How much are Chicago’s veterans even trying anymore?

It may end up that Wade left Miami, only for his new team to miss the playoffs while his old team unexpectedly charged in and grabbed the final spot. That said, despite Wade and Butler jointly ripping their teammates back in January, Wade is hardly blameless here. This right here isn’t playoff-worthy defense.

The Bulls are fine right where they are: rebuilding outside of the playoffs.

Chicago has some fun young players, like Denzel Valentine, Cristiano Felicio, and Paul Zipser. They dealt for Cameron Payne at the deadline in exchange for Taj Gibson, who didn’t factor into the long-term plans. It might actually be time to trade Butler and start fresh next season, adding another lottery pick to the equation in this summer’s draft, plus whatever haul comes with a Butler trade.

Still, it’s hard to be too optimistic given the Bulls’ current management, which fans are literally revolting against with organized protests. If nothing else, that nine-point first quarter was incredibly representative of where the franchise is right now.

On Saturday, just about everything broke right for the few teams in contention for the final four places in the field. Most of the bid poachers were cleared from their respective conference tournaments on Saturday afternoon. Then as the evening rolled on, two of the more likely mid-major at-large contenders — the Mountain West’s Nevada Wolf Pack and Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders — won their conference tournament titles. So that eliminated two more possibilities from the at-large pool.

After the completion of that game this afternoon, I’ll post one final look at the cut line. At the moment, it seems like five teams — the USC Trojans, Syracuse Orange, and Providence Friars (currently in this projection) and the Kansas State Wildcats and Illinois State Redbirds (out at the moment) — are in contention for the final three spots. I don’t envy the Selection Committee in making this decision in real life.

Meanwhile, keep up with everything in real time. Check out our full NCAA bracket, updating live throughout March Madness. You can find a printable bracket here.5

There is little ambiguity in the court filings, however.

Alex Smith is fine. But that’s all he is: Good enough to get by, but not the kind of quarterback who can actually go out and win a few games on his own from time to time.

The Chiefs bringing in Romo would then force them to resolve the situation with Smith, who has two years left on his contract. But that wouldn’t be a terrible problem to have.

Kansas City would also have to do some work to finagle Romo’s contract under the cap. Right now, the Chiefs are projected to have only about $4.2 million in cap space, and they have to make decisions about pending free agents Eric Berry and Dontari Poe.

In past instances when the NFL or NFL teams have been accused of negligence towards player health, they could claim ignorance. The league’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee published several studies claiming no definitive link between CTE and football, essentially saying that the science is inconclusive. When concussions went undocumented in those studies, the league said that its database was never meant to be comprehensive, making itself out to be hapless.

There is little ambiguity in the court filings, however.

Current Pittsburgh Steelers team doctor and former president of the NFL Physicians Society testified that, “a majority of clubs as of 2010 had trainers controlling and handling prescription medications and controlled substances when they should not have.” Trainers do not have license to distribute and administer prescription medications, and doing so is a violation of federal law.

In 2006, Minnesota Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman lobbied the team doctor, vice president of operations, and head coach Brad Childress to administer Toradol more often.5

Josh Jackson suspended for Kansas’ Big 12 tournament opener

Kansas has suspended freshman star Josh Jackson from its Big 12 tournament opener on Thursday for his part in a “traffic incident,” the program has announced.

Jackson was charged with one count of criminal property damage last month after allegedly damaging a women’s car during a night out in December. Jackson allegedly kicked in a door and a rear taillight. The crime was classified as a misdemeanor because Jackson was found liable for less than $1,000 worth of damage.

Jackson is projected as a top-five pick in June’s NBA draft. He’s been a key starter for a Jayhawks team that is likely to enter the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. On the season, Jackson is averaging 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

Jackson spent his first six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, establishing himself as one of the most explosive playmakers in the league. However, he had an ugly falling-out with the organization when head coach Chip Kelly released him in 2014. Eager to get one over on his former team, Jackson signed with division rival Washington, and despite some injury problems, continued to produce at a high level.

Now Jackson is a free agent, and there’s speculation that he could reunite with the Eagles. However, recent reports have linked Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who could use an upgrade at the No. 2 receiver spot next to Mike Evans. Meanwhile, the Eagles badly need a talent infusion at WR to help out second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, so Jackson going back to his old team makes a lot of sense on several levels.

Although he’s 30 years old and struggled with injuries in recent years (he hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013), Jackson is still a quality receiver who has a lot to offer teams as a field-stretching deep threat.5

Marshall might also be intrigued by the leadership of John Harbaugh and the veteran presence of Joe Flacco

The Baltimore Ravens are short a veteran presence outside the numbers, but their second-leading receiver from 2016 knows who can fill his shoes.

Retired receiver Steve Smith, now spending his days dropping glorious one-liners during NFL Network’s combine coverage, mused Friday on Baltimore’s shoddy receiver depth, suggesting that impending free agent Brandon Marshall should be a target for the team.

“I think (Marshall) would be a good fit,” Smith told the Ravens’ website. “Actually, me and B. Marshall talked last week and he kind of gave me a heads up on some things.

“I think he would be a great fit because he’s a playmaker. At the end of the day, you need playmakers. You need a lot of horses in the stable and you can never have too many playmakers on one team or one side of the ball.”

Set to be released by Jets this week, Marshall has made it clear that his next destination will have to be in contention for a Super Bowl. Baltimore was one Antonio Brown touchdown away from winning the AFC North last season and should be more than competitive in the division again.

Marshall might also be intrigued by the leadership of John Harbaugh and the veteran presence of Joe Flacco, a consistent, if not elite quarterback.

The wideout is just two seasons removed from a 1,500-yard campaign when, with solid quarterback play, he outworked corners and was an absolute force in the red zone. If Marshall can regain that form with a QB like Flacco, that would be a boon for the Ravens, who are in the market for that type of commanding athlete on the flanks.

Tim Williams of Alabama figures to be one of the premier pass rushers in the draft, and seeing how he looks in the timing and agility drills will be interesting. Another player to pay attention to is Malik McDowell, a defensive tackle out of Michigan State.

Below is the viewing information for Sunday’s NFL Combine action.5

We got goosebumps watching the new Stanley Cup commercials

There are few things in life as moving as Liev Schreiber narrating moving pictures of hockey players. We know this.

And yet, every year we’re unprepared for the tears and goosebumps when the NHL unveils its new Stanley Cup Playoffs commercials. The league dropped two new ones on Friday morning, but they’re not exactly playoff spots. Instead, they commemorate the 125th anniversary of the trophy itself.

And we … uh, we need a minute. Watch them while we grab some tissues.

The first one is called “Imperfectly Perfect” and highlights the loving wear and tear inflicted on the Stanley Cup over the years.

So the team announced that it was going to crack down on season ticket holders planning to sell their tickets on the secondary market. Like, say — selling your tickets on StubHub.

The Washington Post checked StubHub’s listings and found no Chargers games anywhere on the site at all. The team’s home games were also absent from several other secondary ticket sale sites.

It’s a curious problem that almost never occurs with NFL teams. If every team in the league tried to ban fans from using the business that sponsored the stadium:

Andrew Bogut (Cavaliers): It was reported that the other Mavericks castoff — technically dealt to Philadelphia in the Nerlens Noel trade and then bought out — will be headed to Cleveland as well. If we get our third straight Cavaliers vs. Warriors Finals, then Bogut switching sides is an interesting wrinkle.

Briante Weber (Hornets): To make room for Barnes, the Warriors waived the promising Weber. He quickly caught on with Charlotte on a 10-day contract.

Furthermore, the newest Ohio State verbal is ranked as the third best player at his position and the second best player in the state of Ohio just behind ’18 OT Jackson Carman — another major target for the Buckeyes. In what may come as a surprise to many, Gill is actually the first in-state player in the class to commit to Ohio State.5

Trent Williams knee injury: Washington tackle exits game vs. Giants

Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams sustained a right knee injury during the team’s Thursday Night Football game against the New York Giants and is questionable to return.

There’s not much we know about what exactly happened, but there’s this from ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C.: A tape of him dragging his unconscious partner surfaced online, and the NFL suspended him for two games. Fast forward to September, and leaked footage taken from inside the elevator showed the graphic details of Rice’s assault on Palmer, which led to the running back’s release from the Ravens and an indefinite suspension from the league.

Of all the things that a fan could do with her spare time, why devote yourself to this? This seems like the sort of thing everyone could agree on, in some ways — most people don’t like the idea of businesses ducking out on their civic obligations — but the NFL is a pretty conservative sport with a pretty conservative discourse, and that tends to have a strange effect on people where that’s concerned. How would you characterize the response you’ve gotten?

I love football. Look, my petition wasn’t created in an attempt to bring down the NFL. Almost every football fan I know wants to see the league changed for the better specifically because they love football. We want to cheer for our teams with enthusiasm, not with caveats or heavy hearts. The support from the fans has been overwhelming.

The issues that have been coming to a head with the league lately are not new to the sport or the personnel. But to be honest, they have been ignored for too long due to the sheer arrogance of the league office. They thought they were untouchable. Nobody is untouchable. And I think that’s part of what people want to see.

We want the NFL to be a team player, to have good character, to be the star we enjoy watching every week. More than anything, we want them to remember that without the fans, there is no league. Our voices should be heard and considered.5

Garoppolo doesn’t have elite arm strength, but that is often overrated at the position.

Garoppolo starts with the front-side read in his drop. That will keep the Dolphins free safety (orange circle) to the hash mark while Bennett (yellow circle) stems up the field on the seam route. By the time Garoppolo flips his hips, moves his eyes to the back side and sets his platform to throw, the safety is stuck on the wrong side of the field. Great footwork, eyes and mechanics from Garoppolo to deliver a good ball to Bennett for the score.

Garoppolo doesn’t have elite arm strength, but that is often overrated at the position. Instead, we have to focus on the production and ability to create windows on throws down the field to the inside seam or the deep out cuts. In Weeks 1 and 2, Garoppolo was 4-of-7 for 113 yards and two touchdowns on throws that traveled more than 20 yards in the air. And if you study those plays, it starts with his vision.

The veteran linebacker would cost the team $4.2 million in dead cap money, but produce a net savings of more than $5 million should the Texans move on from a longtime face of the franchise. Cushing made only 65 tackles last year and endured his first season as a pro without forcing a turnover. Though he’s only 30, his best years may be behind him — which makes him a candidate to be cut, albeit a relatively unlikely one.

The Colts don’t have a ton of expendable, high-cost players. Andrew Luck, Anthony Castonzo, Vontae Davis, and T.Y. Hilton are all important parts of the roster, and every one but Davis carries considerable dead cap money on his contract. That leaves Jones, whose release would clear up more than $5.1 million this spring.

Jones will be 31 next season and has yet to live up to the standard he set in Baltimore before signing with Indianapolis. The Colts could keep him around, but if the team needs a little breathing room in free agency, the third-most famous Jones brother could be given his walking papers.

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Richard Sherman was a two-year starter at the cornerback position after spending the two years before that as a receiver

At the 2011 NFL Combine, a cornerback from Stanford checked in at 6’3, 195 pounds. Richard Sherman was a two-year starter at the cornerback position after spending the two years before that as a receiver. He was somewhat raw, relatively new to cornerback, ran a little slow, and because of all this, fell into the fifth round before a team decided to take a chance on him. Fast forward four years, and Sherman is a three-time first-team All-Pro for the Seahawks, and earning every cent of a four-year, $57.4 million contract extension.

Rovell states the promotion was cancelled because it conflicts with the NFL’s standing sponsorship with General Motors.

If the Titans moved to LA theyd end up waiting tables for 16 years before giving up the dream and moving back home and all there high school friends wouldnt of even noticed that they moved away. This is a franchise that is still dealing with the ghost of Vince Young and CJ2YPC: When those two left town all of the sudden the liquor store and Window tenting busness bubbles collapsed Titans Club Suite season ticket purchases plummeted.

The Titans are in need of a savior, but unfortunatly they wont find one at QB this week. Just look at their options:

Instead of a new Porsche, the three fastest players will receive $100,000, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN. That’s enough to buy a Porsche on their own. Or get something else. You know, without a giant cheetah on it. Each of the three cars for this year’s promotion were worth approximately $83,000. The proposed cheetah print represents Adidas’ new Uncaged adizero 5-star cleat, which also has a cheetah on them.

Blair Walsh will have to perform well to get paid by Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks signed kicker Blair Walsh to a one-year deal last week, and the details of his contract make it clear that Walsh will have to perform well to earn his spot on the 53-man roster.

The deal can net Walsh up to $1.1 million, but it contains no guaranteed money. Walsh is set to receive $800,000 in base salary in 2017 and can earn an additional $300,000 in bonuses.

The first bonus is for $150,000 and kicks in if Walsh is on the 53-man roster for the first game of the season.

Additionally, Walsh can earn $9,375 for each game he is on the 53-man roster.

This is a low-risk deal for the Seahawks. Steven Hauschka is scheduled to be a free agent, and the Walsh signing suggests that Seattle is preparing for Hauschka to sign elsewhere. But it does not mean that the Seahawks are sold on Walsh being their kicker in 2017.

They will almost certainly bring in a rookie kicker to compete with him in the spring. And if a rookie performs well, he will be a less expensive option than Walsh.

The Seahawks don’t want to go into next season with a question mark at kicker, but Hauschka will likely want to be paid like a top-10 player at his position, and that could mean a salary of at least $3 million per year. They’ll save money and cap space by going with Walsh or a rookie instead.

Walsh made the Pro Bowl in 2012 but struggled when the Minnesota Vikings played outdoors. In the wild-card round of the 2015 playoffs, he missed a potential game-winning field goal from 27 yards out against the Seahawks and was never able to bounce back last season. The Vikings released Walsh after he struggled through nine games.

The Seahawks will see if Walsh can find his footing this spring and summer. If he does, Walsh will be well-positioned to earn his money in 2017.

The trick for Jones is doing what’s right for Romo and the franchise.

Although a beautiful 38-yard catch by Giants receiver Mario Manningham is etched in our memories, the Patriots were still in decent shape at that point. They held a 17-15 lead with 3:46 remaining. The ball was at midfield and their win probability remained 53.3 percent. The real killer was QB Eli Manning’s 14-yard pass to receiver Hakeem Nicks, about a minute-and-a-half later, on second down. That play put the Giants inside the Patriots’ 20-yard line (at the 18), well in range of a field goal.

A field goal in that situation wouldn’t have been a crusher. The Patriots would have gotten the ball back needing just a field goal of their own to win. (Stephen Gostkowski had converted all five postseason attempts and had missed only twice since Halloween.)

A decision looms on Tyrod Taylor, who won’t be back on that contract and might not be back at all if the Bills can’t work anything out. If Taylor stays, the Bills’ job is to surround him with talent. If he goes, they’re in the same unfortunate bucket as these next four teams.

The trick for Jones is doing what’s right for Romo and the franchise.

“We’ve got a lot to do. We’ll get it sorted out. That’s what it’s all about,” Jones said. “Relationships come into play here.

“When you’ve got the kind of relationship I’ve got with him, and the type of person that Tony Romo is, we’ll get this worked out.”

Jones knows the odds are against it, but he still hopes he can persuade Romo to back up Prescott.

So what’s the sales pitch?

“It has to do with what his options are,” Jones said. “If he went to another team, it has to do with what his ability is to compete here.