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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Report: Celtics have ‘strong belief’ Kyrie Irving will re-sign with them

Kyrie Irving

The Celtics gave up quite a bit in their trade for Kyrie Irving on Tuesday, so it is no surprise that they are reportedly confident they can keep the star point guard in Boston for many years to come.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics made the deal for Irving with a “strong belief” he will eventually sign an extension with the team. Irving is said to be “thrilled” with where he ended up.

Former Cavs general manager David Griffin mentioned the Celtics as a possible destination for Irving earlier in the offseason, noting that Kyrie wanted to play for a great coach like Brad Stevens. Boston was also able to keep No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum in the deal and last year’s first-round pick Jaylen Brown, so there’s no reason Irving wouldn’t want to stay long-term.

Irving would have reportedly been willing to sign an extension with at least one other team. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has always been hesitant about giving up assets for “rental” players, so he probably would not have dealt Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick if he thought Irving would leave after the 2018-2019 season.

Cavs, Celtics complete Isaiah Thomas-Kyrie Irving trade

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have agreed to a blockbuster trade that will see them swap All-Star point guards.

The Celtics will send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving.

In addition to being the biggest trade of the offseason, the deal is incredibly unique in that the Celtics and Cavs still remain the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. Both should be the favorites to return to the Conference Finals.

While Boston gave up a lot, the important thing for president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was keeping rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year guard Jaylen Brown. It’s also possible that the Celtics did not want to give Thomas a max contract, but they will have no problem offering one to Irving, who is three years younger.

Report: Odell Beckham may take out ‘massive insurance policy’

Odell Beckham hurt

Odell Beckham Jr had an injury scare during Monday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns when he was hit low by a defensive back, and the play was exactly the type that has the star receiver wanting a new contract as soon as possible. And if he doesn’t get a new deal before Week 1, Beckham will take measures to protect himself.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports that Beckham is exploring the possibility of taking out an insurance policy worth roughly $100 million if he has to play out the 2017 season on his rookie deal. Beckham’s camp said the 24-year-old was flirting with the idea before suffering a sprained ankle on Monday.

“[If a deal isn’t done] by the regular season, he’ll take steps to protect himself,” a source told Robinson. “[But] a new deal is preferable to adding insurance.”

According to the report, a one-year insurance policy worth $100 million would cost Beckham roughly $600,000. He is set to make just $1.8 million in base salary this season and $8.46 million next year after the Giants picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

It is no secret that Beckham wants to be paid like one of the NFL’s best receivers, and the highest-paid wideout — Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers — has a contract worth an average annual value of $17 million.

After Monday’s injury scare (video here), Beckham’s camp will likely turn up the heat on the Giants even more. The star receiver doesn’t have much leverage, but team co-owner John Mara said during training camp that Beckham “deserves to get paid.” The only question remaining is when that pay day will come.

Chuck Pagano still has no timeline for Andrew Luck’s return

Andrew Luck

With just over two weeks to go until the official start of the 2017 season, the Indianapolis Colts still insist they have no idea when their starting quarterback will be able to return.

On Tuesday, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star asked Chuck Pagano if Luck is running out of time to be ready for Week 1. The Colts head coach said there is still no timeline for Luck’s return.

As Holder notes, the Colts are scheduled to have just two practices next week and four the week after. No one from the team has given any indication that Luck is all that close to returning from the PUP list, so it is starting to look like a longshot that he will get enough reps under his belt to face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1.

Luck underwent shoulder surgery in January to repair a torn labrum. The recovery time was projected as 6-9 months. A report about Luck’s status on Monday sounded promising, but it’s hard to know anything until he returns to the field.

Report: Trent Richardson signing with CFL team

Trent Richardson

If Trent Richardson isn’t going to get another chance in the NFL, the football league up north will have to do.

According to a report from 3DownNation.com, Richardson was traveling to Canada Tuesday to finalize a deal with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. The report claims Richardson’s agent has been selling the former Alabama star to CFL teams for “at least a month” and finally found one willing to offer a contract.

Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, is up there with some of the biggest busts in NFL history. He had a productive rookie season with the Cleveland Browns in 2012 before appearing in just two games the following season. Richardson was eventually traded to the Indianapolis Colts, where he was basically a non-factor for two years.

Since he was signed and waived by the Baltimore Ravens last year, things have not gone well for Richardson off the field. He was arrested on a domestic violence charge back in February, and before that he opened up about how his family and friends blew through $1.6 million of his money in less than a one-year span.

Richardson’s NFL days are likely over, but it sounds like he will have another opportunity to make money in a sport he was able to dominate at the college level.

H/T Rotoworld

Doug Pederson: LeGarrette Blount will be ‘a big part of our offense’

LeGarrette Blount

There have been some rumblings that LeGarrette Blount may not make the Philadelphia Eagles’ 53-man roster after he has looked unimpressive in the preseason, but head coach Doug Pederson put that talk to rest on Tuesday.

Pederson was asked about Blount’s roster security, to which he responded that the 30-year-old running back is a “beast” and will have a big role in Philly’s backfield.

Blount has rushed for just 17 yards on nine carries this preseason. While preseason essentially means nothing, he has looked slower than usual. It should also be a concern for Eagles fans that Bill Belichick chose not to bring Blount back for cheap money after he rushed for an NFL-best 18 touchdowns last season.

If a recent report we heard about Blount’s conditioning is true, perhaps he can address the problem before Week 1.

Jerry Jones refuses to comment on reported Roger Goodell extension

Jerry Jones

We have no idea if Jerry Jones would have been in favor of Roger Goodell getting an extension before Goodell decided to suspend Ezekiel Elliott, but now is probably not the best time to ask the Dallas Cowboys owner his opinion.

In his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday, Jones said he is not going to comment about whether he feels Goodell deserves to have his contract extended five years.

“That’s obviously an internal, very internal thing and I would not comment about it,” Jones said, as transcribed by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “And I don’t want that to be interpreted. I just will not comment about it. I’m one of the people that are basically involved in how that is being negotiated. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment about it.”

As an NFL owner, Jones is involved in any decision regarding the commissioner’s future. However, the league’s owners reportedly elected a committee of six of their peers in May that will negotiate Goodell’s contract, and Jones is not among those six owners.

Goodell’s current contract runs through 2019, so a five-year extension would keep him in his current role through at least 2024. Some owners, including Jones, reportedly feel that Goodell has been making too much money with his annual bonuses, which have made the commissioner’s $4 million annual salary seem like chump change.

Of course, there are other things Jones may be considering when thinking about Goodell’s future. We already know how Jones feels about Elliott’s six-game suspension, so it is probably wise of Jerry to bite his tongue for the time being.

Jay Cutler admits losing in Chicago wore him down

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler suffered through some miserable seasons toward the end of his career in Chicago, which is probably the main reason it took a starting quarterback going down for him to find work this offseason. And despite what internet memes may tell you, all the losing took its toll on the man they call “Smokin’ Jay.”

After he went 12-23 in his last 35 starts with the Bears, Cutler admitted he felt worn down.

“I think you can talk about anybody in the league, no one likes to lose, no one likes going through those situations,” he said Monday, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Those are tough. They wear you down. But that wasn’t the sole reason … I mean, they released me, so it was kind of end of the road at that point.”

Even if the Bears hadn’t released Cutler, it sounds like he would have been ready to move on. Despite that, he insists he never lost his passion for the game.

“Just kind of channeled it in a different direction,” Cutler added. “I still wanted to be in football, still wanted to be around it, and I was going to have that opportunity through FOX. Once this new opportunity [arose], it seemed like an absolute fit for me.

“I always missed [the game]. I think I’ve always said that there were going to be days I missed it and days I was content with my decision. There was never a week that went by that I didn’t think about playing football.”

Cutler often looks unenthused after important things happen on the field, but people express emotions in different ways. Fortunately, the way Jay expressed his led to one of the best bits the internet has provided in the last decade.

In Miami, Cutler will be surrounded by a much better team than the one he was with in Chicago. A new situation could suit him well.

H/T Pro Football Talk

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