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Friday, September 20, 2019

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Report: Jaguars want two first-round picks for Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey

The Jacksonville Jaguars are willing to entertain trade offers for star defensive back Jalen Ramsey, but the asking price is understandably high.

The Jaguars want two first-round draft picks in any potential trade for Ramsey, Albert Breer of The MMQB reports.

As Breer notes, the Kansas City Chiefs sent two high picks — a first-round and second-round — to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Frank Clark back in April. They then signed the pass-rusher to a five-year extension. More recently, the Miami Dolphins landed a massive package of draft picks that included two first-round picks and a second-round pick when they traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans.

The market would seem to indicate that two first-round picks for an All-Pro cornerback is not an absurd asking price. Ramsey has one more year left on his rookie contract after this season that will pay him $13.7 million, and he has been extremely vocal in letting the Jaguars know he wants a new deal. That same demand would likely apply to any team that trades for him, so acquiring him would be expensive, to say the least.

Britney Taylor met with NFL for 10 hours to discuss Antonio Brown allegations

Antonio Brown

If Antonio Brown is going to convince NFL officials that the sexual assault allegations that were laid out against him in a lawsuit filed last week are untrue, it sounds like he will have to contradict an awful lot of information that the alleged victim provided for the league.

Britney Taylor, the woman who has accused Antonio Brown of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions, met with the NFL for 10 hours on Monday to provide information, Ana Cabrera of CNN reports.

Taylor has said from the start that she is willing to cooperate with all investigations. The NFL has chosen to wait until hearing both hers and Brown’s account of the events that transpired over the past two years before deciding whether or not to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list, and the star receiver will likely have his say at some point this week.

In the lawsuit filed against Brown, Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her on two occasions in June 2017 and raped her in 2018. Brown’s legal representatives have dismissed the allegations as a “money grab” from a woman who used to have a consensual sexual relationship with the seven-time Pro Bowler.

New allegations against Brown came to light this week when a woman who chose to remain anonymous accused him of similar sexual misconduct to the type Taylor says she had to endure. The NFL could also ask Brown about that alleged incident.

Jalen Ramsey publicly addresses his trade request

Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey made headlines this week for an altercation with Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and an ensuing trade request, and the All-Pro cornerback met with the media to discuss the situation on Tuesday.

Ramsey told reporters neither he nor his agent leaked the information that he wants out of Jacksonville, but he did not deny it. He did, however, say his focus is on Thursday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans and on not becoming a distraction to his teammates. He also said the passion he has shown recently is about his desire to win.

Ramsey was shown on camera shoving Marrone during Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans, and the two eventually had to be separated by Jags players. Marrone told reporters on Monday that Ramsey will not be disciplined over the incident, and Ramsey said he has not spoken with the coach about it.

Tension between Ramsey and the Jaguars has been brewing for quite some time. He offered a blunt assessment of Marrone’s job security during Jacksonville’s disappointing season last year, and he flamboyantly campaigned for a new contract during training camp this year.

Ramsey still has a year left on his contract after this season, so the Jaguars don’t need to rush to accommodate his request.

Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez arrested over alleged solicitation of child

Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Felipe Vazquez was arrested this week and is facing some disturbing charges related to his alleged sexual involvement with a child.

Police in Lee County, Fla., said Tuesday that Vazquez has been arrested and is facing multiple charges including solicitation of a minor, providing obscene material to minors and computer pornography. The charges stem from an investigation that began in August and revealed Vazquez had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old child, whom he communicated with via text message. The victim, now 15, received a video from Vazquez in July in which the pitcher was allegedly shown performing a sex act. Vazquez also sent the child text messages suggesting the two could meet for sex when the MLB season concludes.

Major League Baseball has placed Vazquez on administrative leave, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.

Vazquez, 28, is in his fourth season with the Pirates, who acquired him in a trade with the Washington Nationals back in 2016. The left-hander has a 1.65 ERA with 28 saves in 31 attempts.

Vazquez recently made headlines for a fight with a teammate that supposedly started over what music was playing in the clubhouse. Kyle Crick, the other player involved in the altercation, suffered a season-ending finger injury. Vazquez needed six stitches in his nose. Both players were fined by the team.

Vegas oddsmakers see minimal difference between Eli Manning, Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones

The New York Giants made a huge decision this week when they benched Eli Manning in favor of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, but oddsmakers in Las Vegas do not seem to think the change will have a major impact on the team’s overall performance.

Prior to Jones being named the Week 3 starter, the Giants were a 6.5-point underdog for their upcoming game on the road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The line was briefly taken down following the announcement, and the Giants were +7 when it came back on the board.

That means oddsmakers don’t have high hopes for Jones in his first NFL start, and they probably think his superior physical ability will be offset by his lack of experience. The Giants may even agree, but Manning’s uninspiring play has put them in a position where they feel like it is time to introduce the rookie to life as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Jones looked incredibly sharp in the preseason and drew serious praise from his head coach, but there are going to be growing pains. Vegas sees no need to adjust its rating of the Giants until Jones proves he can replicate his preseason performance in meaningful games.

Cam Newton dealing with foot injury, could miss time

Cam Newton

Cam Newton was shut down toward the end of last season with a shoulder injury that he worked his way back from all offseason, but the Carolina Panthers star is in danger of missing more time with a new ailment.

Newton was not present at practice on Tuesday, and Panthers GM Marty Hurney told reporters the absence was due to a foot injury Newton suffered in Thursday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team is taking things day by day, but Hurney would not commit to Newton playing in Week 3.

Newton has struggled in the first two games of the season, completing just 56.2 percent of his throws with an average of 6.4 yards per completion. He has also thrown an interception and does not yet have a touchdown pass. The former MVP hinted that he is playing hurt when he said he felt “OK” after Thursday’s loss, though he added that he needs to play better “no matter what physical condition I’m in.”

The Panthers made some horrendous calls on 4th down in their game against Tampa, and there was speculation that Newton’s foot injury may have had something to do with it.

Myles Garrett sends well wishes to Trevor Siemian after injury

Myles Garrett

Trevor Siemian’s time as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets lasted less than a full half on Monday night, as he left with an injury following a crushing hit from Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett. Following the game, Garrett was quick to send well wishes to his opponent.

Garrett took to Twitter after the Browns’ 23-3 win to wish Siemian a “speedy recovery” and say he would never want to injure anyone.

Siemian hurt his leg after he was drilled by Garrett as he released a pass. The injury looked pretty gruesome with the way his leg bent awkwardly, but Siemian was able to limp off the field toward the locker room.

Prior to exiting, Siemian completed 3-of-6 passes for only three yards. The former Denver Broncos’ seventh-round pick was replaced by Luke Falk, and he is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of his injury.

Jamal Adams removes Jets from social media bios, unfollows team

Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams is one of the most talented players on the New York Jets’ roster and someone the team would be wise to build around, but he may be sending signals that he is unhappy with the way things are going for the franchise.

At some point after New York’s 23-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Monday night, Adams removed all references to the Jets from his social media bios and unfollowed the team from his accounts.

What does that mean? Possibly nothing, but it seems like a bizarre move from a player who is not trying to send a message. We have seen instances in the past where players unfollowed their teams on social media right before a breakup, so the changes Adams made will result in some uneasiness from Jets fans.

For what it’s worth, Adams told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that he never followed the Jets to begin with, but that doesn’t explain removing “defensive back for the New York Jets” from his bio.

The Jets drafted Adams with the No. 6 overall pick in 2017, and the former LSU star made the Pro Bowl last season. He also seemed to be all-in on helping the team rebuild this offseason by recruiting both head coaching candidates and star players. Believe it or not, social media changes like the ones Adams made are worth monitoring in the year 2019.