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Monday, February 27, 2017

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Geno Smith could remain with Jets in 2017

Geno Smith is scheduled to become a free agent next month, and most feel it is a foregone conclusion that the New York Jets will not be making an effort to re-sign the quarterback. But could Smith become too much of a bargain to pass up?

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com wrote on Sunday that he does not believe the Jets have completely given up on Smith. The biggest reason they may not be interested in bringing the former West Virginia star back is that he may not be ready for the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Interestingly enough, Smith recently sent a cryptic tweet that may have been a hint about his future.

The Jets took Smith in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he has been a bust in every sense of the word. While he is still just 26, Smith’s poor play is only part of the reason Todd Bowles may want to move on from him. We can’t forget about the comments the QB made last year that irritated Bowles, plus the embarrassing locker room incident before the 2015 season where he had his jaw broken by a teammate.

A divorce still seems like the most likely scenario, though Smith returning on a one-year deal at cheap money is not out of the question. New York’s quarterback situation is that bad.

Johnny Manziel seen partying on yacht in Miami

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel vowed to resurrect his football career last month and said he grew sick of partying, but it appears he is still carving out plenty of leisure time for himself.

Manziel was spotted on a yacht with some friends on Saturday, and the Daily Mail reports that he was drinking something that looked like a cocktail and smoking an E-cigarette throughout the day. Manziel reportedly spent much of the day on Friday and Saturday relaxing on the boat.

For what it’s worth, the photos seem to show that Manziel has put on some muscle after he looked alarmingly skinny months after being released by the Cleveland Browns.

There’s no actual proof that Manziel was smoking or drinking alcohol, but any type of partying situation is going to look bad when Johnny Football is involved. When you hear the way he talked about wanting to play in the NFL again, you’d think Manziel would avoid the paparazzi at all costs.

Perception is huge with Manziel. The odds of an NFL team signing him are slim to begin with, and they become even slimmer when we see tattoos like this and photos of the 24-year-old potentially drinking and smoking. Manziel still has a long way to go, even if he is focusing on getting back into football shape.

Titans LB Justin Staples sued by Trump Hotel over wedding reception

Tennessee Titans linebacker Justin Staples is probably one of the many NFL players who hate Donald Trump, and we say that without having any knowledge of his political viewpoints or affiliations. This is more about a lawsuit.

According to TMZ, Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago is suing Staples for allegedly not paying the remaining balance on his and his wife Amber’s wedding reception, which was held last June. The lawsuit claims Staples paid just $30,000 of the $79,484 he owed, but there may be a reason for that.

As TMZ notes, the lawsuit mentions that the hotel took a little more than $5,000 off the bill the night of the reception. That could indicate that there was some sort of problem that the venue was responsible for, which may explain why Staples did not pay the remainder of the balance.

Staples’ agent told TMZ that his client paid all of the money he was required to pay and that the lawsuit is “baseless.”

While Trump himself is obviously not directly involved with settling wedding reception disputes at his hotels, we wouldn’t be surprised if Staples isn’t his biggest fan now that there has been a lawsuit. We know a few players who would almost certainly side with the Titans linebacker, no matter what the circumstances.

Darrelle Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Darrelle Revis

The only way the New York Jets will keep Darrelle Revis on their roster next season is if the veteran defensive back agrees to restructure his contract, and it sounds like Revis is open to it.

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Revis recently hinted that he is willing to take less money while chatting with fans on social media.

Interacting with fans on Instagram, Revis all but confirmed he’s willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Jets, saying he doesn’t deserve to be one of the 10 highest-paid cornerbacks. That’s stating the obvious, but it still amounted to a noteworthy comment, considering his career-long obsession with the bottom line.

Cimini notes that the 10th-highest cornerback salary for 2017 at the moment is $8.5 million, and Revis is on the books for $15 million next season. If he admits he no longer deserves to be paid like a top-10 corner, that means Revis might be willing to cut his salary in half. He has $6 million remaining on his deal, so that could be the target number for the Jets.

Of course, there are suddenly far more factors to consider in addition to Revis’ rapidly declining skills. Revis is facing several charges stemming from a recent brawl in Pittsburgh, though the Jets reportedly believe he did not throw a punch. Still, the 911 call from the incident (listen to it here) painted a very disturbing picture.

There has been talk of Revis taking less money and shifting to safety, but it will be interesting to see if the Jets would rather just move on from him at this point.

Matt Elam arrested on marijuana charges

Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam was arrested on drug charges in Miami over the weekend.

According to police records, Elam is facing several charges stemming from possession of marijuana.

Police say Elam was pulled over for driving recklessly before officers found 126 grams of marijuana and three grams of oxycodone in his vehicle.

Elam, 25, was Baltimore’s first-round draft pick back in 2013. He is scheduled to become a free agent next month. Elam played primarily on special teams last season and has largely been a disappointment for the Ravens.

Had Elam stuck to the job he was working at a few offseasons ago, he may have been able to stay out of trouble with the law.

Kristaps Porzingis reportedly avoided ligament damage with ankle injury

Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was spotted wearing a walking boot after Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it sounds as though he avoided a serious injury.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that Porzingis did not suffer ligament damage in his ankle, though he could miss multiple games.

The Knicks would be wise to err on the side of caution with Porzingis, who may just be all the franchise has going for it at the moment. Porzingis, 21, is averaging 18.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in his second NBA season.

If his tweet from Thursday was any indication, Porzingis is just as frustrated as the rest of Knicks nation at the moment.

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

The New York Giants are going to have to pay big bucks to keep Jason Pierre-Paul around, and early indications are that they are willing to do that.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY said this week that the Giants are planning to be “aggressive” in trying to sign Pierre-Paul to an extension. However, they may run into some issues with the salary cap, as they already have two defensive linemen in Damon Harrison, who signed a five-year, $46.25 million contract last offseason, and Olivier Vernon, who set the market last year with a five-year, $85 million deal that includes $52 million guaranteed.

So how can the Giants afford to pay top dollar to yet another member of their front seven?

That’s likely where the “aggressive” part comes in. Pierre-Paul has already said he has no intention of signing another short-term deal, but the Giants could get him for slightly less if they are able to come to an agreement before the start of free agency next month. Even if he is not planning to sign another one-year deal, perhaps JPP will show some loyalty to a team that stuck with him through a horrific accident.

One option for the Giants could be the franchise tag, but that would take up about half of the $35 million in cap space they currently have heading into 2017. The ideal scenario for New York is to get Pierre-Paul to sign a long-term extension before testing the market.

Jose Fernandez was divorced, death certificate reveals

Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez was married at one point in his life, according to the former Miami Marlins pitcher’s official death certificate.

TMZ obtained a copy of the document this week, and it lists Fernandez’s marital status as “divorced.” It is unclear when he was married, but Fernandez never spoke about having been married publicly.

Fernandez was 24 at the time he died in a fatal boating accident last September. The already tragic story became even more heartbreaking when news surfaced that Fernandez was about to become a father, as his girlfriend was pregnant at the time. The baby was expected to be delivered in February.

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