NFL star runner signs a brand new contract

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NFL star runner signs a brand new contract

From Comcast SportsNet
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- LeSean McCoy ran his way onto the short list of the best running backs in the NFL. He can now stamp his name among the highest paid. McCoy and the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a five-year contract extension that runs through 2017. The deal is for a reported 45 million, with 20.765 million guaranteed. McCoy set franchise records in 2011 with 17 touchdowns rushing, and 20 total scores, while earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He also led the NFL with 102 first downs and 48 runs of 10-plus yards, while finishing as the league's fourth-leading rusher with 1,309 yards. "I love this team, and I'm kind of a hometown kid from Harrisburg which is like an hour and a half away," McCoy said Thursday night. "Nothing could be better than being here for the long term. Once you kind of realize the feeling of wanting to be here for the long term, we contacted the team and it was a mutual feeling. So, it kicked off from there." In 2010, McCoy ranked fourth in the NFL with 1,672 yards from scrimmage while leading all running backs with a career-high 78 catches. Philadelphia had a disappointing 4-8 start last season, before rallying with four straight wins to end the year. The Eagles did not make the playoffs. Usually called by childhood nickname, Shady, McCoy was Philadelphia's 2009 second-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh. He has played in 46 games, with 32 starts, and has registered 4,241 yards from scrimmage. "He does it all, so this isn't a one-dimensional running back," coach Andy Reid said. "This is a running back that can not only carry the football for you but can catch the football as well as the wide receivers and he can block and loves playing the game. That brings great energy to this football team." He had one year left on his original four-year rookie contract. The Eagles already this offseason signed wide receiver DeSean Jackson to a five-year contract that runs through 2016 and acquired two-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans. They signed defensive end Trent Cole to a four-year extension through 2017 and tackle Todd Herremans to a three-year extension through 2016. The Eagles believe they have the pieces in place to again become contenders in the NFC. McCoy doesn't turn 24 until July, giving the Eagles hope they can get a full five years of use out of McCoy, even at a rugged position like running back. "It's exciting because we are trying to build for the long term," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "We're trying to bring a championship to the city of Philadelphia and we're going to do whatever we can to do that, but on the same token, we're going to try and keep building it and sustain some success. Keeping him here is a big piece of that." McCoy now his name up there with Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson and DeAngelo Williams as one of the highest-paid running backs. Minnesota's Peterson signed a 100 million, seven-year contract before last season. Johnson signed a 53.5 million contract extension worth 30 million guaranteed with Tennessee before last season. "I'm just honored to be in the range financially with those guys," McCoy said. McCoy ran for 2,731 yards in his two seasons, and posted 38 total touchdowns at Pitt.

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NBA trade deadline rumors: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade

NBA trade deadline rumors: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade

The rumors linking Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor and his hometown Chicago Bulls had died down in recent weeks, but with the trade deadline closing in on Thursday afternoon, things appear to be heating up once again.

A new report from Yahoo! Sports says the Bulls have shown increased interest in making a deal.

Okafor, 21, has been the subject of many trade discussions despite being in just his second year in the NBA. Philly has a surplus of frontcourt players and teammate Joel Embiid has passed him on the depth chart.

Chicago continues to be in rumors involving Jimmy Butler, but the two players have not been linked as part of the same potential deal. Forward Taj Gibson is also reportedly available.

Whatever the Bulls do will be pertinent for the Wizards, who could match up with them in the playoffs this year. The Wizards are the No. 3 seed currently while the Bulls are seventh.

[RELATED: Brooks: A Porter trade "wouldn't even be discussed"]

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The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous

The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the hot take, the more preposterous and outrageous suggestion gets the buzz. 

The latest fallacy of a sports debate started when Jordan Rodgers - best known for being Aaron Rodgers' brother and a winner on The Bachelorette  - said he would take Kirk Cousins over Cam Newton while talking on ESPN Radio. Rodgers laid out his reasons, mainly that Cousins is an accurate passer while Newton's game depends to much on athleticism. Rodgers: 

You know what gets figured out? Athleticism. What happened to Robert Griffin? Athleticism. Teams caught up to him. They figured how to scheme him. You know what never gets schemed or what never gets stymied? Going through your reads and completing balls. That is what Kirk Cousins does: completing the last two years 67 and nearly 70 percentage of his throws. Going through your reads, there is always an answer. And if you consistently, from a mental standpoint as a quarterback, go through your reads, you always give your team a chance to win. And I will take consistency, leadership and accuracy over athletic potential any day of the week.

So there's that. Then Tiki Barber decided to get involved. Some highlights from Barber's rant via his radio show:

  • Kirk Cousins will sit in the pocket and find his guy and read a defense and know pre-snap where he’s going to go with the ball, and if something breaks down, then he finds his checkdown back. Those two guys who they had in Washington were fantastic in giving him support in that role, so yeah, of course you take Kirk Cousins over Cam Newton, even though Cam Newton was the MVP.
  • With Cam Newton, you’re getting year-to-year volatility. With Kirk Cousins, you haven’t had that. It’s been pretty consistent.
  • If you’re choosing one and you’re building out for the next five or six years, who are you picking? I think it’s pretty easy to pick Kirk Cousins.

Looking at statistics, the claims of Rodgers and Barber can be validated in some capacity. In six seasons, Newton has only thrown for more than 4,000 yards once in his rookie year. Cousins has done it both years he's been the starter, and nearly went for 5,000 in 2016.

And Cousins completes way more of his passes. The Panthers QB's best completion percentage came in 2013, when he connected on 61.7 percent of his passes. Cousins completed nearly 70 percent of his throws in 2015, and 67 percent in 2016.

Dig a little deeper though, and some things are obvious.

The Panthers run a prehistoric offense, where running the ball is the focus. In 2016, Carolina ran the ball 28 times per game, the 7th most in the NFL. That was actually a significant decrease from 2015, where Carolina ran the ball 33 times per game, by far the most run heavy offense in the NFL. 

The Redskins were on the other end of the spectrum. Washington ran the ball less than 24 times per game in 2016, and ranked 27th out of 32 teams in the NFL in rush attempts. 

Consider that the 'Skins play a pass-first offense, and Carolina does the opposite, and that explains much of the yardage differences. Cousins had nearly 100 more throws in 2016 than Newton, 606 to 510, though the Panthers QB missed two starts. In 2015, when Newton won the MVP and the Panthers went to the Super Bowl, Cousins still threw nearly 50 passes more over the course of the year. 

Another consideration on the stats: Newton goes deep. All the time. Cousins and the Redskins move the ball well, but are not reliant on the vertical passing game like the Panthers. Remember, about halfway through the 2016 season, many stories questioned why the Washington offense was under utilizing DeSean Jackson. That changed as the year progressed, but anybody that watches football recognizes the difference.

Rodgers even provided the context. "Any time you talk about the completion percentage being as high as Kirk’s is, it means he’s consistently getting to his third and fourth read and check-downs. That’s how you have that high percentage."

Oh yeah, Newton is arguably the best running quarterback in NFL history. Deadly in short yardage situations, Cam has 48 rushing TDs in his six-year NFL career. Cousins has shown flashes of good wheels, the touchdown run in Detroit comes to mind, but is nowhere near the runner Newton is. Nobody is. 

All of this is not to talk down Cousins. The Redskins passer has proven to be a worthy NFL starting quarterback, and he could continue to improve over the next half decade. He is smart with the football and quick in his reads. In Washington or elsewhere, Cousins will make a ton of money, and deservedly. 

But ranking Cousins ahead of Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, just seems silly. Rodgers and Barber laid out their reasoning, but in actuality, it's hard to believe. 

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