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Redskins

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Redskins

The Washington Redskins spending big money in free agency is a rite of Spring that rivals Opening Day or any basketball tournament. This year, Spring arrived a little later than usual.
Redskins fans will wake up Wednesday to the news that DeSean Jackson has agreed to terms, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. After one season stuck in salary-cap jail, owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen are freely spending again.
The team has re-signed five players since February, and handed Brian Orakpo a pricey franchise tag. The ‘Skins have signed 12 free agents from other squads, including a deal that awarded defensive tackle Jason Hatcher $10.5 million in 2014. But Jackson’s deal is the move that will make the biggest impact.
No one can say that Robert Griffin III lacks weapons now. In Pierre Garcon and Jackson, the Redskins might have the fastest starting wide receiver duo in the league. (And the best Redskins tandem since Gary Clark and Art Monk.) We’d pick a few current pairs ahead of them overall (Chicago and Atlanta, to start), but no group has more big-play ability. New Redskins coach Jay Gruden is used to coaching a quarterback that can’t deliver the ball deep. Griffin has a cannon, and will have a hard time overthrowing this group. And he knows it.

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Desean Jackson

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The Washington Redskins just handed quarterback Robert Griffin III an essential ingredient in his bid to become the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2014.

After hosting DeSean Jackson for two days, the Redskins have agreed to terms with the free-agent wide receiver on a three-year contract, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, via sources involved in the negotiations.

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Follow all the developments on the NFL’s open market with our up-to-the-minute tracking of 2014’s free agents. More…
Contract terms have yet to be disclosed. Teams often pay a premium for the opportunity to keep a player in the building — and away from other teams in pursuit.

In this case, it was the 49ers making a late push, per Rapoport.

The Raiders and Bills had been in the hunt since Jackson’s release Friday, though neither was willing to enter a bidding war once Daniel Snyder’s deep pockets got involved.

Entering free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles appeared to have a stranglehold on the NFC East. Chip Kelly’s aerial attack just lost its No. 1 wide receiver to a divisional rival with a suddenly stacked offense.

In dangerous deep-threat Jackson, NFL receptions leader Pierre Garcon, newly signed slot receiver Andre Roberts and a highly athletic mismatch in Jordan Reed at tight end, Griffin’s weapons are now on par with any NFC quarterback’s.

All four players can get deep and make tacklers miss after the catch, two qualities that will be highlighted by Griffin’s ability to extend plays and find receivers down the field.

Throw in a backfield bulldozer of Alfred Morris’ caliber, and the Redskins have the potential to leap from 23rd in scoring offense all the way to the top five.

If Jay Gruden’s club can hit on a couple of impact defensive players early in the 2014 NFL Draft, they will be nipping at the Eagles’ heels in a stronger NFC East.

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Matt Schaub to the Raiders

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Matt Schaub to the Raiders

When the Oakland Raiders acquired Matt Schaub, he was billed as the long-term solution to their quarterback woes.

Free-Agent Tracker
Follow all the developments on the NFL’s open market with our up-to-the-minute tracking of 2014’s free agents. More …
As it turns out, the Raiders essentially are committing to Schaub as the starter for just one season.

Originally scheduled to earn $11 million in 2014, Schaub will now collect a $4.5 million fully guaranteed salary and a $3.5 million signing bonus to be paid on March 31, according to NFLPA documents obtained by CSN Bay Area. The deal also calls for $3 million in unlikely to be earned incentives.

The key takeaway from the new agreement, though, is Schaub’s $5.5 million non-guaranteed salary for 2015.

If the 32-year-old doesn’t bounce back from a disappointing 2013 season, the Raiders can release him without penalty.

Even if Schaub shows enough promise to stick around for another year, he will be compensated at the same level as veteran stopgaps such as Michael Vick, Josh McCown and Chad Henne.

Coach Dennis Allen has expressed confidence that Schaub will be the face of the franchise for the next three to four seasons.

The reality is the Raiders can painlessly pull the plug in favor of a promising draft pick as soon as October or November.

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Knowshon Moreno

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Knowshon Moreno

Knowshon Moreno’s career-high 1,586 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to Super Bowl XLVIII won’t guarantee him a starting job with his new team.

Moreno told reporters during Friday’s introductory conference call that he will have to beat out Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas for lead-back duties.

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“I just want to compete. I’m not expecting anything,” Moreno said, per The Palm Beach Post. “I’m coming from a team where anyone can be the starter and it’s the same thing with (the) Dolphins.”

Moreno’s contract is for one year and just under $3 million. He said Friday that the Dolphins were the only team with whom he communicated in free agency.

In other words, this was not an accomplished running back in heavy demand.

Moreno certainly is more trustworthy in pass protection, route running, short yardage and ball security than Miller.

Those qualities trumped his pedestrian running ability on a team with the luxury of Peyton Manning under center. Without a difference-making quarterback, though, the Dolphins can’t afford to neglect Miller’s playmaking advantage.

Look for Miller and Moreno to split time as game situations dictate, with Thomas as the odd man out.

Even if Moreno isn’t the “starter,” his consistent approach will help a backfield that was held under 25 rushing yards on four different occasions last season.

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Russell Westbrook

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Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook is in the starting lineup for the Thunder’s game at the Dallas Mavericks.
Westbrook sprained his oft-injured right knee Friday in Toronto and had an MRI on Saturday.

He missed the Thunder’s home game on Monday against Denver. But since returning to the lineup on Feb. 20 following knee surgery, Westbrook has rested for one game during back-to-back games.
Before Tuesday’s game, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he’s restricting Westbrook’s minutes as he also deals with the absences of center Kendrick Perkins (left groin strain) and swingman Thabo Sefolosha (left calf strain). Brooks said he’s comfortable with about 30 minutes per game for Westbrook.

http://www.nba.com/2014/news/03/25/westbrook-playing-vs-mavs.ap/index.html

Heat-Pacers packs punch as playoff preview, palate cleanser

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NBA.com | Hang Time Blog

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com

[nba-video vid=games/pacers/2014/03/26/0021301067-mia-ind-recap.nba]
VIDEO: Pacers edge Heat in chippy East clash

INDIANAPOLIS – Surely, Washington and Detroit would understand. Same with Cleveland and Milwaukee and the other teams on the Indiana Pacers’ and Miami Heat’s schedules over the short term.

If the NHL could shut down for a few weeks to accommodate the Winter Olympics, the NBA and its member teams no doubt would oblige by staging the Eastern Conference finals now, wouldn’t they?

This one – Pacers 84, Heat 83 – was that special. And raggedy. And nasty. And hot.

There were grimaces and grumbles in the visitors’ dressing room afterward, smiles and a couple of exhales over on the home team’s side, and for a night – portending, soon enough, a fortnight – all was right with the NBA world.

Not all right in the sense that Miami lost and, with it, an…

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MJD

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MJD

There is most certainly a market for running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported Monday that representatives for Jones-Drew will meet with the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers this week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Free-Agent Tracker
Follow all the developments on the NFL’s open market with our up-to-the-minute tracking of 2014’s free agents. More…
Jones-Drew met with the Steelers last week, but left without a deal. Mehta has reported the Jets have “serious interest” in the 29-year-old Jones-Drew, who spent his first seven pro seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Two different sources told the Daily News that general manager John Idzik’s “hard-line stance cost the Jets an opportunity to sign their top running back target early in free agency.” If true, the Jets are still in the market for a complement to the talented but injury-prone Chris Ivory.

Jones-Drew likely still considers himself an every-down back, and it’s worth noting that the four teams on his docket this week all seem to have some level of uncertainty tied to their backfields.

Source

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000336491/article/report-mjd-reps-to-meet-with-four-teams-in-orlando

NBA

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Kevin Durant  is doing all he can to earn his first NBA MVP award, but LeBron James keeps getting in his way.Of course, it comes down to Durant vs. James. Isn’t that what always happens with the league MVP?Except usually, James wins out. Now though, it seems like Durant may have the best shot to finish the season as the league’s Most Valuable Player. And ultimately, it’s going to come down to the narrative.You know the narrative. It’s what determines our awards constantly.

Often, it leads us to the right decision. Sometimes, though, we end up with Derrick Rose as our MVP because we’re angry at a post-Decision LeBron or unable to conjure up an inspiring story for Dwight Howard.This year, we have two remarkably deserving MVP candidates. Really, neither pick is the wrong one. Choose James or Durant and you’re not going to look silly. At this point, though, with 14 games left for Durant and 16 for James, doesn’t it seem like KD owns the slight edge in public favor? And as long as he can hold on to that, he may be able to earn his first career MVP award.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2000553-checklist-for-kevin-durant-to-lock-up-the-2014-nba-mvp-race

Linebackers

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The New England Patriots landed a pair of top-notch man cover cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, but there are still plenty of holes to fill. The defensive line needs some new pieces, and the offensive line could use some reinforcements as well. The defensive need a defensive tackle because Vince Wilfork wanted to be released and their is no word yet about it. Our other definitive tackle was injured and we are not sure when he will return.

The Patriots linebacker core got weaker out both our middle linebackers left. Brandon Spikes signed with the Buffalo bills and Dane Fletcher signed  with the Buccaneers.

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Darrelle Revis

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The New England Patriots and cornerback Darrelle Revis reached agreement on a one-year, $12 million deal. Not only was Bill Belichick able to fill Talib’s spot at left cornerback, he did so with a significantly better player and in the process inked the highest-profile free agent in team history.
Revis, at age 28 is regarded by many as the best cornerback in football. Prior to tearing his ACL and missing most of the 2012 season he had gone to four straight Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro three times. He was also quite durable before the knee injury as he missed just three games between 2007-11 before tearing his ACL in Week 2 of 2012 in Miami.