Why the Jets gave Joe Flacco a new team before Cam Newton signed with one

Another veteran QB found a new home in 2020 NFL free agency who isn’t named Cam Newton. The Jets signed Joe Flacco to a one-year deal, a move announced by his agent. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the contract for the former Ravens and Broncos starter has a base worth of only $1.5 million with incentives maxing out at $4.5 million.

Flacco, 35, is recovering from neck surgery to correct an ailment that cut short his lone season in Denver. The 2007 first-rounder and Super Bowl 47 MVP for Baltimore didn’t want to retire and now can get to stick around in the league for at least another season, if he proves to be healthy enough.

Meanwhile, 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, released by the Panthers in March, remains a free agent and still the best veteran QB on the market. So why did the Jets take a flyer on Flacco instead, given that he also carries a level of recent injury history mystery?

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First, Flacco, who has made plenty of money in his career and once was the highest-paid QB in the NFL, settled for relative little money to keep playing for someone. Second, after his time with the Broncos proved, pre-injury, that he no longer could be counted on as a starter, Flacco clearly settled on being a willing backup behind 2018 No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold in New York.

Flacco’s deal is similar to the last QB of first-round note to sign. Jameis Winston, the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, went from Buccaneers five-season starter to settling for a $1.1 million base salary plus incentives to back up Drew Brees with the Saints late last month.

For Newton, as the 2015 NFL MVP, reports are it’s been difficult for him to accept both a lesser deal and one that doesn’t come with a real chance to compete for a starting job. So far, the Patriots and Jaguars have held firm on rolling with second-year third-day picks Jarrett Stidham and Gardner Minshew, respectively, instead of wanting to bring Newton or another viable veteran alternative into the mix.

The Redskins (Ron Rivera and Scott Turner) and Broncos (Mike Shula) are Newton’s best remaining coaching staff fits. But Washington has Dwayne Haskins and already traded for former Panther Kyle Allen to compete with him, while Denver is gung-ho on Drew Lock, far removed from Flacco, to the point that it doesn’t want him looking over his shoulder.

Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains, who oversee the Jets’ offense as coach and coordinator, needed more of a regular pocket passing type behind Darnold. Before Flacco, the Jets’ best No. 2 option was David Fales. When Darnold had mononucleosis early last season, their backup situation was badly exposed.

Newton as a unknown quantity to teams because of his durability was never really a fit for New York. Jets general manager Joe Douglas also is vary familiar with Flacco’s makeup and skill set. Douglas started as a longtime scout with the Ravens from 2000 to 2014, and Flacco was drafted by Ozzie Newsome in the middle of that tenure.

Is it shocking that Newton hasn’t found a fit with any team, even at the lowest price? Yes. Is it surprising that the Jets would roll the dice with Flacco as a No. 2 instead of considering Newton? In their current situation, not at all.

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‘It’s the people’: Why Joe Burrow’s connection to Ohio means more than ever ahead of NFL Draft

Joe Burrow played at two powerhouse college football programs in Ohio State and LSU — winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship at the latter — and is projected to be selected No. 1 in the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Despite all those accomplishments, it’s Burrow’s connection to southeast Ohio that continues to define the quarterback’s legacy. He showed that again this week by reaching out to Lowe’s employees in Athens, Ohio for a series of video chats. For Burrow, it’s the close-to-home-call that still means the most.

“It’s people like the people that I played against and played with in high school,” Burrow told Sporting News. “There is just a certain toughness about this area of the state and the country. It’s a unique area that not a lot of people get to experience. People always ask me, ‘What was it like growing up in Athens?’ I don’t know what to tell them.”

Burrow stops for a second, then finds his go-to answer.

“It’s the people,” he said. “They are so loyal and so willing to give. I just want to repay as many people as I can from this area who helped me get to this moment.”

As I look forward to getting a call I’ll never forget later this week, I wanted to call a few special people at @loweshomeimprovement in my hometown to thank them for everything they do for our community, staying strong in good times and bad. It’s hardworking folks like these who make me so proud to be from Athens, OH #HomeUnitesUs #LowesPartner

A post shared by Joe Burrow (@joe_burrow10) on

That’s not just a line; Burrow lives by the message. The spread of COVID-19 has led to a shelter-in-place order in Ohio. Burrow has stayed home in Athens for the past month to prepare for the NFL Draft, and he encouraged residents to stay home.

On Monday, he took time out again to speak with Lowe’s employees in the area. Burrow talked about one conversation in particular with Jason Lowery, a military veteran, single father and nearby Glouster native. For Burrow, however, Lowery is another member of that southeast Ohio family.

“He told me stories about when he watched me in high school with his sons,” Burrow said. “I think it brightened his day a little bit, and it definitely brightened mine.”

Burrow’s name pops up frequently in Ohio, given the possibility the Bengals might use their No. 1 pick to draft him. That’s the next stop in a journey that started at Athens High School, where he compiled a 37-4 record as a starter from 2012-14. He passed for 63 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 2014, leading the Bulldogs to the Division III state championship game.

Burrow won the Mr. Football Award — an award he unapologetically compares to the Heisman Trophy he won at LSU in 2019. He recalls the looks he saw at media day for the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 11 when he reflected on that high school career.

“Some of the people were probably like, ‘What is this guy talking about? Why is he talking about his high school team and a state championship?'” Burrow said. “But it did mean that much to me. It’s like that when you have really, really good teams — the ones that can win championships. It just feels different. It’s hard to explain, but it felt the exact same in a different place (at LSU). It all felt the same.”

Burrow transferred from Ohio State after the 2018 season and, after an up-and-down first season at LSU, took off to college football stardom with the help of passing game coordinator Joe Brady, hired by Orgeron from the Saints. Burrow led LSU to a 15-0 record with 5,671 passing yards and 60 passing touchdowns to six interceptions. He broke several FBS single-season records and had an unforgettable two-game run in the College Football Playoff where he accounted for 1,035 total yards of offense.

“That led Joe Burreaux” to becoming a celebrity in Baton Rouge, La. He credits the ability to make that transition away from home to his high school days in Athens. It wasn’t just about being a small-town quarterback.

“Our school was very diverse,” he said. “Not so much racially but socioeconomically. I got a lot of practice connecting to a lot of different people, and that helped me on my journey. As a quarterback, you have to be the leader. You have to be able to connect, and I got practice with that at a very young age.”

That socioeconomic conscience prompted Burrow to focus on southeast Ohio — and the need to help others — in his Heisman Trophy speech. More than $500,000 in donations poured into the Athens County Food Pantry afterward. For Burrow, that was validation in terms of knowing his fan base.

“I thought it showed exactly what I thought about this area and the area I was playing in,” Burrow said. “Most of the donations came from people from this area who were financially able or people from Louisiana. It kind of validated what I thought about both areas. I have so much love for people for both areas.”

That’s what makes Burrow one of the more interesting franchise quarterbacks in recent memory.

He is beloved by Ohio State fans despite never starting a game there. He’s a cult hero at LSU on the level of Billy Cannon. He’ll be a franchise quarterback at the next level, tasked with leading a team to the Super Bowl next.

Burrow will go to that next stop with the same approach that made him successful from the start.

“Wherever you go, people are going to respect people that are loyal and people that work really, really hard,” Burrow said. “Those are two things that I have always prided myself on. People gravitate toward that. I think that kind of connects all of us.

Burrow plans on keeping that connection in Athens, no matter where he lands in the NFL. That legacy figures to grow with each season, too.

“We have some things I’ve been thinking about to give back to people in the area,” Burrow said. “Obviously, there are donations that can be made, but things that are made impactful when I’m able to spend time with people in the area. The more I can do that, the more fulfilling this will be.”

Burrow partnered with Lowe’s, who is using the 2020 NFL Draft to launch a new campaign dedicated to the 300,000 associates that serve their communities. “I think it is great what they are doing,” Burrow said. “I hope everyone appreciates it as much as me and my family do. I just wanted to show them some gratitude.”

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Joe Hart 'could be reunited with former team-mate Rooney at Derby'

Joe Hart ‘could be reunited with former England team-mate Wayne Rooney at Derby’ with goalkeeper’s contract at Burnley up this summer

  • Joe Hart could link-up with his former England team-mate Wayne Rooney 
  • Derby are interested in signing the goalkeeper on a free transfer this summer 
  • The 32-year-old is out of contract at Burnley at the end of the current season 
  •  Besiktas are also thought to be interested in signing the out-of-favour ‘keeper

Joe Hart could be reunited with his former England team-mate Wayne Rooney with Derby interested in signing the goalkeeper on a free transfer.

Hart is one of a number of Burnley players set to be out of contract in the summer as the 32-year-old’s miserable spell at Turf Moor comes to an end.

The ‘keeper has made just three cup appearances for Sean Dyche’s side this season and is looking to rejuvenate a spiralling career.

Derby are interested in Joe Hart with the Burnley goalkeeper out of contract in the summer

A move to the Rams would see him reunited with his former England team-mate Wayne Rooney

The Rams could be set to offer him a lifeline while Turkish side Besiktas are also thought to be interested, according to The Sun.

The former England No1 left Man City in 2018 and joined the Clarets for a fee of £3.5million after loan spells at Torino and West Ham.

Hart was frozen out of the Etihad when Pep Guardiola took charge in 2016 but won five trophies during his time at the club. 

Turkish side Besiktas are also thought to be interested in the keeper because of his reputation

He also lost his England place and missed out on being selected for the 2018 World Cup.

The keeper struggled to breakthrough at Turf Moor with Nick Pope firmly holding on to the No1 spot.

Hart even put himself in the shop window while on pundit duty with the BBC late on in the January transfer window. 

Derby may not be able to match Harts’ wages due to budget restrictions while Besiktas are interested because of his reputation in European football.

The Black Eagles have had Liverpool’s Loris Karius on-loan this season but the German has failed to impress. 




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Depay channels inner Joe Exotic in latest music video with a liger

Lyon’s very own Tiger King! Memphis Depay channels his inner Joe Exotic as he enjoys lockdown with a liger in bizarre latest music video

  • Memphis Depay released a bizarre music video of him with a liger in his house
  • Video ‘Dubai Freestyle’ shows the Dutchman eating breakfast with the animal 
  • People were pointed out similarities with viral Netflix documentary ‘Tiger King’ 

Memphis Depay has revealed what he has been doing during lockdown in bizarre fashion after releasing a music video in which he eats breakfast with a liger.  

The mercurial Lyon midfielder latest music release ‘Dubai Freestyle’ shows him living a lavish lifestyle and begins with him walking down the stairs with a small lion-tiger-cross, in an opening scene Tiger King Joe Exotic would have been proud of.

Pet tigers and lions are a hot topic at the moment after the huge popularity of bonkers Neflix documentary ‘Tiger King’, which follows the unusual life of American zoo keeper Exotic.  

Memphis Depay has revealed a bizarre music video during lockdown involving a liger

The video ‘Dubai Freestyle’ shows Depay sitting at a table eating breakfast with an exotic cat

WARNING – The below video contains strong language. 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=cmKzUCWrvKg%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

Depay has carried on this trend as he revealed what seems to be his pet being allowed to roam his house and sit on top of the table in his apartment.

Most would be terrified at the prospect of being near these big cats, but it seems Depay is much like Exotic in being strangely familiar with them, as a cut of the animal actually eating cereal out of a bowl can also be seen in the video.

The Dutchman’s video also shows him diving into a swimming pool, driving a Rolls Royce around the desert and walking round the streets of Dubai.

Those on Twitter were quick to point out the similarities between Depay and Netlifix’s current viral star, with one user editing Exotic’s iconic mullet and hat onto the former Manchester United winger’s head. 

Depay’s video release drew similarities to Joe Exotic from viral Netflix documentary Tiger King

One Twitter user edited Exotic’s iconic mullet and hat onto Depay’s head after the video

Depay has long been known as an eccentric character and his latest video, receiving over 100,000 views so far, is one of several on his official Youtube channel.

Former team-mate Wayne Rooney once revealed that he advised Memphis to cut out his flashy behaviour after dropping to the reserves under Louis Van Gaal, but instead turned up to the game wearing a leather jacket, a cowboy hat and again driving a Rolls Royce.

Depay, like the rest of the footballing world, has found himself with an abundance of free time after the coronavirus has ground the world to a halt, though it is not known whether the video was shot before or after lockdown measures were introduced. 

 

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‘There’s no social distancing in a cage fight’: Joe Rogan casts doubt over Dana White’s UFC plans

Joe Rogan cast doubt over the feasibility of UFC going ahead during the coronavirus pandemic, warning that “there’s no social distancing in a f***ing cage fight”.

UFC 249 is set to take place behind closed doors on 18 April, with Tony Ferguson now set to face Justin Gaethje after lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was left stranded in Russia.

However, Rogan questioned the practicality of the event going ahead, with a venue still yet to be announced by UFC president Dana White.

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“We don’t know where it is,” Rogan said. “I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing, if I’m going to it or not. I don’t know where it is.

“I don’t even know if it’s in America. I literally, as of right now, I don’t know s***. I have no information.”

It’s understood that the UFC’s £605m contract with Disney requires them to hold 42 events this year, which has increased pressure on the organisation not to call off the event.

“There’s no social distancing in a f*cking cage fight,” Rogan added. “They’re on top of each other sweating in each other’s mouths. If Tony Ferguson’s fighting, there’s gonna be blood, for sure. Everybody that fights Tony Ferguson looks like they fell off a train, so there’s gonna be blood.

“What if one of those guys test positive?”

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Billy Joe Saunders' boxing licence suspended after comments on domestic violence

Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has had his boxing licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control.

The BBBofC confirmed they had suspended Saunders after he released a video that showed men how to beat their girlfriends during the coronavirus pandemic.

Saunders has since apologised for the video, while his Promoter Eddie Hearn slammed his fighter for the comments.

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In the video Saunders shows men how to ‘hit her on the chin’ when a woman speaks back to you, demonstrating on a punch bag.

A statement from the Board read: ‘The British Boxing Board of Control having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media have suspended the boxer’s licence pending a hearing under the Board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.’

WBO super-middleweight champion Saunders now faces another hefty fine after previously falling foul of the Board’s expectations and risks having his licence stripped completely.

The 30-year-old was fined £100,000 in September 2018 after a video emerged of him asking a woman to perform a sex act on him for £150 worth of drugs.

‘I looked at it as a bit of a joke at first, I obviously wasn’t thinking right, but looking back at it now I can clearly see the destruction it has caused among the women suffering from domestic violence.

‘It was a silly mistake, but I didn’t intentionally mean to cause harm to anyone and I certainly wouldn’t promote domestic violence.’

‘But I also didn’t mean for anyone to get intentionally upset about it,’ Saunders continued.

‘There are people dying all around the world with coronavirus and I tried to take the heat off that a little bit by cheering everybody up, but it clearly hasn’t done it.

‘My sense of humour is not everyone’s cup of tea.

‘I can only take it back and apologise for it; I’ve spoken to my manager and among other things I will be donating £25,000 to support domestic violence charities.

‘It is clearly a silly thing to do and I can’t take it back.’

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