Falcons safety Ricardo Allen signs RFA tender

cowboys_077The Falcons wanted to make sure not to lose Ricardo Allen this offseason, and the significance isn’t lost on him.

According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons safety has signed his restricted free agent tender, which is worth $2.914 million this year.

They tendered him at the second-round level to deter other teams from trying to pry him away.

A UVA athletics spokesperson was asked where Mendenhall got his statistics. The response? No idea.

We’ve got no idea regarding what Mendenhall is trying to prove, but it’s safe to say that the coaches against whom he recruits will be printing and laminating his comments for use in recruiting.

Vince in a very sort of clear-eyed way analyzed the original XFL [and] realized that there are a number of things that needed to be done better, Luck said last week in a visit to the #PFTPM podcast. Clearly there was a belief that the quality of play simply wasn’t at the point that it needed to be, particularly when you consider there was national television. We’re going to be very, very focused, laser-like focused on making sure that as we prepare for a 2020 launch. The good news is we have the time to do this in a very sort of methodical manner. Very focused on producing a high level of play. We believe that football is popular because people understand it in many cases in this country and want to make sure that we’re offering a great level of play.

I think our business plan is solid. I think the capital structure and that money of course is coming from Vince who’s got an incredible passion for the game. I think that’s solid. All in all I think that lessons were learned from the original league. Also I think at the end of the day, it’s a little bit of a different era in the sense of technology and what we have available both from a health and safety standpoint, for players, for coaches in terms of competition on the field, for practice, for fan engagement. I think it’s almost a different world if you think about what was around 2001 versus today. I think that’s going to be a real benefit for us.

Unhappy Tom Brady is the best Tom Brady. Watch out.

The 2017 New Orleans Saints ranked tops in the NFL in DVOA, which is pretty amazing considering how heavily the Saints relied on their rookies.

Barkley—who accumulated 3,801 yards from scrimmage and scored 43 touchdowns during his final two seasons with the Nittany Lions—looks primed to make a huge impact right away and is the early favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Looking at the running back depth chart, Barkley doesn’t have much competition for carries. He’ll take the bulk of rush attempts and serve as a viable receiving threat out of the backfield starting in Week 1.

Similar to the Browns, the New York Jets established their intentions at quarterback during free agency. General manager Mike Maccagnan re-signed Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater, knowing he’d target a signal-caller in the first round of the draft.

Head coach Todd Bowles didn’t rule out Sam Darnold as a Week 1 starter, but he must climb over two veteran quarterbacks on the depth chart. McCown looked solid last year before breaking his left hand. The team expects Bridgewater to participate in organized team activities despite concerns about his knee, per ESPN.com reporter Rich Cimini.

The Jets don’t have the strongest offensive line. McCown and Bryce Petty took a combined 47 sacks last year. Spencer Long serves as an upgrade at center, but Bowles isn’t going to throw out the potential franchise signal-caller Week 1 unless there’s full confidence that he can handle leaks up front.bucks_052

Watch: 49ers’ Richard Sherman runs on field for first time since Achilles injury

Niners cornerback Richard Sherman appears to be progressing well through rehab as he continues to recovery from an Achilles injury.

Sherman returned to the practice field and was seen running for the first time Wednesday since suffering the injury last November while he was playing for the Seahawks.

The cornerback shared his progress in a video posted on his Instagram account with the caption “Getting there…..”

Maybe Boston expected him to chill here. In real time, I did, too. After all, there are only seven ticks left on the shot clock when Rozier arrives on LeBron.

Instead, LeBron shifts into predatory mode. He drags Rozier into the Dirk spot, draws help, and creates an easy triple for Love.

This is the LeBron Cleveland needs. This is the sort of offense they need. If they get it, the Cavs can set the stage for one of those pivotal Game 5s in one of LeBron’s favorite road arenas.

McClain, who was originally selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Panthers, has registered 75 solo tackles and 6.5 sacks in his seven-year career. He has also spent time with the Cowboys, Texans and Patriots.

The Falcons finished 2017 with a 10-6 record and made the playoffs for a second straight season. They topped the Rams in the NFC Wild-Card round before falling to the Eagles.

“He’s a guy that didn’t start on the team at the start of the year, so it’s kind of cool to see a guy come in and take advantage of his opportunity. He’s gained a lot of trust from the coaching staff, both offensively and defensively,” said forward Brett Connolly. “He’s been good for us these playoffs and we’re going to need him to keep going and keep playing well for us to be successful. He’s definitely made big strides this year; he’s a really good guy, works hard.”

Even Nathan Walker, the Aussie forward with nine games of NHL experience, drew in for Game 6 against the Penguins and set up Chiasson’s tempo-setting opening goal, in a game the Caps played without Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson.ravens_001

Jerry Jones: No timeline for Jason Witten to finalize his decision

The Cowboys still don’t have a final decision on Jason Witten, and Jerry Jones said the tight end can have all the time he needs. Having said that, the Cowboys owner added that Witten asked for the weekend to finalize his plans.

So Witten likely will inform the team of his decision early next week. Barring a last-minute change of heart, it’s expected the 15-year veteran will retire.

“As I saw Troy [Aikman] say, that’s his decision, and he’s got the time to make it,” Jones said. “He deserves the time to make that. I don’t have a timeline on it. I do know that when we left [Friday], he certainly thought he wanted the weekend to come to some conclusion.”

Smart as hell. You need that tight end position. One of the things that had made Jason Witten what he is is how smart he is. Boy, they’ve got a lot of things that you’d like to ask them to do if they can handle it all. This guy’s got that, so he was a player that certainly when you have to think about Jason not being here, then you’ve got to say that that enhanced his appeal. On the other hand, we didn’t put any air in him at all from where we were when we were talking about him before, and we still don’t know Jason’s decision.”

Romo and Bryant had a great connection when they were together. But then Bryant got paid and Romo retired to do television and Bryant wasn’t nearly as healthy or productive as he had been.

Whether Romo’s endorsement helps his old receiver scare up a job remains to be seen. Bryant wants to find a team to give him a one-year deal so he can hit reset and cash in in 2019. He’d prefer it to be in the NFC East to play the Cowboys twice a year, but so far no one has shown interest in giving him that opportunity.

The Giants should take him on a one year prove it. If he acts up in camp cut him. He was hurt and unhappy last year so factor that into his stats. With the firepower the Giants have he won’t see a lot of heavy coverage. If they can keep Manning upright Bryant could be an awesome addition. And forget the Brandon Marshall deal. He went down in, what, the third game, and never got a chance to show anything.broncos_055_3b22e7dc28197a3c-180x180

Jonathan Allen: “No way of telling” about how much I’ll work at OTAs

Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen recorded the first sack of his NFL career in his third game, but he didn’t add to that total before his season came to an abrupt end.

Allen suffered a Lisfranc injury in Washington’s fifth game of the year and the Redskins had to go without their 2017 first-round pick for the rest of the year. Allen got some practice work in before the end of the year, but he’s not sure that he’ll be ready for a full workload when Organized Team Activites get underway in a few weeks.

“I’m going to be honest, the OTAs they start like end of April, and this will be my first time, so I would like to think so, but I mean, honestly, there’s no way of telling at this point,” Allen said, via the team’s website. “I feel like I’m going to be in a good spot come OTAs, so I’m excited for that, and right now, I’m just taking it day by day just trying to grind.”

Tennessee was a surprise playoff team last season thanks in part to its playmaking defense, and the Titans would be wise to continue building on that side of the ball. Evans is an under-appreciated linebacker in this class; he’s a good athlete with great range who fits the linebacker profile the Titans value.

With Jason Peters needing a replacement for the long term (though they do like Halapoulivaati Vaitai), the Eagles would be wise to snag a swing tackle like Miller who can offer depth. He then could start at left or right tackle, depending on Lane Johnson’s preference, if/when Peters moves on.

“I’m going to put my fan hat on, and obviously at some point we have to,” Kraft said. “Not just that, but think what happened in the ’08 season when in the first quarter against Kansas City, Tom [Brady] goes out. How many people would have said that Matt Cassel would have led us to an 11-5 season? I put my faith and confidence in Bill [Belichick]. He knows his responsibilities. Anything can happen, even if Tom comes in [and is in] tip-top shape.”

At the moment the Patriots have only two quarterbacks on the roster, Brady and Brian Hoyer. They’ll surely add at least one more before training camp, and that could come in the draft. Brady will be 41 in August, and although he says he can keep playing for a few more years, it’s possible that a quarterback they draft next month could be the next starting quarterback in New England.bills_101

Mack enters the final season of his rookie contract, set to make $13.846 million on the fifth-year option.

When it comes to the future of star tight end Rob Gronkowski in New England, Robert Kraft is at peace.

The Patriots owner is aware that Gronkowski openly contemplated retirement after New England’s Super Bowl loss to the Eagles , but everything Kraft’s seen and heard from the playmaker suggests a return to the field in 2018.

“It’s not even an issue for me,” Kraft told Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “I didn’t know about it until I read about it in the paper. I saw (Gronkowski recently at Gillette Stadium). We have a fun, good relationship. He is one of the most up people I know. I was impressed that he was coming in late and doing whatever he had to do to make himself feel right and get his body right.”

The fivesome includes three first-time head coaches, Matt Patricia (Detroit), Frank Reich (Indy), and Mike Vrabel (Tennessee), and two men returning to the top job, Pat Shurmur (New York), and Jon Gruden (Oakland).

For Gruden, his ballyhooed return to the sideline begins with today’s workouts. Given this is little more than supervised workouts, the fiery coach isn’t going to begin his tenure with a big speech or hoopla.

Phase one of workouts are voluntary for NFL players.

Montgomery was knocked around throughout his 4 1/3 innings, as he retired just 11 of 23 batters allowing four runs on a career-high 10 hits.

Montgomery’s short outing had manager Aaron Boone deciding to spell him with German, who was called up from Triple-A on Saturday and the leading candidate to take injured lefty CC Sabathia’s turn Thursday in Boston before being used in long relief on Sunday.

Now the options are fellow call-up Luis Cessa, who pitched an inning of relief on Saturday but was stretched out in spring training, or Sonny Gray on regular rest (which is an option due to Monday’s off day).rams_014

Jay Gruden: ‘Good possibility’ Redskins use early pick on RB

The Redskins struggled to move the ball on the ground last season, and coach Jay Gruden may have a solution to their problem.

Speaking Tuesday on 1067 The Fan, Gruden hinted that Washington may take a running back early in this year’s NFL Draft, saying there was a “good possibility” of using an early pick on a running back.

Holtby is 14-2-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in his career against Columbus, which lost to Nashville in its final game while resting stars Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones and Zach Werenski and two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

“They’re a good young team and they have a great goaltender, but for me it doesn’t matter against who you play,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s just like a fun time. You prepare all year for this moments.”

The Capitals rested RW T.J. Oshie, who has been dealing with a lower-body injury. C Jay Beagle missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. … With the primary assist on Kempny’s goal, Capitals F Shane Gersich picked up his first NHL point in his third game. … Ovechkin, Capitals D Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson and Hischier played all 82 games this season.

Video obtained by TMZ Sports shows Zay shoving Cayleb in a hallway and shouting he is going to “fight for Jesus.” The clip later shows what appears to be Zay’s blood on the walls of the apartment building where Cayleb’s girlfriend is a resident.

Kansas City’s offensive outburst on a raw night came out of nowhere. The club had been held to a single run in four of its previous five games, and two runs in the other. The Royals hadn’t scored more than three runs in a game since a season-opening 14-7 loss to the White Sox.

They had three runs in the first inning alone Monday night.

They tacked on another in the third before a five-spot in the fifth, a half-inning that lasted so long it was a wonder Junis didn’t cool off — or freeze entirely — while sitting in the dugout.buccaneers_002