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Washington Redskins’ D.J. Swearinger views matchup with Houston Texans as chance to pay back Houston


ASHBURN, Va. — The D.J. Swearinger revenge tour already includes wins against two of his former teams, Arizona and Tampa Bay, this season.

Those were warm-up acts for what takes place Sunday: a chance to beat the team the Washington Redskins safety said bashed him like no other.

That’s why Sunday’s game versus the Houston Texans will be a little more personal for Swearinger.

“Houston bashed my name pretty bad,” he said.

The Texans drafted Swearinger in the second round in 2013, and he played two seasons there before they released him during the 2015 offseason. Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers the following day.

“I never got a fair chance from Tampa,” Swearinger said recently. “I remember my first interview with [coach] Lovie [Smith], he asked me about all the things Houston bashed me on. I was sitting there shocked, like, ‘They really said that about me? This is horrible.’ I took that and put that chip on my shoulder, like I never got that fair opportunity.”

When Houston drafted him, Gary Kubiak was the head coach. A year later, Bill O’Brien took over. Swearinger played mostly as a nickel linebacker under Kubiak, but he started as a strong safety under O’Brien.

Swearinger preferred Kubiak’s approach.

“Kubiak let me be myself, let me do whatever as long as I played ball,” he said. “O’Brien was a control guy: ‘You can’t do this. You can’t do that.’ It came to a point where the DB coach [John Butler] took something I said wrong about the film and told Coach O’Brien. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stopped the walk-through. He cut the walk-through short. O’Brien talked to me and all the defensive coaches and chewed me out, dog. I’ll never forget that. I’m like, ‘Dang.'”

On a conference call with Washington reporters Tuesday, O’Brien said of Swearinger’s accusations, “I don’t really know what D.J.’s talking about.”

Swearinger said the issue stemmed from a film session in which he said he reminded another defensive back about getting proper depth in a cover-zero call because the offense could use max protection. Swearinger left the room shortly thereafter. He said other defensive backs told him the position coach was upset.

“They said, ‘When you left he was like, I don’t know what Swearinger is talking about, but the blitz hits right here,'” Swearinger said. “I was like, ‘Bro, I wasn’t even talking about that play.’ I was going off the film and he took something the wrong way and then they had that argument and I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ From that day, I never could be myself in Houston again. Bro, I’m talking about film and you tell that back to the coach? I don’t know what to say. After that I could never find my groove.”

Swearinger said that’s the reason Houston benched him for three games in the 2014 season. But he regained the starting strong safety job for three of the last four games that year. Then it was on to Tampa, his home for less than a season.

“In Tampa I had one of the most incredible camps in my life,” he said. “I haven’t had a camp like that since. I picked off like 10 passes in camp; I had three punchouts. The next guy had like three [interceptions]. I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m not starting.’ I started in the preseason and then they put Chris Conte back in. I’m like, OK. If they got their guys, they got their guys. It was crazy. I did everything by the book, but they just judged me because of what Houston said.

“It was crazy. It’s all a learning experience for me. When I got to Arizona, it was a clean slate and it was time to go.”

After 20 games spanning two seasons with Arizona, Swearinger signed with the Redskins. He’s second in the NFL with four interceptions this season.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Swearinger reiterated his disdain for O’Brien.

When asked if Swearinger’s maturity was an issue in Houston, O’Brien said, “No. Every player that comes into the league, no matter who you are, it is a tough transition from college to professional football and then on top of that you have a coaching change that D.J. had to deal with.”

He said Swearinger “did a good job” for the Texans during their one season together.

“You just try to make decisions in the best interest of the team,” O’Brien said. “D.J. made a lot of plays for us here. He’s a very instinctive, tough, competitive player. He’s obviously gone on to Arizona and now in Washington and he’s … doing a great job, has got excellent ball skills, good tackler, tough, competitive guy. He’s going to be a challenge to go against on Sunday.”





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FanDuel to pay man full $82,000 after disputed bet


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Upon further review, a New Jersey man will get his full $82,000 payout on a disputed $110 sports bet. Several other gamblers who made similar bets at wildly inflated odds will also be paid in full, FanDuel said Thursday.

The online sports betting company said it will pay Anthony Prince of Newark the full 750-1 payout he was promised when the company’s automated system mistakenly generated long odds on the final moments of the Denver BroncosOakland Raiders game on Sunday.

The company initially refused to pay the bet placed at its sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack, saying it isn’t obligated to pay for obvious errors. But FanDuel reversed field after consulting with state gambling regulators.

“Above all else, sports betting is supposed to be fun,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “As a result of a pricing error this weekend, it wasn’t for some of our customers.”

Prince made his bet before a game-winning field goal by Denver’s Brandon McManus.

“A 36-yard field goal has approximately an 85 percent chance of success, so the astronomical odds offered on something highly likely to occur was very obviously a pricing error,” the company said. “These kinds of issues are rare, but they do happen. We want sports betting to be fun. So, this one’s on the house. We are paying out these erroneous tickets and wish the lucky customers well.”

Prince could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a tweet earlier Thursday before FanDuel’s decision was announced, McManus sided with Prince.

Prince was handed his 750-1 ticket with about a minute left in the game, as the Broncos trailed by two points on their final drive. Denver kicked a field goal with 6 seconds left to win 20-19, capping a second-half comeback that started with the Broncos down 12-0.

FanDuel says its system should have calculated his odds at 1-6, meaning a bettor would have to wager $600 in order to win $100. Prince bet $110 on the Broncos but was stopped when he went to collect from FanDuel’s betting window.

Kerry Langan, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said the agency “is encouraged by FanDuel’s actions today. The division will continue to work with FanDuel and the state’s other licensed sports wagering operators to ensure the implementation of industry-wide best practices.”

Kip Levin, FanDuel’s chief operating officer, said the company wants “to use this as a learning experience for our new customers about how sports betting works.”

All told, 12 customers, including Prince, were given incorrect odds during an 18-second computer glitch. Levin would not say how much in total the company is paying, but said the promised payouts printed on the tickets or made online will be honored.

FanDuel also says it will give away another $82,000 this weekend by adding $1,000 apiece to the accounts of 82 randomly chosen customers.

The dispute is one of the earliest for the budding sports betting industry in New Jersey, coming at a time when new sportsbooks are opening in some other states and lawmakers throughout the country consider whether to also jump in for the potential tax revenue. New Jersey challenged a federal ban and won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May that cleared the way for gambling on games to expand beyond Nevada.

The idea that player money and winnings would be protected and regulated by the state has been a major selling point among sports betting supporters who contrasted legal gambling with shady offshore betting sites where players often have little recourse in disputes. But gambling regulators also have policies in place to void obvious errors in sports bets.

In Nevada, mistakes in the odds are not uncommon and can occur multiple times a month at sportsbooks. If a similar dispute happened in Nevada, the bookmaker would be required to contact the Gaming Control Board in order to investigate the matter.

Some Nevada books have paid off bets that were placed on bad odds, but then refused to take action from the bettors who took advantage of the mistakes in the future.

In the United Kingdom, where FanDuel owner Paddy Power Betfair has operated for decades, mistakes in the odds are called palpable errors or “palps” and generally result in voiding the bet.

Information from ESPN’s David Purdum and The Associated Press was used in this report.





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Oakland Raiders want Donald Penn to take pay cut


NAPA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders want Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn to take a pay cut, a year after he held out for and received a raise and contract extension from the team.

Penn, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list as he continues his rehab from Lisfranc surgery on his right foot, told reporters on Wednesday that he could not elaborate. He cited team policy that injured players are off limits to the media before saying, “You’ll have to ask them. You’ll find out before they tell me.”

Last summer, after taking part in the offseason training program, Penn held out of training camp and the exhibition season for 26 days. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said at the time that he would not negotiate with a player not in camp.

Penn returned and received his two-year, $21 million extension in between Weeks 1 and 2 of the regular season. His string of 170 straight regular-season starts, a stretch that dated back to 2007, came to an end in Week 16 when he suffered the foot injury against the Dallas Cowboys.

There is no sense yet that Penn might be cut if he does not agree to the pay cut — he carries a salary-cap number of more than $8.38 million this season — though it was obvious he was not happy the story was “leaked” to the media.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported the development.

Penn, 35, is due base salaries of $6 million in each of the next two seasons but, according to ESPN Stats & Information, $3 million is fully guaranteed for 2018, with a roster bonus of $109,375 per game on the 46-man active roster. He can also get a $300,000 workout bonus based on six weigh-ins, with $50,000 per weigh-in.

The Raiders used their first-round pick this spring on UCLA left tackle Kolton Miller, drafting him 15th overall, and he has been the starter all offseason with Penn on the mend.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden was asked Wednesday if he expected to see Penn off the PUP list and on the practice field soon.

“He’s getting close,” Gruden said. “H. Rod Martin, our trainer, is pleased with the progress that he’s made. Hopefully that time is soon.”



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Seattle Seahawks holdout Earl Thomas explains ‘pay me or trade me’ stance


Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas explained his reasons for holding out Thursday, writing for The Players’ Tribune that he deserves to be paid accordingly as the only “Legion of Boom” mainstay still on the team.

He implied that he has taken a discount in the past to keep the Seahawks’ storied secondary together,

Thomas has stated his “pay me or trade me” stance on social media, but Thursday’s comments are the first time he has explained why he feels that way.

“The last contract I signed with Seattle, I did it with the Legion of Boom in mind,” Thomas wrote. “I think our unit will be remembered as one of the greatest in history. And I wanted the team to be able to keep us together. But one by one, pretty much all of those guys have left — and a lot of the time, not on great terms.”

He said he loves Seattle, but last season’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, in which Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman suffered career-altering injuries, showed Thomas how fragile a player’s future in the NFL can be. Chancellor suffered a neck injury that ultimately ended his career. Sherman suffered an Achilles injury that ended his season and, as it turns out, his time with the Seahawks, as he was released after the 2017 season.

“… That Thursday night game really cemented in my mind the truth — which is that your entire life can change on one play. And when it does, no matter what you’ve accomplished in the past … you can still get cut without even so much as a negotiation. That’s what happened to Sherm. One of the all-time greats. And I know it could happen to me too,” Thomas wrote.



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New Orleans Saints ordered to pay Tom Benson’s former personal assistant $400,000 in unpaid overtime, other fees


METAIRIE, La. — A NFL arbitrator ruled the New Orleans Saints must pay nearly $400,000 to late owner Tom Benson’s former personal assistant for unpaid overtime and other fees, according to documents obtained by the New Orleans Advocate.

However, according to The Advocate’s report, arbitrator Harold Henderson had previously rejected former assistant Rodney Henry’s claims that he was fired for retaliation after accusing Benson’s wife and current owner Gayle Benson of harassment and racial discrimination.

Henry, who worked for Benson for about 25 years, sued the team after being fired in 2015, but a federal judge ruled that his claims must be decided through the NFL’s arbitration process based on his employment contract. Both sides can now appeal the decision in federal court if they desire.

The Saints and the NFL both declined to comment Thursday.

Henry first sued the team in November 2015, claiming he was owed years of back pay and unpaid overtime for working long and unscheduled hours. He amended his lawsuit in January 2016 to add the claims of harassment and discrimination, which the Saints dismissed as “ridiculous accusations.”

According to The Advocate, Henderson found that the Saints violated federal labor law by failing to pay overtime wages and ordered them to pay $100,000 in unpaid overtime.

Henderson also ordered the Saints to pay a fee of about $105,000 that Henry’s contract guaranteed him if he was dismissed by someone other than Tom Benson; Henry was informed of his firing by the team’s human resources director. Henderson also ordered the Saints to pay Henry nearly $190,000 to cover his attorneys’ fees.



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Odell Beckham Jr. contract questions – Will New York Giants pay up or trade him?


After firing their coach and general manager, the New York Giants are a team in transition. New general manager Dave Gettleman vowed to build the offense around an effective running game and backed up his words during the draft, when his first two picks were dynamic Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and bruising UTEP guard Will Hernandez. In the process, Gettleman declined to use the second overall pick on a quarterback to replace Eli Manning, and while 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb and fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta will be developing behind the longtime stalwart, there’s no obvious quarterback of the future in the fold. That particular transition is yet to come.

New York’s other consideration is figuring out what to do with its best player. Wideout Odell Beckham Jr. missed most of 2017 with various injuries, starting with a preseason ankle injury and ending with a fractured fibula. In his absence, the Giants’ offense was more of a theoretical construct than a going concern for opponents. The 2017 Giants were fatally flawed to an extent that Beckham would not have been able to single-handedly save them, but he might have been able to restore Ben McAdoo’s scheme to some semblance of adequacy. Nobody with eyes or a memory questions what the LSU product can do.

After failing to come to terms on a contract extension last offseason, Beckham now enters the fifth-year option of his rookie deal in advance of unrestricted free agency next offseason. In about 98 percent of cases, we would be talking about the inevitability of an extension or a franchise tag. Teams don’t let players like Beckham leave in the prime of their careers unless something has gone horribly wrong.

As we sit here in mid-June, though, that 2 percent suddenly feels like a plausible possibility. Beckham has reportedly been seeking a deal that would shatter the wide receiver market. He’s up against a general manager with little patience for egos on a team with cap concerns. There are the dreaded off-field concerns.

Let’s answer the biggest questions around Beckham’s future:


How often do teams let young players as talented as Beckham leave?

It’s rare. We can go back and forth about whether Beckham is the most talented wide receiver in the NFL when healthy, but it’s clear that he’s among the NFL’s best players. Consider that Beckham made the Pro Bowl three consecutive times to start his career before missing out because of injury last season. Since 1990, 68 players (44 inactive and 24 active, excluding special teams contributors) have managed to make it to three or more Pro Bowls in their first four seasons, including a record nine from Beckham’s draft class.

As you might suspect, these players often continue to have excellent careers. The retired players in this group finished their careers with an average of 11.5 seasons in the league. Thirty-one guys from this group are eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and nearly half — 45 percent — are already enshrined in Canton. Players such as Champ Bailey, Troy Polamalu and Jason Witten are locks to join them in the years to come.

Polamalu and Witten spent their entire NFL careers with one team, and indeed, players who are superstars early in their pro careers often stay where they initially landed. Organizations dream of drafting players who break out into immediate superstars, so it’s no surprise that they hold onto them with both hands for as long as possible. Those retired players combined to spend more than 75 percent of their respective careers with the team that initially drafted them.

The exceptions to that trend fit a few simple cases. Eleven retired or inactive players from that list of 44 moved on within six seasons of entering the league, which would be the case if the Giants moved on from Beckham either after his rookie contract ends or following a franchise tag in 2019. Five of them — LaVar Arrington, Jevon Kearse, Jake Long, Shawne Merriman and Lofa Tatupu — suffered serious injuries that impacted their quality of play. Champ Bailey and Jerome Bettis were traded to acquire or open space for running backs, moves that their original teams would come to regret. Curtis Martin and Ricky Watters were signed away from their initial teams as restricted free agents through an offer-sheet structure that no longer exists. The other two players were Randy Moss and Jeremy Shockey, who were traded away after signing extensions and subsequently falling out of favor with their previous organizations.

It’s too early to judge the staying power of active players, but of the 24 current NFL players who made three Pro Bowls during their first four seasons, just two have left the teams that drafted them. Ndamukong Suh hit unrestricted free agency when the Lions drafted three great players at the top of the first round under the peak of the old collective bargaining agreement and were forced to make a choice between Suh and Calvin Johnson for cap reasons. More recently, the Dolphins decided to trade Jarvis Landry after an attempt to create trade value by slapping him with the franchise tag went poorly.

That’s it. The 22 other players are essentially cherished franchise icons. Earl Thomas might leave Seattle after he finishes his ninth season in the Pacific Northwest this season, but teams aren’t looking to deal or move on from these players. Even given the Landry trade, it would be an historical anomaly if the Giants were to move on from Beckham.

How much would it cost to re-sign Beckham?

When Beckham was agitating for a contract extension last offseason, I wrote about how the economics of an extension didn’t make sense. The Giants had Beckham under cost control over the next four years at a total of $50.6 million without having to make any sort of long-term commitment, which didn’t remotely fit with Beckham’s interest in becoming the highest-paid wide receiver in league history. It’s the same reason the Rams weren’t able to find common ground with Aaron Donald.

With the first four years of Beckham’s rookie deal now out of the way, though, the math on an extension begins to make more sense. OBJ will get $8.5 million for his fifth-year option this season. After that, the Giants would need to play the franchise tag game. We don’t have tag values for the years to come, but a simple estimate for the 2019 wideout tag comes in at $16 million. The Giants could then franchise Beckham in 2020 at $18.4 million and again in 2021 at $26.5 million.

That’s a fundamentally different contractual landscape from last year. If the Giants don’t want to make a long-term commitment and wanted to go year-to-year, they would owe Beckham $43.7 million over the next three seasons, which is right in line with what the Packers are paying Davante Adams ($43.9 million) over that same time frame. For four years, the price tag goes up to $71.4 million, which is more than the $68 million Antonio Brown got on his extension in February 2017. We’re in the price range where a Beckham extension makes financial sense.

Beckham’s camp has thrown a big round number out to the media. The former LSU star reportedly wants an annual average salary of $20 million per year, which would be a comfortable leap on the current standard, given that Brown’s extension set the bar for average wideout salary at $17 million. It’s also not an especially meaningful number, given that the Giants can inflate the back end of the deal with average salaries Beckham is unlikely to ever see.

At most positions, the largest contracts belong to players who just signed their deals over the past 12 months. That’s not the case at wide receiver. Two wideouts have signed nine-figure deals, but those contracts were signed in 2011 and 2012. Larry Fitzgerald signed a seven-year, $113 million deal in August 2011, only for Calvin Johnson to top him with a seven-year, $113.5 million contract the following March. Neither deal is still an active concern, given that Megatron is retired and the Cardinals have repeatedly renegotiated Fitzgerald’s contract.

The best measure of contracts is three-year value, which is the amount of money a player is in line to actually pocket over the first three seasons of any new deal. The top five there includes many of the contracts we’ve mentioned above and two close comparables for Beckham:

The Buccaneers never hand out signing bonuses to veterans and don’t guarantee more than two years of base salaries, so they had to offer Evans a significant jump in three-year value on the previous record to stick within their contractual structure. Under Gettleman, the Panthers were far more comfortable handing out signing bonuses, so the structure of a Beckham deal would be entirely different from the one the Bucs just gave Evans.

If you were going to construct a feasible Beckham deal that set records across the board, here’s one way to do it. Let Beckham keep the $8.5 million he’s due to make this year and tack on a five-year, $100 million extension, giving OBJ that magic $20 million figure on his extension. The entire contract runs six years and $108.5 million, for a more accurate average of $18.1 million per season, which tops Brown’s deal. We also can pay Beckham $58 million over three years, although to fit all those other demands, it’s going to come with a catch in the structure. Here’s what the deal would look like:

At signing, the Giants would pay Beckham his $20 million bonus while guaranteeing his first two roster bonuses (totaling $8.5 million) and his first two base salaries ($7 million) in full. They also would guarantee $4 million of his 2020 base salary for a total guarantee at signing of $39.5 million. That tops the $38.3 million Evans just got from Tampa in his new deal.

Crucially, though, the Giants get an out on the second half of this deal by virtue of that unguaranteed option bonus in 2020, which would pay Beckham what amounts to a second signing bonus of $12 million and subsequently make it difficult to move on from their star receiver until 2022. If Gettleman finds that Beckham isn’t worth what the Giants invested after two years, they could cut OBJ after paying him that $39.5 million over two years. They would eat a painful $16 million in dead money, but they could spread that over the 2020 and 2021 caps, at which point Manning is unlikely to be on the roster.

How good has Beckham really been?

Very, very good. By just about any measure, historically so. When you compare the first three seasons of Beckham’s career to those of every other receiver since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Beckham looks like an all-time great in the making. He’s tied for the most receptions through three years with Landry, ranks second in receiving yards behind Moss, and is fifth in receiving touchdowns. Even if you go through years 1-4 and acknowledge that Beckham missed most of the 2017 season through injuries, he ranks among the top nine in each of those receiving categories.

There’s an unfair element to that analysis, though, given that Beckham is playing in a league in which it’s easier to rack up receiving yardage than ever before. You might argue that the NFL has shifted to a passing-friendly approach in part because of the presence of dominant receivers like Beckham, but if we want to contextualize just how good Beckham has been, we have to work a little harder and compare players versus the other receivers of their respective eras.

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Odell Beckham Jr. staying on the field for some extra work with Eli Manning. Video by Jordan Ranaan

Let’s look at this a different way by considering ranks as opposed to raw production. During his first season, Beckham ranked ninth in the league in receptions, 10th in receiving yardage and fourth in touchdowns. It’s easy enough to find those numbers for each of his first four seasons. If we remove the lowest season — his injured 2017 campaign — we can see that Beckham has typically ranked among the top wide receivers in the game:

We can do this same analysis for every other receiver, and indeed, I went back through the first four seasons of every pass-catcher since 1970, finding their ranks in each category and then removing their worst performance in each category from the four to see how they compared to Beckham.

Even if you measure performance by rank as opposed to raw totals, Beckham’s three seasons are massively impressive. He finished 14th since 1970 in average reception rank, 12th in average receiving yardage rank, and eighth in average receiving touchdowns rank. To put that in context, there are only five previous receivers over that time frame who also finished in the top 20 in each of those same categories. Four of those five receivers — Fred Biletnikoff, Steve Largent, Jerry Rice and Kellen Winslow — are in the Hall of Fame. John Jefferson is the lone exception. That’s remarkable company.

Beckham’s catches also have been impactful. From 2014-16, no pass-catcher caught more touchdowns on drives that improved his team’s win expectancy by 25 percent or more than Beckham, who had 10. No other receiver had more than six. Even if you include 2017, his 11 such touchdowns pace the league, coming in two ahead of Doug Baldwin.

There’s one other table worth mentioning when it comes to Beckham’s impact. The Giants committed in the short term to the 37-year-old Manning, and it appears plausible that the former first overall pick will see out the remaining two years and $33 million on his current contract. It’s clear that the Giants think they can win with Eli under center.

The problem is that Eli Manning looks like a totally different human being with and without Beckham on the field. Since Beckham entered the lineup in Week 5 of the 2014 season, Manning’s on/off splits with Beckham are remarkable:

It’s not a surprise that a quarterback’s numbers would fall without his star receiver, perhaps, but that’s also a problem. The Giants don’t have a wide receiver on the roster who could feasibly replace Beckham as Manning’s primary target. They have a pair of useful supplemental targets in Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, but the offense was a mess with Engram as the primary receiver for stretches last season, and Shepard still has to prove that he can play effectively as an outside receiver as the Giants transition away from playing 11 personnel on virtually every snap. The Giants would eventually be able to replace Beckham, but by the time they find a new No. 1 receiver, they would likely be without Manning.

Are there reasons to think Beckham might not be as productive?

There are. For one, the Giants were one of the most pass-friendly offenses in the league under the stewardship of McAdoo. That’s probably going to change. Pass frequency is in part defined by a team’s performance, given that bad teams that are often behind find themselves throwing to catch up, but the Giants threw more than similar teams. Since 2002, the typical 11-5 team has thrown the ball 54.6 percent of the time on offense. The 2016 Giants went 11-5 while throwing the ball on 60.9 percent of their plays. That was the fourth-largest gap in the NFL, and the Giants threw more than their record suggested in each of McAdoo’s four seasons as offensive coordinator and/or head coach.

Gettleman already has suggested that he wants to run the ball, and his moves back that plan up. His Panthers teams, buoyed by the presence of Cam Newton, ran the ball more frequently than their records would have suggested every single season. Their run percentage by that metric ranked 28th, 25th, 31st and 28th over Gettleman’s four seasons in Carolina. Gettleman didn’t bring Newton up north, but the Giants did hire former Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula to come along for the ride.

This team is going to run the ball more frequently, and that’s going to take touches away from Beckham. What will that actually mean? The Giants are projected to win 6.5 games in 2018, and a team that wins between six and seven games would expect to pass the ball about 57.7 percent of the time. The Giants threw the ball 60.8 percent of the time under McAdoo. Given that the average team will run somewhere around 1,000 plays per season on offense, that’s about 31 pass plays per season turning into runs.

Taking into consideration the Giants’ sack rate and Beckham’s typical share of the offense, he would stand to lose between 65-70 receiving yards per season based solely upon the shift toward an average run frequency. That’s also probably a conservative estimate, given that Beckham has played only four games with Engram in the lineup siphoning away targets. The 25-year-old has averaged 10.6 targets per game as a pro, more than anyone besides Antonio Brown. His target averages are likely to come down over the years to come.

Injuries also have to be a concern with Beckham. His toughness shouldn’t be an issue, but Beckham did miss four games in his rookie season with a hamstring injury before the ankle injuries derailed his 2017 campaign. He has missed a full season of games through four pro years, with another game suspended for Beckham’s infamous game-long fight with Josh Norman. That’s a significant injury history, but it’s not enough to keep the Giants from offering OBJ a long-term deal.

There are, of course, other concerns about Beckham. On the field, he has lost his cool under the pressure of playing against Norman. Beckham spent a year seemingly hellbent on destroying kicking nets. He inexplicably simulated urinating like a dog to celebrate a touchdown last season. Off the field, an unsavory video seemed to depict Beckham in a compromising situation in Paris earlier this year. The Giants are a conservative organization and one of the league’s most traditionalist franchises.

And yet, they’ve succeeded in the past with stars who did or would go on to do far more questionable things off the field than Beckham. That dominant 1980s defense was led by Lawrence Taylor, who disclosed a thrice-daily cocaine habit in between a pair of Super Bowl victories under Bill Parcells. The star receiver on the Giants’ Super Bowl-winning team in 2007 was Plaxico Burress, who would shoot himself in the leg at a Manhattan club less than a year after their victory. When they won four years later, the Giants’ best pass-rusher was Jason Pierre-Paul, who would go on to lose several of his fingers in a 2015 fireworks accident. Good judgment is not a prerequisite to winning Super Bowls.

Is Gettleman really going to tolerate Beckham?

Maybe not, although I would argue it didn’t go well for the 67-year-old Gettleman when he held a hard line in Carolina. After Norman broke out with a spectacular 2015 season and was named a first-team All-Pro, the Panthers unsurprisingly placed the franchise tag on him before he hit free agency. The Panthers held onto Norman until April 20, only for Gettleman to decide that he wasn’t going to be able to make a deal he was happy with and rescind Norman’s franchise tag. The move pushed Norman into the market well after the majority of free-agent money had been spent, although Washington still ponied up a top-dollar deal to bring Norman to town.

Norman has been closer to good than great during his time in D.C., where he has yet to make the Pro Bowl after two seasons in burgundy and gold. You might argue that Gettleman was right to pass on handing his star cornerback a massive deal, and in a way, he was. The flip side of that argument is that the Panthers made that decision after the cornerback market dispersed around the league, leaving a 15-1 Super Bowl contender perilously thin at corner. Gettleman drafted James Bradberry and Daryl Worley, but Bradberry was inconsistent as a rookie before taking a big step forward in 2017, while Worley was traded away after two seasons for Torrey Smith, whom the Eagles were about to release for cap reasons.

Gettleman wasn’t around to see Bradberry develop. The 2016 Panthers declined notably on defense, falling from second in DVOA to 10th. They were 24th in the league against No. 1 wideouts after posting the league’s third-best mark the previous season. After the Panthers dropped from 15-1 to 6-10, Carolina fired Gettleman in July 2017. Dumping Norman wasn’t the only reason the Panthers declined, but it’s fair to wonder whether Gettleman would be as aggressive about releasing a star like Beckham for nothing.

What are the chances the Giants move on from Beckham?

Pretty low. Organizations just don’t let young players with a track record like Beckham’s leave unless there’s some significant confounding issue. If there’s some unreported problem with Beckham off the field or serious concerns about his ability to stay healthy, maybe there’s not a fit. If the Giants let Beckham leave in free agency after this season because they want to run the football more and don’t think he’s worth top-flight wide receiver money, that would be close to unprecedented.

What I do believe, though, is that if the Giants are more likely to find themselves in that scenario than the vast majority of other teams in the NFL that have had to face this possibility in years past. They have a general manager who is aggressively interested in running the ball. If Barkley turns into the new face of the franchise, the Giants won’t have to be quite as concerned about fans getting disenchanted by Beckham leaving. An extra $20 million per year would go a long way toward adding help along the offensive line or to a top-heavy defense.

If the chances of Beckham leaving in a typical organization are 1 percent, they might be 2 percent with these Giants. And if Beckham does move on, it’s far more likely that the Giants would franchise-and-trade their star receiver — as the Dolphins did with Landry — during the 2019 or 2020 offseasons. The Browns sent only fourth- and seventh-round picks to the Dolphins for Landry, but Miami had virtually no leverage with $16 million committed to a player it had neither the cap space nor the football inclination to pay.

Rumors this offseason suggested that the Giants were looking for two first-round picks in exchange for Beckham, but that’s not going to happen, given that whichever team traded for Beckham would have to sign him to a record deal to keep him from free agency. That price tag was the Giants’ way of saying they didn’t want to trade their star wideout. If the Giants truly didn’t think they could find common ground on a new deal with Beckham, would they trade him for a first-round pick? That’s more plausible, if still unlikely.

Which teams would want to trade for Beckham?

Several teams, although two of the clearest fits would never be able to strike a deal with the Giants. The Cowboys are criminally thin at wide receiver and will have cap space to work with after Tony Romo’s deal clears the decks next offseason, but the Giants would never deal Beckham to their archrivals. Could you even imagine Beckham scoring against the Giants in Jerry World? Likewise, the Jets have plenty of cap space and will want to add a No. 1 wideout for Sam Darnold in the near future, but the Giants surely couldn’t bear seeing him in green on the back page of the New York papers every Monday morning.

Although every organization in football would probably be willing to find a spot for Beckham at the right price, there are eight teams I could see with a realistic possibility of going after the former 12th overall pick. In alphabetical order, those teams are …

The 49ers might be the best possible fit for Beckham, given their combination of cap space and a stable offensive environment with Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan both under contract through 2022. San Francisco already has invested in multiple wide receivers, but it could create a spot in the lineup next offseason by declining Pierre Garcon‘s option.

The Bills traded for Kelvin Benjamin, but Beckham would give new quarterback Josh Allen a stud wideout and the Bills their most dynamic wide receiver since Andre Reed or Eric Moulds. Buffalo’s difficulty to attract free agents to Western New York has been overstated in years past, but the Bills might be willing to pay a premium to acquire a true top-level talent at wideout.

The Browns might have the best wide receiving corps in football with Landry, Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon — Gordon certainly thinks so — but Coleman hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and Gordon has multiple suspensions in his past. If the Browns don’t want to commit to Gordon on a long-term deal, trading for Beckham would reunite the former LSU star with Landry, his college teammate and good friend. Both Beckham and Landry have publicly attempted to recruit the other to their respective teams over the past 12 months, and the Browns would be acquiring another weapon for first overall pick Baker Mayfield. With plenty of cap room and draft picks, the Browns would have less to lose by trading for Beckham than just about anyone in the league.

The Colts already have a top wideout in T.Y. Hilton, but Beckham would be a massive upgrade on the likes of Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers as a second wideout for Andrew Luck. Indy also will have $100 million or so in cap space and an extra second-round pick from the Jets to work with next year. At some point, the Colts are going to make a major splash. They also play the Giants in 2018, so if the Giants traded OBJ after this season, they wouldn’t see him again until 2022.

The Jaguars are run by Tom Coughlin, who coached Beckham with the Giants. In 2016, Coughlin said that Beckham was “a distraction,” but also said that Beckham was a “team player” who “wants to play.” The Jaguars curiously gave $9.6 million to Donte Moncrief this offseason, but it was only a one-year deal. The Jags have big deals coming for the likes of Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue and Jalen Ramsey, but if they do decide to move on from a defensive lineman such as Marcell Dareus or Malik Jackson, they could repurpose that money to get Blake Bortles one of the best wideouts in the league.

The Patriots once bought low on Randy Moss, and while that was for a fourth-round pick, it was also for a 30-year-old version of Moss. Beckham will be 26 next offseason. It seems unlikely that the Pats would pay top dollar for a wideout after trading Brandin Cooks, but if Rob Gronkowski retires or moves on, Beckham might be their latest offensive style shift.

The Rams have to be on any list like this, if only because their appetite for acquiring star players seems endless. If Los Angeles re-signs Cooks, it would surely be out on Beckham, but if it could trade for Beckham and then recoup a third-round compensatory pick for Cooks from free agency, would Sean McVay at least give Beckham a tiny bit of consideration?

The Ravens have spent the past half-decade trying to figure out a solution at wide receiver, but the likes of Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace haven’t solved their problems. Short-term investments in players such as John Brown and Michael Crabtree this offseason aren’t going to provide permanent solutions. With the Joe Flacco contract likely beginning to come off of the books after the 2018 season, Baltimore would certainly consider uniting Beckham with Lamar Jackson.





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Los Angeles Rams ordered to pay Reggie Bush $12.5M for injury


The Los Angeles Rams were ordered to pay former NFL running back Reggie Bush $12.45 million in damages on Tuesday for a knee injury he suffered in St. Louis in 2015, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Bush, then playing for the San Francisco 49ers, ran out of bounds on a punt return in a game at the Edward Jones Dome on Nov. 1, 2015, and slipped on some concrete. He suffered a torn lateral meniscus, which ended his season.

“I’m very happy with the verdict,” Bush told the Post-Dispatch. “The people spoke and decided very fairly.”

Attorneys for the Rams said they plan to file a motion for a new trial. The team declined comment on the verdict.

Bush filed suit in 2016, alleging that the Rams and the public stadium authorities allowed a “a dangerous condition to exist at the Dome.” Bush’s suit called the area where he fell “a concrete ring of death.”

A week before Bush suffered his injury, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown had been hurt on the same slab of concrete, sliding across it and into a wall and injuring his shoulder.

The St. Louis jury ordered the Rams to pay Bush $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages.

Bush’s original suit was against the St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. But on Friday, Associate Circuit Judge Calea Stovall-Reid dismissed the convention authority and sports complex, leaving the Rams as the sole defendant.

The Rams moved out of St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016.

Bush signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills in 2016 but finished with 12 carries for minus-3 yards, seven catches for 90 yards and one touchdown. That was the last year of his 11-year NFL career. He argued that he would have signed a bigger contract if not for the injury.

Bush, 33, is now working as an analyst for the NFL Network.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Rookie Chase Edmonds plans to pay sister’s $80K in student loans – Arizona Cardinals Blog


TEMPE, Ariz. — Somewhere buried in one of his mom’s moving boxes in her Pennsylvania home, ready to be shipped to Arizona, sits one of Chase Edmonds‘ school assignments from 12 years ago.

Moms like to keep everything their children write, but this was different. Edmonds, then 10, made two statements on that piece of paper: First, he wanted to make it to the NFL and, second, he wanted to pay off his sister’s student loans.

He accomplished the first when the Arizona Cardinals took him in the fourth round.

The second will be coming soon.

To this day, Chase’s mom, Alison Edmonds, is impressed that her son came up with the idea to repay his sister’s loans on his own. She doesn’t know where exactly the notion came from, but she thinks conversations around the dinner table about his sister, Morgan Howell, looking at colleges planted the seed. Morgan was 16 at the time. Chase was 10. And he never forgot about it.

Fast-forward to Chase’s junior year at Fordham University, where he was playing running back on a full scholarship, two years ago. He still hadn’t forgotten about paying off Morgan’s debt. Out of the blue one day, Chase asked his mom how much Morgan had in student loans. Alison didn’t sugarcoat it: $80,000.

Morgan had gone to NC State for undergrad and then to Arizona State to get her master’s in counseling. She’s now living in Chandler, Arizona — about 10 minutes from the Cardinals’ practice facility — and is a therapist working with teens on mental health, anxiety, depression and eating disorders, among other issues. Every month, Morgan slowly pays back those loans with an installment between $360 and $380. The exact number is lost somewhere in auto pay.

Chase couldn’t believe his ears.

“When you’re on full scholarship you don’t realize these bills,” he told ESPN. “These things add up. When my mom told me Morgan’s debt at the time, I said, ‘Wow. If I ever can make it to the NFL that’s something that I would love to do, just to surprise her and pay that off for her so she can really live free and do whatever she wants with her money.'”

Two years later, Alison and Morgan were sitting in the lower bowl of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the NFL draft when Chase texted his sister with two words: “Be ready.”

When Chase’s name was called by the Cardinals with the 34th pick of the fourth round, Alison and Morgan had their phones ready to record. Then they jumped, then they screamed, then they celebrated.

Edmonds, who stands 5-foot-9, ran for almost 6,000 yards and 67 touchdowns in four seasons at Fordham, while accounting for another 900 yards and seven touchdowns as a receiver. His size, his school and his history of lingering ankle and hamstring injuries caused him to fall to the Cardinals.

About two weeks after the draft, Chase was in Tempe sitting behind a microphone for his first news conference. He was asked what he planned to do with his first check or his signing bonus. He couldn’t keep his surprise a secret any longer.

“My sister has some student debt so I really want to pay that off for her,” he said in front of recorders and cameras.

On May 12, Chase signed a four-year contract worth $3.36 million that included a signing bonus worth $452,356, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Morgan, who was in the dark about Chase’s plan, received about 10 text messages with screen shots of the stories about Chase wanting to pay her loans.

He still hasn’t officially told her. But when he does, he hopes she doesn’t cry. Morgan said she’s more of a jumper than a crier when good things happen, but she knows if she starts crying, then Chase will cry, too.

Morgan wasn’t all that surprised, though. Chase, she said, is naturally giving and has been his entire life. She was, however, surprised that her mom told him the amount she owed.

“I didn’t realize my student loans were on his radar,” Morgan said. “It’s not something I talk about. It’s not something I complain about. It’s just a reality of going to grad school, unfortunately. I wasn’t surprised, but I was just like … I guess I was surprised.”

To Chase, paying off Morgan’s loans is a small way of showing how much he cares about his big sister.

“I don’t need a reaction from Morgan,” Chase said. “It’s a token of me telling her how much I love her, how much I appreciate everything that she’s done in my 22 years of life.

“I love my big sister. That’s just the least I can do for her.”

He’s been spending every weekend at her place, away from the hotel the team puts rookies up in during the offseason. It’s become his “home away from home,” Chase said, and helps him take his mind off football for a couple of days. He chips in around the house, randomly buying groceries, and surprises his sister by filling up her car with gas.

And he’s been a pretty flexible roommate. He has asked if she wants to watch a Disney movie — even though he didn’t have any interest in watching. But there’s a trade-off. He made her watch Game 7 of both the NBA Eastern and Western Conference finals — which she didn’t have any interest in.

Morgan is enjoying the quality time with her brother, but it’s still weird to her that he’s in the NFL, even though she prayed on it for years.

She was out to lunch with a few friends right after Chase got drafted and they were talking about her brother. A man at the table next to her interrupted them to ask if they were talking about Chase.

“It blew my mind,” Morgan said. “I was like, ‘OK, now I can’t talk about my brother in public because people are going to walk up to me asking questions and that’s strange.'”

And next week, they’re about to be permanent roommates again.

Alison, a speech pathologist, is moving from Pennsylvania to Arizona to be near her two children on June 12. Morgan will fly back east and the two will take a weeklong road trip across America.

When they get to Arizona, both Chase and Morgan will move into Alison’s four-bedroom house.

“I’m a very frugal person and I can’t see why we need to be paying three mortgages or three rents. I can’t understand that. We get along pretty well and if the house is big enough, we won’t trip over each other so that is good.”

Chase won’t have to buy Uber Eats anymore. Mom will be the primary cook, making her specialties — breakfast casserole and spaghetti. Morgan, who doesn’t eat meat, can chip in with vegetables.

Then there’s the laundry. Chase can’t wait to have his mom do it for him again. And she doesn’t mind a bit.

“It’ll just go back to, ‘Mom’s here now and just throw your stuff in a laundry basket,'” Alison said.

It’ll be just like the old days. And Chase never thought twice about moving back in with his mom.

“I’m cheap,” he said. “I’m not spending a dime.”



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Ex-cheerleaders sue Houston Texans for alleged intimidation and low pay


HOUSTON — Five former NFL cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans on Friday, alleging the team failed to fully compensate them as required by law and subjected them to a hostile work environment in which they were harassed, intimidated and forced to live in fear.

The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal court, accuses the franchise of paying the women less than the $7.25 per hour they were promised, not compensating them for making public appearances or performing other tasks related to their jobs and creating a workplace where the women were threatened with being fired for voicing any complaints.

“I and my fellow cheerleaders were treated as the lowest of the low,” Hannah Turnbow said at a news conference. “The Houston Texans were paid thousands of dollars to have us show up at appearances at locations all over Texas with no security, no transportation and where our safety was not guaranteed.”

Turnbow said that after she was left with abrasions on her shoulder when she was attacked by a fan at one game, the team told her “to just suck it up.”

“We were harassed, bullied and body shamed for $7.25 an hour,” said ex-cheerleader Ainsley Parish.

Texans spokeswoman Amy Palcic said the team is constantly evaluating its cheerleader program and makes changes “as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone.”

“We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community,” Palcic said in a brief statement.

Prominent women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who’s representing the cheerleaders, alleged the women were paid “so little or not paid at all” for much of the work they did because of their gender.

“Surely (Texans owner Bob) McNair and the Houston Texans can find it in their budget of hundreds of millions of dollars to pay these women a fair wage, not minimum wage,” Allred said. “I say, stop penny pinching. Pay these women what they deserve and make sure you pay them for every minute that they work.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

This is the second such lawsuit filed against the Texans.

Last month, three ex-cheerleaders also filed suit in Houston federal court, accusing the Texans of not paying them minimum wage, not paying overtime wages and accusing a cheerleading supervisor of body shaming them.

These lawsuits are part of a series of recent complaints that have been made by cheerleaders against NFL teams across the country.

The New York Times reported last month that on a trip to Costa Rica for a photo shoot in 2013, Washington Redskins cheerleaders had their passports collected, were forced to be topless for a calendar photo shoot that included male spectators and were asked to be escorts for sponsors at a nightclub.

Former cheerleaders with the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints also have filed recent discriminatory complaints and lawsuits against their ex-teams.

Last year, a federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit that had been filed by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader who had accused the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders.

Allred said she planned next week to present a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to review the complaints being made by her clients and other cheerleaders about their working conditions.



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Former Houston Texans cheerleader sues team over harassment, unfair pay


HOUSTON — A former Texans cheerleader has filed a class-action lawsuit against the team as well as director of cheerleader programs and coach Altovise Gary. In the lawsuit, the woman alleges that she was not compensated fairly for her time and was subject to harassment from fans and from Gary.

Only one cheerleader, who is identified by the initials PGG, is a named plaintiff on the case. The plaintiff worked for the Texans as a cheerleader from April 12, 2017, to April 13, 2018.

According to the lawsuit, PGG seeks to “recover compensation for hours worked but not recorded or paid (‘off-the-clock work’), failure to pay minimum wage and failure to pay overtime compensation.”

The lawsuit alleges that PGG was paid for some of her work for the Texans but was not compensated for being “on call 24/7,” for requirements the team had for social media, for her time spent in the gym and getting spray tans, for signing Texans calendars or for other events that were unpaid. According to the lawsuit, when the plaintiff worked more than 40 hours in a week, she was not compensated with overtime pay, as required by law.

According to the lawsuit, several cheerleaders reported being physically assaulted by fans during the 2017 season, but even after they reported the assaults to Gary, she “to their knowledge” did not take “steps to report the assaults or take steps to insure the cheerleaders’ safety.”

The lawsuit also claims that Gary made comments about the weight and bodies of several cheerleaders. Last season, according the the lawsuit, Gary told a cheerleader that “she had “belly jelly” and she was a “chunky cheek.”

“Before one game during the 2017 football season, Coach Alto took a cheerleader to a secluded area of the stadium and duct taped her stomach skin underneath her shorts,” the lawsuit alleges. “Coach Alto then brought that cheerleader in front of the rest of the squad and showed them how much ‘better it looks.’ At the next practice, Coach Alto pulled out a roll of duct tape and asked said cheerleader if she needed it.”

The Texans released a statement about the lawsuit to The Washington Post saying, “We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community. We are constantly evaluating our procedures and will continue to make adjustments as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone.”

The Texans are not the first NFL team to have a lawsuit filed against them for their cheerleading practices. Earlier in the month, The New York Times reported that in 2013, Washington Redskins cheerleaders were required to pose topless in a photo shoot in front of people who had been invited to the event by the team.

In March, a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that she was fired over “blatantly discriminatory” social media and fraternization policies that are different for cheerleaders and players.



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