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We’re months past the winter holidays and sellers have a great chance to think about what we’ve learned, now that the dust has settled. Each holiday shopping season is an intense, focused study in what motivates customers to buy and brings many opportunities for improvement. Looking back, it would be too easy to think that […]


Patriots, Rams in good shape for 2019 compensatory picks

The deadline has passed for any free agent signings that will affect the awarding of compensatory picks in next year’s NFL draft, and the Patriots and Rams are the teams that look to be in the best shape for 2019 compensatory picks.

Because those big-name players weren’t the unrestricted free agents who count toward the compensatory pick formula. Players who arrive in trades, like Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, don’t count toward the compensatory pick formula. Nor do players who were cut by their previous teams, like Ndamukong Suh. But players who leave your team as unrestricted free agents and sign big-money contracts with other teams do count toward the formula. The Rams lost two such players, Sammy Watkins and Trumaine Johnson, and that’s why they’re expected to get two third-round picks.

Other teams expected to get third-round compensatory picks next year include Washington (for losing Kirk Cousins), Minnesota (Case Keenum) and Carolina (Andrew Norwell).

The NFL doesn’t publish the full compensatory pick formula, and part of the formula relates to players’ performance during their first seasons with their new teams, so it’s possible that some of this could change before the compensatory picks are awarded for next year’s draft. But right now, the Patriots and Rams are looking good.

Changes in NFL personnel departments are the norm this time of year, with employees shuffling after the draft.

If Coleman washes out of Cleveland, he’d become the latest failed first-round receiver in an eye-opening list of them. After Julio Jones and A.J. Green arrived in 2011 (Jonathan Baldwin was the first-round bust that year), round one has produced more than a few receivers who failed to live up to their potential. In 2012, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, and A.J. Jenkins didn’t work out.

In 2013, Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson became more bust than boom. (DeAndre Hopkins turned out OK.) In 2015, Kevin White, DeVante Parker (who has yet to break out), Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman, and Phillip Dorsett eventually underachieved. (Amari Cooper was the exception.)The 2016 class of Coleman, Will Fuller (1,058 total yards in two seasons, so not really a bust), Josh Doctson, and Laquon Treadwell have been uninspiring, at best. In 2017, Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross failed to overwhelm as rookies.

Of course, 2014 provided a major exception to the trend, with Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin each performing at a high level, even through three of them were traded, with one traded twice.orioles_057

Where does Jerry Jones rank among NFL general managers?

Jerry Jones is one of the most powerful, innovative and, occasionally, controversial owners in NFL history.
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As for Jerry Jones the general manager, well, his results in that role have been a bit inconsistent.

Every-down running: Excellent. Penny is a workhorse who ended his career with five straight 200-yard games. He follows his blocks, runs with patience and doesn’t go down easily.

Open-field running: Excellent. Penny was a highlight machine for the Aztecs, particularly late in 2017. He lacks the extra gear of a top NFL playmaker, but Penny always seems to find his way to the second level.

Contrary opinion from a source having an anxiety attack:聽Oh goodie, we got the mid-major wonder who played behind Donnel Pumphrey, that 97-pound twig who got hurt the moment he arrived in Eagles camp last year.

The Bills traded Authentic Pat Neshek Jersey a third- and seventh-round pick for Benjamin at the 2017 NFL trade deadline. He recorded just 16 receptions for 217 yards and a touchdown in six games after the deal, struggling with both his acclimation and injuries.

The Bills will pay him $8.5 million in the final year of his rookie contract in 2018. Beane told reporters before the draft that the team was happy Benjamin was participating in offseason workouts but did not anticipate a new contract.

Defense has kept the Baltimore Ravens in games over recent years, but their offense determined who won or lost depending on whether it was clicking. The Ravens were flooded with defensive talent, particularly in the front seven, but their passing offense has been as volatile聽as any in the NFL over the last two seasons.

In longtime general manager Ozzie Newsome’s last offseason, he attempted to correct that.
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Despite Cassel signing, Lions still believe in Rudock

No, just our thought of what we wanted to add to the room and add to the competition, Quinn said. So, nothing that another team did really forced us to make that call.
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Rudock and Cassel are both operating on one-year deals. Rudock is playing on a non-guaranteed exclusive-rights tender that would pay him $630,000 this season. Cassel’s contract carries $350,000 in guaranteed money, which is not enough to weigh into a roster decision.

The tight end stood at the same podium in the Patriots media workroom where head coach Bill Belichick holds news conferences during the season. Gronkowski, dressed from head to toe in Monster Supercross gear, essentially made a mockery of his absence from the Patriots offseason workout program.

Patriots reporters were alerted to Gronkowski’s media appearance Friday morning. If the team knew about it before the media, it certainly wasn’t long before. And every media member who walked into the Gillette Stadium media workroom Saturday at noon knew exactly what was about to go down. It was described as a fun and informative pre-race press conference that will Johnny Manziel Authentic Jersey play up Rob’s whereabouts. There were no hard feelings when Gronkowski didn’t explicitly say whether or not he was going to play in 2018.

But the question needed to be asked, and it was many times. Purposefully or not, Gronkowski hinted at a return. We all assume he’ll play football in 2018. That’s not exactly the point. The point is he hasn’t come out and said it after admitting the question exists after Super Bowl LII.
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I’m under contract for the next two years, Rodgers told reporters via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Obviously, we’d like to lock something in, I think, at some point. The team has made that public knowledge that they’d love to do that. As I said many times I’d love to finish my career here. So there’s more than mutual interest on both sides.

Last month, Packers president Mark Murphy talked to reporters about Rodgers’ contract and he said he hopes to have a new deal done before the start of the season.

Yes, I think so, yes, Murphy said. Obviously, there’s a lot going on with free agency, and now the league meetings; so I don’t think there have been a lot of discussions recently. But I’m confident we’ll work something out. I think you’ve seen in recent years and increase in the amount of guaranteed money in contracts. I think this is the first probably that I’m aware of that is guaranteed to that percentage.

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Joe Namath: Baker Mayfield is the ‘most outrageous’ quarterback in NFL Draft

Former New York Jet great Joe Namath is a big fan of Baker Mayfield.
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Namath, who led the Jets to their lone Super Bowl victory in 1969, told ESPN he was impressed after watching Mayfield’s Oklahoma team take on Georgia in the 2018 Rose Bowl.

Authentic Womens Obi Melifonwu Jersey Stojilkovic noted as examples Bruce Pearl, who received a three-year show-cause order, and Kelvin Sampson, who received a five-year show-cause. Both are currently serving as head men’s basketball coaches at major universities (Pearl at Auburn, Sampson at Houston).

New England has famously been playing with a sixth-round quarterback for the better part of the millennium, and has not drafted a QB in the first round since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. In fact, the Patriots have taken just four QBs in the first round since 1960 鈥?Bledsoe, Dmitry Kulikov Authentic Jersey Tony Eason (1983), Jim Plunkett (1971) and Jack Concannnon (1964).

Now, Robert Kraft has not been the owner of the team since 1960, when they were still the Boston Patriots, but in his tenure as owner since 1988, the team has selected just one QB in the first round.

After an extended wait on Thursday, the Louisville quarterback was taken by the Baltimore Ravens聽with the No. 32 overall pick in the first round.

The Ravens traded up to the spot in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, who picked up a second-round selection and swapped fourth rounders with Baltimore.
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The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson flustered defenses throughout his three-year run as a starter, scoring 119 touchdowns (69 passing and 50 rushing).

But he faces persistent scrutiny on his skills as a pocket passer.

The talent speaks for itself, Jackson told USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay H. Jones on Wednesday. I just had to show them what I knew, that I knew football, that they could talk football with me, Jackson said.

In Baltimore, he looms as an eventual successor to 33-year-old Joe Flacco. The Ravens have never drafted a quarterback before the sixth round since taking Flacco in the first in 2008.

Teams place speedsters like Tyreek Hill and big, athletic Rob Gronkowski types in the slot specifically so they can create mismatches against the nickelback. They build formations and personnel groupings to purposely place the nickelback in a bind.

NFL Draft 2018: Baker Mayfield tweets recreation of Brett Favre’s draft night

Baker Mayfield drew inspiration from Brett Favre on the eve of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma, on Wednesday tweeted a quote he attributed to Favre, as well as a photo recreation (right down to the jean shorts) of Favre talking on the phone with the Falcons after Atlanta drafted him in the second round in 1991. The new and old images were side by side in the tweet.

Mayfield also has his share of boosters: None other than Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath called Mayfield the “most outrageous” quarterback in this year’s draft, and he meant that as a compliment. Namath’s old team, the Jets, are rumored to be interested in taking Mayfield with the third overall pick. Sporting News’ most recent NFL Mock Draft has Mayfield going to the Dolphins with the 11th overall pick.

Toughest tests: The aforementioned Eagles game is the first of several challenges. Another postseason rematch, against the Saints, is just as tough. Beyond those game and the always-dangerous NFC North contests, road trips to LA to play the Rams and to New England to play the Patriots are the Vikings’ key games.

Biggest breaks: The Vikings are fortunate to get the Saints at home, avoiding the intimidation factor of the Superdome and welcoming New Orleans back to the site of the Minneapolis Miracle. With the exception of the Patriots game, the AFC East presents the Vikings multiple winnable games on their schedule.

Bottom line: There isn’t much reason to expect a big drop-off this season for the Vikings, so the focus turns to their opponents. If teams like the Bears, Lions, Rams and 49ers take the steps of improvement many expect them to take, the strength of Minnesota’s schedule will increase significantly. Some of those non-divisional NFC games on the schedule will have the Vikings thinking about the playoffs, but their first priority should be defending their NFC North title. Record prediction: 9-7

“It’s been a very entertaining back and forth with him (Dorsey), which makes it fun,” Mayfield said. “He’s been up front and honest about messing with me about my mistakes and I’ve been honest with him about what I learned from it, the fact that it shoudln’t have happened.”steelers_061

Mel Kiper Jr.’s best available Day 2 NFL draft prospects

What a whirlwind of a first round for the 2018 NFL draft. We had a minor surprise at No. 1 (the Cleveland Browns selected Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield), and it escalated afterward with several trades. Then we had a few head-scratching picks at the end of the night that I’m still trying to put together.
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The Baltimore Ravens added some intrigue by taking Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson at the end of Round 1 — remember, that fifth-year option is extremely important for quarterbacks. That means all of my top 23 prospects are already off the board. And there are still some really good players left heading into Day 2.

The city renamed a stretch of the road David Ortiz Drive last summer in honor of the retired Red Sox designated hitter.

The Reds placed Suarez on the disabled list April 9 after he was hit by a pitch and broke his right thumb in Pittsburgh on April 8. He played two games for the Bats on a rehab assignment.

Game Travis d’Arnaud Jersey Ervin and Pennington each played in 16 games for the Reds. Ervin hit .211 and Pennington .138.

The Wilson Connected Authentic Michael Saunders Jersey Football system will help quarterbacks learn to throw the ball more efficiently, the company said.

Sam Darnold, the standout USC Trojans quarterback who’s expected to go high in the draft, said the high-tech ball helped make him a better passer.

Darnold had developed an elongated throwing motion on longer passes 鈥?or so NFL tutor Jordan Palmer noticed while working with Darnold last summer.

Tedric Thompson Womens Jersey Wilson had released a version 1.0 smart-football system 鈥?geared toward consumers 鈥?in 2016. An upgraded system is set for release later this year.

Ye ole pigskin wasn’t doing it for the 6-foot-4-inch 20-year-old, Palmer said. He wasn’t gaining any better spin, any more velocity or any better spiral efficiency.