Time may tell that David Tepper got a steal in Charlotte

The timeline was curious, even if it was entirely coincidental.

On Monday, the Supreme Court opened the door for nationwide sports betting. Immediately, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proclaimed that the value of each franchise in the four major sports leagues would double. Within a day, David Tepper put pen to paper on a purchase agreement that will result in payment of $2.275 billion for the Carolina Panthers.

Regardless, it feels like Tepper got a steal, especially if gambling generates the kind of revenue that will drive up the value of all NFL teams. And if Tepper is purchasing all of it himself, he possibly will be able to eventual sell half the equity, make all or most of the purchase price back, and continue to control the franchise.

The revelation appears to bolster Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the league and NFL owners.

According to Pro Football Talk’s source, who purportedly has knowledge of the situation, internal franchise documents generated as part of the free-agency evaluation process and witness testimony in the collusion case say that Kaepernick was seen as a potential starting quarterback and not just an NFL-caliber QB.

Moreover, the report asserts, teams still view Kaepernick as a potential starter, which is counter to claims by teams that not signing him was a football-only decision.

Yet he remains unsigned — or, as he claims, blackballed from the NFL because of his kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against social and racial injustices. (Teams have admitted since the initial football-only talk that there are other considerations that have prevented them from signing Kaepernick.)cowboys_045

The NFL is defined by contractual terminology.

Free agency, holdouts, franchise tags, option years, roster bonuses, signing bonuses and more. The difference between guaranteed money and total money is Salary Cap 10

So why would a rookie step on the field for his first NFL practice without first signing a contract?

While each team can word differently their version of the paperwork, a player not under contract and his agent can sign a rookie participation agreement along with team officials.

It guarantees nothing but good faith in negotiations should an injury happen without contract, but good faith is easier to define in the post-2010 era of pre-determined contract parameters.

Every pick in the draft — from No. 1 to No. 256 — is associated with a slotted salary amount that leaves little room for negotiation on either side. That’s why there are fewer rookie holdouts nowadays, Joey Bosa in 2017 aside.

How often is this injury worst-case scenario an issue?

Last we heard regarding Gregory, his attorney, Daniel B. Moskowitz, said that his client hasevery intention of getting back on the football field.

Where does Jason Witten rank among 15 greatest Dallas Cowboys players?

It’s been a week since Jason Witten put a bow on his estimable career with the Dallas Cowboys, heralding his transition to the Monday Night Football booth.

In the interim, a lot of glowing remarks have been made about the longtime tight end.

When I look at where we were with the great legacy of our fans that have had 56 years of being around some of the greatest people and names of players ever, said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, to me, no one has ever given more of himself and no one has ever made any bigger impact.

Jason Garrett went further.colts_028

Despite being desperate for good pitching, the Rangers are being prudent with one of their top starters.

For those seeking advantageous lefty/righty matchups picks for Week 5: Adam Duvall (now 42.3 percent available) could finally get his season in order as his Reds face four left-handed starters, as he’s a .273/.356/.565 hitter against lefties since the beginning of last season.

Colin Moran (86.6 percent) is a .299/.351/.463 hitter against righties this season, and the Pirates are scheduled to face nothing but right-handed starting pitching in their seven games. Curtis Granderson (86.4) is a .333/.433/.588 hitter against right-handers this season and typically leads off for the Toronto Blue Jays against them, and the team is scheduled to face seven righty starters in eight games.

Mike Minor (L), 8 percent, Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays: Minor, making the conversion back to the rotation after spending a year in the bullpen, threw 102 pitches last time out, so Texas took advantage of an off day to give the lefty a couple extra days’ rest. The Blue Jays sport a hefty .362 wOBA facing lefties, but they also whiff 26 percent of the time and will be without Josh Donaldson.

And that’s when teams pull off the biggest steals — the future stars plucked late in the draft, when the picks are relegated to a streamer at the bottom of the screen.

These are the biggest steals in the NFL Draft since 2000, by position, including one who, for the foreseeable future, will be known as the biggest one of all time.

Tyler Anderson (L), 6 percent, Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins: The Marlins are a bit flummoxing. They’ve scored three or fewer runs in 15 of their first 24 contests, but have tallied six or more in seven, including plating eight against the Dodgers on Wednesday night, knocking Clayton Kershaw out after five frames. The Fish are mid-pack versus lefties, but considering the big park upgrade and working six stanzas in three of his five outings, Anderson is a streaming option.orioles_016

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: No timetable on Matt Ryan extension

Talks concerning Matt Ryan’s contract extension have seemingly slowed down.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Wednesday said that while the team’s negotiations with the quarterback’s agent are ongoing, there’s no timetable on finalizing a deal with the veteran.

There’s no time frame on it right now,” Dimitroff told reporters at Georgia’s pro day, via ESPN. I think the biggest thing for [Ryan’s representation], at one time, was probably waiting to see what was going on in the market. That’s kind of come and gone now, right? So we’ll continue to talk about how to get it finalized.”

Ryan, who turns 33 in May, is entering the final season of a five-year extension worth $103.75 million. He is set to earn $19.25 million in 2018 and count $21.65 million against the team’s salary cap.

Ryan, a four-time Pro Bowl player and the 2016 NFL MVP, threw for 4,095 yards and 20 touchdowns last season while adding 428 yards and two scores in the postseason before the Falcons were eliminated by the Super Bowl 52 champion Eagles.

You would have hoped the urgency would have been there with an opportunity to win the division, Bruins forward David Backes said. We had it in the third, but needed it right from the get go.

Boston will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round beginning Thursday night. The Leafs were 3-1 against the Bruins in the regular season.

Florida starter James Reimer left in the third with an injury, and Luongo came in and stopped eight shots over the last 8:07. The pair combined to make 41 saves.

Henrik Borgstrom, Frank Vatrano, Maxim Mamin and Evgenii Dadonov scored for Florida.

Backes and David Pastrnak had a goal each for Boston, with Pastrnak cutting it to 3-2 shortly before Reimer was hurt. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves.

We didn’t deserve to win and that’s the reality, Rask said. I think it’s mental, just not being sharp enough at the drop of the puck.

After beating the Bruins for the second time in three games, Florida is headed home despite an impressive 25-8-2 run to end the season, including winning their last five.

It’s disappointing. We were really hoping that we’d get a little help from some other teams and maybe get in, Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck said. I think there’s a lot of teams that didn’t want to play us if we did make it in.cardinals_129

Titans think uniform unveiling event shows that Nashville should host the draft

When the Titans unveiled their new uniforms at an event in Nashville on Wednesday night, a huge crowd estimated at 20,000 people showed up. And the Titans think that bodes well for the way the city would support the NFL draft coming to town.

Roseman: One, we have a huge amount of our core players coming back. We have a lot of guys who are under long-term contracts, guys who have been in our system. And we have a group of guys who were hurt last year who are superstar, Pro Bowl-caliber players.

Finally, when you look back to your year away from heading the Eagles’ football operations, what are some of the things you tried to learn if able to get a second chance in that position?

Roseman: That year off gives you great perspective. This job is all-encompassing. It’s hard to focus on anything else. It’s certainly hard to concentrate on self-improvement in the time that you’re engrossed in the job.

I had a chance to step back and realize how important the people are around you in every department. Hire the best and make sure they’re empowered and have the resources to do the right thing.

Victor Oladipo had 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting and Lance Stephenson, a former Hornet, had 10 rebounds, 10 assists and eight points for the Pacers, who have won seven of their last nine games.

Sabonis said he feels comfortable in the Pacers’ system, where he is playing more center than he did earlier in the season.

“I love it here,” Sabonis said. “It’s a great system. We have a great group of guys who believe in it and we all want to win so that’s been working for us.”

McMillan said Sabonis has been solid all season, whether it has been in a starting role or reserve, or playing the four or five position.

“He does a good job of getting the offense moving from side to side,” McMillan said. “He’s made good decisions out there when he’s played.”texans_126

Odell Beckham Jr. trade is reasonable for only 3 NFL teams

When the Falcons made the draft-day trade with the Browns to get Julio Jones at No. 6 in 2011, everyone at the time thought Cleveland would get the better of the deal with the five players it was able to select. Instead, Jones’ elite play has maintained Atlanta’s status as a dangerous offense six seasons later.

This is Cleveland’s second chance to get a transcendent wideout from a top-10 pick. The Browns, with pick Nos. 1, 4, 33 and 35 overall, have plenty of ways to make the Giants happy and make Beckham happen.

Shanahan has said he doesn’t need another Julio Jones-type for the 49ers, but Beckham, having thrived in the West Coast offense since he got to New York, would be spectacular in San Francisco. Like the Rams’ Les Snead and the Browns’ John Dorsey, John Lynch has proved he can be a aggressive general manager when needed. The 49ers are calculated even when working with a high cap number, and they can find ways to give Beckham an acceptable deal that’s somewhat team-friendly.

When one considers a Beckham investment as a way to invest more in Garoppolo, it makes total sense. In contrast to the Browns with Taylor/a rookie and the Colts with Luck, the 49ers have the most certain QB situation to get the best out of Beckham.

“I feel really fortunate to be part of this staff,” Morton said. “I come to the park each day and I look at the wall over here — just the pitching staff that I’m on — I feel very fortunate to be part of it.”

Morton (2-0) allowed four hits and three walks for one unearned run while striking out seven in six innings. It was a nearly identical performance to his season debut, when he allowed three hits, two walks and no runs while striking out six in a 6-1 win over Baltimore. He also got the final 12 outs in Game 7 of the World Series against the Dodgers to help secure Houston’s first championship.

On a rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Gerrit Cole, Morton became just the eighth Astros starter in franchise history to give up zero earned runs in his first two starts to a season. He extended his winning streak at Minute Maid Park to six games, including the postseason, a seven-start span in which he’s 6-0 with a 1.09 ERA.texans_088

Texans completely changing offense in 2018

There is plenty of news coming out of Texans camp about Deshaun Watson’s health and how Houston plans to use the quarterback coming off of a season-ending ACL injury.

According to NFL Network, Watson is ahead of schedule in his rehab and head coach Bill O’Brien said he expects the QB to be throwing at OTA’s in July.

In addition, O’Brien intends to adjust the offense with Watson in his second year. The former Clemson QB had a lot of success as a rookie throwing for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns, but the Texans’ head coach said there was plenty of reason to make some adjustments.

Pitchers that got their throwing in were bundled up in right field. OF Andrew Benintendi and a few other starters decided to hit inside instead.

The Rays didn’t hit on the field.

Rays: With another bullpen game scheduled Sunday, Cash said they should be fine after using three relievers on Saturday, but he didn’t name a starter.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez is set to make his 2018 debut. He’s been on the disabled list since March 26th recovering from offseason right knee surgery.

I had to battle. Command wasn’t there, I had four walks. But it was a grind. I wanted to keep the team in it as long as possible, Nola said to reporters after his last start. I could’ve went a little more, but it was a good decision. I was creeping up pitch count.

Nola has faced Cincinnati three previous times in his career. He is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, 0.900 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 rate in those starts.

Reds veteran righty Homer Bailey will match up with Nola on Tuesday night. Bailey (0-2, 4.22 ERA) has started his 12th major league season with two losses in two starts. Bailey surrendered five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates last Thursday.

I don’t think Homer was nearly as sharp (Thursday) as he was in the last game, Reds manager Bryan Price told MLB.com after Bailey’s last start. That wasn’t starting from the fifth inning as much as it was starting in the first. He made some good pitches down in the zone, I thought, the first time through the lineup. As he got in a little further in the game, it became apparent he didn’t have his best command.

Bailey, 31, is 1-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 starts against the Phillies. Bailey has never faced Hoskins, the slugging second-year Phillies outfielder who is one of the hottest hitters in baseball.cardinals_018

As Seahawks purge roster, they purge their identity, too

What happened to the Seahawks we used to know? Every day this offseason, it seems, they’ve done something to make them look like every other NFL team. They never used to look like every other team.

Now you’ll know them not because of Beast Mode, the Legion of Boom or the woke locker room, but by their neon uniforms.

Maybe that’s good enough for Seattle these days: Dress different, act like the masses. It wasn’t good enough before, though, when the Seahawks nurtured an identity, lived by their own rules and stayed late at the playoff party every year.

Maybe this is Seattle’s new winning formula. It has been other franchises’ winning formula, to be sure. But the Seahawks had their own formula, and if they had employed a more reliable kicker last season — another common theme they have adopted to their detriment — they might still be winning with it today.

And, it continues to be worth noting, they had a golden opportunity to avoid this stain on their reputation last offseason, but after a seemingly positive visit and praise from Pete Carroll, they, like every other team, chose not to sign Kaepernick as a backup.

They did this at a time when their locker room, their entire on- and off-field approach, was progressive and willing to engage in freedom of varied expressions so much that it appeared ideal for Kaepernick to fit in seamlessly.

In hindsight, it may be no coincidence that the locker room no longer has that vibe, nor the backup quarterback they picked over him.

Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, sat out the entire 2016-17 season with a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot.

Some within NBA circles subscribe to the notion that Simmons is not a true rookie and shouldn’t be eligible to win the award.

“Coming off a broken foot is definitely not an edge, but people are always going to say what they want to say,” Simmons said. “But at the end of the day, this is my first year in the league. If you’re a guy coming from overseas, you’re still a rookie and you can be 30 years old. So there’s a rule in there.”

On Friday, Simmons was part of an epic duel with James, whom Simmons considers a mentor. The rookie finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists while James registered 44 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. Philadelphia won, overtaking Cleveland for sole possession of the No. 3 seed.

Simmons credits coach Brett Brown for giving him the keys to the floor general role.

“He put me in position as the point guard, and I don’t think he thought it would work out this well as it has,” Simmons said. “I think it is a lot of credit to Coach for sticking me in that position and trusting me.”patriots_119-223x223

M.I.A. opens up about’ridiculous’ NFL lawsuit over Super Bowl middle finger

Six years after her controversial halftime performance at Super Bowl XLVI, M.I.A. is speaking out about her legal battle with the NFL. The league demanded $16.6 million in damages from the rapper, whose real name is Maya Arulpragasam, after she flashed her middle finger to the camera while on stage with Madonna and Nicki Minaj. The two sides eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. In an interview with Daniel Dylan Wray of Huck Magazine to promote her upcoming documentary, M.I.A. said that while in the midst of the lawsuit, her then-manager, Jay-Z, urged her to agree to a settlement that would see most of her earnings go to the NFL.

Beckham has produced a Hall of Fame-like start to his career. He had 4,122 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns during his first three seasons and was on pace for a 1,200-yard-plus campaign in 2017 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. But off the field and on the sidelines, he’s been far from the perfect face of the franchise – especially for the old school Giants. Sideline outbursts, dog-peeing celebrations, suspensions for cheap hits, and, most recently, a video showing Beckham doing a number of possibly questionable things all contributed to the Giants’ apparent unease about his character. Co-owner John Mara was asked about the video Sunday and wasn’t able to hide his frustrations with his star player, saying, I guess my response to that is I’m tired of answering questions about Odell’s behavior.

And interestingly we did the Marcus Peters trade before we did the Aqib Talib trade. But once Aqib became available, how do you fit him within the parameters of your salary cap, with other things like Aaron Donald extension, things like that, coming down the line Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get gains…. Once we came up with that vision, that goal, we attacked the offseason.

As we witnessed with the star-studded Super Bowl 50 defense in Denver, great cornerback play allows Phillips to be more creative with his game plans and play calls, unleashing unrelenting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

While Talib spear-headed the Broncos’ celebrated No Fly Zone secondary, Phillips made do with a late-round draft pick ( Danny Trevathan ), a former practice squad member ( Brandon Marshall ) and an undrafted free agent ( Todd Davis ) at inside linebacker.nike_broncos_042-500x500

What Malcolm Butler wanted to tell Patriots’ Bill Belichick during Super Bowl benching

In a new episode of SI: Under the Cover that was released Friday, Malcolm Butler said he considered confronting New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick or defensive coordinator Matt Patricia during February’s Super Bowl in an attempt to insert himself into the game.

Butler, who was arguably the team’s top cornerback last season, was famously withheld from the team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The 28-year-old told Sports Illustrated in a promo for the episode that he didn’t bring up the matter to the coaching staff during the game because he wanted to respect their decision — but he did consider it.

Belichick said after the game that Butler’s absence was not a disciplinary matter, and he declined to elaborate at the annual owners’ meeting in Orlando this week.

Butler, for his part, told USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell earlier this month that I don’t know how much more I can explain; it was a ‘coach’s decision.’ He later speculated to The Boston Herald that it might have been related to his health.

I feel like this was the reason: I got kind of sick. I went to the hospital, Butler told the newspaper. They probably thought I was kind of late on the game plan; I wasn’t as locked in as I should be and could have been a matchup deal. It could have been anything.

Why he’s here: Because the Yankees put starting center fielder Aaron Hicks on the 10-day disabled list with a right intercostal muscle strain. Hicks likely hurt himself during the Yankees’ 6-1 Opening Day win over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Center on Thursday.

What he’ll do: Could see McKinney getting playing time in left field with Brett Gardner sliding from the position and into the starting center field job. McKinney played 76 games in right field and 26 in left field between Double-A and Triple-A last year. He also provides first base depth.

How he became a Yankee: McKinney was acquired as a secondary piece in the trade with the Cubs that sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago. Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ current top prospect, was the centerpiece of the deal from the Yankees’ perspective. patriots_082-223x223