All posts by phnseo

Zeke won’t play for Dallas without deal

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly plans to sit out the entire 2019 season if he does not receive a new contract.

Elliott is holding out of Cowboys training camp, as his contract will pay him $3.85 million this season before a fifth-year option kicks in in 2020 and pays him $9.099 million.

Rather than reporting to camp, Elliott has been working out in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which is where he trained during his six-game suspension in 2017.

While both quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper are set to enter the final year of their respective contracts, Elliott has two seasons left. With Elliott holding out, however, there may be a greater sense of urgency to get a deal done with him. When asked by NFL.com’s Adam Maya on Sunday about the contract situations of arguably his three most important offensive players, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seemed confident that they won’t go anywhere

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That means taking groundballs at first, where he might just get some use.

“Just know that like so many things, it’ll happen. It’ll happen. There literally is no concern on my part at all about any time frame. That’ll happen. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. Think about it now. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. That always happens when it’s that good for both of us.”

The 24-year-old Elliott made the Pro Bowl in 2018 for the second time in his three NFL seasons. He also led the league in both carries (304) and rushing yards (1,434) for the second time.

Although Elliott rushed for just six touchdowns, he expanded his game significantly by setting career highs with 77 receptions for 567 yards and three receiving touchdowns.

In Elliott’s two full seasons, the Cowboys have gone a combined 23-9 and won a pair of NFC East titles. While holding out for the entire 2019 season would be a risk for Elliott, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell showed last season that a player can hold his value after a missed year.

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Nationals bring back Cabrera, add infield depth

Switch-hitting infielder Asdrubal Cabrera reached agreement on a one-year contract Tuesday for a second stint with the Washington Nationals, and manager Dave Martinez told him to be ready for multiple roles.

The 33-year-old Cabrera was released Saturday by the Texas Rangers as they turned to youth. He batted .235 with 12 home runs, 15 doubles and 51 RBIs in 93 games, drawing 38 walks.

”I was caught by surprise. I didn’t expect it,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera, who played all of his games at third base this season, joined his new team before the middle game of a series with San Francisco. He appeared in 49 games for Washington in 2014 after being acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline.

”I’m very thankful to the Nationals. They gave me an opportunity to return to the team,” Cabrera said. ”It’s a new challenge for me, I know this organization. … I’m going to come off the bench. I’ll hit for the pitcher, I’ll play different positions. I’ll be playing around the whole infield.”

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That means taking groundballs at first, where he might just get some use.

Martinez appreciates having Cabrera’s power bat available off the bench.

”He hits the ball all over. It was a great addition for us,” Martinez said. ”I told him, ‘just be ready, you could play everywhere, come in, double-switch and help us in many ways.”’

The Nationals optioned infielder Adrian Sanchez to Double-A Harrisburg and designated right-hander Kyle Barraclough for assignment.

He returns to Washington five years after he was acquired in a July 31 trade with the Indians. Cabrera wound up the Nationals’ starting second baseman down the stretch in the 2014 season and throughout the National League Division Series that fall. Asdrúbal Cabrera will come back to the Nats as a cheap addition who can provide some much-needed depth down the stretch now that the Nats are relying on Matt Adams and Gerardo Parra on a daily basis.

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Bills Gaines out a few weeks with groin injury

Buffalo Bills cornerback EJ Gaines is out indefinitely with a groin injury.

Coach Sean McDermott on Tuesday didn’t reveal the severity of the injury, but says Gaines is expected to miss a number of weeks. Gaines missed one practice after being hurt Sunday.

He’s a fifth-year player who was competing for the starting job opposite Tre’Davious White.

Buffalo also shuffled its offensive line by placing LaAdrian Waddle on injured reserve, and signing Jarron Jones.

Waddle is out after tearing his right quadriceps in practice Sunday. Jones has yet to appear in an NFL game and is now on his seventh team since completing his college career at Notre Dame in 2016.

Gaines returned to Buffalo in free agency in March after spending last season with Cleveland. He was limited to playing just six games with the Browns before sustaining a season-ending concussion.

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He spent his first three seasons with the Rams before being traded to Buffalo in a deal that sent receiver Sammy Watkins to Los Angeles in August 2017. Gaines started 11 games for the Bills and returned to Buffalo in part because he is familiar with the team’s defensive philosophy.

Gaines, who suffered the injury during Sunday’s practice and left the field, signed a one-year, $2.1 million with the Bills this offseason — his second stint with the team. He first came to Buffalo in 2017 as part of the Sammy Watkins trade.

During his first stint in Buffalo in 2017, Gaines played in 11 games, which is the second-highest total in his career.

Given Gaines’ extensive injury history, this should come as no surprise that he is already missing time. It will be interesting to see if some young players can step up with more opportunity in Gaines’ absence. If they do, the veteran’s spot on the roster could be in jeopardy.

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Cubs’ Contreras out four weeks

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be out for four weeks as a result of a hamstring injury he suffered during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers this past Saturday, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago.

The Cubs placed Contreras on the 10-day injured list on Sunday morning, marking the second time in less than a month he has been on the injured list. He suffered a foot sprain in mid-July.

Contreras currently owns a slash line of .275/.365/.525 with 19 home runs and 57 RBI over 340 plate appearances. He made the All-Star team as a result of his production.

The 27-year-old was originally signed by Chicago as an amateur free agent back in 2009. He went on to make his big-league debut in 2016, playing in 76 games and slashing .282/.357/.488 with 12 long balls and 35 RBI across 283 trips to the plate, helping the Cubs win a World Series. Then, the following year, Contreras slashed .276/.356/.499 with 21 dingers and 74 RBI through 428 plate appearances. He was then a bit of a disappointment in 2018, slashing .249/.339/.390 with just 10 homers and 54 RBI over 544 trips to the dish. Nevertheless, he went on to make his first All-Star appearance.

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Contreras’ injury couldn’t come at a worse possible time, as the Cubs just traded backup catcher Martin Maldonaldo to the Houston Astros for utility man Tony Kemp ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

Chicago currently owns a record of 60-51 and sits 1.5 games in front of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. 

Contreras had an MRI that showed a Grade 2 strain, which helped put a time frame on how long he’ll be out.

“I feel bad because I want to be out there with my team,” a dejected Contreras said Monday afternoon. It’s the same injury the catcher suffered in 2017, when he missed about a month late in that season as well. “This one is a little bit higher [on the leg],” Contreras said.

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Mets’ Cano to get MRI after injuring hamstring

Just when Robinson Cano was starting to hit, the New York Mets star appears headed back to the injured list.

Cano limped off the field Sunday with a strained left hamstring, an injury that overshadowed Noah Syndergaard’s sparkling outing in a 13-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates that pulled New York within one game of .500 for the first time since mid-June.

Cano is to have an MRI on Monday, when the Mets open a homestand with a doubleheader against Miami.

“We don’t know what it is yet. We just are going to get it checked out tomorrow,” Cano said. “We will see what happens.”

Cano lined a hit to right in the fourth inning, his third hit of the game and ninth hit in his past 15 at-bats. He pulled up after rounding first and grabbed at the back of his leg. Melky Cabrera threw to shortstop Kevin Newman, who tagged out Cano. “Once I feel something, I just stop,” Cano said. “I don’t want to keep running and whatever it is, make it worse.”

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In his first season with the Mets after being acquired from Seattle, the 36-year-old was limited to one game between May 22 and June 16 because of a strained left quadriceps. He is hitting .252 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs.

New York, which won for the ninth time in 10 games, began the day four games back for the second NL wild card. The Mets had not been within one game of .500 since they were 33-34 before play on June 13.

Pittsburgh lost its seventh straight series and is 4-18 since the All-Star break. The Pirates are last in the NL Central at 48-63. Syndergaard had multiple hits in a game for the first time since Sept. 27, 2016, against Miami and scored after each of his two singles. He said New York’s bats determined his approach early.

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Patriots extend Brady’s contract

The New England Patriots and Tom Brady have made a new pact, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract extension worth up to $70 million, according to multiple reports.

While the deal supposedly gets Brady through the 2021 season, it’s actually more of a short-term fix for New England. The Patriots are essentially extending the contract to provide cap relief for the 2019 season. It is almost inevitable that the two parties will renegotiate the terms for 2020 and 2021.

This deal is a placeholder. The duration of the deal is set up to help alleviate the team’s cap burden for Brady. But they don’t seem to have intentions of paying out the 2020 or 2021 terms of his deal. In those years, Brady is set to earn $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021. But because those years are voidable, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, it’s likely that he earns a totally different figure if he’s still playing.

Brady is doing the Patriots a favor, again. He signed his deal to alleviate the Patriots’ cap space for 2019. This deal wasn’t actually about extending Brady’s tenure with the team. The Patriots could void this deal next offseason and move on from Brady. They can also use the deal to retain Brady and twist his arm into another team-friendly extension.

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The move opens up an additional $5.5 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Patriots had roughly $7.5 million in space prior to the new deal for Brady. With this new money, that’s enough money for the Patriots to acquire left tackle Trent Williams, who is rumored to be on the trading block. That’s also enough money to pay Rob Gronkowski if he decided to come out of retirement.

It seems New England is intent upon taking it year to year with Brady, who turned 42 on Saturday and is defying all odds as one of the league’s premier quarterbacks. The Patriots are playing it safe, and Brady is bending to the team’s wishes.

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Seahawks’ Collier out weeks with ‘rare sprain’

Seahawks rookie defensive end L.J. Collier left Tuesday’s practice with an ankle injury, and the first-round pick could be out for a little bit thanks to what head coach Pete Carroll described as a “rare sprain.”

“He’s got a badly sprained ankle, and it’s going to be a little bit,” Carroll said. “It’s unfortunate. It was really an awkward position that he got tangled up in. We’ll have to take some time to figure it out, it’s going to be some weeks though.”

Asked about preseason games for Collier, Carroll said. “We’re going to take it one week at a time.”

Carroll said that this particular sprain is unlike ones they’re used to seeing, part of why the Seahawks will take a cautious approach with Collier. “It’s a little bit unusual, kind of the upper part of his foot,” Carroll said.

“It’s an unusual one for us, we really haven’t had a guy who sprained his ankle just like this. We’re going to be really slow to make sure we know what we’re doing with this. It’s a rare sprain.”

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The Seahawks were counting on Collier, who totaled 42 tackles and six sacks during his final collegiate season at TCU, to produce out of the gate in 2019 after they traded Frank Clark this offseason coupled with Jarran Reed being suspended for the first six games of the season. This injury certainly now puts him behind the 8 ball. 

Carroll said the injury will take weeks to heal. The intimation is Collier will likely miss a good chunk of the preseason, if not all of it, confirming NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport’s previous report.

Along the Seahawks revamped defensive line, Collier was slated to play a big role. The hope is that the rookie can be ready for the regular season, but the setback is a blow to a defensive line that will already be without Jarran Reed.

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Eagles sign free agent safety Cyprien

Free-agent safety Johnathan Cyprien is signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.       The signing is pending a physical, a source said.

Cyprien, who did not play last season after tearing his ACL in training camp, became a free agent when the Tennessee Titans released him in early March.

Rodney McLeod, the Eagles’ projected starter opposite Malcolm Jenkins, is coming off a season-ending knee injury and has been a bit restricted in his movement at training camp due to being fitted with a large brace, which he eventually plans to shed.

The Cyprien signing is not directly related to the status of the top safeties, however. Instead, it is viewed as a low-risk depth addition, similar to the signing of veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick last week. Cyprien also has the ability to play dime linebacker, which can come in handy in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s system.

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Cyprien joins a safety group that also includes Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan and Blake Countess.

He signed a four-year deal worth $25 million with the Titans in 2017, but became expendable after safety Kenny Vaccaro emerged as a key player for the team. The Titans announced Cyprien’s release on the same day they signed Vaccarro to a new four-year contract on March 11.

As the Titans’ starting strong safety, Cyprien posted 38 tackles and a sack in his only season with the team. He was placed on injured reserve after the ACL injury last season.

The Jaguars selected Cyprien in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft with the 33rd overall pick. He has 511 career tackles, 17 pass deflections, 4 forced fumbles, 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. A 2013 second-round pick of the Jaguars, Cyprien was a starter for four years in Jacksonville before signing with the Titans in 2017.

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Astros land Zack Greinke

Astros acquired RHP Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Corbin Martin, RHP J.B. Bukauskas, 1B Seth Beer and INF Josh Rojas.

While the vast majority of the biggest names rumored to be on the trade block — including Noah Syndergaard, Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Zack Wheeler, Felipe Vazquez, Ken Giles, Kirby Yates — ultimately stayed put, it was the Astros — who boast the American League’s best record (69-39) this season — that made the most substantial acquisition of any franchise to bolster their starting rotation; extracting right-hander Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks in a blockbuster deal only minutes before Wednesday’s 4 PM ET major-league trade deadline.

They paid an extremely steep price, but will be adding another potential ace to a staff already comprised of foundational cornerstones Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in addition to veteran southpaw Wade Miley.

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The 35-year-old right-hander is a tremendous talent and arguably one of the most underrated workhorses in the game. He’s also among the most analytically savvy and inquisitive pitching minds in the modern era moving to an extremely progressive organization that has shown an ability to get the most out of the pitching talent they acquire.

It’s a perfect match. Despite lacking the premium fastball velocity he possessed in his halcyon days as a perennial Cy Young Award contender with the Royals, Brewers and Dodgers earlier in his career, Greinke’s rare ability to change speeds and expertly locate his extensive repertoire remains unparalleled.

He owns a 2.90 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 135/21 K/BB ratio across 146 innings (23 starts) this season and should benefit exponentially from the move to Houston.  The Diamondbacks are sending $24 million to the Astros, who will assume the remaining $53 million left on his deal, which runs through the end of the 2021 campaign. Without question, the Astros paid a steep price, surrendering four quality prospects to complete this deal.

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Falcons rookie McGary to have heart procedure

Kaleb McGary may not be able to make his NFL debut on time.

The Falcons on Wednesday announced the rookie offensive lineman will undergo a cardiac ablation procedure, which destroys tissue in the heart that is allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm.

The minimally-invasive procedure is similar to two previous procedures McGary has undergone in his playing career and a potential recovery timetable is expected following the procedure. It’s worth noting, too, that McGary was cleared by NFL medical testing to participate in the scouting combine, which took place in late February and early March.

McGary left Tuesday’s practice with what the team described as an illness. Despite the setback, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Saturday he has been impressed with McGary so far this season. “I thought (he is) really pushing Ty (Sambrailo) in a close fight and a close battle,” Quinn said.

“All of the things that go on in the first install he was able to handle very well, and that’s a testament to the work he put in over the summer to get right and get ready … I’m encouraged where he’s at, and I think he’s gaining momentum and trust in what he’s doing.”

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McGary, 24, was selected out of Washington by Atlanta with the 31st overall pick in April’s draft.

The Falcons expect an update on McGary’s status following the procedure. Coach Dan Quinn told ESPN that McGary became “ill” during the first part of Tuesday’s practice in hot conditions. The medical staff helped McGary off the field.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted the 2019 first-round pick missed two months when he had a similar procedure at Washington.

The Falcons selected McGary in the hope he could help an offensive line that ranked 24th in adjusted line yards and 14th in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. Now, it appears he’ll be unavailable when Atlanta opens the regular season Sept. 8 against the Minnesota Vikings.

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