What we learned: Giants go bold in win-now strategy

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There will be no honeymoon period for Giants coach Ben McAdoo. After general manager Jerry Reese’s spending spree Wednesday, expectations will be to win now, and win big.

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The Giants doled out nearly $200 million worth of contracts to try to fix a former championship defense that withered away under Reese’s stewardship. They entered free agency with huge needs throughout the defense, and Reese seemingly tried to fill them all by signing defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and nose tackle Damon Harrison in conjunction with a one-year deal to bring back Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP is the only one of the four players to make a Pro Bowl.
Top 99 available free agents
Mario Williams Jerseys signs deal with Dolphins
Malik Jackson set to join Jaguars
Doug Martin to sign five-year deal with Bucs
Kelechi Osemele Jerseys reaches deal with Raiders
Brock Osweiler agrees to deal with Texans
Bills, Richie Incognito strike three-year deal
Potential landing spots for RGIII
Antonio Gates reaches deal with Chargers
Dolphins pull transition tag on Olivier Vernon Watch:
Biggest free-agent deals
Vikings release Mike Wallace
Chase Daniel heading to Eagles

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Still, these were some of the top free agents available at their respective positions. Vernon was our No. 2 overall free agent on the market and Pierre-Paul was No. 6. But they are being paid like superstars. Vernon, who has 14 sacks over the last two seasons, has guarantees in his $85 million contract that rivaled J.J. Watt’s deal. Jenkins, who the Rams viewed as their No. 2 cornerback, is now being being paid more than Patrick Peterson Jerseys and Richard Sherman. Harrison gives the Giants another great run stopper next to Johnathan Hankins on a vastly improved defensive line. Somewhere, Tom Coughlin weeps.

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In this market of unprecedented salary-cap space, players are worth whatever teams are willing to pay. And the first day of free agency has always been where good players get paid like superstars. This is Reese’s version of Philadelphia’s “Dream Team” and there’s no doubt that the Giants’ defense is far superior to what it was a week ago. There’s also no doubt that Reese will be squarely on the hot seat if New York doesn’t get out to a fast start. McAdoo needs to win fast or he’ll join him there. After being a model of a stable franchise for so many years, the Giants are starting to resemble any other desperate franchise that becomes compelled to win offseason championships.

Here’s what else we learned on wild opening day of free agency that resulted in only two of our top-15 free agents still being available on the open market.

Houston goes big

Brock Osweiler jilting the Broncos for the Texans, and the hurt feelings involved in the move, was the story of the day. It was also a case of a general manager and coach pushing all their chips into the middle of the table. The next few years of football in Houston (and Denver) will be determined by Osweiler’s effectiveness.

The four-year, $72 million contract for Osweiler is reminiscent of the contract Kevin Kolb received from the Arizona Cardinals when they acquired him a trade from Philadelphia. That trade helped fry general manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt in the desert.

We give Osweiler a better chance for success than Kolb, but no one truly knows how this will play out. Osweiler was very streaky last season while showing promising traits in seven starts. And Broncos general manager John Elway’s salty reaction to Osweiler’s departure sounded out of place. Denver was willing to pay Osweiler more than $16 million per year to be their franchise quarterback. Yet their team’s website put it this way:

“Considering that the Broncos won it all with sub-optimal quarterbacking, they like their chances of remaining a contender with even modest improvement under center.”

Osweiler just chose to take more money from a team that didn’t bench him. The Broncos wanted to keep Osweiler and were caught flat-footed while other good players like Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan left town. (C.J. Anderson could be next.) Denver is starting over at quarterback, and the options to replace Osweiler aren’t pretty. It is going to be a challenging offseason for the defending champs.

Tweet of the day

Wow I know I’m going to get killed for this and I don’t have a lot of room to talk, but this latest QB contract is unbelievable…….. ��— Matt Flynn (@mflynn3) March 9, 2016

Sneaky Big Stories

1. Chase Daniel’s three-year, $21 million contract with Philadelphia was one of the day’s pleasant surprises. We’ve always liked Daniel’s potential and we love the bizarre idea that the Eagles will hold a quarterback competition with a guy (Sam Bradford) they just paid $18 million per season. NFL Media’s Albert Breer reported Daniel will indeed compete to start, even though logic dictates he will be a big underdog. Could Bradford be an option to trade?

Regardless of the quarterbacks, Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman has enjoyed a nice week. We learned the Eagles will move up five spots to the No. 8 overall pick in the draft as part of the Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso trade to Miami. The team also spent big money on safety Rodney McLeod, linebacker Nigel Bradham Jerseys and guard Brandon Brooks.

2. While the Broncos start searching for a quarterback, could Ryan Fitzpatrick be an option? Osweiler and Bradford making $18 million per year made it a lot harder for the Jets to bring back Fitzpatrick.

3. More bad news for the Broncos: After Olivier Vernon got $55 million guaranteed from the Giants, what is a long-term contract for Von Miller going to cost? Negotiations might start at $20 million per season.

4. Apparently it’s safe to pay running backs again. Doug Martin earned his five-year, $35 million contract with Tampa Bay. He was arguably the best running back in the NFL in 2015, and is a big asset for Jameis Winston. Lamar Miller got $26 million over four years from Houston, in part, because Miller scorched the Texans in a blowout win for Houston last season. Miller will apparently finally get a chance to carry the load on his own, although Osweiler could use more weapons at wide receiver.


5. Matt Forte’s agreement with the Jets probably didn’t come at a big price tag. But we think he’ll add a lot to a veteran offense. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey does a great job using versatility in his running backs, and Forte could wind up looking like a steal. He’s an upgrade from Chris Ivory, for far less than the Jaguars paid Ivory.

Moves we liked

It’s nearly impossible to recap everything that happened Wednesday, so check out our fancy free agency tracker which is sortable and everything. In the meantime, here were some of our favorite signings:

1. Ladarius Green to the Steelers: The money was reasonable ($20 million over four years) but that’s not why we love the move. Green is a breakout star waiting to happen and is joining an offense that was already full of matchup problems.

2. Safety George Illoka’s return to the Bengals slipped under the radar. He’s a dynamic starter for a fair price ($30 million over five years) and provides continuity. In a crazy market for secondary talent, he came cheaply. The Bengals also kept Adam Jones Jerseys, who was coming off one of his best seasons.

3. Travis Benjamin gives Philip Rivers another weapon and should help the team’s desultory return game. And it was nice to see Antonio Gates back with the Chargers, where he belonds.

4. Linebacker Danny Trevathan should help out an inexperienced Bears defense plenty.

5. Kansas City’s moves to keep Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Jaye Howard at reasonable rates made a lot of sense. The Chiefs probably didn’t expect to keep their great defense together.

Toughest act to follow

We love Marvin Jones’ skill set and he has a high ceiling for a player that has never topped 850 yards receiving. We are just worried expectations will be too high after he received $27 million in the first three years of his deal with Detroit. It’s hard to be the guy that gets big money from the Lions the day after Calvin Johnson retires.

Fans that had rough days

1. Denver Broncos: Read above.

2. Cleveland Browns: They lost four quality starters in Travis Benjamin, center Alex Mack (Falcons), Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs) and safety Tashaun Gipson (Jaguars). The Browns reportedly offered Mack $10 million per season to stay, but he chose Atlanta. The team oddly pulled Schwartz’s contract offer, according to multiple reports. Titles aren’t won or lost on the first day of free agency, but a bad Browns roster looks worse.

3. Miami Dolphins: They moved down in the draft, cut Brent Grimes and got older on the defensive line.

Staying quiet is not a bad thing

The New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers were among the teams that mostly stayed out of the headlines. This is not atypical behavior for these teams. There’s a reason they are so successful; most day one free agency deals do not pan out. The values are yet to come. Until then …

Former Broncos RB Montee Ball sentenced to jail time

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It was only two years ago that Montee Ball Jerseys was preparing to start at running back for the Denver Broncos Jerseys Jerseys. He probably went pretty high in your fantasy draft.

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Ball’s fall was swift. He played his way out of the NFL, got in trouble off the field and now is going to jail.

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According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ball pleaded guilty to two charges of disorderly conduct and one charge of battery as part of two domestic abuse incidents. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement and was placed on 18 months probation and sentenced to 60 days in jail, the Journal Sentinel said.

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In February, Ball was accused of throwing his girlfriend into a table after an argument. A month later, Ball was charged with strangulation and suffocation, substantial battery and disorderly conduct after a previous girlfriend said she was assaulted by Ball in 2014, the Journal Sentinel said.


Ball was sentenced in Madison, Wis., where he was a star for the University of Wisconsin. He finished his college career as the FBS all-time leader in touchdowns.

“I know that you’ve received trophies and scholarships for pounding people on the gridiron,” Dane County Circuit judge William E. Hanrahan said in sentencing Ball, according to the Journal Sentinel. “But you have crossed the line. You’ve earned nothing but condemnation and scorn here for your actions.

“There is a difference between hitting big guys in helmets and protective gear and throwing around frail, young women that are vulnerable and depend on you.”

Ball was a second-round pick in 2013 and was set to start for the Broncos Jerseys in 2014. But injuries, including an emergency appendectomy, limited him to five games that season. He was cut at the end of the 2015 preseason and didn’t play an NFL regular-season game last season. Given his legal problems, it’s doubtful he ever resurfaces in the NFL.

– – – – – – –

More on Yahoo Sports

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Bruce Irvin to sign with Oakland Raiders on Wednesday

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The market is thinning quickly on the defensive front ahead of free agency opening Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Oakland Raiders have reached an agreement to sign former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, per a source.
Top 99 available free agents
Mario Williams Jerseys agrees to deal with Dolphins
Malik Jackson Jerseys set to join Jaguars
Kelechi Osemele Jerseys reaches deal with Raiders
Jason Pierre-Paul staying with Giants
Bills, Richie Incognito strike three-year deal
Potential landing spots for RGIII
Best team fits for free agency
Breer: Building-block free agents Watch:
Marvin Jones Jerseys a priority for Bengals
Vikings release Mike Wallace
Who are the best sleeper free agents?

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Irvin was considered one of the top defensive stars available on the market, ranking fifth in Around The NFL’s top 99 free agents list.

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It became clear that Irvin would leave Seattle after becoming a surprise first-round pick in 2012. The Seahawks declined to pick up the fifth-year option on the linebacker.


Several teams flush with salary-cap space were rumored to be hot on Irvin’s trail, including the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, both of whom boast former Seahawk defensive coordinators as coaches. Instead, Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who coached linebacker’s in Seattle from 2010-2014, swooped in to land the 28-year-old, who owns 22 sacks.

General Reggie McKenzie needs to pair a pass rusher with stud Khalil Mack, and Irvin was one of the top names on the open market. During his four seasons in Seattle, Irvin was better in pass coverage and superior side-line-to-sideline run defender than a pass rusher. It will be intriguing to see how Norton deploys Irvin alongside Mack.

Irvin’s versatility should allow the Oakland the option of adding another edge rusher in free agency or the draft. Would McKenzie contemplate bringing back Aldon Smith?

The Raiders have plenty of cap space. Hour before agreeing with Irvin, Oakland hammered out an deal to claim Kelechi Osemele Jerseys, one of the top offensive linemen poised to hit the market, on a five-year, $60 million deal.

With Irvin off the board, Jason Pierre-Paul returning to New York, Mario Williams Jerseys reaching a deal in Miami, Malik Jackson Jerseys headed to Jacksonville, Tamba Hali staying in Kansas City and Charles Johnson Jerseys reuniting in Carolina, much of the defensive line market has been sapped before the new league year even opens.

Gary Kubiak: We think the world of Brock Osweiler

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From the moment Brock Osweiler Jerseys was benched in the season finale against San Diego, there was no turning back for Denver. They just took a while to make it official.

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Peyton Manning Jerseys was named the Broncos’ starter for the team’s playoff game next weekend, and head coach Gary Kubiak took the podium Thursday to explain why Osweiler shouldn’t take it too hard.

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“We think the world of Brock,” he said. “Obviously there’s no discussion right now about what’s happening, (Brock being a free agent after this year) those types of things. He’s done a hell of a job. He’s played extremely well in some tough situations, very tough kid. He knows exactly what we think of him. I’m very proud of him and I know he’ll be ready to go.”

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He added: “I handle Brock the way I’ve handle him every day. Being the starter talking him through situations, talking through this situation. I had great conversations with him the minute the game was over Sunday. I spent time in the locker room together Sunday. He’s been in the training room the last couple of days. We visited this morning. My relationship, his understanding or knowing exactly why we’re doing things, where we’re going, how we’re doing things, we’re on the same page together. He’s a competitor, very competitive guy. You expect that from all your players.”


It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially if Manning does not perform well against Denver’s opponent next weekend. Osweiler had a quick hook by design, and Manning runs a different incarnation of Kubiak’s offense. We still don’t truly know how comfortable Manning is on the field right now.

Still, Kubiak is caught in the delicate football jerseys cheap balancing act. He has to respect and pacify his legendary quarterback of the present while ensuring that the potential quarterback of the future still wants to come back a year later when this team will still be loaded with Super Bowl talent.

Osweiler, who missed practice Thursday with a knee sprain, was good enough to make this a tough decision for Kubiak. In terms of the future, he’s done all he can do.

Falcons, Mohamed Sanu agree to five-year deal

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It pays to be a free agent wide receiver in 2016.
Top 99 available free agents
Mario Williams Jerseys signs deal with Dolphins
Malik Jackson set to join Jaguars
Doug Martin to sign five-year deal with Bucs
Kelechi Osemele Jerseys reaches deal with Raiders
Brock Osweiler agrees to deal with Texans
Bills, Richie Incognito strike three-year deal
Potential landing spots for RGIII
Antonio Gates reaches deal with Chargers Watch:
Biggest free-agent deals
Vikings release Mike Wallace
Chase Daniel heading to Eagles

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A day after Marvin Jones Jerseys agreed to a 5-year, $40 million deal with the Detroit Lions, his former Bengals teammate, Mohamed Sanu, agreed to a five-year deal worth $32.5 million with the Atlanta Falcons, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, per a source involved in the deal.

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The team later confirmed the deal.

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Teams flush with cap space, a deep need at the receiver position and few free agent options led to big-money deals for second-tier talents.


Sanu is an athletic pass-catcher and gadget-player who can run the ball and has completed all five pass attempts of his career.

The 6-foot-2 receiver’s best season came in 2014, when he caught 56 passes for 790 yards and five touchdowns in 13 starts — Jones missed the entire season. In 2015 Sanu started four games and caught 33 passes for 894 yards with zero scores.

Sanu can be an upgrade on the recently cut Roddy White Jerseys in Atlanta, but during his four seasons in Cincinnati, the 26-year-old disappeared for long stretched and suffered from bouts of drops. He’s best suited for a role as a No. 3 wideout, but will be paid like at high-end No. 2 player.

The commitment might be steep, but the Falcons needed an upgrade at the position and added one of the top options on the market. Sanu should see plenty of nfl jerseys wholesale action alongside Julio Jones Jerseys, with Leonard Hankerson joining in three-receiver sets in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Tom Brady's 'Deflategate' appeal rejected by federal court

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NEW YORK (AP) — Quarterback Tom Brady Jerseys‘s last best chance to avoid serving a four-game ”Deflategate” suspension to start the new season was flatly rejected Wednesday by an appeals court.

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The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued a one-sentence rejection of requests by the National Football League Players Association and Tom Brady Jerseys to reconsider an April decision that reinstated the suspension.

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”We are disappointed,” the players association said in a statement. ”The track record of this league office when it comes to matters of player discipline is bad for our business and bad for our game. We have a broken system that must be fixed.”

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It added that it will review its options carefully.

The NFL declined comment.

The court’s action left intact a 2-to-1 ruling by a three-judge panel that found NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acted within his powers by upholding the suspension of the star quarterback for his role in a scheme to doctor footballs used in a January 2015 playoff game.

The decision affirmed wide-ranging powers given to the commissioner by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. It was a setback for organized labor groups arguing for due process in employee discipline.

The players association and Brady had requested that the panel reconsider or that all the 2nd Circuit judges hear arguments and decide anew.

Brady’s remaining hope is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

”That is an extremely long shot,” said Nellie Drew, a sports law professor at the University at Buffalo. She said the 2nd Circuit acted correctly and that any changes to how the NFL handles arbitrations over player issues will have to be handled at the negotiating table.

She predicted Patriots Jerseys backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo Jerseys ”will be getting a whole lot of repetitions” as the Patriots Jerseys prepare for their season opener Sept. 11 at Arizona.

”It’s time to put this thing to bed,” Drew said. ”If it was my kid, I’d say: ‘Let it go.”’

Lawyers and other representatives for the Patriots Jerseys and Brady did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

If he misses four games, Brady will lose just under $250,000 in salary after renegotiating his contract in the offseason to earn only $1 million this season.


Anthony Barkow, a lawyer who submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Kenneth R. Feinberg, the special master of the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund and a longtime arbitrator, said: ”We wish the result were otherwise, but respect and understand the decision and know that it is extremely rare for the 2nd Circuit to grant en banc review.”

What began as an accusation of cheating in the 2015 AFC championship game has grown into a multimillion-dollar legal battle over three NFL seasons, involving not just an MVP quarterback but also some of the nation’s elite lawyers and scientists.

And as it developed, it evolved from a silly little dispute about the air pressure in footballs into a referendum on the powers of a sport’s commissioner and the right of all unionized employees to due process in a disciplinary hearing.

Joining the case along the way were longtime league adversary Jeffrey Kessler and former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, who was involved in the Bush v. Gore lawsuit that settled the 2000 presidential election and the case that overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriages.

At stake for the Patriots Jerseys was not only the availability of their quarterback for a quarter of the season, but their legacy as an NFL dynasty. Already punished by Goodell for an illegal videotaping scheme in 2007 that predictably came to be known as ”SpyGate,” the Patriots Jerseys saw the suspension as an attack on their legitimacy after Brady and coach Bill Belichick led them to four Super Bowl championships.

Suspicions that the Patriots Jerseys were cheating arose again on Jan. 18, 2015 when the league tested – somewhat unscientifically it would belatedly learn – the footballs provided by the home team for the AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts Jerseys Jerseys and found them to be underinflated.

After three months, league investigator Ted Wells concluded the Patriots Jerseys intentionally used underinflated footballs in the game and that Brady was ”at least generally aware” of the scheme. The NFL suspended the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback four games and docked the team $1 million and two draft picks.

Read More

Brady appealed – first within the league, and Goodell affirmed the decision. After both sides went to federal court, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman overturned the suspension. The league appealed to the 2nd Circuit, and the court reinstated the original penalty.

That left Brady hoping for a new hearing in front of the complete circuit – called ”en banc” – or an even more unlikely hearing at the Supreme Court.

”That’s always an option to litigants,” Olson said after joining the case. ”It is not something we have resolved ourselves to doing.”

New England fans rallied behind their quarterback, putting ”Free Brady” on T-shirts, reciting the Ideal Gas Law from memory and giving a hero’s welcome not only to the quarterback when he took the field for the 2015 regular season opener but also to Kessler and Berman.

In other NFL cities, fans were just as convinced that the Patriots Jerseys and Belichick were up to no good. Added to the videotaping penalty – along with Belichick’s tendency to stretch the rules to their limits, or occasionally beyond – it was seen as confirmation that the team can’t win without cheating.

The court’s decision is unlikely to change minds on either side.

AP sports writer Jimmy Golen in Boston reported from Boston. AP football writer Barry Wilner in New York and AP sports writer Kyle Hightower in Boston also contributed to this report.

Erin Andrews re-signs with Fox but leaves network’s MLB coverage

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Erin Andrews has re-signed with Fox Sports for multiple years but her new deal comes with a big change: She will no longer be part of the network’s MLB coverage.

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The network confirmed to SI.com that Andrews will focus solely on the NFL moving forward.

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“We are thrilled that Erin will continue as our lead sideline reporter on the NFL on FOX’s ‘A-Team’ including our upcoming coverage of Super Bowl LI,” said John Entz, the network’s president of production. “We appreciate Erin’s great contributions to our MLB coverage. With her commitments beyond Fox Sports, we fully support Erin’s decision to focus her role here at FOX on the NFL.”


Andrews was initially hired by Fox Sports in July 2012 to host its signature college football studio show (Fox College Saturday), as well as have roles in its MLB postseason coverage and select NFL and NASCAR coverage. Given the impossible charter of competing against College GameDay, Fox College Saturday was pummeled in the ratings and Andrews soon moved away from college football. Fox Sports management eventually bumped her up to the No. 1 NFL sideline reporter role for the network’s top broadcast team—Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, producer Richie Zyontz and director Rich Russo. Andrews also retained a high-profile role on Fox’s MLB coverage, including the World Series, where she served as a field reporter and host of the on-field trophy presentation. That assignment has now concluded.

• Tennis broadcasting is rife with conflicts of interest

Along with her Fox Sports work, Andrews has served as a co-host of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars since 2014.

Fox’s MLB World Series team has now changed dramatically since last year. Last year’s booth of Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci—with Andrews and Ken Rosenthal in the dugouts—has shifted to Buck and John Smoltz as the lead team, with Rosenthal and Verducci likely to work the dugouts.

Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension stands, hearing denied

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Tom Brady Jerseys’s request for a rehearing on Wednesday. Barring an appeal to the Supreme Court, Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate controversy will stand.

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“We are disappointed with the decision denying a rehearing, as there were clear violations of our collective bargaining agreement by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“Despite today’s result, the track record of this League office when it comes to matters of player discipline is bad for our business and bad for our game. We have a broken system that must be fixed,” the statement continued, adding that the NFLPA will review the remaining options on behalf of Brady.


• Tom Brady Jerseys’s last shot: Taking Deflategate to the Supreme Court

Brady’s suspension was reinstated by the Second Circuit in April, overturning an earlier ruling by District Court judge Richard Berman. Berman’s ruling vacated Brady’s suspension in time for the Patriots Jerseys’ first game of the season, but the NFL filed an appeal.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that Brady is expected to attempt a Supreme Court appeal. It is considered unlikely that the Supreme Court would hear Brady’s case, according to SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann, as the court only hears about 1% of the cases it is petitioned to hear.

Brady will miss games against the Cardinals Jerseys, Dolphins Jerseys, Texans Jerseys and Bills Jerseys. He is eligible to return against the Browns Jerseys.

NFL Future Power Rankings takeaways: Rams, Colts, Cowboys in trouble

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No NFL team, not a single one, would ever aspire to be a one-year contender. That never happens. Ever. I swear. Poll all 32 owners and their general managers, and each of them would spit back some version of this organizational expectation: sustained success over time.

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ESPN Insider’s annual Future Power Rankings holds teams accountable to that priority. At its core, the project attempts to gauge how franchises have set themselves up for at least the midrange future. It obviously can’t take into account unknown draft decisions and unmade moves in free agency, but neither should any team’s blueprints.

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All we can do is work with what we know, and what follows are five of the most important takeaways from the project:

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1. The shine is officially gone from coach Jeff Fisher

Rams Jerseys coach Jeff Fisher hasn’t led a team to a winning record since 2008 when he was with the Titans Jerseys. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Fact: It has been a long time since Fisher had a good team. Supporters will point to the Rams Jerseys’ death march in St. Louis and Sam Bradford Jerseys’s knees as mitigating factors. But the last Fisher team with a winning record was the 2008 Tennessee Titans Jerseys Jerseys, and he hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003. His long streak of mediocre (or worse) results is no longer whitewashed. Rams Jerseys owner Stan Kroenke values him as a transitional leader, explaining his continued tenure. But our Insiders ranked the Rams Jerseys’ coaching staff, led by Fisher and featuring a series of recent changes at offensive coordinator, to be the league’s absolute worst. It was the biggest reason the Rams Jerseys — despite excitement over tailback Todd Gurley Jerseys, quarterback Jared Goff and a talented defense — are No. 30 in these rankings. It’s difficult to argue with the history.

2. Poor Andrew Luck Jerseys

This project helps quantify a familiar dynamic: That the Indianapolis Colts Jerseys Jerseys haven’t put their star quarterback in a great position moving forward. You can argue about Luck’s individual ranking here — that he’ll be a top-five quarterback in 2018 — but the rest of the organization has provided little fodder to dispute its dismal appraisal. Can you name 15 players that form a foundational nucleus around Luck? Do you trust general manager Ryan Grigson to improve his draft record rapidly? Can you glean any traces of coach Chuck Pagano’s style in the way the Colts Jerseys play? In the end, we reach the same conclusion: The Colts Jerseys’ future is cloudy — even with a potential Hall of Fame quarterback entering his prime.

3. How long for Carson Palmer Jerseys?

The Arizona Cardinals Jerseys Jerseys are 29-9 in the games Palmer has started over the past three seasons, and a top-10 Future Power Ranking seems fair — as long as Palmer maintains what has been the best stretch of his career. Coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim also fare well in this analysis, but it’s hard to separate their success from their quarterback’s. Does Palmer, at age 36 and after three ACL repairs, have three more years in him? And should the Cardinals Jerseys’ lack of a succession plan count against the goal of sustained success? One point to keep in mind: The Cardinals Jerseys aren’t likely to be in position to draft a top-end quarterback anytime soon. To place a team led by a 36-year-old quarterback to be among the league’s best in three years is, well, aggressive.

4. Whoa there, Cowboy


A common NFL narrative suggests the Dallas Cowboys Jerseys Jerseys have turned an administrative corner as executive vice president Stephen Jones’ influence expands. Roster talent has grown in at least some areas, especially at offensive line, and there are some genuine stars on the roster from receiver Dez Bryant Jerseys to quarterback Tony Romo Jerseys to rookie tailback Ezekiel Elliott. But the Cowboys Jerseys fared poorly throughout these ratings, finishing No. 21 or lower in terms of roster, quarterback, coaching and draft. Overall, the Cowboys Jerseys were considered the 26th-best prepared team for the mid-term future. This seemed harsh, but not necessarily wrong when you think about the age of Romo and tight end Jason Witten Jerseys, and a largely patchwork defense. The biggest issue is Romo’s age (36) and durability combined with the utter lack of a succession plan. The Future Power Rankings project counts on highly productive quarterback play from other aging stars, but it’s difficult to expect that for Romo. And in this case, conventional wisdom should be challenged.

5. Good lord, San Francisco

Just a few years ago, the 49ers Jerseys seemed to have everything going for them: One of the NFL’s best coaches in Jim Harbaugh, an ascending quarterback in Colin Kaepernick Jerseys and a roster stocked with homegrown talent. In fact, they ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s 2013 Future Power Rankings. The obvious lesson is that life changes fast in the NFL. The other is that not only have the 49ers Jerseys declined, as we all know, but they’ve been battered beyond recognition. The only team less prepared for the future, according to ESPN Insider, is the Cleveland Browns Jerseys Jerseys. The Cleveland Browns Jerseys Jerseys. I’m not ready to write them off so quickly. If coach Chip Kelly can prop up Nick Foles Jerseys as a 27-touchdown, two-interception quarterback — as he did in Philadelphia in 2013 — then there is still hope for Kaepernick or even Blaine Gabbert Jerseys. Youth and competency at quarterback would make their future brighter than half the NFL’s teams.

Marshall didn’t have high hopes for Jets’ pass attack

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If you didn’t expect the New York Jets Jerseys’ passing attack to lead them to the cusp of the playoffs this season, don’t worry, you weren’t the only one.

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Even receiver Brandon Marshall Jerseys didn’t think they’d be this prolific.

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“I knew we had a great defense, and I thought if they came together in a new system, we would have a chance,” Marshall said Friday, via ESPN.com. “I didn’t have high expectations in our passing game, but I knew we had a great formula with a great defense and a running offense. And so this has been a true gift for us, to really put together the passing game and try to make a complete offense.”

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Marshall has been magnificent this season and this week was voted the team’s MVP.

For all the accolades Ryan Fitzpatrick Jerseys has deservedly received for his play during the Jets’ five-game winning streak, it’s been Marshall who has keyed the offense.

The big-bodied pass-catcher needs just 59 receiving yards to set a Jets single-season record, currently held by Don Maynard (1,434 yards in 1967). Marshall’s 13 touchdown grabs are one shy of tying Maynard (1965) and Art Powell (1960) for most in franchise history.

Both Eric Decker Jerseys and Marshall have caught TD passes in the same game eight times this season, a new NFL record. Their 24 combined touchdowns are the most by any Jets duo in a single season. The tandem’s 176 combined receptions this season are the most in the NFL.

The Jets are one win from a playoff berth, thanks in large part to Marshall’s game-changing plays. The wideout might not have expected a prolific passing season from the outset, but he, Fitzpatrick and Decker delivered one.

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