Rams trade for Brandin Cooks

The Rams have traded for a wide receiver, but it isn’t Odell Beckham.

Per multiple reports, that the Rams and Patriots have agreed to a trade that will send Brandin Cooks to Los Angeles. The Patriots will also send a fourth-round pick to the Rams while the Rams will send the 23rd pick of this year’s draft and a sixth-round selection to New England.

The Packers must revamp their edge pass rush as they flip their base 3-4 defense to Mike Pettine’s watch. Either Landry or Marcus Davenport makes sense for their scheme as freakish athletes who can wreak havoc in the backfield.

The Cardinals are a team to watch to make a move for a QB in the top five, but with the way things have shaken out in this mock, we still can attach them to Allen at No. 15. Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon were signed in free agency, but neither can be trusted as a solution beyond 2018. Allen needs a little time to hone his accuracy and mechanics to match his arm and athleticism. Arizona’s situation allows for that.

That doesn’t mean the Broncos have everything they want at the position. Finding a consistent third option has been among the team’s offensive issues over the last couple of seasons, which is why they drafted Carlos Henderson in the third round of last year’s draft.

Henderson didn’t provide any help, however, because he missed the entire regular season with a torn ligament in his thumb. Coach Vance Joseph said this week that the team is looking for Henderson to hit the ground running this year.

“We’re counting on that kid to come in and play for us, especially in the slot,” Joseph said, via the Denver Post. “Or even [Sanders] goes to the slot and [Henderson] goes outside. Someone has to go into the slot and win the one-on-ones so we can get fair coverages on third downs.”

The Broncos are short on other options to join Sanders and Thomas in the lineup, so they may go back to the well in this year’s draft to increase their chances of hitting on the right offensive mix.

Kendall Wright visits Vikings

Wide receiver Kendall Wright has visited the Vikings, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

Wright, 28, is one of the better players left in free agency. He visited Kansas City last week.

Plays like this have spread around the league: two and even three shooters circle around a screener, sewing confusion about which is the intended shooter. Sometimes, the play is for one of those whirring shooters; Washington runs a few such actions for Bradley Beal.

But sometimes that final shooter stops his cut, veers into the screener’s man, and reveals that the plan all along was to spring that big guy for an open 3-pointer:

Miami runs several versions for Olynyk. Spoelstra is genius about changing the placement, personnel and prelude to Olynyk somehow popping open.

As superior options disappeared amid injuries and tankery, the Hawks gradually let Collins explore the world of working off the dribble in the NBA. This is another version of healthy player development! Collins is fast, with some off-the-bounce skill. A lot of teams defend Collins with their centers — assigning their power forwards to Dewayne Dedmon, since Dedmon has more 3-point range — and that leaves Collins with a quickness advantage.

“The one question that sticks out is I sat down, and the first thing the coach asked me is what I would do if he punched me in the face right now? To me, being from Cleveland, my natural reaction was, ‘Coach, no disrespect but if you punch me in the face, we’re gonna fight right here,’” Baker told USA Today. “That was just my natural response. I guess that’s what he wanted to hear, because he said, ‘Good.’ It was definitely a fun interview. I didn’t get asked too many weird questions.”

Baker said the coach later told him it’s a question he often poses, and he wants to hear players say they’d fight back.

“I crossed paths with him a little later in the day and I asked him why he asked me that,” Baker said. “He said most guys freeze up or say they wouldn’t do anything when he asks them that. He said, ‘I don’t know about you, but if somebody were to randomly punch me in the face right now, I wouldn’t just stand there. I’d fight back.’ I guess he liked my response.”

So remember that in your next job interview: Tell your prospective boss you would hit back if he punched you in the face

Lions could find impact pass rusher after first round

The Relative Athletic Score (RAS) system was developed by Kent Lee Platte in 2012 to provide fans with a contextualized score on a 0-10 scale, making it easier to understand how athletic draft prospects are when compared to their position dating back to 1987.

It’s no secret the Detroit Lions need to add some juice to their pass rush in the 2018 draft. It was a hot topic coming into the 2017 draft, but it was one left largely unaddressed, with only a couple of late-round, athletic, developmental picks, not prospects expected to step in immediately. The 2018 class is not considered an edge heavy class, but if the Lions are to address their pass rush, there are a few clear targets to watch.

This draft class has three possible first-round talents on the edge who could have a similar impact. Bradley Chubb (9.47) is likely out of reach for the Lions, while Harold Landry (9.43) and Marcus Davenport (9.59) could make it to the team’s No. 20 pick, and both have ties to the Lions’ coaching staff.

And, it appears, they are trying to push and challenge quarterback Russell Wilson to a new level of achievement at the precise juncture when both Wilson and the Seahawks are girding for what will almost inevitably be difficult, potentially contentious, contract negotiations.

That last one might prove to be the most difficult balance of all — and inextricably linked to the other two. The extent to which the roster shuffle succeeds, and the rapport which Wilson develops with the new staff, could be influential in forging a productive tenor to the talks.

Let me intercede here to say that few expect this all to end with anything but a long-term extension for Wilson, whose contract has two more years left. Yet just one season remains before the traditional time to work all this out, which would be after the 2018, but before the 2019, season.

In other words, the wild ride is about to begin, and so it’s not surprising that even small signs are going to be pored over for possible significance — by the Seahawks, by Wilson and his handlers, and by the media and fans watching it all from afar.

Arrieta gave up three runs in the first inning but settled down with three shutout frames and left with the score tied at 3. He threw 74 pitches.

“It was good to be back on the field,” Manziel told a gaggle of reporters on the field immediately following the game. “I’m frustrated right now. First quarter was short, being in there. But nevertheless, I mean, on the field with two minutes left to win the game… I’m pissed right now. Trying to shake it off a little bit.

“It’s our first game. We shot ourselves with mistakes. I mean, we practiced a lot, a lot of stuff this week. But I mean it’s a showcase game. It’s a quick two-week, two-game spring league. So as frustrated as I am now, I made it through the two quarters that I did play. I’m healthy. Had fun. I had fun nonetheless. The touchdown in the first quarter was fun. But it’s just a sour, sour taste right now.”

After the game, Manziel was irked by the result, but pleased that he was back playing football.

It was unfathomable a couple seasons ago to think Mathieu would be cleaning up on the back end of the same defense as J.J. Watt. Mathieu gets a “prove it again” deal and perfectly fits Houston’s need for a roaming corner/safety hybrid who can shore up the nickel and dime coverage while also helping fill against the run. The only question is durability.

Is Taylor the splashiest veteran Cleveland could have added? No. Is he a long-term solution? Probably not. But he’s the type of stable, efficient QB they can use right now. Taylor also is a cheap pocket holder for the franchise QB the Browns are bound to draft, and he can win some games to make them a lot more respectable in the meantime. He also has a big arm and athleticism, two attributes that can work well for Todd Haley.

Miami broke the 3-3 tie with three runs against Phillies’ relievers Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan in the eighth. Garcia (0-1) hit Miguel Rojas with a pitch to start the inning and walked Starlin Castro before Morgan gave up a one-out, two-run double to Brian Anderson and Bryan Holaday’s two-out RBI hit.

Arrieta pitched into some bad luck in the first.

After inducing a groundout from Derek Dietrich, the first batter he faced, Arrieta gave up a home run to Miguel Rojas.

Starlin Castro walked and Justin Bour’s tailor-made double play ball ended up an infield single because shortstop J.P. Crawford was shifted to the right side of the second-base bag.

Packers WR Trevor Davis Arrested for Making Bomb Joke at LAX Airport

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis was reportedly arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport Sunday after jokingly telling an attendant at the Hawaiian Airlines ticket counter he had smuggled in a bomb while being asked security questions, according to Stella Chan of CNN.

Chan spoke with LAX Police public information officer Robert Pedregon, who stated that Davis “was at the Hawaiian Airlines counter with a female companion Sunday morning answering a series of typical questions asked of all travelers.”

Fortunately, to get a better sense of what the league actually thought about quarterbacks, there’s Bob McGinn. The legendary Packers beat writer took an annual poll of anonymous evaluators before the draft during his time with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and asked them to rank the quarterbacks from each year’s draft class. McGinn then scored each of those ballots with five points for the top-ranked quarterback, four for the second-ranked quarterback and onward.

I was able to find polls going back to the 2005 draft, which was a fateful session for the team McGinn covered. Let’s run through the top five from those polls to see just how difficult it is to project quarterbacks.

This comes after Ralph Vacchiano of SNY cited a team source who said it was “highly unlikely” the Giants would move the wide receiver.

The mere idea of trading Beckham would have turned plenty of heads not long ago. However, the talented receiver played just four games last season because of an ankle injury. What’s more, Vacchiano suggested the Giants are “near their breaking point with Beckham and these nuisance controversies” after he was shown in a video with a suspicious cigarette.

Team president John Mara even said “I wouldn’t say anyone’s untouchable” when asked whether the team could move Beckham this offseason at the league’s owners’ meetings, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

Gronkowski wasn’t the only player pondering tomorrow after that grueling Super Bowl defeat.

The Athletic noted that 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady “also appeared conflicted about his future at the conclusion of his Tom vs. Time documentary.”

“I think (Gronkowski) is the best tight end in the game, maybe in the history of the game, so we’re privileged to have a quarterback (in Brady) and tight end in those positions,” Kraft said. “I do believe, though, people feel differently (after a loss). That was a tough loss. We’ll let things sort out and see what happens.”

The Jets got a strong surprise season at the same position from Demario Davis, but Williamson is three years younger and rangier as a replacement. He’s an excellent run defender and has the upside to be better than Davis in coverage.

Richardson leaves the Seahawks to line up next to Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen, creating a big upgrade over aging free-agent Tom Johnson. Throw in Danielle Hunter, and this is the scariest front four in the NFL.

As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted, he has now been suspended four different times in his career for violating the league’s policies on both substance abuse and performance-enhancing drugs.

With the latest punishment, Collins has been suspended for 28 games.

However, he is apparently not letting any criticism get to him:

The 25-year-old has been a quality contributor when on the field, playing all 16 games as a rookie in 2015 while gaining an even bigger role in 2016. He started six of eight regular-season games and finished with two interceptions and 10 passes defended.

He also started Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots and totaled 11 tackles in the 34-28 loss.

Rays place Brad Miller on disabled list with groin injury

The Tampa Bay Rays have placed first baseman Brad Miller on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left groin.

Manager Kevin Cash said Miller was hurt as he started out of the batter’s box on a fifth-inning single in Sunday’s 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Miller stayed in the game but was replaced by pinch hitter Joey Wendle two innings later.

Beckham showing up can be viewed as a goodwill offering, and the hope is that this leads to meaningful contract negotiations, something that has yet to happen at any point to date. Beckham wants to remain with the Giants despite the team’s brass saying at the NFL meetings that they would listen to offers for their top playmaker, even though they weren’t technically shopping him. Shurmur isn’t concerned about that affecting Beckham. The two have remained in contact in recent weeks, even meeting in Los Angeles when Shurmur went there to watch quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen throw.

“I’m not worried about it. I really believe Odell is a professional,” Shurmur said. “He wants to be great and he understands the importance of the offseason, and he’s a competitive guy. “Again, we had already started communicating before all that information kind of got out there and was talked about to a great deal.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire said Cabrera is “ready to go” and has him batting third and playing first base against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

The two-time American League MVP jammed his hip when he tripped and fell rounding first on a single in the first inning against Chicago on Thursday. It tightened up when he played the field, and Niko Goodrum replaced him at first base in the second.

Gardenhire said right-hander Mike Fiers (lumbar strain) will be activated from the 10-day disabled list in time to start Sunday’s game.

Just as Sanchez arrived at third, Stanton decided to go back to the base, too. Seeing Sanchez there, he kept running up the baseline in the direction of the left-field corner. Joseph tagged him out.

Only one out was given, but per MLB rules, two should have been awarded.

Raiders sign linebacker Emmanuel Lamur to continue busy offseason

Few teams have been as active as the Raiders this offseason, and Oakland struck again Wednesday signing linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.

Lamur heads to Oakland having spent his first six years with the Vikings and Bengals. He has played in 71 games with 15 starts and posted 90 tackles (64 solo), 1/2 sacks, two interceptions, 12 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. In four postseason games, he has recorded eight tackles.

The Kansas State product is also known as a leader on the special teams unit and contributed with four stops last season.

Two of the Mets’ runs resulted from defensive lapses. In the third inning, Miami catcher Bryan Holaday failed to catch a routine pop foul hit by Bruce, who then delivered a two-out RBI single. A wild throw by first baseman Justin Bour in the seventh led to an unearned run, which came home on Amed Rosario’s RBI single.

“Throwing that away, that just can’t happen,” Bour said.

Siemian started 24 games (13-11 record) for Denver over the last two seasons, but was expendable after the Broncos signed former Vikings QB Case Keenum to a two-year deal Wednesday.

The other two quarterbacks who saw action for Minnesota last season already have found new homes — Sam Bradford with the Cardinals and Teddy Bridgewater with the Jets.

Sabathia, 37, allowed four hits and three runs — all on solo home runs — on only 58 pitches. He didn’t show signs of trouble with the hip while he was on the field, but he said he started feeling the soreness as he finished his warm-up pitches in the third inning.

“It was sore, and I’ve never felt that spot before — ever, throwing a baseball — so it was a little nerve-wracking,” Sabathia said about coming out of the game following the fourth inning.

Other than an ankle injury that sidelined him briefly, Sabathia was mostly healthy during spring training. Last season, he spent time on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and right knee inflammation.

Closer Carousel: What to do with a struggling Kenley Jansen

Our updated closer depth chart displays the top closing options for each team.

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Kenley Jansen is special and does not struggle with performance, injury or anything else, most everyone believes. He is different, everyone will point out, and that is why selecting a closer in the fourth round has not looked so strange. Jansen exalted himself to the top tier of closers, in which he and only he resides, after yet another magnificent campaign in 2017, in which finished last season as the No. 8 option — not pitcher, but overall — on the Player Rater thanks to his 1.32 ERA, 41 saves and fourth season of 100-plus strikeouts.

With two outs in the second, Roark walked three straight hitters before Gonzalez homered into the Nationals’ bullpen on the first pitch. It was Gonzalez’s sixth career grand slam and the Mets’ second of the series.

Callaway said Zack Wheeler will be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and pitch in Miami Wednesday, when the Mets will need a fifth starter. In his first start at Las Vegas, Wheeler allowed one run in five innings. It would be the first time Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Harvey and Wheeler make a rotation turn together.

Bogaerts went 1-for-3 in Boston’s eighth straight victory. He is hitting .368 (14-for-38) this season with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs.

Holt said he’s prepared to step in at shortstop if Bogaerts has to miss any time.

“I feel comfortable at shortstop, second base, third base — pretty much anywhere,” Holt said. “It’s a tough team to crack the lineup. I hate to see [Bogaerts] get injured there, especially with his spot coming up there [in the eighth inning] in a big spot. But I feel like I can step in and do a good job.”

Boston opens a three-game series against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

For the second straight game, the Bulldogs scored two first-period goals and held on. They beat Ohio State 2-1 Thursday.

UMD took advantage of two Irish turnovers.

Lions looking for versatility in defensive personnel

The Lions’ defense is going to look different next season. To what extent, we’ll have to wait to learn until the players take the field in the coming months, but the key word the orchestrators of the unit keep coming back to is multiple.

No NFL defense lines up the same way every play, neither up front nor in the back end. Multiple looks and sub-packages are the way of the modern game, but the pieces the Lions have added this offseason don’t look the some as the pieces they’re replacing. And there’s a strong possibility returning players won’t be used the way they’ve been used in the past.

One of the key components of Detroit’s scouting system is comparing a potential Lions player to someone from the team or coach’s past. So with whom, from Patricia’s coaching experience, does Kennard share similarities

Patricia was reluctant to compare skill sets, not wanting to put unnecessary expectations on the Lions’ newcomer, but when he limited it to body type, the first two names that came to mind were Kyle Van Noy and Rob Ninkovich.

Lions fans remember Van Noy as the second-round pick who didn’t work out in Detroit, but Patricia turned him into a key contributor after the Patriots acquired the linebacker in a midseason trade two years ago.

The pursuit of size would seem to spell trouble for someone like Jalen Reeves-Maybin, a fourth-round draft pick from last season. He’s undersized, even by the previous scheme’s standards, but Patricia intends to find a function for all the pieces he has at his disposal.

I think a guy like that definitely has a place within some of the schemes that we do, Patricia said.

Up front, the Lions largely look similar, with the key difference being a swap at defensive tackle. Despite reportedly having a matching offer, Haloti Ngata opted to take a job with Philadelphia because he wanted to continue to play an attacking style. His replacement, Sylvester Williams, has the athleticism to occasionally rush the passer, but is more of a two-gapping. run-stuffer who is an ideal early-down player.

The secondary also remains largely intact, with cornerback Nevin Lawson and Tavon Wilson re-signing with the team and DeShawn Shead replacing D.J. Hayden, giving the team a bit more size and physicality on the depth chart.

And while it remains to be seen how that rotation will shake out, the Lions like the versatility they’ve been accumulating in the back end. Quandre Diggs, a nickel back who made a wildly successful conversion to safety late last season, is a prime example.