Verdugo’s first look in the majors was brief, coming at the end of the season when rosters expanded.

He had only four hits, but one of those a pinch-hit solo blast against the Rockies on Sept. 10 showed a sparkle of the promise that Verdugo holds.

Why he could break out: Even though Verdugo didn’t do a lot of hitting in his 23 at-bats with the Dodgers last season, there is every indication that he will if given greater opportunity.

Hyde is certainly the most notable of the three players, but it’s difficult to believe that the Browns also couldn’t have drafted and developed a better running back than the former 49ers starter, who is on a three-year, $15 million pact.

The one hope is that Hyde ends up in a scheme which plays to his strengths in the short-term alongside Tyrod Taylor.

As Evan Silva pointed out on Twitter, Hyde has been significantly more effective in the shotgun than he has under center as a pro, which is also true for Taylor.

The bright side of the Hyde signing is what it suggests: that the Browns likely won’t use the No.

1 overall pick on Saquon Barkley and intend to draft a quarterback.

Free agency wasn’t the only reason Philadelphia was able to take home the Lombardi Trophy. They traded for Timmy Jernigan, who totaled 2.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss, in the offseason. Philadelphia also pulled off a midseason trade for Ajayi, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry in seven regular season games with the Eagles.

They had some hits in last year’s draft, too. First-rounder Derek Barnett recorded five sacks and a forced fumble in his rookie season. He also recovered the Tom Brady fumble that shut down the Patriots’ late-game rally in Super Bowl 52. Barnett is one of several stars the Eagles have drafted in recent years, joining Wentz, tight end Zach Ertz, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Nelson Agholor, their 2015 first-round pick, finally broke through for his best season yet.

As with any championship-winning team, there’s some luck involved, too. For the Eagles, that included snagging kicker Jake Elliott off of the Bengals’ practice squad when Caleb Sturgis got hurt.

Tyrod Taylor has no plans to be “bridge” quarterback for Browns

The Browns still are expected to use a top-four choice on a quarterback, which has many calling recent acquisition Tyrod Taylor a stopgap. But Taylor doesn’t see himself as a “bridge.”

The penalties also partly mirror the investigation pursued by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Thursday’s list included 13 people who had been indicted by Mueller, meaning they were already subject to legal jeopardy that is more serious than the sanctions.

A senior administration official said the timing of Thursday’s announcements were due to the completion of months of work to prepare the sanctions and the collective desire among the United States and allies to respond quickly to the “atrocious hostile act” against the former spy in England.

His answer, though interpreter Ippei Mizuhara: “First of all, he always tells me that he wants me to enjoy the game. That’s the first thing he wants me to think about. Of course, after every day of training, we talk, we communicate, we see if we need to adjust, add more or take some away. So we will be communicating, and he is willing to listen to what I have to say, and I will have some input in my role.”

In August, Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions received a five-year, $135 million extension from the Detroit Lions that included $92 million guaranteed.

With huge cap hits early and none late, it essentially translates to a deal for Stafford that is fully guaranteed for the first few years but left up to the team to decide whether or not to keep near the end of the contract.

The major difference is that Cousins will be free to go after a new contract in 2021 — from the Vikings or the free agency market — no matter how he plays.

Texans tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz’s NFL career has reached a premature conclusion.

Houston placed Fiedorowicz, 26, on the Reserve/Retired list, the team announced Thursday.

What about Hitchens? Here you go: Split Yds/Carry Run First Down% Pass Rating Opposing QBR Hitchens on field 4.1 22.8% 104.7 65.6 Hitchens off field 4.2 25.1% 84.6 43.5 The Cowboys were a significantly worse pass defense with Hitchens on the field.

We can’t pin that entirely on him, but when you’re paying an inside linebacker $9 million per year, you’re expecting him to be an every-down player and difference-maker against both the run and the pass.

Hitchens should be a sound run defender, but run-stuffing inside linebackers aren’t difficult to find in late March.

The Chiefs are projecting Hitchens to be a Pro Bowl-caliber inside linebacker and paying him like one despite never showing that sort of tape on the field.

More often than not, that ends up turning into a disappointing free-agent deal.

The former Packers wideout is headed to the Bay, signing a two-year deal with the Oakland Raiders worth $15 million ($13 million guaranteed), NFL Network’s James Jones reported. The team later officially announced the signing.?

In a related move, Oakland also is cutting receiver Michael Crabtree, NFL Network’s James Palmer reported.

It’s a staggering sum for a guy who has never made a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team.

New York still needs to add as many hog mollies as general manager Dave Gettleman can get his hands on, but Solder should lock down one key position of need, albeit at an extravagant price.

The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have as much work to do this offseason to help second-year quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes.

Houston is on the hunt for offensive line help and Kansas City will add wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Every year, teams in the NFL climb from the bottom of the standings to become overnight playoff contenders. A year ago, it was the Rams and the Jaguars who surprised most. Chicago could be a team to keep an eye on in 2018.

Despite the offense struggling to move the ball through the air and stay on the field, the Bears finished No. 9 in points allowed and No. 10 in total defense.

The offense has been centered around Jordan Howard, who’s racked up 2,435 yards and 15 touchdowns in just two seasons. He’ll only be helped if Chicago can find a way to start stretching the field.

That begins with Robinson, Gabriel, and Burton, who can inject speed into the Bears’ pass game. But they also have picks No. 8 and 39 in the 2018 NFL Draft to continue adding weapons for Trubisky. So the Bears might just be getting started.

The Oakland Raiders have given their offense a new look, agreeing to a contract with wide receiver Jordy Nelson, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

They have also added running back Doug Martin and cut wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Nelson will get a two-year, $15 million deal, a source tells Schefter, including $13 million guaranteed.

Jordy Nelson had 53 catches for 482 yards and 6 touchdowns for the Packers last season.? Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY Sports Terms of the Martin deal are not yet known, though the Raiders will save more than $7.68 million against the salary cap with the release of Crabtree, who was due base salaries of $7 million and $7.5 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Nelson spent 10 seasons in Green Bay.

He and quarterback Aaron Rodgers hold the Packers record for most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver duo with 65.

The Bears are following the Rams’ and Eagles’ blueprints to help Mitchell Trubisky

When free agency begins, the Chicago Bears are expected to already have deals in place with Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, and Philadelphia Eagles tight end Trey Burton. All that’s left to do is put pen to paper Wednesday and Mitchell Trubisky will have new receiving threats to work with in 2018.

Trubisky, 23, could’ve used the help as a rookie last year. In 12 starts, he threw just seven touchdowns with seven interceptions.

It seems pretty clear that Seattle wanted to move on from Bennett, who might be the first part of a painful defensive rebuild over the days to come.

The Seahawks would likely have cut Bennett, given that the return — a fifth-round pick and flyer WR Marcus Johnson, with a seventh-rounder going back to Philadelphia — won’t move the needle.

Bill Barnwell, ESPN Staff Writer Tuesday, March 6 RB Chris Ivory, Bills Grade: D Chris Ivory has been one of the worst running backs in football over the last two years, averaging 3.6 yards per carry while producing more fumbles (seven) than touchdowns (five).

It’s no surprise he was cut by the Jaguars, but it’s more difficult to see why the Bills prioritized him on a two-year, $5.5-million deal when backs of his ilk are free to acquire in the market.

Remember that LeGarrette Blount, a more effective power back, languished in free agency for months after an 18-touchdown season before settling for a one-year, $1.3-million deal with the Eagles last offseason.

He is one of the game’s most well-rounded defensive backs with his ability to cover the slot and also cover a lot of ground like the natural free safety he is. He won’t be underrated and under-compensated much longer.

Yes, he’s getting up there in age, but yes, he finally found a groove in Seattle’s offense during his contract year, going from a slow start to 10 TDs, dominating in the red zone in the second half of the season. The problem is he’s not the same field-stretcher he once was.

He’s still a young corner with an upward trajectory, as he proved he can handle being outside more and more throughout his all-around breakout season. The Bears should want to keep him for Vic Fangio.

He wasn’t expected to do much, but he had a great season, both filling in well outside for Ronald Darby and thriving when covering the slot. The age is a concern, but Robinson can still have a strong short-term impact.

When Tom Brady finally calls it quits, football won’t be the only factor.

The Patriots star quarterback told ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday that the timing of his retirement will have plenty to do with family.

I’d expect the Broncos or Cardinals to start a bidding war over Keenum while the Vikings use what they know about Bridgewater and Bradford’s knees to determine whom they sign. I doubt they’ll be able to re-sign both, but Bradford might be the most reasonable option financially — if he can stay healthy. Bridgewater hasn’t scratched the surface of how good the Vikings expect him to be, which might indicate Minnesota would rather test out his ability than let him walk in free agency. — Cronin

The big question for Landry in Cleveland will be whether or not he can sustain the 28 percent target share he enjoyed during the past three years in Miami. The presence of Gordon (28 percent target share over his past 24 games) could be a bit of a roadblock, but there’s certainly room for both Gordon and Landry to eat. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley only figures to help the cause, as he was well-known for relying heavily on top offensive weapons like Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders in Pittsburgh.

What follows is a subjective ranking of the high-end players available as teams begin negotiating with agents on Monday. Keep in mind that some will re-sign with their former teams before the signing period officially opens on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, or with a new team if they already have been released.

After two years under the franchise tag with combined earnings of nearly $44 million, Cousins will experience a rarity for upper-level quarterbacks: a true bidding war for his services. The Redskins have moved on to Alex Smith, whose acquisition will become official when the new league year begins March 14. Cousins could set a new bar for NFL contracts, perhaps in excess of $30 million annually.

Chiefs to re-sign Anthony Sherman

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to a deal to re-sign fullback Anthony Sherman, a source confirmed to ESPN.

It seems pretty clear that Seattle wanted to move on from Bennett, who might be the first part of a painful defensive rebuild over the days to come. The Seahawks would likely have cut Bennett, given that the return — a fifth-round pick and flyer WR Marcus Johnson, with a seventh-rounder going back to Philadelphia — won’t move the needle.

Chris Ivory has been one of the worst running backs in football over the last two years, averaging 3.6 yards per carry while producing more fumbles (seven) than touchdowns (five). It’s no surprise he was cut by the Jaguars, but it’s more difficult to see why the Bills prioritized him on a two-year, $5.5-million deal when backs of his ilk are free to acquire in the market. Remember that LeGarrette Blount, a more effective power back, languished in free agency for months after an 18-touchdown season before settling for a one-year, $1.3-million deal with the Eagles last offseason. The Bills just guaranteed Ivory $3.3 million, which seems inexplicable for a team which already has the league’s most expensive running back in LeSean McCoy.

Arguably the most difficult position to assess for the Redskins front office is at running back, which took the brunt of the injury load last season. It began with an ACL injury to Keith Marshall in training camp and continued throughout the year, putting Rob Kelley on Injured Reserve after he played in just seven games and did the same with Chris Thompson, who had a stellar campaign until breaking his leg against the Saints in late November.

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 and this year it’s Case Keenum. Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Broncos will reel in the 30-year-old Keenum to be their quarterback of the present and the future when free agency officially opens Wednesday. 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. 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. Keenum finished the season with 3,547 yards passing to go with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Cuenca told the New York Daily News the video was recorded on Thursday.

She also said that Beckham did not take any drugs. She declined to comment on whether or not the white powder is cocaine and would not confirm whether there were drugs in the room.

The Daily News asked Cuenca what Beckham is holding in the video. She responded that it is “a slice of pizza.”

The NFL and the Giants are both aware of the video, but that’s all they’ve had to say about it.

Reid, the brother of 49ers free-agent safety Eric, had an interesting meeting with the Patriots at the Combine. He’s the tough cover man New England needs to replace Patrick Chung, who turns 31 in August and will become a free agent in 2019.

The Eagles might?not be able to afford re-signing Patrick Robinson, who will be a hot free agent after dominating opponents in slot coverage last season. Jackson sticks well with receivers on intermediate routes and has a nose for the ball, lining up well for him to be an impact nickel back.

Gonzalez has been a very productive player though for the Rockies in his career with 211 home runs in nine years in Colorado.

The 32-year-old outfielder turned down a five-year deal with the Rockies in 2017.

I actually don’t hate this rotation. Archer, obviously, is one of the most watchable pitchers in baseball and a worthy leader on any pitching staff. He carves up hitters in his sleep, has an infectious personality, and is a joy off the field. The Rays are probably trading him before the calendar year is out, and whoever gets him will be lucky.

Straily has sort of come from nowhere over the past two years to be a reliable arm, even if metrics like DRA aren’t big fans. Snell is just a few seasons removed from being the big pitching prospect du jour and shows plenty of flashes of greatness. Faria looks like the sort of guy who’s going to be sticking around as a mid-rotation arm for years to come.

It’s an exciting addition for San Francisco, but there are questions about how much Sherman has left to give.

The Seahawks opted to save $11 million instead of bringing him back for the 2018 season, probably due to a serious injury suffered in 2017 coupled with a 30th birthday coming this March.

In 105 career games for the Seahawks, Sherman tallied 32 interceptions and 104 passes defensed. He has long been one of the league’s shutdown cornerbacks, fiercest competitors, and outspoken leaders. The 49ers will hope they get more of the same in 2018 and beyond.

There will be no messing around with this position for the Browns under?new general manager?John Dorsey. In a talented QB class lacking a perfect prospect, Darnold is the most “complete” in terms of competing in?the NFL now.?He’ll need to confirm this at his Pro Day after not throwing at the Combine.

While many on the interwebs (including me) have celebrated the return of the bullpen cart for at least one team (the Diamondbacks) in 2018, some have pondered a critical (not really, but kinda) question: What will become of closer entrance music if every team uses a cart? Will it go away? Will it be less cool? Less of a chill-inducing spectacle? Here are my initial answers to those four questions:

The obvious allure of an entrance song for a closer is to make his entrance that much more grand. It’s a pronouncement that something special is happening, that the game is about to (probably) end in a thrilling fashion and that we should all be excited. Think Mariano Rivera and “Enter Sandman,” or Trevor Hoffman and “Hell’s Bells,” or John Smoltz and “Dancing Queen” (that one’s a joke, but, yes, it really happened).

But I get it: Throw in a bullpen cart to the process and, well, that allure loses some luster. Red Sox fans could still be pumped that Kimbrel’s coming in to close out a win, but there’s just something about watching him run in from the bullpen that adds gravitas — like a superhero marching onto the scene for all to see, and the bad guys knowing there’s nothing they can do about it. Yes, Batman has the Batmobile, but it’s basically a tricked-out war machine. It exudes power and intimidation.

A bullpen cart? It’s a tiny cart that wears a hat. It’s just a step up from a clown car at the circus. It’s kinda ridiculous if you think about it, but that’s also why I’m all for it.

Isaiah Thomas, Tyronn Lue explain decision to stagger minutes with LeBron James

Tyronn Lue’s decision to stagger Isaiah Thomas’ and LeBron James’ minutes appear to be paying off.

For the first time since December, Cleveland won back-to-back games with a 121-104 victory Sunday over the Pistons.

However, Thomas sat out the fourth quarter, even though he posted a season-high seven assists along with 14 points.

“Came back and started Bron in the fourth quarter,” Lue said of his plan. “Him and Kevin came out with 5 1/2 (minutes) to go in the third quarter, so we left I.T. in. We tried to get him out early in the first half, but we left I.T. in, and he was able to carry the scoring load in that third quarter. Then brought Bron back to start the fourth quarter and had a great rhythm. Tristan and (the) guys (who started) said, ‘Let them go. Let them play.’ Second unit came in and played well.”

Gordon had just returned from a vacation to the Bahamas with his girlfriend when he learned about the trade to Seattle. He immediately visited a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Miami and bought a red outfielder’s glove that has since been replaced by a different model and now sits in the trunk of his car. Gordon elicited some laughs when he told the story at a Mariners fan event, but the tone of his voice suggested that he wasn’t fully recovered from the shock of having to reinvent himself at age 29.

“If I woke up every day just worrying about my world, I probably wouldn’t have the most productive day in the world,” Gordon said. “I’m gonna be all right with it. I’m a professional. I’m not here to cry about it. People tell me, ‘You’re a ballplayer,’ and I realize that now. I’m a ballplayer, and I’ll adapt to the situation.”

Mariners coach Chris Prieto flew to Orlando, Florida, in December for the first of two offseason tutorials with Gordon. They sat down and discussed the finer points of center-field play and the best ways for Gordon to embrace the change. Prieto returned to Florida a month later and found that Gordon had already made substantial progress.