In Tony Romo, Cowboys face now-or-later cap decision

As the Dallas Cowboys deliberate what to do with Tony Romo over the next few weeks — or perhaps a little longer — they might be thinking about J. Wellington Wimpy.

No, he¡¯s not one of those pass-rushers Jerry Jones so craves. He¡¯s not some ultra-slick draft prospect nobody knows about.

He¡¯s Popeye¡¯s buddy. Yeah, that Popeye.

He¡¯s most famous for saying, ¡°I¡¯d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.¡±

Limited Youth Paul Hornung Jersey In Romo parlance, the Cowboys are wondering if it is better to take $5.1 million today or $14 million tomorrow.

Or something like that. Still, App State finished with a 31-28 Camellia Bowl win over a strong Toledo, reaching 10 wins for the second straight year.

Per S&P+, the Mountaineers hit at least the 70th percentile seven times, and their defense hit at least the 68th percentile nine times. This was a balanced, pragmatic, and dangerous-as-hell team, the Kansas State of the mid-major ranks.

Last week, ESPN¡¯s Ed Werder was told by a source that Romo is expecting to be released, not traded, and he believes he can start another two to three years.

A trade is not impossible, but Romo¡¯s contract complicates matters. Romo is set to make $14 million in 2017. He is scheduled to make $19.5 million in 2018 and $20.5 million in 2019. Would a team want to take on that kind of salary in 2017 knowing he has played in parts of five games the past two seasons?
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Therein lies the rub on a trade and why a release is easier and potentially cleaner for the Cowboys.

Romo is carrying a $24.7 million salary-cap figure in 2017.

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Russell Wilson could have fully guaranteed contract, Brandon Bostick finds a new NFC North home and other NFL news

Limited Youth Leonte Carroo Jersey The Seattle Seahawks could lock up Russell Wilson to a long-term contract that is fully guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Seattle is at a crossroads as much of its young talent is relatively inexpensive. As those contracts near their end, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider face the unenviable challenge of trying to keep their core of players intact.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback falls at the center of that, and fully guaranteeing his contract, an unprecedented move for quarterbacks and a rarity in the NFL, could work to the Seahawks’ advantage. The thinking behind the move would be that Wilson could be willing to take less money if the contract is fully guaranteed, thus giving the team more cap flexibility to build around him.

Marshawn Lynch could receive a new deal as well, which would further complicate matters when it comes to Wilson. It’s no secret that he’ll be expensive, but both sides are in a holding pattern while the running back decides his future.
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Ryan Clark announces retirement after 13 NFL seasons

Washington safety Ryan Clark officially announced his retirement on Thursday, according to the team’s official website. He played for the New York Giants, Washington and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s not feeling nostalgic about it all yet, however, saying that the emotions will come later in the summer.

Via Washington’s blog:

“I would have to think that those emotions come more in late July, early August, when you got a ton friends who are getting ready to go play football and you¡¯re not suiting up. I think that¡¯ll be the time that it really hits you that you¡¯re not doing it anymore.”

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After changing Sox, Chris Sale must find new comfort zone

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There’s no denying Chris Sale is entering a new phase of his career this season, but it isn’t for the reason you would think.
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For the first time as a big league pitcher, Sale won’t be working with Don Cooper.

Cooper, 60, has been the Chicago White Sox’s pitching coach since 2002, which means he has overseen each of the 17,271 pitches Sale has thrown since his major league debut in 2010. He helped ease Sale’s transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation in 2012, coaxed the ace lefty through five All-Star seasons and even convinced him to change his style of pitching last year.

“I don’t think that’s fair to him,” Francona said. “We all see how hard he’s working. I think we’re just going to go off of him. As he gets things accomplished with the proper amount of intensity, he’ll move on to something else. I think that’s the timetable we need to abide by.”

Cleveland’s spring training outfield mix consists of Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer in right field, Tyler Naquin and Abraham Almonte in center, and Brantley and recent free-agent signee Austin Jackson in left field. Third baseman Jose Ramirez is capable of playing left, should the need arise.

Like Brantley, Jackson is behind the other position players after knee surgery. He hit .254 in 54 games with the Chicago White Sox in 2016 before having a small portion of his left medial meniscus removed in June.

“We almost have to guard him from [himself], because he feels good and he wants to come in and show what he can do,” Francona said of Jackson. “It’s different when you come into camp and start pounding every day. We’ll keep an eye on him. He’ll be another guy that won’t be raring to go right away.”

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Michael Bennett backs out of sponsored Israel trip because he ‘will not be used’ by government

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett will not participate in a sponsored trip to Israel, he announced via Twitter. The trip, planned by the Israeli government, is intended to combat the negative perception of Israel and will include several NFL players. Bennett won’t be one of them.

Bennett took exception to the Israeli government’s plans to make him “an influencer and opinion-former” on its behalf, with the expectation that he would become “an ambassador of goodwill” for Israel. Bennett, who expressed his support for Palestinians, said he was unaware when he agreed to the trip that was the Israeli government’s expectation, and that he will not “be used in such a manner.”

Bennett cited the influence of Muhammad Ali, whose support for the Palestinian people never wavered. Bennett said that participating in this trip would keep him from being a “voice for the voiceless” Palestinian people.

An open letter from advocates for Palestinians to the NFL players committed to participate in this trip to Israel was published in The Nation. It urged players to consider withdrawing from the trip.

“Based on the public dedication to social justice that many of you share, it came as a surprise to us to see that you will be going on a tour of Israel next week sponsored by the Israeli government as part of an effort to get you to ‘become ambassadors of goodwill for Israel,’” the letter read. “We would ask that you reconsider attending.”

The trip is scheduled to last a week, and includes a hospital visit, a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and a meeting with a group of black Americans who live in southern Israel and are known as the “Black Hebrews.” The group will visit Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, and Galilee.

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Bengals coach Marvin Lewis once made that point to ESPN in a 2016 interview.

Trade down in the draft. The Sam Bradford deal blessed the Eagles with a 2017 first-round pick they weren’t expecting to have after trading up for Wentz, but Philadelphia needs to stockpile more picks and acquire more young talent on rookie deals. The Eagles had no second- or fourth-round picks in last year’s draft, although they had two fifth-rounders and three seventh-rounders.

More disconcertingly, the 2014 and 2015 drafts just haven’t delivered much talent to the Philadelphia roster. Jordan Matthews is the only starter to come out of 2014; first-rounder Marcus Smith has barely played, and third-rounder Josh Huff was cut after being arrested for DUI during the season. The 2015 draft delivered solid middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, but first-round pick Nelson Agholor has become a symbol of Chip Kelly’s personnel issues, and second-rounder Eric Rowe was dealt to the Patriots after one season. The Eagles need a young core to grow alongside Wentz, and they’ll feel the absence of those disappointing classes.

The Bengals feel free agency statistics don’t favor putting a significant investment into one player that hasn’t come up through their system. They feel that some players, particularly those who have come from struggling teams, have years of bad habits coached through other systems that are hard to break.

For a team like Cincinnati, which relies heavily on continuity with its coaching staff, that’s a big sticking point.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis once made that point to ESPN in a 2016 interview.
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Jakub Voracek Mens Jersey Victor Cruz’s tenure with the New York Giants has come to an end after the team announced his release on Monday. The Giants save $7.5 million in salary cap money by cutting the 30-year-old receiver.

It’s a bittersweet end to Cruz’s Giants career after being a beloved fan favorite for so many years. An undrafted free agent out of UMass, Cruz signed with the Giants in 2010 but didn’t emerge as a star until 2011.

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New York is the best road team in the NHL this year with a 17-7 record away from Madison Square Garden

The Rangers entered the All-Star break on a dud of an offensive performance, losing as -145 favorites at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. But it was another strong performance for Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 24 of the 26 shots that he faced and allowed two or fewer goals with a .920 save percentage or better for the fourth straight time.

Lundqvist is 10-5 all-time against Columbus with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in those 15 starts.

In 25 games at home this season, the Rangers are just 14-11 per the OddsShark NHL Database. New York is the best road team in the NHL this year with a 17-7 record away from Madison Square Garden.
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The looming expansion draft and tight playoff race might try to convince you that the deadline will be a quiet affair, but don¡¯t let that lull you into a false sense of news security. Every day, there are hints that the league¡¯s trade machine is starting to churn as teams move pieces around the board to prepare for the floodgates to open.

They¡¯re not hard to miss, but with a little practice you can learn what to watch for so you¡¯re not caught off guard when your favorite team trades your favorite player.
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This is the most telling sign. Why? Because it¡¯s in the hopes that someone picks that player up and clears up cap space for them.

As Cap Friendly pointed out on Wednesday, the Kings have been at this game for awhile now. They have $6.89 million in deadline space that jumps up to to $8.48 million if Gilbert is claimed or assigned. That¡¯s a lot of wiggle room that lets GM Dean Lombardi snag one expensive player or two impactful players at a cheaper cost.

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James Harden on current Rockets: ‘I love what we have’

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With the trade deadline nearly two weeks away, one of the more powerful voices in the Houston Rockets organization wants to the team to stay put.

“I love what we have, love it,” leading scorer MVP candidate James Harden said Wednesday. “From top to bottom, we have depth. You can throw any guy in there and they know their role, that’s important. I’m going to ride with these guys for sure.”

“I love what we have, love it. From top to bottom, we have depth. You can throw any guy in there and they know their role, that’s important. I’m going to ride with these guys for sure.”

Reasonable people can disagree if it’s wise to deal Anthony. Several people in the organization believe the best approach is to deal Anthony and move forward with Porzingis and fellow young big man Willy Hernangomez, per sources.

Several agents have noticed how Carmelo Anthony is being treated by Phil Jackson.

Austin Rivers Jersey The Knicks have a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA draft (and, if they are fortunate, maybe they land another pick in an Anthony trade, though Jackson might be hurting Anthony’s trade value). This draft is believed to be guard heavy, so the Knicks might be able to find a guard to pair with Porzingis and Hernangomez. Along with the $20-plus million they have to spend in free agency this summer, the Knicks could be in a solid position to rebuild.

The lack of communication — and, more so, trust — has at times been crippling for the Lakers. Even if a coach or front office staffer wanted to loop Jeanie Buss on basketball matters, there was a risk Kupchak or Jim Buss would see that as betraying their confidence and loyalty.

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Curry and Durant got along just fine, but Curry simply went along with the pursuit of KD

Fissures had been forming. Genial Steph was noticeably frustrated with the state of affairs, perhaps more so than he’d ever been in the Kerr era. He played poorly overall on Christmas — 15 points on 36 percent shooting — and had barely touched the ball down the stretch. In the final four minutes, Curry took as many shots as Cavs role player Richard Jefferson (one). Though it was a regular-season game, Kerr elected to sub Curry out on the last defensive possession for the taller and longer Shaun Livingston. It was an understandable move to thwart a LeBron James pick-and-roll aimed directly at Curry, but it amplified the embarrassment. Steph’s head was in his hands as Kyrie Irving hit the game winner over Thompson.

Curry’s reputation was taking a beating, and the Warriors didn’t appear substantially more assured of a title than they would’ve been with last season’s squad. The wooing of Durant wasn’t like Miami’s super-team formation, which arose out of LeBron and Dwyane Wade’s deep friendship. Curry and Durant got along just fine, but Curry simply went along with the pursuit of KD — it wasn’t something he concocted. He’d been a good soldier by accepting what was right for the franchise, by abruptly leaving his basketball camp to fly to the Hamptons. For this, his reward had been a diminished reputation, offensive marginalization and little outward, organizational praise for the sacrifice.
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“I think Steph has probably had the biggest adjustment of all of our players from Kevin’s arrival.”

Elite Kids Paul Martin Jersey The Lions were a surprise playoff participant, but eight of their victories came via fourth-quarter comebacks engineered by quarterback Matthew Stafford. With a chance to win the NFC North, they lost their final three regular-season games. Then they turned in a dud in a wild-card loss at the Seahawks.

Some of the Lions’ offseason will depend on what they do, if anything, with Stafford’s contract. It expires after the 2017 season, and there is no reason to believe he would come more cheaply at that point. With more than $40 million in projected cap space, the Lions are in position to distribute his cap hit evenly, rather than backload it, as they have done in previous deals. They could also help him by balancing an offense that tied for the fewest rushing attempts (350) in the NFL in 2016.

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2015 NFL training camp preview: Panthers looking to three-peat in the NFC South

The Carolina Panthers became the first team to win the NFC South in consecutive seasons in 2013 and 2014, though they accomplished the feat in not very dominant fashion. The division, which was founded in 2002, has changed hands each season since its inception, until the Panthers put together a 12-4 campaign in 2013 followed by last season’s campaign.

Bit it wasn’t a particularly strong showing. The Panthers wound up winning the division with a 7-8-1 record as each NFC South team struggled to put wins together. Nobody had much faith in the Panthers after a six-game losing skid, but to their credit, they were able to rebound and take their final four games of the regular season to win the division.

In 2015, the NFC South as a whole could go either way. The New Orleans Saints lost an amazing player in Jimmy Graham, but still have the steady presence of Drew Brees under center. The Atlanta Falcons have a new coach and a renewed focus on the defensive side of the ball. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a wild card in rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. And the Panthers still have star quarterback Cam Newton and one of the best defensive players in the league, linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Here’s what you should be watching for when all four teams open training camp, beginning in late July.

Are the Steelers concerned that their subsequent attempts won’t be as likely to succeed? Do they only go for it in the hopes of gaining an advantage and not want to press their luck? It’s hard to find the logic in why the Steelers would think they should go for two once but never again.

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The Jaguars will not bring tight end Julius Thomas back

Brock Osweiler won’t enter training camp as the starting quarterback. Though the Texans still have $16 million tied up in Osweiler, his play for much of his first season in Houston demonstrated he is not the quarterback to lead the team further in the playoffs. Though the Texans don’t have much financial flexibility to sign another starter during the offseason, they will likely draft another QB. Tom Savage is another option to start, though he did not shine in his three games of play this season. Houston will probably end up keeping Osweiler because it doesn’t have anything to gain financially by cutting him, but he could be the league’s most expensive backup quarterback next season. — Sarah Barshop

The Lakers can be called league leaders in at least one respect: 45 games played already makes them ?the busiest team in the NBA to date. Luke Walton likewise knows that he won’t endure the longest year among this season’s three rookie coaches, given what Kenny Atkinson is facing in Brooklyn while David Fizdale revels in a 48-win pace in Memphis? to make them both envious, but the heady days of 10-10 only seem to fade deeper in the distance for Walton. Last week’s 134-94 humbling in San Antonio was the Lakers’ largest all-time defeat to their old friends from the Alamo City in 218 lifetime meetings (regular season and playoffs).
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Womens Darren Daulton Jersey The Committee can admit we’ve been quietly pulling for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ever since we wound up on the same team in last June’s Steve Nash annual charity soccer match in Manhattan. So we’ve enjoyed seeing the increasingly frequent references to Hollis-Jefferson as a Nets bright spot alongside Caris LeVert, who is beloved among those who populate Nets Twitter. But only so much enthusiasm is reasonable to expect on behalf of the Nets’ kids with Brooklyn possessing the league’s only single-digit win total and the reality that it’s a lock to send Boston no worse than a No. 4 pick in June. Par for the course: Jeremy Lin (hamstring) was forced Sunday to sit out

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