team shut him down and gave him a cortisone shot because of continued soreness. He spent about six weeks in the Netherlands rehabbing his shoulder late last year and has spent the early part of 2018 working with throwing experts in Southern California.

Adam Germek, president of the Special Olympics of Tennessee, said of Mariota and the team giving their time to the Special Olympians, “I heard one of our athletes say this is the best day of his life.”

Benn got his hat trick at 13:57 by tipping Radulov’s pass past Quick for his 10th point during a five-game point streak. He has eight goals and two assists in that span.

The Stars took a 1-0 lead at 6:41. Shore scored on a backhand after poking the puck away from Kings defenseman Christian Folin. It was Shore’s 11th goal, and his third point (two goals, one assist) in five games.

“Obviously, that’s not a good enough start,” Martinez said. “Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. We left our goalie out to dry, and that’s not fair to him.”

Martinez scored on a slap shot at 3:42 in the second, getting the Kings on the board. He cut the deficit to 4-2 at 12:27 on a one-timer from Michael Amadio after a power play expired.
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Jon Gruden’s back to coaching today, sort of

Even though Jon Gruden has had three months to prepare for his first day of coaching actual Raiders players today, he’s going to actually ease into it today.

The Raiders are among the teams kicking off their offseason conditioning programs today, but he’s not going to be too fiery no matter how fired-up he is to begin again.

Of course, watching him have to hold back might be the most entertaining part of it all, as he has 10 years of pent-up coaching that’s just dying to come out.

Imagine trying to juggle all the aforementioned responsibilities while additionally fielding calls from your new boss — i.e. the hiring NFL team owner — asking questions about what’s to come, or all the other inquiries that inherently come with a head coach hiring. It’s a headache-inducing recipe for failure.

Safeguards are needed to provide some insulation from those distractions for the sake of the affected coaches and the Super Bowl teams themselves. Keeping the current rule is the best way of accomplishing that, no matter how anxious teams hiring new head coaches from those staffs are to get started building their own winner.

Among the players who did extra work with Manning at Duke were wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Roger Lewis and Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram and running back Wayne Gallman. Beckham is at the Giants’ facility today as they begin their voluntary offseason work.

“At this point, I just want to reach out and support the families,” Garinger said. “It’s not about understanding anything.”

Labelle’s father, Paul Labelle, told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday that he arrived at the scene of the crash along with his wife and daughter.

Paul Labelle, an emergency room physician, told the StarPhoenix that after initially trying to assist police at the scene, he and his family continued on their trip to Nipawin, where the Broncos were scheduled to play their playoff game later Friday night.cardinals_008

Taylor Lewan: I am here to take over this league

Taylor Lewan has become one of the league’s top left tackles. The Titans will have to pay him accordingly to keep him.

Nate Solder became the league’s highest-paid left tackle when he signed a four year, $62 million contract with the Giants last month, getting $34.8 million in guaranteed money.

Lewan, 26, currently is scheduled to play this season on the fifth-year option of $9.341 million. That ranks 16th among left tackles this season.

Maybe the struggles in three of the past four Super Bowls experienced by the units of coordinators who were halfway out the door were not a coincidence. Dan Quinn’s defense in Seattle collapsed in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl 48 loss to New England. Kyle Shanahan experienced brain lock with his second-half offensive play calling in the Falcons’ Super Bowl 51 collapse against the Patriots. Matt Patricia’s defense yielded 538 yards and didn’t force a turnover in New England’s 41-33 loss to Philadelphia.

If the challenges awaiting Quinn, Shanahan and Patricia with Atlanta, San Francisco and Detroit, respectively, were pre-game distractions, it’s hard to blame them. The situation will only get worse if the contract with a new employer can permissibly be signed before the current one has officially expired.

“He always thinks he can beat me in Top Golf,” a smiling Hunt told Sporting News last week while being honored at the 2018 Senior Bowl Hall of Fame banquet. “He won most of the time. But, you know, I got a couple wins in there.”

Mahomes’ prowess in yet another sport should come as no surprise. He lettered in football, basketball and baseball while attending Whitehouse (Texas) High School. Mahomes, whose father Pat enjoyed a long pro career as a pitcher, was even a 37th-round draft choice by Detroit in the 2014 MLB Draft.

Mahomes instead opted to continue his pursuit of playing in the NFL by attending Texas Tech.

It looks like he made the right choice.

In the recent trade of quarterback Alex Smith to Washington, Kansas City paved the way for Mahomes to become its 2018 starter. Ex-Chiefs offensive lineman Zach Fulton, who signed with the Texans this offseason, believes Mahomes is ready for the opportunity after the 2017 first-round pick received a year of tutelage under Smith.

“He’s still young, of course, but he’s got a super bright future,” Fulton told co-host Bill Polian and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s a playmaker. He’s a little raw, but he plays off his instincts. They’ve got him this far. It’s going to be exciting to see what he does.”patriots_108-223x223

Ex-Seahawks QB Trevone Boykin arrested on aggravated assault charge

Former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Trevone Boykin was arrested by Texas authorities Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.

The charge stems from accusations made by Shabrika Bailey, Boykin’s longtime girlfriend, who reported to police in Mansfield, Texas, last week that Boykin had assaulted her, which left her hospitalized. Bailey told Dallas’ WFAA-TV that she was knocked unconscious and woke up in a puddle of blood on the kitchen floor, alleging that the attack left her jaw broken in multiple places.

Boykin was taken into custody at his home – where Bailey said the alleged assault occurred – by Mansfield police officers on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the department.

A spokesperson for Mansfield police told USA TODAY Sports that Bailey was initially interviewed by investigators on March 21 at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Bailey and Boykin were each arrested last March after a car accident in Dallas last March. Bailey faced two charges of intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury after she accelerated in reverse and struck several pedestrians before crashing into the side of a bar, according to the Dallas police. Boykin, who was a passenger, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana and public intoxication.

Cops say Boykin was arrested at his home — without incident — and transported to jail.

Bond has not yet been set.

NFL QB Trevone Boykin is in custody after being arrested Wednesday for allegedly punching his girlfriend and cracking her jaw… TMZ Sports has learned.

Boykin was being investigated by cops in Mansfield, Texas after he was allegedly involved in an altercation with his longtime GF, Shabrika Bailey, last Wednesday.

He has been arrested for aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.

O’Brien is installing an entirely different offense this offseason, the Texans coach revealed to NFL Network’s James Palmer at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando.
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Why Dallas is both paying for sins of the past and living in the past.

The Cowboys currently have just $1.3 million in cap space. That isn’t even enough to sign a rookie class. As they court Hurns and entertainpipe dreams of getting Ndamukong Suhto play for pride and glory, the Cowboys first need to make more money-saving moves before they can tackle their routine springtime chores.

Vincent, appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, was asked whether the NFL would consider getting rid of the kickoff (and, apparently, punts) as it examines safety data and tries to improve the game. He said the league has talked about it at length and it could very much be something the league looks at in the future despite resistance from many traditional football people involved in the game. We talked about it at length, yesterday, frankly all over the weekend.

The two men know each other from New England and Blount said there’s a lot less pressure involved in coming to a team when you’re already familiar with how the coach likes things done.

My relationship with Matt has always been a great one, Blount said, via the team’s website. Even though he was on the defensive side of the ball бн anytime I ever saw him in any part of the building, whether it was just walking by in the hall or in the cafeteria or practice or whatever the circumstance may be, anytime he walked past or anytime we were around each other, it was always laughs and jokes. Obviously, we get serious when it’s time to do the job, but for the most part we laughed and joked and clowned around and we enjoyed each other, and it got to a point where we had gotten really close.jets_117

His release also coincided with news that the team agreed to a three-year deal with tight end Jimmy Graham, that will likely eat the space saved by Nelson’s release.

A prove-it year is on the way for Nelson in 2018 — if he decides to play at all. He’ll be 33 years old next fall and has 149 games of service under his belt. After earning nearly $46 million in his NFL career, he may decide to call it a career rather than relocate.

But he may be welcomed back to Green Bay, just at a significant discount. Nelson is no longer a $12 million player, but he is a valuable veteran presence with a strong relationship to Rodgers. Re-signing him at a market value contract could be Gutekunst’s next move — and one that would appease a fanbase that values loyalty enough to keep an NFL franchise in a town of 105,000.

That would be an upgrade for the Dolphins, who foolishly gave Andre Branch a three-year deal last offseason with $8 million fully guaranteed for 2018 to play across from Cameron Wake.

Quinn will be a massive upgrade at defensive end on Branch, but the Dolphins will likely need to perform cap gymnastics to either fit Quinn in on his current cap hit of $11.4 million or as part of a new contract.

It seems likely that Quinn could serve as a replacement for Ndamukong Suh, whose departure would free up $17 million in cap room for a Dolphins team which is nearly $16 million over the salary cap at the moment.

From Arizona, Kiyomiya and his teammates head to Okinawa for the next phase of spring training. Their regular season starts March 30, and that’s when the legend can really grow.

“I feel like he’s the new Ohtani of the Fighters,” Laird said. “Hopefully he can live up to his hype and he can help the team.”

In April 2016, though, Watkins suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot, which required surgery.

The Bills rushed him back onto the field, but after Watkins limped through two games, he underwent a second surgery, went back on injured reserve and missed half the year.

The Bills traded him to the Rams before the 2017 season, and it’s fair to wonder whether concerns about the foot made the Rams wonder whether a long-term deal was in their best interests.

Sammy Watkins spurned a return to the Rams to sign a big deal with the Chiefs.? Sepackers_161

Tom Brady: Family will play a big part in retirement decision

In the “Good Morning America” interview, host Michael Strahan shared the story from the 2000s of how Bundchen spoke with him about the length of Brady’s career. Bundchen, according to Strahan, wanted him to talk to Brady about his desire to play another 10 years.

“I knew if I was at home watching TV and Drew was getting hit and I felt like I could’ve helped, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself,” Strief said. “It’s much easier knowing that there’s someone there that’s going to play at a high level for him. So this is all Ryan Ramczyk’s fault.”

As soon as McCarron won the grievance that made him an unrestricted free agent, he was gone from Cincinnati. McCarron will look for a place he can be the starter after years as Andy Dalton’s backup. Watch Cleveland and Arizona as potential landing spots. — Graziano

Seattle won’t give Thomas away, and I still think the team is more likely to extend him than to let him go. But if someone is willing to pay a high enough price, Thomas might not get to stick around for the defensive rebuild. — Graziano

The seven-second clip posted on social media shows Beckham in a bed next to a pizza holding what appears to be some sort of brown cigarette or cigar. There is a woman next to him with a credit card and what looks like a white powdery substance aligned in rows.

A second video shows what is believed to be the same woman kissing and taping Beckham while he was asleep.

The Dolphins located Timmons before the game against the Chargers but made him inactive, snapping his streak of 101 consecutive starts. He was suspended for the following game, against the New York Jets. He finished the season with 84 tackles in 14 games.

With the Detroit Lions, who selected him No. 2 overall in 2010, Suh was a dominant force in the middle for five seasons, making the Pro Bowl four times and being named first-team All-Pro three times. He played in 78 of 80 regular-season games for Detroit while making 238 tackles with 36 sacks, 13 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
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The Bucs have several positions and prospects?they could target at No. 7 overall, but it makes sense?for them to go for this latest standout Seminole.

In 2015, Tyrod Taylor was the first Bills quarterback to make it to the Pro Bowl since Drew Bledsoe in 2003. His replacement, Nathan Peterman , set an NFL record by throwing five interceptions in the first half of his first start .

They need someone in the secondary to clean up and make plays. James looks like the next Earl Thomas or Eric Berry — take your pick.

The Bears might?not keep Kyle Fuller even with the transition?tag, but regardless, this is a need with Prince Amukamara hitting free agency. Ward also would be the?best player available. He’d have?an immediate impact making plays on the ball with his dazzling athleticism.

GM John Lynch adds another big thumper after getting Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster and Akhello Witherspoon last year. Edmunds can do everything from any spot in the 49ers’?front seven. He’ll add to their budding?dominance ?in?run defense and also boost the pass rush.

The previous year, the league cut the play clock from 45 seconds to 40, but instead of speeding up the game, the change slowed it down. Teams had to call more timeouts because they were running out of time sending substitutions in with play calls for the quarterbacks. NFL officials hoped that the new communication system would help speed up the pace of the game.

Huh. Pace of the game. Sounds familiar, right? And in 2008, the NFL approved electronic on-field communication between coaches and a designated defensive player, too.

This is 2018. At this point, we’re not even talking about using modern technology in baseball. We’re talking about the basic technology that the NFL started using almost a quarter of a century ago. Seriously. That’s ancient technology, by technology standards.

Sure, there are logistics to consider. Should only pitchers and catchers communicate, or should the manager and/or pitching coach be looped in, too? Would they only be allowed to talk about pitches and locations, or other things, too (like, can the catcher tell the pitcher what base to throw to on a bunt)? If they’re not supposed to talk about other stuff, does MLB need to monitor the conversation? What safeguards can be taken to prevent other teams hacking the feed?
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