Vikings restructure Latavius Murray’s contract entering next wave of free agency

With their biggest offseason priority in the fold after Kirk Cousins inked his three-year, fully guaranteed contract worth $84 million, the Minnesota Vikings can now shift their attention elsewhere and upgrade other positions.74

General manager Rick Spielman hinted that Minnesota wasn’t quite done in free agency, saying the Vikings will “potentially do one or two more things.” A move Thursday evening backed that up when the team restructured the contract of running back Latavius Murray,cheap nfl jerseys multiple sources confirmed to ESPN.

Given the planning by the Vikings’ front office as it relates to the salary cap, Spielman is confident the franchise will have flexibility to work with in coming seasons. Cousins’ 2018 salary comes with a $24 million cap hit, which left Minnesota with just over $26 million to use in free agency and with contract extensions before any restructuring took place.

Murray was at risk of being a cap casualty had he not agreed to a pay cut by 4 p.m. ET Friday, when $5.15 million of his 2018 salary would have become guaranteed; that would have been the sixth-highest cap hit among all running backs. The Vikings could have released Murray, whom they signed to a three-year, $15 million deal last offseason, and freed up about $5 million in cap space had he not restructured, but they worked to keep the 28-year-old in Minnesota’s backfield.

The timing of Murray’s restructuring coincides with the visit of Seattle defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to the Twin Cities. Richardson spent time at the Vikings’ facility in Eagan on Thursday before dining with coaches and nfl authentic jerseys The 3-technique spot is one Minnesota hopes to improve this offseason. The Vikings expressed interest in bringing back veteran DT Tom Johnson in a reduced role and are also considering options for reserve tackle Shamar Stephen. Finding interior D-line depth next to nose tackle Linval Joseph is a crucial priority in bolstering the Vikings’ pass rush.

UCLA seniors Jordin Canada and Monique Billings take aim at final NCAA tournament

The GBL Lady Rebels and the Corona Diamonds faced each other many weekends in local AAU tournaments across Southern California. This was way, way back — sometime around third grade.

Jordin Canada, then on the Rebels, and Monique Billings, then on the Diamonds, knew of each other.73

Little Canada would storm down court, dropping in layup after layup,authentic nfl jerseys cheap with few able to catch up. “It was basically how it is now,” Billings said with a laugh.

And there was young Billings. She’d stretch her arms out and call for the ball on the block. “She was super tall,” Canada said.

Neither knew that they’d wind up college teammates at UCLA. Now they are in their final season wearing blue and gold together, with one last shot in the NCAA tournament. The seniors lead the ninth-ranked Bruins (24-7) into the Big Dance after falling to UConn 86-71 in last season’s Sweet 16.

The road ahead won’t be easy. UCLA received a No. 3 seed in the Kansas City Regional, and will host the first and second rounds. The Bruins face 14th-seeded American, the Patriot League champ, on Saturday. If they win, a potential showdown with sixth-seeded Iowa and Megan Gustafson, the nation’s leading scorer, awaits in the second round on Monday.

UCLA lost to sixth-ranked Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals on March 3, marking its third loss against the Ducks this season. Canada had 19 points, and Billings had 18.

Late in the first quarter,nfl jerseys for cheap Billings outstretched her arms in the passing lane and stole the ball. Canada instinctively ran down court. Billings gave the ball up to her point guard for the easy deuce. Billings clapped while both ran back on defense.

Torrey Smith to Panthers a bargain compared to other free-agent WR deals

The $5 million a year that wide receiver Torrey Smith will count against the salary cap seemed like a lot on Friday when the Carolina Panthers traded cheap nfl jerseys starting cornerback Daryl Worley to Philadelphia for him.

Particularly when you consider Smith hadn’t caught more than 36 passes in any of the past three seasons between San Francisco and Philadelphia.

It looks like a bargain now when you look at the deals top free-agent wide receivers who have accomplished less got in free agency.62

Chicago gave Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson, coming off an ACL injury, a three-year, $42 million deal. He has 202 catches for 2,848 yards and 22 touchdowns since being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft.

Kansas City gave Sammy Watkins a three-year, $48 million deal with $30 million guaranteed. The former Clemson star had 39 catches for 593 yards and eight touchdowns last season and has caught only 67 passes combined the past two seasons between Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams.

Washington gave Paul Richardson a five-year deal that could be worth up to $40 million with $20 million guaranteed. Richardson had a career-best 44 catches last season at Seattle and has only 95 in four nfl jersey

Smith, 29, despite a down couple of seasons, has 302 career catches for 4,951 yards and 39 touchdowns in seven seasons between Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia. He also has a Super Bowl ring that he won last season with the Eagles.

He had 13 catches for 157 yards in Philadelphia’s three playoff wins, including five catches for 49 yards in the Super Bowl victory over New England.

So $5 million against the cap doesn’t sound so bad versus the average salaries between $8 million and $16 million a year that others received.

Malcolm Butler says Patriots never gave him reason for not playing in Super Bowl LII

Cornerback Malcolm Butler told the Boston Herald that he was never given a reason for why he didn’t play in Super Bowl LII, but he reiterated that he has no hard feelings toward his former team, the New England Patriots.

Butler, who agreed to a deal with the Titans this week, authentic nfl jerseys cheap hasn’t spoken with Patriots coach Bill Belichick since the Super Bowl, he told the Herald.61

“I never got a reason,” Butler told the newspaper on Wednesday. “I feel like this was the reason: I got kind of sick. I went to the hospital. 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.

“But Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time. He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX [against the Seahawks] and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision. It didn’t work out right [against the Eagles].nfl jerseys for cheap It didn’t work out the best for me or him or the New England Patriots. But I can say he won more than he lost, so it is what it is. I always have love for New England, Bill Belichick, Mr. Kraft, all those guys. Life just goes on.”

Butler was replaced in the starting lineup by Eric Rowe in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots primarily played a three-safety nickel package in the game, but when they added a sixth defensive back in their dime package, they initially had safety Jordan Richards on the field in the first half before tapping cornerback Johnson Bademosi for that role in the second half.


QB Case Keenum intends to sign with Broncos, sources say

For the second time in the past seven years, the Denver Broncos have roared into free agency to fix a quarterback problem.

In 2012, it was Peyton Manning. This year, it’s Case Keenum.

Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Broncos will reel in the 30-year-old Keenum to be their quarterback of the present and future when free agency officially opens Wednesday afternoon.

Keenum is expected to become the first of the high-profile quarterbacks in the open market to agree to a deal.

The Broncos also considered Kirk Cousins and had some discussions about Teddy Bridgewater, who was a teammate of Keenum’s this past season with the Minnesota Vikings.

With Keenum headed to Denver,cheap nfl authentic jerseys Cousins’ potential destinations are now down to three teams: the Vikings, the Cardinals and the Jets. The Vikings remain the favorite, sources told Schefter.

Keenum helped power the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game last season as Minnesota went 11-3 in his regular-season starts in place of an injured Sam Bradford.

Only the winless Cleveland Browns threw more interceptions than the Broncos’ 22, and Denver had just one receiver catch more than 50 passes and finish with more than 560 yards receiving — Demaryius Thomas, with 83 catches and 949 yards.

At the scouting combine, two weeks before the start of free agency, Elway did compare the “fluid” nature of chasing a quarterback in free agency this year to the pursuit of Manning.

“Even with Peyton, we weren’t a for-sure thing with Peyton,” Elway nfl jerseys from china “That was always fluid too, but he was our target.”

For Keenum, he will now face a pile of expectations in a quarterback-crazed region that saw its team win a Super Bowl just two seasons ago.

Keenum’s teams are 20-18 in his games as a starter, and he made both of his career playoff starts this past January for the Vikings.



Ravens now playing catch-up at wide receiver with everyone in AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers have Antonio Brown, the first player in NFL history to catch over 100 passes in five consecutive seasons. The Cincinnati Bengals have A.J. Green, the first wide receiver to be named to the Pro Bowl in his first seven seasons in the league.

Now, after agreeing to a trade with the Miami Dolphins, the Cleveland Browns will have Jarvis Landry, the first player to compile 400 receptions through his first four seasons.

What do the Baltimore Ravens have? A lot of catching up to do in the AFC North as far as wide receivers.

The Ravens’ five wide receivers under contract are: Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, DeVier Posey and Tim White. They combined for 765 receiving yards last season, which is less than what Brown, Green and JuJu Smith-Schuster produced nfl jerseys from china

Wide receiver is easily the weakest position for the Ravens. Maclin could get cut after totaling career lows with 40 catches and 440 yards receiving. Perriman was a healthy scratch for three of the final six games because he struggled to make 10 catches for 77 yards. Moore ranked second in drop rate (10.8 percent) with four drops on 22 catchable throws. Posey played in the CFL last season, and White suffered a season-ending thumb injury in the preseason.

The Ravens understand changes need to be made. General manager Ozzie Newsome made the point last month that Baltimore will look to revamp the position. There’s a sense of urgency within the organization even though the team has yet to make a move to address the offense.3

Baltimore was among a handful of teams in trade talks with the Dolphins for Landry, according to ESPN. But the Ravens ultimately didn’t acquire him despite the fact that Miami looks to have been seeking reasonable compensation (the Dolphins received a fourth-round pick this year and a seventh-rounder next year from Cleveland). The bigger sticking point might have been Landry’s reported desire to be paid $14 million per season.

If Baltimore wants to make over its receiving corps, it could require signing multiple free-agent wide receivers and selecting a couple more in the draft. The Ravens’ free-agent options range from the top tier in Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins to the lower level in Donte Moncrief and Danny Amendola.

Remember, this is a division that now has last season’s NFL leaders in receiving yards (Brown) and receptions (Landry). The standards at wide receiver are clearly high in the AFC North, where the identity used to be running the ball and playing dominant jerseys cheap china

Baltimore’s challenge is to upgrade the targets for quarterback Joe Flacco while ranking near the bottom in salary-cap room. The other teams that are desperate at wide receiver — the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers — can offer more because of sizable cap space. The 49ers have the added advantage of being able to lure receivers with Jimmy Garoppolo, one of the rising quarterbacks in the NFL.

The Ravens’ top three receivers could eventually be Robinson,nfl jerseys Amendola and Calvin Ridley. Or Moncrief, Paul Richardson and D.J. Moore. Or Jordy Nelson (if he’s cut by the Packers), Marqise Lee and Courtland Sutton. Or maybe it’s a combination no one has even considered yet.

When free agency officially begins Wednesday, Baltimore can still take a lot of different routes to improve at wide receiver. There won’t be as much upheaval for the other AFC North teams. The Steelers bring back Brown, Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers. The Bengals return Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. Even the Browns now boast Landry, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman.

The Ravens have a vision of what they want with their new receivers. Coach John Harbaugh emphasized that it starts with catching the ball. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta pointed out the need for Baltimore’s receivers to break tackles and gain yards after the catch.

There’s no question the Ravens want to change their look at wide receiver. The uncertainty lies in whom Baltimore will bring in to affect the offense.


Lakers leave an impression on LeBron in punishing rout of Cavaliers

When LeBron James’ name was called when the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup was introduced, Los Angeles Lakers fans greeted the superstar with a warm applause.

While this wasn’t anything close to erecting billboards around the Los Angeles area trying to lure James as one longtime Lakers season-ticket holder did last week, the Staples Center crowd clearly wanted James to know that they’d love to see him here again next season and preferably in a purple and gold No. 23 jersey.i

If this was James’ last trip to Los Angeles as a Cleveland Cavalier with a potential NBA-altering free-agency decision to make this summer, the Lakers took the opportunity to leave James with one final impression. The Lakers used a 22-3 run at the end of the third quarter to run away with a 127-113 victory over the Cavaliers.

With the win, the Lakers have now gone 7-2 after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Cavs (38-28) have dropped down to No. 4 in the Eastern Conference standings, with the Indiana Pacers (39-28) moving a half-game ahead of them.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

James wowed the crowd with some flashy passing and scoring drives in the paint before finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 31 minutes. But James didn’t have much help and he displayed some frustration after he had a pass deflected by former teammate Isaiah Thomas for a turnover that later resulted in a Julius Randle dunk for the Lakers. As the Cavaliers called timeout while down 115-94, James palmed the ball and motioned as if he wanted to throw it in frustration before cocking back. That was the last thing James did on the court before exiting for good with 6 minutes, 24 seconds left in the final frame.

Larry Nance Jr. — playing against his former team for the first time since he and Jordan Clarkson were traded to Cleveland for Thomas, Channing Frye and a protected first-round pick — had 16 points. He was the only Cleveland starter outside James to score in double-figures.

“I have never played LeBron in L.A.,” said Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who finished with five points and seven assists. “Never played against JC and Larry, other than practice. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

The Lakers did have a lot of fun on Sunday night at James’ expense. Thomas, who shared hugs with several of his former Cavs teammates including J.R. Smith at half court before the game, got a little revenge against the Cavs who traded him away after he played only 15 games for the them following his hip surgery.

Thomas — who shot a few glares at good friend Floyd Mayweather Jr., seated near the Cavs’ bench, after making a couple of baskets — had what might have been his best all-around game for the Lakers with 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Thomas had six points and two assists during the Lakers’ game-changing run.

Thomas said afterward that he had nothing to prove and that this was not a revenge game for him.

“No, I don’t need to show anybody,” Thomas said. “They know what I can do. I only played 15 games for them, so it’s really not about showing them what I can do. The world knows what I can do and what I bring to the table. I took it as another game and I just wanted to win and we did a helluva job as a team, beating that really good team over there.”

Randle, who had been slowed by an illness in the previous two games, had a career-high 36 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Randle is a key piece for the Lakers because they can clear up to $70 million in cap space this summer to pursue two max free agents by parting ways with Randle and stretching Luol Deng’s contract.

But Randle played on Sunday like a player who was determined to remind the Lakers what they have in the 23-year-old forward and show James at the same time how his game is blossoming. Randle has been on a tear since being inserted into the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, but this was the best performance of his career.54

“It was something I always knew I could do,” Randle said “Just take time to continue to learn the game, continue to grow and develop as a player. As a person. Something I knew I could do. I’m not surprised, but it feels good I guess.”nfl jerseys for cheap

Clarkson, who finished 1-for-8 from the field with just four points and four assists, and Nance stopped by the Lakers’ locker room before the game to say hello to their old friends.

“Yeah, they stopped by [the locker room] on their way in — uninvited,” Lakers coach Luke Walton deadpanned before the game. “It was good to see them. It will be fun. It is going to be a great energy, great environment for tonight.”

Celebrities such as Mayweather, Adam Levine, Jason Sudeikis and Marlon Wayans joined Lakers fixture Jack Nicholson to get their glimpse of James’ only trip to Los Angeles to play the Lakers this season.

They might’ve come to see James but instead watched the Lakers make one big final impression on the free-agent-to-be.

Marcus Smart’s big game wasted, shorthanded Boston Celtics fall to Indiana Pacers, 99-97

BOSTON — By the end, the Boston Celtics were bruised, sick, concussed, and beaten up. They were missing three regular starters — four if you want

to include Gordon Hayward, who has been sidelined since opening night.

So they had plenty of excuses for dropping a double-digit halftime lead, failing to finish a fourth-quarter comeback,cheap nfl authentic jerseys  and wasting a mighty two-way

performance from Marcus Smart.

During what became a 99-97 defeat to the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics were missing Jaylen Brown (concussion) and Al Horford (illness) from the start,

then lost Kyrie Irving to more left knee soreness after halftime. The issue held him out of Tuesday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls and could be

something Irving needs to deal with for a long time. Is that concerning? Yes. How much so we will find out over time. terry-rozierdarren-collison-df736b4d909bef8e

The Celtics entered Sunday night as one of the NBA’s hottest teams, with a 6-1 record since the All-Star break and the top-ranked offense during

that span. Even the lone loss in that stretch, a close one against the cheap authentic nfl jerseys great Houston Rockets, showed real promise.

But over a four-day span, the Celtics have now lost three starters. They still almost overcame the Pacers, but didn’t quite have enough. A mad final

sequence gave Terry Rozier a chance to force overtime at the final buzzer, but his fadeaway jumper fell short.

Where it went wrong

After Boston took a 50-40 halftime lead, Irving did not come out with his teammates to start the second half. Without Irving, the Celtics quickly

surrendered a double-digit lead, committed seven turnovers in the third quarter, and fell behind by nine points early in the fourth.

Victor Oladipo (27 points) got untracked after an uncharacteristically slow first half, and the Pacers, who shot just 37.8 cheap nfl jerseys from china  percent before halftime,

scored 34 points on 13-for-21 shooting in the third. Almost half their points during that stretch came from the paint, another 15 points came from

behind the 3-point arc (where they shot 5 for 7),nfl cheap jerseys  and the rest came from the free throw line. In other words, they were chewing up the Celtics