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.

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.”

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.

Inside Joe Maddon’s infamous World Series bullpen decision

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the book “Try Not to Suck: The Exceptional, Extraordinary Baseball Life of Joe Maddon” by Jesse Rogers and Bill Chastain.

“Yeah, it was all me,” Maddon said. “I had it in my head. When I put Chappy [Chapman] in the game to begin with, first of all, it was against Lindor, and I thought there’s no other way to do this because if they get back in it — I’ve had bad games in Cleveland before — we had to put him in there.

Players: You can sort them by position, MLB team, projected stats and more. More importantly, you can use the search to quickly find a player you want to draft.

Pick queue: Add players you might want with your next pick to the Pick Queue in the order you rank them. If your clock runs out — be it because you took too much time thinking or because you had a computer glitch — the system will pick the top player in your queue. The queue also helps you avoid forgetting about a player you want during the draft.

Be a cheater without cheating: Beforehand, print your rankings and cheat sheets and go over them so you’re sure it all looks the way you want it to. Once the draft starts, cross off each player who is drafted, so you know who remains when it’s your pick. This can be helpful as an extra line of defense so you don’t forget any players during the draft frenzy.

The Mariners announced earlier Monday that outfielder Ben Gamel will miss four to six weeks with an oblique injury, jeopardizing his availability for Opening Day and opening a potential roster spot for the 44-year-old Ichiro.

Ichiro’s deal with Seattle could be completed as early as Monday, the source told Crasnick.

Gamel is added to a growing list of ailments for the Mariners, who already have seen first baseman Ryon Healy (hand), outfielder Mitch Haniger (hand) and pitcher Felix Hernandez (bruised forearm) slowed by injuries during spring training. Outfielder Guillermo Heredia is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, leaving Seattle thin at the position.

Ichiro was a 10-time All-Star during his 11-plus years with the Mariners from 2001 to 2012. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in batting average (.322) and hits (2,533).

The Mariners have not reached the postseason since Ichiro’s historic rookie season in 2001, when he was both the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year while leading Seattle to a league-record 116 wins in the regular season.

Meet Frank Reich, new head coach of the Colts

The Indianapolis Colts were thrown for a loop when Josh McDaniels, their first choice for their head-coaching vacancy, decided to stay with the New England Patriots. Now after starting their search over again, they settled on Frank Reich as their new head coach, the Colts announced Sunday. Reich is fresh off winning a Super Bowl ring as offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“The way we like to look at this is, we are doing every possible thing with cameras and technology to keep things secure all the way up to that locker room door,” Lanier said, via Graziano. “Then we rely on our partners from our clubs, and that would be the Patriots and the Eagles that are here, to make sure with everything that goes on inside that locker room, they keep safe.”

C. Martin Mauricio Ortega, who was credentialed media for Super Bowls XLIX, 50, and LI, was able to make off with Brady’s jerseys from XLIX and LI. He took Von Miller’s helmet after Miller’s MVP performance in the Broncos’ win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

The FBI got involved and was able to track down the stolen memorabilia in Mexico. The stolen items were returned to Brady and Miller.

He was almost traded this offseason, but he ended up staying with the Patriots. He played in 16 games, starting in 15 of them. He had two interceptions, 12 pass deflections, and three forced fumbles.

There’s no telling what Butler’s future with the team will be, but between this past offseason and benching him during the Super Bowl, it doesn’t seem like he might be around much longer.

The Chicago Bulls came out of the All-Star break intent on starting a youth movement. The Minnesota Timberwolves readied for a final sprint to the playoffs and breaking the franchise’s long postseason absence.

Minnesota is now hoping for the best for Jimmy Butler, Chicago’s one-time star.

Butler left Friday’s game in Houston with an injured right knee. Butler went down in the third quarter and had to be helped off the court in the Timberwolves’ 120-102 loss.

An X-ray on the injured knee came back negative, according to Yahoo’s Shams Charania.

2018 NBA All-Star Game halftime show: Pharrell Williams, N.E.R.D, and Migos were awesome

N.E.R.D, starring famous hitmaker Pharrell Williams, put on a highly enjoyable halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Unlike the many overproduced T.V. musical performances, the N.E.R.D sessions was quick, varied, and really fun.

Whatever Skateboard P and N.E.R.D cook up will surely outshine whatever it is that Kevin Hart and friends did during the intros.

Lynch and the 49ers want to determine — with the help of the courts and the NFL — whether Foster is guilty of the domestic violence charge. If so, they then must decide whether to cut him under a no tolerance policy or give him a second chance to get his act together.

According to NFL.com, Brees and the Saints will meet at the NFL Scouting Combine to potentially finalize a short-term contract. If the Saints can’t sign the 39-year-old by March 14, his contract becomes void and counts $18 million in dead cap space against the Saints.

The report says the two sides could be working on a deal in the $20 million to $25 million range annually. Brees has continually stated that he’d like to finish his career in New Orleans.

“Especially on medical issues and that type of thing, we can get updates from them, see how things are going and get very specific, very detailed reports as we go forward,” Reich told co-host Bill Polian and me Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I’m just really kind of getting into the process of seeing what that will look like, how often we’ll get those reports and how things will progress.”

Reich’s freshness to the job — he was officially hired 10 days ago after New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out of a verbal commitment to become Indianapolis’ next head coach — is one of the reasons he isn’t offering a definitive timetable of when Luck will return to the field.

Doing so last year blew up in the face of Colts owner Jim Irsay and then-head coach Chuck Pagano, both of whom maintained that Luck would be able to play in 2017 after undergoing shoulder surgery the previous January.

Luck missed the entire preseason, experienced soreness when trying to throw in October and was subsequently placed on injured reserve. Luck then traveled to Europe for further medical treatment.

Ryan Braun has never been a fan of spring training, but he’ll have plenty of work to keep him busy this year.

The Milwaukee left fielder reported to camp Monday to prepare for his 12th big league season. And for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2007, he’ll be taking ground balls as the Brewers try to get him work at first base.

Moving Braun became an option when Milwaukee acquired outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich in January. Their additions created a logjam in an already-crowded outfield, so to help ease the situation, general manager David Stearns and manager Craig Counsell approached Braun about potentially playing first base.

In terms of power conference teams, the Florida State Seminoles (in overtime over Clemson) and Providence Friars (who handed Villanova its second loss in three games) both picked up crucial wins on Wednesday night to edge themselves closer to safety. On the flip side, the Kentucky Wildcats, losers of four in a row, Butler Bulldogs, in the midst of a three-game skid, and TCU Horned Frogs, who last won consecutive games on Dec. 18 and 22, are all headed in the wrong direction.

Braun didn’t have to do much rehabbing work during the offseason and reported to camp with no health issues. With the Brewers poised to challenge for a postseason berth, he’s ready for a new challenge.

The United States team of Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani is slated to go 18th in the order, followed by the U.S. team of Evan Bates and Madison Chock. At No. 22, Zachary Donohue and Madison Hubbell, the final U.S. pair, will hit the ice. There are 24 entrants in total.

The first pairing up is Michal Ceska and Cortney Mansorova of Czech Republic, dancing to a samba, rhumba, samba. Their technical score was a 29.11, and their overall score was a 53.53, short of their season’s best of 54.94. Up next is Maxim Nikittin and Alexandra Nazarova of Ukraine.

Skating to the rhumba and mambo and with a season best of 63.33, Nikittin and Nazarova had a lively start. The 2015 World Championships bronze medalists had a technical score of 27.26 and finished with a 57.97, taking over first place. Up next is the par of Joti Polizoakis and Kavita Lorenz.

I think we are more confident right now and that’s why it’s been working.At 26, Middlebrooks need a fresh start with another team.

Malcolm Mitchell, the rookie receiver who developed a solid connection with Brady (and had six catches for 70 yards in that fateful Super Bowl), hasn’t played a down this season due to a knee injury. Chris Hogan missed seven of the team’s final eight games with a shoulder injury and may not be 100 percent healthy in the playoffs.

Not you yeah you know you have to be.The Demon Deacons had already drawn commitments from two international big men, Makhtar N’Diaye from France and Ricky Peral from Spain, and Odom was certain both were better than .Chicago Blackhawks 3.The Quick Opinion: Stubbs’s power-speed combo puts him elite company but his playing time is less-than-elite.When running to the outside, he has the ability to plant outside leg and get vertical with success.fit right with that murderers row of teams that need receivers the early 20s at 22, Minnesota at 23 and Cincinnati at 24, said Mayock, lead draft analyst for the NFL Network.

Alford says he doesn’t want to overhaul his defense; he just wants to nudge the efficiency ranking inside the top 100.2006 Greg Maddux loses his 200th game for a career record of 325.

He brought energy, but he rubbed off on those guys.2 pick the 2014 draft out of Duke.On July 19, Feller made his debut as Indians reliever, throwing one inning with two walks and a strikeout.I am not sure they have any assets right now that they ‘t view as a part of their own future that would also entice another team to fork over a draft pick to get.

The Cowboys need those people in West Texas and on the Oklahoma border to watch. The NFL needs those people tune in too. And the proof came in the ratings not that you read about this week, but rather the ones that were privately presented to the owners over the league’s two-day meetings in lower Manhattan.

The focus Tuesday and Wednesday was on the players’ desire to have a stage to address social causes, and the associated protests during the anthem that resulted. But in the background loomed the reality that the discord of the past few weeks wasn’t good for anyone’s bottom line, and the ratings might just be the first proof.

“There’s no question this had an impact on the business,” said Giants owner John Mara. “But this is an important social issue. And sometimes you have to put the interests of the business behind the interest of issues that are more important than that.”

He did give us a doozy to remember him by in the very last game he called, the Titans’ 22-21 wild card win over the Chiefs.

After Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota threw himself a touchdown (yes, you read that correctly) in wild card action against the Chiefs, Gruden informed us that the only other player to do this in NFL history was Brad Johnson back in Week 7 of the 1997 season. Then he showed us the highlight … ON HIS PHONE.