NFL free agency rumors: Broncos never made offer for Kirk Cousins

Despite reports the Broncos were clearing $40 to $50 million in cap space to sign Kirk Cousins, and Von Miller was “all-in 100 percent” for Denver to make the move, the AFC West stalwarts never bid on Cousins.

Cousins’ agent told The MMQB that because the Broncos didn’t make the move to sign the star QB he held a “silent auction” with the Vikings, Jets and Cardinals. Nearly an hour after Cousins’ agent began fielding offers from the three teams, the Broncos signed QB Case Keenum on a two-year, $36 million contract.

The Cavs led by only six with under 4 minutes left, but James found Love for a basket, then followed Clarkson’s two 3-pointers with one of his own to put away the game.

“They’re a great team, and when LeBron’s out there it makes it very difficult on guys. You can’t guard him one-on-one,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “But, our guys didn’t quit, so it was good.”

Cavaliers: Cleveland nearly had its whole roster available, but Rodney Hood was ruled out with a sore left Achilles tendon. Guards George Hill (sprained left ankle) and Jose Calderon (sore left hamstring) both returned. … James can play in 82 games for the first time in his career if he plays Wednesday instead of resting for the playoffs, and that’s the way he’s leaning. “I’m healthy, so I’m playing,” he said.

The 48-year-old landed back in jail in the middle of a two-year probation, which he received after his August 2016 arrest. He made headlines after he was found naked in another person’s backyard in Irvine, Calif. Police said Marinovich was carrying a brown bag with methamphetamine, marijuana, syringes, a marijuana pipe and his wallet.

He pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts including public nudity, drug possession and trespassing and received a stayed 90-day jail sentence.

Marinovich had a strong start to his football career as USC’s quarterback and was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991 in the first round of the draft. He only played eight games over the course of two seasons with the Raiders before falling out of the NFL amid concerns about substance-abuse issues. He later played in the Canadian and Arena leagues.

Yoshihisa Hirano (1-0), a 34-year-old Japanese right-hander who agreed to a $6 million, two-year contract in December, pitched a perfect seventh for his first major league win.

Former UCLA coach Jim Mora: QB Josh Rosen ‘needs to be challenged’

Jim Mora thinks Josh Rosen will have to be tested as he prepares to enter the pros.

In an interview Sunday with Sports Illustrated, the former UCLA coach offered an interesting analysis of his former Bruins quarterback, saying Rosen will need to be challenged by whichever team selects him despite his high status.

“I put it in the context of ‘fit,’” Mora said, adding that Darnold has “the underdog mentality that I think will fit so well in Cleveland, a franchise that’s really been down.”

Rosen, 21, threw for 3,717 yards and 26 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 11 games last season, while the 20-year-old Darnold finished 2017 with 26 touchdowns and 13 picks as a redshirt sophomore.

“On the way out to the park, I had no idea if I was going to the Cubs convention [in January] or Opening Day, so I thought it was the right thing to do,” manager Joe Maddon said.

The game was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which was previously an off day for the first series between the National League Central rivals.

“It’s rough out there,” reliever Steve Cishek said. “We’re disappointed. We wanted to get this home opener underway. But at the same time, I know some guys in the bullpen probably, like myself, could use an extra day off just to heal up a little bit and be ready for tomorrow.”

Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova is expected to move back one day to start the series opener, and Maddon said Tyler Chatwood would go for the Cubs.

“They’ve got a team that mirrors us in a lot of respects,” Jones said. “I like a lot of things that we have that they have. We’ve got a running game, offense and quarterback [Dak Prescott] that I’m so proud of for looking ahead and building off of. They probably have more, to say the least, they probably have more names on defense. When I say names, just say they probably have what we’d like to continue to get to. But we’ve got some guys that I think we can get to there.

Rob Gronkowski ‘pretty certain’ he’ll return to Patriots in 2018

New England fans can expect to see their favorite tight end on the field in 2018.

According to ESPN, which cited unidentified sources, Rob Gronkowski is pretty certain he’ll return to the Patriots rather than retire as long as quarterback Tom Brady remains with the team.

The report noted, however, that lingering frustrations remain between Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick in addition to others in the Patriots organization. For Gronkowski, specifically, Belichick has questioned whether he remains all-in with the team after the veteran reportedly considered retirement to pursue a career in acting.

The Giants created a firestorm at the NFL meetings when the team’s brass said it would listen to offers for Beckham. Several teams have inquired about his services. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Giants have asked for at least two first-round picks in return for Beckham, even though the team insisted it was not shopping the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

The Los Angeles Rams were one of the teams interested, but they traded with the New England Patriots for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, eliminating them as a potential landing spot.

Earlier this month, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told reporters, I am optimistic that we can find common ground. Those things are never final until they are final. Until we reach an agreement we don’t have anything right now.

However, Colbert said Sunday the Steelers will put their negotiations with the standout running back on hold in order to focus on the upcoming draft and the remainder of free agency.

Bell will make $14.56 million on the franchise tag in 2018, which is up from the $12.12 million he earned under the tag last year, but he’s made it clear he wants more money and has even threatened to retire or sit out next season if the team uses its franchise tag on him again.

Josh Richardson scored 18 points and Hassan Whiteside added 16 for the Heat, who fell one spot to No. 7 in the East for now. Miami’s playoff seed won’t be decided until the season finales Wednesday.

Jets re-sign Dakota Dozier

The Jets added depth to their offensive line Friday, announcing they have re-signed Dakota Dozier.

The Jets made Dozier a fourth-round pick in 2014, and he has played at right guard and right tackle in his four seasons. He also can play center.

Dozier, 26, set career highs with 14 games played and three starts at right guard.

For his career, Dozier has played 31 games with five starts.

Profar got his first two hits of the season after starting 0 for 7. … Randal Grichuk went 0 for 3, extending his hitless streak to a career-long 22 at-bats. … Elvis Andrus, with two singles, has hit safely in nine of 10 games.

Blue Jays: SS Aledmys Diaz (back) played the entire game after leaving Tuesday’s game and went 0-for-3.

Rangers: RHP Tony Barnette (back) returned to the club after making back-to-back rehab appearances Thursday and Friday with Double-A Frisco. He is eligible to be activated at any time.

Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia (0-0, 1.50 ERA) allowed one earned run in six innings in his season debut Monday against the White Sox.

Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (1-1, 3.38) has 18 strikeouts, which led the American League going into Saturday’s play.

“My main message is we’ve got to defend,” Kerr said before the Warriors’ 117-100 win over the Suns. “We’ve got to get back to being a top-five defensive team. I probably chose my words poorly in Indianapolis. When I said they didn’t care, that didn’t mean that they didn’t ‘care.’ What that meant to me was they didn’t box out. They didn’t get in the passing lanes. They didn’t compete at a high level. But when you say someone doesn’t care, that can be interpreted as maybe you’re questioning their character.

“I think everybody knows how I feel about our guys. They’re an amazing group, and they’re a championship group. So I probably chose my words poorly. But what I’m trying to remind my guys of is in order to win in the playoffs, you better be defending at a high level — and for the most part this year, I think we have, but the last eight, nine games, we have not. It’s not just that simple that you can flip the switch. That’s why I snapped. But you guys know me. I usually break two clipboards a year and yell at the team once, so my quota is now used up.”

Aldon Smith arrested yet again

For former NFL pass rusher Aldon Smith, playing football again seems to be no longer a consideration. Staying out of police custody has become the far more pressing challenge.

Via TMZ, the seventh pick in the 2011 draft was arrested on Friday night for violating the terms of his electronic monitoring. He currently wears both an electronic monitoring device, along with a device that reveals alcohol in sweat.

This would mean the Bills are not interested in what they would consider a reach for Allen or Mayfield. It also would mean they’re not comfortable with taking Jackson at No. 22.

Jackson lasting into the range of No. 27 through No. 29 is a possibility. That’s where three teams with future QB considerations the Saints, Steelers and Jaguars are slated to make selections. The Bills could see it as a way to fall back on Jackson while getting a little more out of the No. 22 pick.

That brings up another QB who should build some late first-round buzz: Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. The earliest second-round spot for Rudolph would be the Giants at No. 34. The Bills could trade back to the end of the first round and keep their current two first-rounders by giving up their second of two second-rounders (No. 56) and their first of two third-rounders (No. 65).

Last month, NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders revealed he had no idea who Titans safety Kevin Byard is. Byard has not forgotten.

Byard, who was a first-team All-Pro and tied for the league lead in interceptions last season, was miffed that Sanders didn’t mention him when naming the best safety in the NFL. Byard tweeted at Sanders that first-team All-Pro recognition should count for something, and Sanders replied by demonstrating that he thought Byard was just some random fan tweeting at him, and not an All-Pro safety.

Coroner’s office misidentified victim in Humboldt hockey bus crash

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice announced Monday that the province’s coroner’s office misidentified one of the 15 people killed last week in the highway crash involving a junior hockey team bus.

The ministry announced that Parker Tobin, 18, has died and that Xavier Labelle, who previously had been identified as among the deceased, is alive.

The hockey world was stunned and saddened to hear the news of a bus crash that killed 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. Said Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock: “It’s got to rip the heart out of your chest.”

The coroner’s office also extended “its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as those who were involved in the collision.”

Over the weekend, Tobin’s family had tweeted that Parker was alive. Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench called it “an unfortunate mistake.”

“It’s hard to comprehend that,” he said.

Broncos club president Kevin Garinger said he was contacted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police early Monday about it and said the error makes a difficult situation more challenging.

Gay was also put on the discard pile in March when the Steelers released him to create more cap space. The Steelers selected Gay in the fifth round of the 2007 draft and he spent 10 of his first 11 NFL seasons in Pittsburgh. The other season was spent with the Cardinals in 2012, but he returned to the Steelers after being released in March 2013.

Gay, who has never missed a game over the course of his pro career, had 19 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 16 regular season games with the Steelers last season.

“We have great coaches that have been really good with us and really resilient with us. We’re ready to go, man. There’s enough talking. I don’t see no players saying it. There’s a lot of commentators saying it, but they not playing. They watching. So we’ll see when we get [in between] the lines.”

Morris also sounded off about being ejected from two games in a seven-day span after being hit with a pair of technicals in last Saturday’s win over the Raptors and again during Friday’s triumph over the Chicago Bulls.

Humboldt tragedy hits home for sister team in Saskatchewan

They were in the dressing room, getting ready for a playoff game. Down 2-1 in the Prairie Junior Hockey League finals to the Regina Capitals, the Delisle Chiefs were locked in. Some players were lacing up their skates. Others were in full pads. A few had already put on their helmets.

That’s when the news began trickling in Friday night. A bus had crashed near Tisdale, Saskatchewan, about two and a half hours northeast of Delisle, and a group of junior hockey players on their way to their own playoff game had been injured.

The Chiefs learned more details of the crash as they sat in their locker room Friday night, half-dressed in their uniforms, in silence. The bus had collided with a truck carrying peat moss. There were fatalities. Helicopters were on the scene. Players were being airlifted out.

“When we started hearing more, we knew,” Ditto said. Ditto gathered the team and said, “There are more important things going on right now than playing this hockey game. Whatever you need to do in your best interest is what you need to do.”

According to Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network, Beckham is expected to be on hand when the Giants open the first day of work of the Pat Shurmur administration.

Shurmur said during the owners meetings that’s what he anticipated to happen, but so much was said about Beckham that week it’s hard to keep the stories straight.

The Giants were tired of his distractions, unless they weren’t. They refused to declare him untoucable, unless they didn’t. And in a case of NFL Network on NFL Network crime, there were reports he wasn’t stepping on the field without a contract extension.

Technically, that might still be true as the first phase of offseason programs include strength and conditioning and rehab work. They won’t actually step onto a field for two weeks, when players can begin individual instruction.

But while the semantics will have to be sorted out, the reality is he wants a new contract, and the Giants may or may be inclined to give him one. But showing up and playing nice can’t hurt.

Verlander dominates over 7 innings, Astros beat Twins 2-0

Facing Joe Mauer with runners at the corners and no outs, Justin Verlander reached back for a fastball that broke in to strike out the lefty-hitting Mauer.

Verlander said he yanked the four-seam fastball and was fortunate Mauer swung over it.

“He dials it up like the best in the game,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I don’t know too many guys that are better in those situations. There’s a lot of great pitchers around the league but when he can feel it and he smells that he needs to turn his game up, he really reaches deep and does some incredible things.”

Ken Giles earned his first save of the season for Houston by getting Byron Buxton to ground out with a runner on third in the ninth. Buxton hit a long foul ball during the at-bat that just went wide of the left field foul pole.

“Not overly concerned about it, just trying to get these guys to understand — they’re probably tired of hearing about it — but we just haven’t really settled into consistent at-bats and consistent play and conducive conditions, so you’ve just got to keep grinding,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You’ve got to hold your own the best you can until you start getting a better feel for playing day in and day out, which we haven’t done.”

Minnesota reliever Taylor Rogers (1-1) allowed a leadoff double to Correa in the sixth after coming in for starter Lance Lynn. Correa scored from third on rookie J.D. Davis’ liner to left field off reliever Trevor Hildenberger.

Williams did some decent work for the Cardinals last year, starting six games after injuries to others, and finishing with 426 yards on 120 carries.

The Chiefs still have Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware on the roster, so it’s already a deep position for them.

Although the new rule seems to apply broadly to lower the helmet and leading with it, O’Brien seems to think that “it’s more about the top of the head, the lowering of the head and using it as a weapon,” and not necessarily about the instinctive dipping of the helmet that happens whenever a runner tries to maneuver between the tackles.

“A running back one-on-one with a linebacker in the hole trying to get the extra yard,” O’Brien said. “Lowering his shoulder which obviously lowers his head to be able to get that extra yard. There’s a lot of conversations that have to take place before the rule is written because like you just said none of us want the running game to be out of football. Those are all good points and points that are being brought up. I know we’re working hard to get it written the right way so we can explain it to the players and the officials can officiate it the right way.”

Tyron Smith’s back “feeling great right now”

Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith missed three full games and parts of two others with a back injury last season and the Cowboys missed him a lot when he wasn’t in the lineup.

His absence was missed the most in back-to-back games to the Falcons and Eagles that saw Dak Prescott get sacked 12 times in losses that loomed large when the 9-7 Cowboys wound up missing the postseason. It’s the second straight year that Smith has dealt with back issues and he said Saturday that he started doing rehab work earlier this offseason in hopes of avoiding more problems in the future.

Jackson’s flying solo through the draft process is unusual, and it some ways it probably does hurt, because he doesn’t have an extra advocate teams trust going to bat for him. But in the end, it won’t make or break his draft stock. Jackson still will be drafted based on the comfort level teams have with his dynamic but hard-to-compartmentalize skill set.

Jackson’s workout also provided a reminder that he did not play with the best offensive supporting cast in college, especially those who caught passes from him. Jackson threw some lasers, but some drops by former teammates didn’t help him look as good as should have.

It would be fun to see Jackson paired early with an elite veteran wideout, a la Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins immediately working well together last season.

Karl-Anthony Towns slammed his way to 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who toughed out a 113-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night to move one step closer to the postseason.

“We had to play as if we had that kind of desperation in us,” said Towns, who had five dunks to help ignite the crowd.

They haven’t always displayed that attitude down the stretch, which is why they weren’t able to clinch that long-sought spot before their 82nd game. They’ll have to beat surging Denver on Wednesday night to get in, because the Nuggets won their sixth straight game to stay tied with the Wolves in eighth place. Denver’s victory over Portland ended about an hour after Minnesota’s, but the players expressed nonchalance about following along as they left the arena.

“I’m not going to check my phone. I’m going to go eat,” Jimmy Butler said wryly, after scoring 15 points in 23 minutes, his second game back from the knee injury.

Jeff Teague added 24 points for the Timberwolves, who trailed by 10 points early before taking over against a depleted Grizzlies team that beat them 101-93 exactly two weeks ago in one of their worst losses of the season.

Randy Gregory ready to apply for reinstatement

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is close to applying for reinstatement, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Gregory, 25, has not played in the NFL since Week 17 of the 2016 season. The NFL banned him for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

New catch rule not applied in Super Bowl LII More When the NFL revealed its new catch rule on Tuesday, there were those in the media who said the new guidelines were in play during Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots in February. On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about it during a press conference at the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., but Goodell did not answer. Instead, he passed the question on to Al Riveron, NFL vice president of officiating, who was standing next to Goodell. No, we did not, Riveron said. In order for us to overturn a call we had to see clearly indisputable evidence.

Ogletree’s cap number of roughly $12 million for each of the next three years was a luxury Snead could no longer afford once the Rams determined to fulfill Phillips’ wish for premium cornerbacks.

By swapping out Ogletree, Robert Quinn and Trumaine Johnson for perennial Pro Bowlers such as Talib, Peters and Ndamukong Suh, the Rams are emerging as perhaps the most compelling team in the league. If Snead manages to land mercurial Giants megastar Odell Beckham as the final masterstroke, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal won’t be the only one proclaiming football’s version of Showtime in Los Angeles.

If you’re talking about racism and sexism, that moment in my life showed the cracks in everyone I knew, she explained. I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay-Z was managing me. The lawsuit was so ridiculous, it proposed that they would keep one hundred percent of my earnings for the rest of my life if I ever earned more than $2 million. Jay-Z was like,’You should sign that sh–,’ and I was like,’No.’ While M.I.A. said she’s over the whole incident, she does have some lingering frustrations. A middle finger, it’s like get a f—ing grip, she said.

The Giants are often held as the standard-bearers for how an NFL franchise should be run, praised for their consistent ability to plan long-term with patience and for their franchise-wide stability – at least until recently. However, if New York ultimately decides to trade its best player in Odell Beckham Jr., just as he’s entering the prime of his career, they no longer deserve to be mentioned among the league’s elite. It would be, without hyperbole, one of the worst moves in the history of the NFL. But first, let’s explore exactly why the Giants are even entertaining the idea of trading an elite talent.