The free-agency dominoes started falling in the NFL on Wednesday, reshaping the league hierarchy with every move.

Wednesday marked the beginning of the new league year, when all 32 teams could go official with trades, free-agent signings, cutting pesky salaries before guarantees kick in and more.

The Bengals were in the market for a backup after losing quarterback AJ McCarron to the Bills in free agency.

McCarron was Dalton’s primary backup from 2015-2017 and started three regular-season games and an 18-16 loss to the Steelers in the AFC wild-card game after Dalton got hurt in 2015.

Ballard’s long-term plan comes into focus The Colts’ free-agency plan has been sharply criticized so far, with Indy unable to sign any big-name free agents.

Only rotational pass-rusher Denico Autry has been brought in by second-year general manager Chris Ballard, who had the third-most cap space at his disposal entering free agency.

However, Ballard continuously stated that the Colts wouldn’t pay premium prices for B-level players despite their ample cap space, and emphasized the team’s desire to build through the draft and construct a roster capable of competing for a long time.

Ballard added after the announcement of the trade that the move was ideal for the Colts because it still allows them to get a premium player while still being able to replenish our young talent.

But the Jets can take it further.

According to Mike Nash of Jets Wire, Jets safety Jamal Adams tried to recruit free-agent wideout Jordy Nelson before deleting the social media post. Nelson later signed with the Oakland Raiders.

No need to delete—the Jets need offensive weapons to help the quarterbacks. Running back should be a priority too, but with Robby Anderson in hot water, a jolt to an already weak wideout depth chart is a must. It didn’t turn out to be Nelson, but it could be Terrelle Pryor, Mike Wallace or an upside guy like Cody Latimer.

Well, the Oakland Raiders might be the poster boy for this predicament coming out of a season where tight end Jared Cook led the team in receiving. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined to catch 15 touchdowns, which sounds great, but they also combined to only catch 106 of 197 targets.

That would explain why the Raiders signed Jordy Nelson.patriots_123

Watch the all-time best Dunk Contest throw-downs

The NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest has gotten better in recent years, but it used to be awesome, featuring not just All-Stars but superstars.

Way back before the All-Star event was filled with 11th men and no-name rookies, the most athletic stars in the NBA used to actually compete, and it was righteous.

Here is a rundown of the best individual dunks in the contest’s history. (Spoiler alert: There are none from the past five years.)

This is the dunk. When I hear the phrase “slam dunk,” it’s Vince Carter dangling on the rim like it’s his squaredance partner that immediately comes to mind. This is just an ultimate display of physical skill and creativty. Who thinks to do that?

There are plenty of things people can criticize Dwight Howard for, but creativity isn’t one of them. In 2009, Howard took advantage of the “getting props approved” rule, bringing in a 12-foot rim, Superman cape and phonebooth for him to change from Clark Kent to the Man of Steel. He makes leaping to the insanely high basket look like a cakewalk, only leaving a desire for him to have gone even higher.

Booker scored 31 points with 10 assists before leaving the game in obvious pain. He will reportedly have X-rays on his ribs and hip areas to determine the exact injury.

Booker now has 16 games with at least 30 points this season, but the Suns are only 8-8 in those games. After being snubbed from this year’s All-Star game, Booker moved to point guard, leading the Suns’ young offensive attack. A natural shooter, Booker has dealt with the switch well, but the Suns are just 3-9 this month.

You can choose to lock lineups either on a weekly basis or on a daily basis. If you choose the weekly setting, your lineups for the week have to be in before the first game on Monday, and this is a good setting if the managers in your league don’t have a lot of time to spend obsessing about their teams throughout the week. It’s a more casual setting. The more hard-core baseball fan typically prefers a daily setting, which requires attention pretty much every day of the MLB calendar. lions_085

Which teams should be next winter’s big spenders?

When it comes to the bottom-line total of wins and losses, rebuilding can be a difficult time for fans, even with the knowledge that it’s part of a long-term plan for future success. The Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs have their forever-flags, but Houston did see attendance drop from 3.1 million in 2004 to 1.6 million in 2012 while even the attendance of the Wrigley Faithful has had its ups and downs, dropping below three million in 2012-2015. But coming out of that rebuild? That’s an exciting time for a team and for fans, the team shifting toward prioritizing current wins rather than future ones.

“Whether it’s second week of April, whenever, we’re going to be really happy to have him back,” Francona said, “because that’s a position then that you don’t have to platoon, you just kind of wind him up and let him go play.”

It’s a tough thing to feel when you feel like you’ve got to be perfect, especially kicking .You can’t do it.Hickson, 27, was the 19th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers 2008 and spent three seasons with the Cavs, peaking 2010 when he averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds.Sponsor: Sen.And it’s easier to stick with guys like him that work hard and ‘t complain about things and ‘t make excuses.A few observations: 1) The weight that Smotrycz and Horford has put looks to have a large part of it be below the waist.

The Warriors did, however, manage to keep from feasting on lobs.When the Kings traded Bernier to Toronto, I can tell you that Ranford and Lombardi and a number of people that Kings front office – who I think you guys believe have a clue about how to win – they were sick to their stomach trading Bernier.These hugs have become a ritual between the two after every win.

Considering those shots represented around half of his shot attempts over the last two seasons, it bodes well for his fit with LeBron James, who functions as the point guard on offense for the Cavaliers. It also helps that Hill has spent most of his career playing alongside an All-Star in the backcourt, such as Paul George in Indiana and Gordon Hayward in Utah. It should make for a much smoother transition than the one we just witnessed with Thomas.

Super Bowl 2018 streaming: All you need to know for watching Sunday’s game live online, on TV, and radio

All eyes are on Minneapolis this week heading into Super Bowl 52. On Sunday, the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in a rematch of Super Bowl 39. There are plenty of options for viewers to catch the game live when things kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Live streams can be found at NBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports (iOS | Android), and FuboTV.

Still looking for their first Super Bowl title, the Eagles have embraced their underdog identity, and the defense should be a good matchup against Brady. But if they want to lift the Lombardi Trophy, they need Foles to be at his absolute best. Even the smallest mistake could change the game. There’s no margin for error when playing Brady and Belichick, so Doug Pederson and Co. will need a perfect game plan on Sunday.

This year’s game will pit the New England Patriots’ growing dynasty — in search of its sixth NFL championship — against a Philadelphia Eagles team that has never won a Super Bowl. Philadelphia will head into Sunday’s game the same way it has throughout the playoffs — as a significant underdog. New England opened as a 6-point betting favorite to claim another Lombardi Trophy.

That’s because MVP candidate Carson Wentz, the second-year quarterback whose emergence helped the Eagles recognize their true potential, won’t be on the field. The North Dakota State product tore his ACL in Week 14, handing the reins of one of the league’s deepest offenses over to Nick Foles. The former Pro Bowler has had an up-and-down run as the team’s replacement, but he’s peaking at the right time for Philadelphia to make a run — he threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s NFC Championship win over the Vikings.

Yes, Justin Timberlake will headline the halftime performance at the Super Bowl in 2018.

No, there is no word on whether Janet Jackson will make an appearance. The incident in Houston 14 years ago has been referenced often since Timberlake was announced as the halftime performer, but don’t expect history to repeat itself in Minneapolis.

P!nk’s performance of the national anthem in Minneapolis will be her first time appearing on the Super Bowl stage.

P!nk joins the ranks of many performers who have sung the Super Bowl national anthem, including Luke Bryan, Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel, Renée Fleming, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick, Jr., Garth Brooks, Natalie Cole, Vanessa Williams, Luther Vandross, Cher, Faith Hill, Mariah Carey, Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé Knowles, Christina Aguilera and many more. (A complete list of national anthem performers from past Super Bowls is listed below.)

In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), actor and director Alexandria Wailes will perform in American sign language both the national anthem and “America The Beautiful.”

The opening song in this halftime performance features young girls in cheerleading costumes singing:

“You’ve got to be a football hero, to get along with the beautiful girls. You’ve got to be a touchdown getter you bet, if you want to get, a cutie to pet.”

The 1995 Super Bowl halftime show, produced by Disney, was meant to help build a buzz around the new Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland. With the random addition of Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett, it ended up being one of the most strange, confusing and hilarious halftime performances of all time.

We can thank this halftime show for pushing the NFL to become more of a halftime concert than a Broadway production. Michael Jackson performed his halftime show the following year.

In April, the NFL figured these two games would be important and feature at least two big-draw QBs, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck.

That he disrobed Janet Jackson, violently yanking at her leather jacket to expose one of her breasts during 2004’s halftime, clearly doesn’t strike the NFL as a deterrent from an encore engagement. More likely, it seems a marketing ploy to create a buzz then to stick with this halftime show in anticipation of, well, you never know.

The NFL’s high-bar is so low that after Seattle’s Doug Baldwin scored in the 2015 Super Bowl, his sense of “spontaneous fun” was to use the football to mime an end-zone defecation. He remained in the game.

The NFL will now pay Goodell in excess of $40 million per year to keep on keeping on, as if big-business folks — team owners — are blissfully unaware that there has never been a graph with a growth line that points straight up.

As if the NFL isn’t now bleeding from the abandonment of clear-headed folks who can no longer suffer what the NFL has become, from foresight-barren replay rules, to mindlessly excessive, remorseless brutality that incites ritual group joy among teammates — mostly full scholarship college men who behave, on and off the clock, like incorrigible, self-entitled, immodest, undignified adolescents, though frequently charged as adults.

Rodgers, out with shoulder surgery since Oct. 15, was back but didn’t play because the Packers were eliminated. Luck, injured, hasn’t played all season for the now-3-12 Colts.

The 49ers were dreadful on defense in 2016 and have no answer at safety opposite former LSU product Eric Reid. New GM John Lynch might see a little of himself in Adams, who will infuse this defense with some life and energy and become an immediate leader on that side of the ball. Not to mention, he will aid both the league’s worst pass defense and the 14th-ranked run defense from his safety position.

“Tarik Cohen just returned a punt 132 yards for a touchdown!” Siciliano proclaims on the air. On his next check of Twitter, a viewer tells him he was close, that Cohen had run 127 yards, prompting Siciliano to ask Thibault if any advanced metrics had been released for the play. When CBS finally shows the comet-trail replay, Siciliano shouts, “C.mon, get to 132, get to 132!” The yardage counter stops at 127.bills_028

Just 1 in 39 NFL players was born in a foreign country.

It turns out that the league with the most native-born players is also the league with the most protests. Maybe — just maybe — the NFL is a hub of political and social expression not because it is full of players who don’t love or care about the country but because it is full of players who do.

And maybe — just maybe — hockey players have abstained from demonstrations (save for J.T. Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning) not because they are more patriotic than their counterparts on the gridiron but because they are somewhat detached from the politics of a country they did not grow up in and, in many cases, they live in on a part-time basis or not at all. (Seven of the NHL’s 31 teams are based in Canada.)

Jones: Inside linebacker’s a definite need. They could use another guy with range and playmaking ability both against the run and pass rush. But I don’t know that there’s really a position on defense they shouldn’t consider. I’d even take a long look at Southern California cornerback Adoree’ Jackson if he’s there and the others are not. Some believe he’s the best cornerback in the draft. He’s a little smaller at 5 feet 10, 186 pounds, but he’d do well covering slot receivers, and nickelback certainly was an area where Washington struggled to find consistency last year.

A redshirt-junior, Lee is a 6-4 pocket-passer who transferred to Nebraska after starting his career at Tulane. Arriving to the Senior Bowl to replace Mason Rudolph, Lee has the body type, arm talent, and college flash to impress in the practice setting.

Still, Lee has struggled to consistently finish in the midfield as a passer, too often throwing off balance and struggling to adjust off his first read. His inconsistency in one offense seems to have hurt him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if NFL teams consider his potential as a developmental Day 3 prospect — based on his Senior Bowl play.

A three-year starter at Richmond, Lauletta was a lightly recruiting high school quarterback who, after playing some as a freshman, earned his starting role as a redshirt-sophomore. Despite four different offensive coordinators during his time in college, Lauletta has proven adaptable to multiple systems and has still shown next-level mental aptitude and processing. As a 6-2 passer, Lauletta has a well-built frame to stand tall and deliver throws with poise and adequate vision.cowboys_102

The Chargers wasted no time Thursday unveiling a new logo depicting an interlocking L and A with a lightning bolt.

Last month, the New York Times’ Upshot blog found that the NFL has become one of the most divisive brands in the United States as it seeks common ground between a player population that is predominantly black and a fan base that is mostly white. In addition to the league’s other negative headlines, TV ratings have dropped and were not helped by lackluster games on Thanksgiving Day.

It was promptly skewered on social media, including by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

That trend continued with this year’s first hire, as the Jacksonville Jaguars promoted interim coach and former offensive assistant Doug Marrone.

Joseph spent this season as Gase’s defensive coordinator in Miami. The Dolphins ranked only 29th in the NFL in total defense. And Joseph’s defense did not fare particularly well in Sunday’s 30-12 defeat at Pittsburgh in the opening round of the AFC playoffs.

But Joseph’s reputation as a rising star in the coaching ranks went mostly unaffected. Broncos front office chief John Elway seemed to zero in on Joseph and Shanahan after also interviewing Kansas City’s special teams coordinator, Dave Toub. When Joseph did not leave for a planned interview with the Chargers, it was clear that Elway had settled on his man.

Even though CTE can only be diagnosed after death, Baez, the attorney, said Thursday he wished Hernandez had undergone more extensive testing while still alive.

“I will say for lawyers representing athletes of contact sports, that this is something that you should definitely consider having your clients take some of the presumptive tests that are available,” he said. “It is something that we considered as a team, but did not pursue simply because his defense was one of actual innocence and not one of mitigation. It’s something I deeply regret.”

The Cavaliers were blowing out the Orlando Magic, winning by 22 at the half, before blowing the lead and barely holding on for a one-point win.

As expected, Isaiah Thomas had his best game in a Cavaliers uniform on Thursday, scoring 21 points with 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 3-pointers and 2 steals in 30 minutes of action. Derrick Rose also got back on the court for the first time since early November, scoring 9 points with 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot in 13 minutes off the bench.

The entire perimeter unit of the Lakers are on the injury report for Friday. Lonzo Ball (knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) are both listed as out, and Brandon Ingram (ankle) and Kyle Kuzma (finger) are listed as questionable. Players like Josh Hart, Jordan Clarkson or Tyler Ennis could be in for bigger roles. If either/both of the forwards sit, players like Larry Nance Jr. or Julius Randle could also see more action than usual.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Bengals: He’s coming off his best game of the season, and while the consensus is to temper expectations when facing the Broncos’ defense, it’s time to accept that Denver is not playing that great defensively. The Broncos have lost five straight (including at home vs. the Giants) and have surrendered at least 21 points in all of those contests. If you’re in a jam, LaFell is not a great option, but he’s starting for a decent enough offense and should be given consideration.

It was another distressing Sunday in an NFL season whose disturbance and cruelty has managed consistently to overshadow thrills and fun. The big headline was the feared loss of Carson Wentz to a torn anterior cruciate ligament for the remainder of the season. The lasting, unshakable image was Tom Savage lying prone, his hands vibrating in an involuntary fashion, before somehow reentering the game minutes later. Elsewhere, a Seattle Seahawks player attempted to climb into the stands in Jacksonville to fight a fan who had thrown a drink at him.

Underneath another serving of misery, hope for a more enjoyable future pulsed. While injuries and controversies have dominated the season, the NFL still may be partially redeemed by a showcase hinted at Sunday. The rain clouds over the season may be able to ruin anything, but right now the NFC playoffs appear to be as can’t-miss as can’t-miss could be. Barring a letdown, they are going to be great.cowboys_030

Seahawks steal Ken Norton Jr. away from 49ers as part of coaching staff overhaul

Ken Norton Jr.’s time as the 49ers’ assistant head coach/defense and inside linebackers coach lasted just one week as the Seahawks stole him away Monday and named him their defensive coordinator, KING TV reported.

Norton will replace Kris Richard, who has been with Seattle the last eight seasons, including the last three as defensive coordinator. He will join new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer as part of the new-look Seattle coaching staff under Pete Carroll. Schottenheimer replaces the fired Darrell Bevell.

That very success, in fact, is where the fissures in the franchise may have begun, ESPN poses in a paragraph that encapsulates what it says could be evolving into an untenable situation:

That’s my glass-half-full-of-teal-colored-beer perspective Sunday of Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles from EverBank Stadium, where the specialty brew created to commemorate Jacksonville’s first home playoff game in 18 years sold out at the end of the first quarter.

Bortles’ performance could turn teetotalers into souses. But it’s the fan base known for alcohol-fueled shenanigans that will be drowning its sorrows, because Buffalo’s QB play was even worse.

Still, this team went through a barrage of injuries similar to this last season and went as far as the conference semifinals, there’s at least that.2 of 1st period – Toews wins face-off versus Stastny Stars zone.It was idiotic.Beasley was playing well prior to going down, but given that he’ll likely be brought along slowly once he is eventually cleared to play, there’s not much incentive to onto him most leagues.Positive plays usually result third-and-short situations, which gives you better opportunities to sustain drives and score points.

Free Puck Retrieved by Despres for Predators.When he won the Trophy as the league’s top defenseman 1981, he came within one of hitting the 40-goal and hit double figures goals 13 times during his career.they’re 11 and 6.We’ll how he feels again after.

Just because Brown was a full participant, though, doesn’t mean he will play. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Dispatch, cornerback Joe Haden came back from an injury the week of the Patriots game with no restrictions in practice, but did not play against New England.

Tomlin was also cautions in saying how quickly they are bringing Brown along.patriots_099_fd3c60b1a9edcf57-180x180