Tagged in: roster

LB Anthony Barr, Dallas Cowboys agree to one-year deal

After talks that covered a couple of months, the Dallas Cowboys reached a one-year agreement with veteran linebacker Anthony Barr on Wednesday.

The deal is for $2 million but can max out at $3 million, a source told ESPN’s Todd Archer.

With the Cowboys keeping Micah Parsons in a multifaceted role between linebacker and pass-rusher in 2022, the team wanted to add some veteran help alongside Leighton Vander Esch with no other uber-experienced linebacker on the roster.

The Cowboys have second-year linebacker Jabril Cox coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. While he has gotten off to a good start, he has missed the past two days of work, although there does not seem to be concern over his status.

Barr, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, had a career-high three interceptions to go along with 2.5 sacks and 72 tackles last season, the latter of which was his third-highest output in his eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

The 30-year-old linebacker appeared in 11 games after undergoing a procedure on his right knee that forced him to miss the first four matches of the 2021 season.

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He reworked his contract last March to allow himself to hit free agency after the 2021 season.

After missing the final 14 games of 2020 upon tearing a pectoral muscle versus Indianapolis, Barr’s salary and bonuses were reduced from $12.9 million to $10 million with a fully guaranteed base salary of $9.4 million.

Barr has a background with Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards, who coaches the linebackers, from their time together in Minnesota.

The former UCLA standout was former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s first draft pick in 2014 (ninth overall). Barr, a 3-4 outside linebacker in college, transitioned to a nontraditional off-ball role in Zimmer’s 4-3 scheme, where he was used strategically on blitzes designed around his skill set. According to Pro Football Focus data, Barr was ranked as the 12th best pass-rusher at his position and 14th in coverage in 2021.

Barr wore the green dot on his helmet for the majority of his time in Minnesota and played a critical role in calling defensive plays on the field.

The last time Barr hit free agency in 2019, the linebacker verbally agreed to a deal with the New York Jets that would have paid him $15 million per season for five years, but he returned to the Vikings less than 24 hours later to sign for far less money.

He has 495 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 5 interceptions in eight campaigns.

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Orlando Magic shut Paolo Banchero down for remainder of 2022 NBA summer league

Paolo Banchero showed the Orlando Magic plenty in his two Summer League contests. And the Magic decided that was enough.

The No. 1 pick is getting the rest of summer league off, after averaging 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in his two matches in Las Vegas.

The Magic made the decision so they could evaluate other players who are with them this summer and see who may merit a roster spot or G League opportunity.

“I want to give these other guys an opportunity to play, to kind of be able to show what they’re capable of doing,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said.

“That’s the point of summer league, you know, give them a chance … an opportunity for these other guys to see what they’re capable of doing. And we’ve seen what Paolo was capable of doing.”

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The Magic are also expected to give Admiral Schofield and R.J. Hampton the remainder of summer league off, which opens up even more minutes for players to get opportunities in Las Vegas. Mosley stated Banchero got all he needed out of the summer experience.

“His understanding of what he needs to do in certain situations, the concepts that we’re preaching offensively and defensively, he’s grasping on to those,” Mosley said.

“Watching film together, he’s observing those things. He explains to me the things that he sees on the floor. It’s only two games, but you’re watching those film sessions and you realize how he’s registering all of it. So that’s how you can make the judgment that it’s time let these other guys get those moments.”

Meanwhile, San Antonio Spurs guard Josh Primo was ruled out of Monday’s game versus the Houston Rockets after he entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Primo, who averaged 15 points and 4.5 assists in two games in Vegas, will likely miss the remainder of summer league

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Outfielder Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros finalize new six-year, $115 million deal

Yordan Álvarez already has brought so much to the Houston Astros.

On the day he and the team concluded a $115 million, six-year contract, general manager James Click spoke about how much more they expect the slugger to do for this franchise.

“A cornerstone player,” Click said. “It allows us to build the roster around him, build a lineup around him. And that sort of security, both for him and for us as we continue to try to compete for World Series championships is huge, knowing that we’re going to have a player of that caliber anchoring our lineup for the foreseeable future.”

The contract covers 2023 through 2028. The 24-year-old has a one-year deal for 2022 calling for $764,600 while in the major leagues and $304,500 should he be assigned to the minors.

“There’s a lot of hard work that’s gone into it and seeing the fruits of the labor really means a lot,” Álvarez stated in Spanish through an interpreter.

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His deal announced Monday calls for a $5 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the contract’s approval by Major League Baseball and salaries of $7 million next year, $10 million in 2024 and $15 million in 2025, covering his three years of arbitration eligibility.

Álvarez, who obtained AL Rookie of the Year in 2019 and was the MVP of last year’s American League Championship Series, receives $26 million annually from 2026 through 2028, when he would have been eligible for free agency.

He said he thought about waiting until free agency to test the market, but in the end he and his agent decided, “it was the right decision to be here.”

His salary can escalate from 2024 to ’27 based on his finish in MVP voting: $1.5 million for first, $750,000 for second and $750,000 for third. The increment would apply to all subsequent seasons.

For 2027 and ’28, Álvarez gets a limited no-trade provision allowing him to list 10 teams he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

After seeing star pitcher Gerrit Cole and shortstop Carlos Correa leave as free agents, veteran second baseman Jose Altuve stated he is relieved to know Álvarez is staying.

“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with,” Altuve said. “And just the fact that he’s going to be here, that most time means that the team is trying to win for six years. And obviously with a guy like him in your lineup, you’re going to win many games.”

Álvarez hit .277 last year and set career highs with 33 homers and 104 RBIs. He entered Monday’s series opener against Seattle with a .295 average, 16 homers and 34 RBIs, all team highs.

While he already has proved to be one of the best young hitters in the game, Álvarez is sure he can do much more.

Manager Dusty Baker agreed and stated that Álvarez is only “scratching the surface” of how good he can be. Álvarez has played just one full major league season after being called up in June 2019 and missing all but two games of the 2020 season after surgery on both knees.

“That’s why you sign a guy to multi years, because you realize the fact that he is only going to get better,” Baker said. “And all he has to do now is to stay healthy and the sky’s the limit.”

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Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez (sprained left ankle) included on AL Division Series roster

Slugger J.D. Martinez is on the Boston Red Sox roster but didn’t play during a 5-0 loss in Game 1 of the American League Division Series versus the Tampa Bay Rays.

Manager Alex Cora said after Thursday’s loss that there’s “a strong possibility” Martinez will be in the starting lineup for Friday’s Game 2, but he made no guarantees.

Martinez also missed Tuesday night’s victory over the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game because of a sprained left ankle.

Martinez stumbled over second base while heading to the outfield in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Washington.

Because the National League does not use a DH in games played in its stadiums, Martinez was playing right field versus the Nationals. He stepped on the bag and twisted the ankle heading out to play defense in the fifth inning.

It was only the seventh game in 2021 that Martinez started in right field. He was in the starting lineup as a DH for 113 games and as the left fielder for 28.

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Martinez hit .286 with an AL-leading 42 doubles and 28 homers and 99 RBIs during the regular season.

Tampa Bay has 13 pitchers on its roster that does not include speedy outfielder Brett Phillips. Lefty Ryan Yarbrough, who went 9-7 with a 5.11 ERA in 30 games, including 21 starts, was also left off.

Rays manager Kevin Cash stated he planned to be aggressive in using his bullpen during the series. He said right-hander Drew Rasmussen will start Game 3 or 4, with the other contest being a bullpen day.

Boston also added Game 2 starter Chris Sale, left-hander Martin Perez and infielder Danny Santana to the ALDS roster.

Sale made nine starts this year after having Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020.

“It’s been two years trying to get to this point,” Cora said. “All the hard work, all the tears and sweat throughout the process. So we have to take care of him, but it was his turn and we feel comfortable with him.”

Sale said he would be available to work as a reliever later in the series as well.

“There’s no reason to save an arm to go sit on the couch, you know what I mean?” Sale said. “This is all the baseball we have left, and we’re going to get certain points in these series where tomorrow might not come. So if that’s the case and it’s what’s called upon, you know, it’s my job.”

With Boston having several left-handed starting pitchers on its roster, Tampa Bay added right-handed-hitting outfielder Jordan Luplow. The AL East champion Rays lost the World Series in six games to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020.

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Kansas City Chiefs set to sign newly reinstated WR Josh Gordon to practice squad

Former All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon, who recently was informed that he is being reinstated, is planning to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, sources told ESPN.

Gordon is flying to Kansas City on Monday, and he is likely to be signed to the Chiefs’ practice squad tonight with the expectation that a promotion to the active roster will follow shortly thereafter.

Gordon, 30, had multiple teams contact him and express interest in signing him. But one of the attractions of playing in Kansas City was making it a long-term stop and spending multiple seasons there, according to his agents, Eric Dounn and Matt Leist from LAA Sports.

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The Chiefs have been searching for a wide receiver who can play every down along with Tyreek Hill since losing Sammy Watkins as a free agent in the spring.

They’ve given significant playing time to Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle, but none of those players have consistently delivered for the Chiefs.

Hill is behind only tight end Travis Kelce in receiving yards for the Chiefs with 267.

The other three wide receivers have combined for 260 yards.

Gordon was suspended indefinitely in December 2019 for violations of the league’s policies on substance abuse and performance-enhancing substances.

It was Gordon’s sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Gordon submitted his reinstatement letter fo NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in July and the NFLPA recommended that he be reinstated. His application for reinstatement was approved by Goodell on Monday, a source said.

But this time Gordon, who last played for the Zappers of the Fan Controlled Football league with former Browns teammate Johnny Manziel, stated he is ready to contribute. Gordon led the NFL in receiving in 2013, when he accumulated 1,646 receiving yards.

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Baltimore Ravens adding RB Le’Veon Bell to practice squad

The Baltimore Ravens signed three-time Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad Tuesday to help their injury-filled backfield, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Bell, 29, will likely soon get elevated to the 53-man roster, the source added.

The addition of Bell comes after the Ravens lost third-string running back Justice Hill to an Achilles injury on Thursday. Baltimore already had lost starting running back J.K. Dobbins when he tore the ACL in his left knee in the preseason finale.

Bell, who worked out for Baltimore on Monday, will provide experience and pass-catching skill behind starter Gus Edwards and backup Ty’Son Williams.

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In 2019, the Ravens had a chance to sign Bell in free agency but chose to add Mark Ingram, who played in Baltimore for two seasons before getting released in January.

After gaining over 1,000 yards rushing in three of his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell hasn’t been the same playmaker since sitting out the 2018 season. Last season, he totaled 328 yards rushing and two touchdowns with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.

Bell last played for the Kansas City Chiefs after he was let go by the New York Jets.

His role on the Chiefs was pretty much non-existent, and he had been looking for a job for some time.

The Ravens could also sign a young running back who can help on special teams as well, a source said. Bell isn’t the first former Pro Bowl player to get signed to the Ravens’ practice squad. Last year, Baltimore added wide receiver Dez Bryant to its practice team before promoting him to the 53-man roster.

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Green Bay Packers bringing back Jake Dolegala for QB depth

With Jordan Love’s shoulder still an issue and Aaron Rodgers not expected to play in the preseason, the Green Bay Packers are bringing back quarterback Jake Dolegala.

The signing was not revealed by the team but was made public by his agency, Generation Sports Group.

The team will have to make room on the roster before it can make it official. They were at the NFL-mandated limit of 85 players as of Tuesday.

Dolegala spent nearly two months with the Packers this offseason. He was signed in June after participating in the team’s mandatory minicamp but was released on July 27 shortly before training camp, when Rodgers ended his holdout and returned to the team. The Packers also released veteran Blake Bortles on the same day.

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Love injured his right (throwing) shoulder in the Packers’ preseason opener on Saturday. Coach Matt LaFleur implied that there’s no long-term concern but that Love might miss some time. He was held out of practice on Monday, and the team did not practice on Tuesday. They Packers start two days of joint practices with the New York Jets on Wednesday leading into their preseason game on Saturday.

LaFleur said Love could “potentially” play versus the Jets.

Love was expected to play into the third quarter last week against the Houston Texans but instead was pulled at halftime. Kurt Benkert, the third quarterback on the roster, played the second half.

Dolegala was originally signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He was the Bengals’ No. 3 QB that season but was released following the 2020 training camp. He spent parts of last season on the Patriots’ practice squad and briefly returned to them early in training camp this year.

Before Tuesday’s cut to 85, the Packers also swapped cornerbacks with the New York Giants. They traded 2018 second-round pick Josh Jackson for 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom.

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San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa (ACL) expected to be ready for training camp

More than 80 of the players on the San Francisco 49ers’ 90-man roster participated in Tuesday’s organized team activity — but the most positive news of the day might have been about one of the few players who wasn’t there.

Defensive end Nick Bosa was not in attendance at the voluntary session as he works his way back from the torn left ACL he suffered on Sept. 20, 2020. But, after the roughly 75-minute OTA, coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear that Bosa’s rehabilitation is going well and the expectation is that when training camp opens on July 31, Bosa will be a part of it.

“Nick’s in Florida,” Shanahan said. “I’ve been talking to Nick since February on this. He came out in February for a while to get checked up on his knee and stuff. With him coming off the ACL and everything, it’s going great. … He’s got a good setup out there with his brother and the guy who works with his knee. They’re in contact with our guys all the time and just didn’t want to take him off his routine right now. I totally agree with him out there. He’s going to show up at some time during this, but he won’t be going out there doing anything coming off the ACL, but we fully expect him to be ready for training camp.”

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Getting Bosa back at full strength would be a big development for a defense that dropped from fifth in sacks in 2019 (48) to 22nd last year (30).

Bosa suffered the torn ACL early in a Week 2 win versus the New York Jets. It was the first of a series of season-destroying injuries for the Niners, who slumped to 6-10 after winning the NFC championship the previous campaign.

The 49ers’ pass rush would also benefit from the return of another key edge rusher if Dee Ford is able to recover from his persistent back issues. Ford, who appeared in just one game in 2020, also didn’t participate Tuesday, but Shanahan said Ford had been at the team’s facility since February and has made progress.

“Everyone knows the sensitivity of his injury with his back and stuff, but he’s been putting in a lot of work here and we feel it’s going the right direction,” Shanahan said.

“Last week, we sent him home because he had been here so long, to go back to his hometown, see his doctor and plan on coming back here in the next couple of weeks. But don’t expect to see him till training camp on the field.”

Also not participating Tuesday was running back Jeff Wilson Jr., who recently had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, a league source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report. Wilson is expected to miss four to six months.

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Carolina Panthers release DT Kawann Short

Kawann Short has been around the NFL long enough to realize what happens to guys as they age, stack up injuries, and get expensive.

Tuesday, it happened.

The Panthers released the veteran defensive tackle Tuesday, starting the process of clearing up some cap space.

They’ll save $8.6 million worth of room with the move, which will come in handy. With the salary cap for 2021 dropping from $198.2 million to $175 million (though it could rise slightly in the coming weeks), every dollar is going to count this offseason.

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This was a predictable move, and Short seemed to realize it

Explaining at the end of the season that he knew his combination of age, recent injuries, and finances made this likely.

“We’re all grown here. So you know what it is,” Short said the day after the season. “This is a ‘what can you do for me now’ business, so for me to have injuries back to back, it definitely put that in your head, whether the team wants you or not.”

The 32-year-old Short has played in just five games the last two seasons because of shoulder problems and had the second-highest cap number on the roster for 2021, making the move inevitable.

When healthy, he was a steady producer for the Panthers with 32.5 sacks in his first six seasons. And they’ll clearly need to find someone who can do what he did when well, as coaches have identified adding a three-technique defensive tackle spot as a priority.

Converted defensive end Efe Obada was useful there last season, second on the team with 5.5 sacks, but they’d like to find a productive starter to continue to use him as a reserve.

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New York Jets continue roster shake-up, release veteran cornerback Pierre Desir

Veteran cornerback Pierre Desir, a free-agent disappointment who was benched for the final two series in the last game, was released Tuesday by the New York Jets.

The move, not unexpected, opens a starting position for rookie Bryce Hall, who substituted Desir in the Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots. The Jets (0-9) had a bye last weekend.

The Jets signed Desir in March, soon after he was released by the Indianapolis Colts. They gave him a one-year, $4 million contract, including $3.25 million in guarantees, expecting him to be their No. 1 corner.

That never materialized. In fact, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams benched Desir in the first half of the first game.

After one week in a backup role, Desir returned to the starting lineup and remained there for the next seven matches. In the final minutes of the 30-27 loss to the Patriots, Desir permitted a 31-yard completion to wide receiver Damiere Byrd — a play in which Desir half-heartedly gave chase across the field. He was immediately pulled from the game and Hall finished the series and played the entire final drive.

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Desir’s only shining moment came in a Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos, when he intercepted two passes, including one returned for a touchdown.

In nine matches, Desir recorded three interceptions, eight pass break-ups and one forced fumble.

Hall, a fifth-round pick from Virginia, has played only one match, as he spent the first eight games battling back from a serious ankle injury that occurred during his final campaign in college. He started the 2020 season on the non-football injury list and practiced only two weeks before making his debut versus the Patriots.

In rebuilding mode, the Jets have traded or released several veterans in recent weeks, including running back Le’Veon Bell, linebacker Avery Williamson and nose tackle Steve McLendon. The Jets also placed nickelback Brian Poole (knee/shoulder) on injured reserve.

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