A New Orleans judge ruled in Benson’s favor.

As pitchers and catchers report to Florida and Arizona for spring training this week, baseball faces an interesting juxtaposition. The offseason is officially over, yet there are so many premium free agents and quality major league-level players still on the market that it’s hard to predict with a complete level of certainty how teams will fare in 2018.

He also cut LeBlanc, her brother Ryan, their mother, and his adopted daughter Renee out of his will entirely.

The family sued and tried to have Benson declared mentally incompetent to run his businesses and manage the family trust.

Benson, a self-made billionaire, made his fortune in car dealerships, finance, and later media.

His popularity with Saints fans waned amid rumors that he wanted to move the team to San Antonio after the Super Dome sustained heavy damage after Hurricane Katrina.

But the Saints remained in New Orleans.

No, this group was not assembled for Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ prize acquisition. His unveiling was set for Wednesday in Tempe, about 17 miles to the southwest. And this media throng wasn’t here for Yu Darvish, the Cubs’ prize offseason acquisition, either. His unveiling was Tuesday in Mesa, about nine miles due south of Salt River Fields.

These media folks were waiting to talk with 18-year-old slugger Kotaro Kiyomiya, the next potential superstar to wear the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters uniform. Haven’t heard of him in America? You will, soon. Now, in fact.

Tyler Eifert played in just two games in 2017, but the Bengals are willing to give another chance on the former first-round pick.

Eifert signed a one-year deal, re-signing with the Bengals, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the deal is worth up to $8 million.

Granted, it’s likely the North Carolina product only wanted to continue his career in-state.

Maples possesses what could be the most devastating slider in baseball, not only because opposing hitters whiffed at it nearly 20 percent of the time and didn’t get a hit against it in 11 at-bats in fact, he struck out 10 of those 11 with his slider but also because it can betray him pretty easily.

The Vikings should also be reaping comp picks next offseason, so if they don’t re-sign Siemian, it would hardly be a surprise for them to recoup the fifth-rounder they sent to Denver in 2020.

DE Julius Peppers, Panthers Grade: A The best free-agent deals don’t expose a team to long-term risk, and sign a talented player to a deal below his market value.

That’s what Carolina has done here in signing Peppers to a one-year, $5 million deal after the 38-year-old racked up 11 sacks for the Panthers last season.

It’s also likely Peppers takes a step backward in 2018, given that his 11 sacks came on just 17 quarterback knockdowns.

Even given those caveats, signing a veteran defensive end who can rush the quarterback at this price is about as good as free agency can get.

G/C Weston Richburg, 49ers Grade: B Kyle Shanahan has his Alex Mack.

He went hitless in his July 25 debut, but followed that with an eight-game hitting streak in which he hit three of his 10 home runs. The third baseman put together another hitting streak of eight games in mid-August, hitting five homers during that stretch.

Devers turned 21 shortly after the Red Sox season ended, and after hitting.284 in his 58 regular-season games, he probably made third base his for 2018. Even without hitting.364 with two home runs in the ALDS, Devers made a sizable splash in his debut, and he stands to build on that with a full season in Boston this year.

The Jags have generally structured their free-agent deals with two years of significant money up front and flexibility after, so this is probably a two-year, $30 million deal with subsequent team options for Jacksonville.

Big-ticket guards haven’t always translated well to their new locations, but Norwell’s a worthy risk for a team whose interior offensive line play on either side of Brandon Linder hasn’t been very good. ravens_006

Former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane has been officially charged with driving under the influence after a January arrest in King County.

According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Lane was stopped by police on January 16 for going 90 miles per hour on eastbound I-90. Speed limit on the freeway is either 60 or 70 miles per hour depending on the exact location of the traffic stop.

Even given a list which includes players like Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss, nobody is that effective in the red zone from year-to-year.

Eighteen other players have scored 10 or more touchdowns in the red zone since 2001, and not a single one of them made it back to double-digits the following year.

Those guys scored an average of 4.8 red zone touchdowns the following season, so while the 6-foot-7 Graham obviously has the frame to make plays in the end zone, paying him like he’s guaranteed to produce inside the 20 would be a mistake.

Former Chargers guard Matt Slauson is visiting the Lions on Friday, Rapoport reported, per a source.

The Oakland Raiders are hosting former 49ers defensive end Tank Carradine on Thursday, Rapoport reported via a source. Carradine will visit the Seahawks on Friday, per Rapoport. Oakland also signed linebacker Tahir Whitehead, the team announced. Whitehead signed a three-year deal worth $6 million per year, with more than half of the $18 million guaranteed, Rapoport reported.

Former Texans safety Marcus Gilchrist is signing a one-yearr deal with the Raiders, per Rapoport.

The Buffalo Bills and guard Richie Incognito restructured the final year of his contract to keep the veteran lineman with the team, a source informed of the situation told Garafolo.

Though the sample is small, his tendency to swing outside the zone is slight, and when he does venture beyond the strike zone he makes regular contact. It would take more than 15 games to show whether he can do this consistently, of course, but his low strikeout rate and relatively high walk rate in the minors indicate that Verdugo can maintain his polished approach over the long term.canucks_006

As long as they’re not the quarterback who kneeled or sat in protest during the national anthem of every game during the 2016 season.

Legal issues or not, though, teams are acting exactly the same this offseason as last year with Kaepernick; signing, almost literally, any and every player who has ever taken a snap, as starters and backups, for eight-figure salaries and league minimums.

The state of quarterbacking has not changed in a year, and for the most part, the list of players teams would rather acquire than Kaepernick hasn’t, either.

Sam Bradford, who only played the first two games of last season for the Vikings before sitting the last 14 with left knee problems, signed for $20 million with the Cardinals.

Mike Glennon, who lasted four games as the Bears starter last year after arriving as a free agent, signed with the Cardinals as Bradford’s backup.

McCarron, who won a grievance with the Bengals to become an unrestricted free agent, signed with the Bills for $6.8 million guaranteed. He has three regular-season and one postseason start in four NFL seasons.

Josh McCown, who turns 39 in July, signed for $10 million to return to the Jets. Teddy Bridgewater, who missed all but one game in the last two seasons after his severe knee injury in 2016, joined him on the Jets for $5 million guaranteed.

Baker didn’t win the locker room over, either, with teammates having to stop quarterback Jameis Winston from getting in Baker’s face after a critical encroachment penalty on fourth down late against the Panthers.

The Bengals have a long history of taking on reclamation projects with some success under Marvin Lewis, and at one year, $3 million, Baker doesn’t come with much risk.

The 30-year-old is down to 300 pounds, a noticeable drop given that he was listed at 320 and likely played at a larger weight last season.

The Hampton product racked up 9.5 sacks and 27 knockdowns between 2015 and 2016, so if Lewis can turn Baker back into a useful interior pass-rusher, the Bengals will have a steal on their hands.

Trade: Rams deal LB Alec Ogletree to Giants Grade for Rams: C+

Grade for Giants: C The Giants were loath to spend money on coverage linebackers under the reign of general manager Jerry Reese, who never adequately replaced Antonio Pierce in the middle of the field after the playoff hero finished his career in 2009.

Draft picks like Jonathan Goff and a bevy of free agents — everyone from Jon Beason to J.T.

7 numbers behind the Vikings’ decision to spend lavishly on Kirk Cousins

Another big factor in Minnesota’s decision to cough up heaping amount of cash for Cousins? He found ways to win, even on an average Washington team. He tied for the league lead (alongside new division rival Matthew Stafford) with four game-winning drives last season, a number made even more impressive by the fact his squad only won seven games. He’s had 11 such drives in the past three seasons more than Aaron Rodgers (six).

These numbers tell a story; Cousins will have all the tools he needs to succeed in his new home. If his pinnacle in Minnesota is another Wild Card Round exit, the blame will be placed squarely at his feet. The Vikings built a plug-and-play contender just waiting for the right quarterback to lead it to glory, and Keenum’s revival paints a rosy picture for the former Washington quarterback’s success. If he can’t do that, there’s one last number that should absolutely terrify the franchise:

Minnesota will be doling out $84 million to field the third-best quarterback in the NFC North Cousins falls below Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the division rankings. Maybe that’s no way to win a Super Bowl but the Vikings did get closer than the Lions and Packers last season, with Keenum at quarterback.

Originally drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2014 with the No. 57 overall pick, the running back out of Ohio State had a rough few seasons to start his NFL career, seeing three different head coaches in his first four years. Things finally started to turn around with the hiring of Kyle Shanahan as head coach in 2017.

Hyde finished last season having played and started in all 16 games — the first time he’s done so in his career. He went on to claim career high rushing touchdowns (8), carries (240), longest rush (61 yards), and total offensive yards (1,288). He also saw a lot more action off short passes, resulting in career high targets (88), receptions (59), receiving yards (350), and receiving yards per game average (21.9).

Cleveland native, proud father of two daughters Follow on Twitter Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print comment The Cleveland Browns have traded cornerback Jason McCourty to the New England Patriots, where he will join his twin brother, Devin.

The Browns also sent their seventh-round pick to New England and will receive the Patriots’ sixth-round pick.

The victim in the incident suffered injuries not considered life-threatening.

Officers first began investigating after someone reported to police around 8:30 p.m. on March 3rd that Smith was involved in a domestic violence incident. When officers responded to the Bush Street residence, Smith had already left.

On Friday, however, the Dolphins pulled an unexpected move, sending Landry to the Browns for a pair of draft picks. Landry was a productive receiver in Miami, but none of that matters to the NFL world. What matters is the Browns doing things, as they have to be the most interesting small-market team on the planet while everyone eagerly holds their breath to see if their latest rebuild will bear fruit. Only one reaction is going to end up mattering in all of this: Landry’s himself. And according to Landry, s***’s about to get real.

Oh, we understand. To some people, this is another key piece of the Cleveland puzzle, which was thought at the end of last year to be 10,000 pieces and of clear blue sky.

The Arizona Cardinals were thought to be out of the running for free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins just a few weeks ago, owed largely in part to the notion that two other teams can offer either more money (Jets) or immediate success (Vikings).

For that, you will always be a Hawk!”? The news was expected and now Sherman, who was one of the NFL ‘s best cornerbacks before he battled injuries in recent seasons, will be playing elsewhere in 2018.

Sherman was originally a 2011 fifth-round pick who wasn’t highly regarded coming out of Stanford, partly because he was a converted wide receiver, but also because was considered too stiff and too slow to play cornerback in the NFL. It didn’t take long for Sherman to prove his doubters wrong; he started 10 games as a rookie and didn’t miss another start until he tore his Achilles nine games into the 2018 season.?

For an idea of just how consistently good Sherman has been, consider his Pro Football Focus grades, beginning in 2011: 14th, fourth, ninth, fifth, ninth, 10th. And last season, despite playing in just nine games, he ranked 27th overall among all cornerbacks. In a pass-happy league, there will be a market for Sherman’s talents, even as questions loom about his health.?buccaneers_034

Sources: Browns trading two draft picks to Dolphins for Jarvis Landry

The Cleveland Browns are trading two draft picks to the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Jarvis Landry, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cleveland is sending a fourth-round pick this year (123rd overall) and seventh-round pick in 2019 to Miami for Landry, as first reported by MMQB and confirmed by ESPN.

The Browns are also working on a new contract for Landry, and a deal is expected to get done, according to a source.

Landry is a sure-handed receiver who led the league in catches in 2017 with 112; all Browns receivers had 134. ESPN Stats & Information reports the Browns have never had a 100-catch receiver. Landry missed 1,000 yards by 13 but had 1,136 and 1,157 yards the previous two seasons. In four seasons, Landry has 22 receiving touchdowns. The Browns as a team had 15 receiving touchdowns last season.

The Dolphins placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Landry on Feb. 20, the first day teams could issue the designation to pending free agents. After meeting with Landry’s agent at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, the Dolphins gave the wide receiver permission to seek a trade. At least five teams expressed interest in Landry, including the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

He was ejected in the Dolphins’ season finale against the Buffalo Bills after he was an instigator in a fourth-quarter brawl. Coach Adam Gase called the incident “embarrassing.”

On a busy day for the Browns, they have also agreed to trade a third-round draft pick to the Bills for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a source tells Schefter.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall has also been informed he is being traded to Cleveland, per source.

As NFL free agency officially kicks off this week, it’s important to note that a player’s overall fit in a team’s scheme is a critical part of the evaluation process. Yes, teams have a ton of money to spend as they target players to fill needs and create roster competition. But if those players don’t fit in how the coaching staff operates, the bust potential is much higher, and production won’t match the contract they sign.

With that in mind, let’s pick out the best fits for 15 of the best free agents on the market. These are realistic fits, as I’m taking into account teams that also have money to spend. I’m also including each player’s ranking from our Top 100 free agent list.

We’ll start with the top quarterback on the market and hit several other players who could cash in this week:

With new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo bringing the Eagles’ modern passing game — a mix of West Coast routes, play-action and run-pass options — to Minnesota, Cousins’ skill set is a perfect match.buccaneers_121

Even though Kizer was a second-round pick in 2017, it just didn’t make sense to stick with him any longer.

Why did the Packers trade for Kizer? No one will criticize Cleveland’s decision to move on — at least not any time soon. The real team under scrutiny will be Green Bay after sending away a solid cornerback to get a turnover-prone mess at quarterback.

But Kizer needed time to develop. He dealt with turnovers often at Notre Dame and few believed he was a quarterback who could start early in his NFL career without running into serious hurdles. That’s exactly what happened when the only competition for the quarterback in preseason for the starting job was Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.

This isn’t exactly a ground-breaking idea.

The NFL has allowed coaches and quarterbacks to communicate electronically for years. Decades, actually. Know when the league approved the technology to allow coaches to call plays without hand signals?

In 2017, the Angels finished 21 games behind the Astros in the AL West and five games out of the wild card, but they remained in the playoff hunt until near the end of the season. This year should be different.

It’s not that their division will be any easier; that would require a serious implosion in Houston. Instead, they’ll carve a path to the wild card, though the field vying for that spot might be as tough as the AL West. However, the Angels didn’t miss the playoffs by much last season, and they have improved significantly. Much of that improvement comes from Shohei Ohtani, of course, but the greatest improvement will come from some of the new faces the Angels added around him. This could be the difference that helps the Angels return to the postseason for the first time since 2014.seahawks_084_a90dbb1535cb6592-180x180

MLB free agency: Rockies, Carlos Gonzalez reportedly near one-year deal

Carlos Gonzalez and the Rockies are nearing a one-year deal, according to FanRag Sports.

Gonzalez is coming off of one of the worst years of his career where he posted a .262 batting average with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs. The 14 home runs and 57 RBIs were career-worsts in years in which he played at least 100 games.

As for Honeywell, he’s one of the best pitchers in the minors, and probably could have been pitching in Tampa Bay last summer. The Rays are almost definitely going to leave him behind when they break camp so that they can keep him in Triple-A until the Super 2 deadline passes and they gain an extra year of control when he’s called up. We’re going to put him in the rotation because he’s good and we’re actually trying to win some ballgames.

“We’re aware of the video, but we don’t have any comment beyond that,” said a team spokesman, via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan .

Beckham’s season was cut short last year by a broken ankle. The Giants picked up his option, so he’s in the final year of his rookie contract and looking to secure his future with a pricey long-term deal.

Beckham has ponied up a total of $221,546 in fines over the course of his career for everything from fighting to excessive celebration, per Spotrac . He’s never faced league discipline for any violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

It’s time for coach Mike Zimmer to replenish his defensive line depth , as Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen are free agents. It will take some time for Bryan to put it all together as a pass-rusher in the NFL, but his athleticism and versatility?to play either tackle or end will allow him to develop?in the Vikings’ scheme.

Damian Lillard disappointed in Russell Westbrook’s negative All-Star comments

Russell Westbrook threw shade at newly minted All-Stars Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard Tuesday while saying teammate Paul George should have been selected to the Western Conference team.

Westbrook’s “[players] complaining about getting snubbed” comment was believed to be directed at Lillard, who responded Wednesday to the “disappointing” remarks.

“I respect Russ a lot, so it was kind of disappointing to see him say that,” Lillard said Wednesday, via ESPN.com. “Because he’s played against me, he’s played against our team, he knows what I’ve accomplished. Not just this year, but over my career. So it was a little bit disappointing, but I know that I earned my spot this year. And that’s pretty much what it is: I earned my spot.”

Lillard is averaging 25.2 points, 6.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds on the season and believes team success can be everything despite the All-Star Game being individually focused.

“For me, it just feels like I’ve had to earn this one for three years. Really appreciative of it,” Lillard said. “A lot of it is due to our team’s success. I think if we had been at this point the last two or three years, I probably would have had two more [selections] … I think this one is a little bit different because I’m on a different team, a completely different role on this team, so I kind of had to go get it. I had to wait my turn.”

When I initially tried asking about Barea’s comments, Markieff Morris cut off the question:

“Man, (expletive) J.J. Barea! What the (expletive) is he talkin’ about? The (expletive) I care about what J.J. Barea said. (Expletive) J.J. Barea. He ain’t a part of this team.”

This is done so that each draft position has its advantages and disadvantages. Based on a predetermined draft order, the snake format ensures that you can construct a winning roster from any draft spot, but there are certain years when having one of the top one or two picks can be a big advantage if there are a couple clear-cut superstars in a tier all by themselves.

Autopick: If your league managers don’t want to commit to preparing for taking part in a live online draft, simply select autopick, and we’ll draft every team for you. This is a good way to enjoy playing fantasy basketball if you aren’t that up on MLB rosters or don’t want to spend much time on it. You can still get viable rosters, pull for your players each week and compete against your friends, family and coworkers. Note: You can game plan prior to your autodraft by ranking players, choosing how many of each position to fill, etc.lions_033