MLB now acknowledges that owners are discussing changes to the pension plan

MLB now acknowledges that owners are discussing changes to the pension plan

The other day, when Adam Rubin reported that MLB owners were considering eliminating the pension plan offered to non-uniformed employees like scouts, administrative staff and the like, MLB Vice President Rob Manfred said that there had been “no discussions” about eliminating the pension plans. Rubin has updated his report: MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred…

After signing Norman, Reed, Redskins' 2017 salary cap still in good shape

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After signing Norman, Reed, Redskins' 2017 salary cap still in good shape

Even after the Redskins signed Josh Norman and Jordan Reed to substantial contracts, the team still has more than adequate salary cap space to sign its other pending free agent, including quarterback Kirk Cousins.

According to www.Overthecap.com after Norman’s extension hit the books and after accounting for Chris Culliver’s release the Redskins had $117.2 million in salary cap dollars committed for 2017.

That does not count them signing their seven draft picks, which will add around $5 million to their 2017 committed money. But there also are some players counting against the cap who are unlikely to be there. It’s probably a pretty safe bet that you can subtract the salaries of Andre Roberts ($4 million), Shawn Lauvao ($4 million), and Kory Lichtensteiger ($3.5 million).

Adding in for the draft picks and subtracting for the veterans, that nets out to the Redskins having $110.7 million in salary cap commitments.

We don’t yet have the details of Reed’s contract so we don’t know how much he will cost against the 2017 cap. It’s a five-year, $50 million extension that actually starts in 2017. Usually the first year of such a deal has a lower cap number and then it grows as the years go on and the cap grows. For example, Norman’s deal averages $15 million per year and the first-year cap hit was only $8 million.

But let’s round up and figure that the 2017 cap hit will be what the average annual value of the contract is, $10 million. It might be a little higher but you’ll see in a moment that a few million dollars is not all that significant. That pushes the 2017 commitment up to $120.7 million.

The NFL salary cap this year is $155.27 million. It’s a very safe bet that the cap will increase in 2017. The increase from 2014 to 2015 was 8.3 percent. If it goes up by the same year-to-year percentage the 2017 cap will be $168 million. It may be a few million more or less but that’s in the ballpark.

Subtracting the $120.7 million that the Redskins are likely to have committed from the $168 million cap, that leaves the Redskins with about $47.3 million in sap space for 2017.

That will be more than adequate space to pay Cousins and others who might be in line for new contracts. The key will be having a salary cap structure similar to those of other successful teams. Besides Norman, if the three veterans mentioned above are released the two highest-priced contracts signed by free agents will be Stephen Paea ($5.8 million cap number) and Ricky Jean Francois ($4 million). And Paea won’t be around for that number if his play doesn’t rise to that level.

As long as Scot McCloughan continues to have productive drafts the Redskins can limit free agent signings to a supplemental way of acquiring talent, not the primary method. The organization will be able to pick and choose the players they want to keep and have a structure with some home-grown talent with large second contracts and perhaps a Norman-like free agent at the top, some moderate deals like the ones that Morgan Moses and Bashaud Breeland are likely to get forming an upper middle class, other role players who are on second contracts and then the more recent draft picks working on their inexpensive rookie deals.

Revere makes his return to the lineup as Nats hope to rebound vs. Cubs

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Revere makes his return to the lineup as Nats hope to rebound vs. Cubs

Nationals (19-9) vs. Cubs (21-6) at Wrigley Field 

On Thursday night, the Nationals found out the hard way what makes the Cubs the best team in baseball. Despite a quality outing by Joe Ross, Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist drove in four of Chicago's five runs en route to a 5-2 series-opening win for the home team. 

But the Nats will head into Friday's game with what they hope is a big boost to their offense: Centerfielder Ben Revere makes his return to the lineup for the first time since his Opening Day oblique injury, replacing Michael Taylor atop the batting order. How long will it take him to get in a groove? 

As for the pitching matchup, the Nats will send out their ace Max Scherzer (3-1, 3.55 ERA) to oppose John Lackey (3-1, 4.32 ERA), who was one of the Cubs' big offseason acquisitions. 

First pitch: 2:20 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Cubs - John Lackey

NATS

CF Ben Revere 

3B Anthony Rendon

RF Bryce Harper 

1B Ryan Zimmerman 

2B Daniel Murphy

LF Jayson Werth 

C Wilson Ramos

SS Danny Espinosa 

P Max Scherzer

 

CUBS

CF Dexter Fowler 

RF Jayson Heyward 

LF Kris Bryant 

1B Anthony Rizzo 

2B Ben Zobrist 

3B Tommy La Stella 

SS Javy Baez 

C David Ross

P John Lackey 

 

Follow along with GameView here.

Ravens sign fourth-round pick RB Kenneth Dixon

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Ravens sign fourth-round pick RB Kenneth Dixon

The Ravens have signed running back Kenneth Dixon, one of their five fourth-round draft picks, CSN has confirmed.

Dixon became the second of the Ravens’ 11 draft picks to sign, joining defensive end -- linebacker Matt Judon, their fifth-round pick who signed Thursday night. Terms of Dixon’s four-year contract were not immediately known.

Dixon is part of a crowded Ravens backfield picture that also includes Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, Trent Richardson, and Terrence Magee.  

However, Dixon could earn playing time immediately if his production per carry translates from college to the NFL.

The Ravens struggled to run the ball in short-yardage situations and in the red zone last year, two areas were Dixon might help.

Dixon had 4,480 rushing yards and 72 rushing touchdowns during his college career at Louisiana Tech. He also caught 88 passes for 972 yards and 15 touchdowns, and some scouts rated Dixon as the best pass-catching back in the draft.

Dixon will begin trying to earn the coaching staff’s immediate confidence during the Ravens’ two-day rookie minicamp which begins Friday.