Todd Gurley: Sad situation that Le’Veon Bell didn’t sign long-term deal

Rams running back Todd Gurley has shared his opinion that it might take a work stoppage for NFL players to get fully guaranteed contracts at some point in the future and players at his position have had a hard time in recent years matching peers at other spots when it comes to getting portions of their contracts fully guaranteed.

The latest example of that came this week when running back Le’Veon Bell’s agent made it clear that the Steelers’ final offer to his client fell short of the guarantees they wanted in a long-term deal. The trend at running back isn’t good for others who will be looking to sign such deals in the coming years, which Gurley noted while talking to Taylor Bisciotti of NFL Network about Bell’s situation.

The receivers. Larry Fitzgerald is back for another season (possibly his last?), but his veteran leadership can only do so much. The Cardinals will lean on second-round pick Christian Kirk and last year’s third-rounder, Chad Williams, to become regular contributors. If the team can make it work, J.J. Nelson can stay in a speed specialist role, making for a deeper receiving corps for whichever quarterback—Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon and first-round pick Josh Rosen are all on the roster—wins the starting job.

While such workouts are common around the league, they have not been a regular part of Flacco’s offseason routine. He last did such work during the lockout in 2011, but the Ravens have several new members of the receiving corps beyond Snead this year and hitting the ground running may be more important to Flacco in the past given Jackson’s presence on the depth chart.

From first-overall pick Deandre Ayton to the next 29 NBA hopefuls selected after, this is our analysis of every first-round pick made Thursday night in Brooklyn.

Learn more about Ayton and—the chip he has on his shoulder entering the NBA—in our behind-the-scenes doc on SI TV (subscription required).

Waiting to hear your name called at the NBA draft is hard. Charlotte Wilder looked at the anticipation and tedium many prospects go through on draft night.

Trae Young wasn’t the only pick traded on Thursday. We graded every swap that went down during Round 1 (and how it may affect the pursuit of Kawhi Leonard).

Former teammate tells Julian Edelman PED suspension not the end of the world

Former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich has been there before.

So when wide receiver Julian Edelman was hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy, he was quick to reach out to his former teammate.

I just said it’s not the end of the world, Ninkovich said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. Yeah, it sucks. It’s not what you want to deal with at this point in your career. When I was going through it, I had gone through all these emotions of what people were going to think of me, and at the end of the day, the people that love you, and that support you, it doesn’t matter.

As the youngest of three boys, with a father in the Air Force and a mother who hung the message Football is life on the wall of the family’s home, Nick is no stranger to injuries. He played a junior high football game with a fractured forearm stabilized by bubble wrap and tape. He broke his right leg as a high school sophomore attempting to dunk, gashed his forehead on a basketball goal while bouncing on a trampoline and sliced open one of his fingers, a wound that needed 12 stitches to mend.

His injury in the Egg Bowl was different from the others, but nothing compared to the one his older brother Justin sustained a few years ago in the Army. On a skydiving expedition, Justin’s parachute failed to open, and he plummeted to the ground, landed atop another soldier and broke his back. Next to that, a dislocated ankle doesn’t seem so bad.

The Cardinals released Floyd, who had a previous DUI arrest, after that arrest and the team has said there will be consequences for Keim, who also had a previous DUI arrest, as a result. Floyd was also suspended for four games by the NFL and discipline for team executives has varied after past incidents, although the revelation of his BAC will likely lead to a stiffer sentence.

Position coaches write their own reports, too, and Guenther will frequently compare notes. I won’t always tell them my opinion on a player at first, he says. I might say I like a player who I actually hate, just to see if the coach really knows [what we’re looking for] or if he’ll just agree with me.

When April rolled around, the coaching staff was intact and fully up on the scheme, incumbent players had been evaluated and major free agents had been signed. There was finally enough time to focus fully on the draft. Guenther and his position coaches corroborated their pre-draft reports, with each man putting a grade on each player. The grades were broken into three parts per round: A, B and C.

We see Rivers throw for Allen and Thompson intercept it.

This is just lack of execution on my part. Right now, I should be throwing to Williams. And this is the sort of thing we talk about; after the game, [offensive coordinator] Ken Whisenhunt and Shane Steichen, our quarterback coach, we said to each other, ‘We should know when the backside safety is going to push over to help inside,’ and we did know.’ To prevent Collins from helping over the middle, the Chargers could have kept Williams on some sort of vertical route on Collins’s side of the field.

Anderson stole the show in Georgia’s double-overtime win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, carrying 26 times for 201 yards with a pair of touchdowns, including a 41-yard scoring scamper early in the second quarter in which he burst through a hole at the line of scrimmage and dusted the Bulldogs’ secondary on the way to the end zone. That game offered a glimpse of what Anderson can do against an elite defense, and just about all of the ones he’ll face in Big 12 play this season will be far more permissive. With Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield off to the NFL, Oklahoma could increase Anderson’s workload as the new starter (either redshirt junior Kyler Murray or redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall) gets acclimated under center.

Tim Connolly: As you’d come down from the home team’s locker room, you’d go down this ramp and make a right hand turn onto the field, and when the offense came out of the locker room to run down for pregame warmups and they’d be yelling at each other $100 for first touchdown, longest touchdown and most touchdowns. No, make that $200, $300 for long distance. They were like high school kids. They were great.

Cris Carter: Randy and I played a lot of cards—we liked to gamble, so I knew it would motivate him. It’s easy to get his attention to say, First series, hey, first touchdown is worth $100. If it goes over 50 yards in distance, I’ll give you $200. And then we always had like $100 on 100-yard games.

I needed my money. I’m out here working. Absolutely [I made Randy pay]. There’s nothing better than taking money from a rich guy. So you had to pay.

Chancellor and the Seahawks soon learned the devastating extent of the injury.

When the doctors told me what was going on in November, I could feel my heart drop, Chancellor said in a recent tweet. The stiffness in my neck and the images that I saw had me at one of my lowest points. To walk away from the game by choice is one thing, to walk away from the game because of the risk of paralysis is another. Time for the next chapter.

Ironically, the Seahawks under Carroll were one of the first NFL teams to promote safer tackling as they educated their players and the football world in clinics and promos. Yet one of their star players is now retiring prematurely because he played the game aggressively, as per his nature.

The Rams went out and added Brandin Cooks from the Patriots, and the team believes his speed and consistency should fit in nicely.

I think you’ve just liked what you’ve seen overall, McVay said of Cooks. He’s got a great rapport already with Jared and he feels really good with the receiver group. I think he’s done a nice job kinda fitting into that room and really endearing himself to his teammates. We sure like him as coaches too.

Cooks will likely start alongside Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp next season after both enjoyed success in 2017. Josh Reynolds, Pharoh Cooper, and Mike Thomas will fight for playing time behind the starters.

Steve immediately alerted the team who in turn reported it to the NFL as required under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. We are continuing to gather information and will handle the matter appropriately and in accordance with all league policies as well as within the legal system.

Keim, who has been with the Cardinals since 1999 and was promoted to GM in 2013, also released a statement saying he was sorry for his actions.

The Bears were also wise to go after a polished receiving tight end.

Trey Burton’s career highlight thus far is throwing the Philly Special TD pass to Nick Foles to help the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 52. No longer serving as Zach Ertz’s elite backup, Burton with the Bears replaces Zach Miller as Nagy’s new Travis Kelce.

Burton is not much of a run blocker, but that does not mean much to Nagy. The tight end was signed to line up in non-traditional spots thanks to his Kelce-like, hybrid skill set.

Guidry believes Yankees fans won’t have to wait quite so long to see his record broken.

When he walks on that mound, he walks out there, and he just goes, ‘OK, I’m Luis Severino. I’m here. Come get me,’ Guidry said, referring to the current ace of the Yankees’ pitching staff. He’s so good, he can just say, ‘Here, guys. It’s a fastball, middle of the plate. Go ahead.’

Nah, I don’t pay attention to those, Severino said. I’m just thinking about working and getting ahead in the count and try to throw my secondary pitches through the dirt. If they hit it, I get a ground ball. If they chase it, that’s their problem.

To this point, 132 batters have had the problem of either swinging through or watching a called third strike on one of Severino’s sharp breaking pitches or his blindingly quick fastball.

After signing team-friendly extensions with the Suns in 2014, Markieff ($8.6 million cap hit with the Wizards) and Marcus Morris ($5.4 million with the Celtics) now enter the final year of their contracts.

In the case of Marcus, the Celtics’ future finances could play a role if the forward is mentioned in trade rumors. With Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier both up for new contracts in 2019, Boston will be a tax team, and retaining Morris would be considered a luxury and not a priority.

The Wizards are two years ahead of where the Celtics will be in 2019: a team with a high payroll forced to make roster decisions based on finances. Because the Wizards do not have cap flexibility for the foreseeable future, the trade discussions centered around Markieff should not be about limiting finances but about finding his replacement for 2019. If they let him walk in unrestricted free agency, they won’t have the flexibility to capably replace him.

Two other teams topped out at six busts apiece: the 49ers and, most surprisingly, the Vikings, who were hurt by recency bias as well as the metric’s unfeeling indifference toward special teams play and injured players (Cordarrelle Patterson, Sharrif Floyd, and Teddy Bridgewater were all counted on the list, but could still play their way out of bust status). Fortunately for Minnesota, a higher number of draft wins and some savvy moves in free agency have mitigated those mistakes.

The Texans say Hal is currently discussing his treatment options and is continuing to undergo testing and evaluation.

We’ve got a historical rhetorical for NFL Would You Rather? this week.

Khalil Mack hasn’t been around long enough to be an all-time great for one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, but he’s on track to get there. In his first four seasons as a pro, he’s racked up 40.5 sacks, three Pro Bowl invitations, two first-team All-Pro honors, and one AP Defensive Player of the Year award.

So for this exercise, let’s take each player at his peak so far. For Long, that’s the 1983-85 stretch that saw him rack up 35 sacks for a team that won 35 games. For Mack, that’s 2015-16, a stretch that marked his ascent to elite player and ended with DPOY honors. You’re picking one of these two to anchor your defense for the next three seasons. Which do you choose?

The move allows the team to give Kirk Cousins a true WR1 and eliminates the need to take Josh Doctson with that year’s first-round pick. Instead, they pick up a frontline space-eater like Jarran Reed or A’Shawn Robinson at defensive tackle, each a popular mock draft target for the club. That’s enough to push Washington to the playoffs in 2016 and convince the team to build around Kirk Cousins rather than let him walk as a free agent — but that’s a can of worms to open another time.

Pittsburgh never gets the chance to build its three-headed monster of Roethlisberger, Brown, and Le’Veon Bell, though the temptation to pluck Brown away from the Patriots would be high. The Steelers haven’t given out more then $28 million in a contract this decade, so signing him as a free agent would have been difficult.

But that’s not a major problem for the team’s deep receiving corps. While no one player could fill Brown’s shoes at Heinz Field, pass catchers like Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, Bell, and, eventually, JuJu Smith-Schuster would be able to fill the targets he’d left behind.

It is only natural to see the name of All-Star Kemba Walker floated around in trade rumors.

Despite being extension eligible, Walker will enter the season in the final year of the $48 million deal he signed in October 2014. An extension would net the guard only a four-year, $65 million contract, so Walker assuredly will play out the season on an expiring contract.

Keep an eye on Kevin Love. As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported, Cleveland is interested in keeping Love even if LeBron James departs. Love enters 2018-19 technically on an expiring contract because of his $25.6 million player option for 2019-20.

The Cavaliers can take a similar approach to what the Spurs did with LaMarcus Aldridge last offseason when they extended the All-Star for an extra two seasons with the last year partially guaranteed.

Both players will be super max eligible next year if they earn All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) or MVP honors, but Golden State could sign only one of them to such a deal because Steph Curry is already on the designated veteran player extension (DVPE).

Herring: You’d obviously want to give up as little as possible. But if the Lakers are looking to maximize the championship window, and the Spurs know how badly L.A. needs Leonard in its lineup, there’s a pretty good chance L.A. is going to end up parting ways with a combination of two or three solid young players (Kuzma, Ingram, Josh Hart) and a pick or two. It’s hard to argue it shouldn’t, given that most people would consider Leonard a top-five talent when healthy. In the end, you’re merely hoping Ingram or anyone else can become that good someday.

MacMullan: They should do whatever it takes to get him. Now. ASAP. It will likely cost them draft picks and great young talent (Ingram, Kuzma, Hart?), and in the short term, it will leave them with a roster short on depth and clarity. But just consider the mayhem LeBron and Kawhi could create against that Warriors lineup — on both ends of the floor.