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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Football

Ex-teammate thinks Cam Newton ‘took names’ while waiting in free agency

Cam Newton tie

Cam Newton may be a very motivated man playing for the New England Patriots this year, at least according to one of the quarterback’s former teammates.

NFL Network’s Michael Giardi spoke to an anonymous ex-teammate of Newton’s in Carolina. That player is expecting the Patriots to get a very motivated quarterback — one who has made a note of every team and coach that passed on him during his lengthy offseason wait to be signed.

Newton has to win the job first, which he seems to understand. There’s a great degree of confidence that he’ll be able to do that. Newton was a league MVP not long ago, and getting back to that level will be a huge motivator for him. Plus, with a one-year deal, he can get the contract he probably thinks he deserves if he performs well in New England.

This teammate isn’t the only one who knows Newton well who thinks this is going to end up being a great fit for the quarterback.

Report: Redskins will not have Native American imagery in next logo, name

Redskins logo

The Washington Redskins are exploring a nickname change amid political, social and financial pressure, and they reportedly will no longer have Native American imagery in their logo and name.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared the news and says it came about in talks surrounding a new name for the team.

Washington has faced pressure for years regarding their team nickname and logo, but team owner Daniel Snyder has resisted making any changes. However, with companies, including their home stadium sponsor FedEx, calling for a reconsideration of the name, Snyder may finally be making a change.

Last week, the team said it would be conducting a thorough review of the nickname. A report said it was “likely” they would make a change.

The team originated as the Boston Braves in 1932, was named the Boston Redskins in 1933, and has kept that nickname ever since moving to Washington in 1937.

Raheem Mostert requests trade from 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have a headache to deal with as training camp approaches.

Raheem Mostert, the team’s leading rusher in 2019, has requested a trade, according to agent Brett Tessler. The team’s failure to adjust his contract was cited as the reason for the request.

Mostert is due to earn a base salary of just over $2.57 million in 2020. He’s signed through 2021 and is definitely underpaid relative to his on-field performance. The 49ers seemed to know that, as there were rumors of a contract extension in the offing as recently as last month.

The 28-year-old ran for 772 yards and eight touchdowns last season, and appeared in line for a bigger workload ahead of Tevin Coleman after Matt Breida was shipped to Miami. Mostert clearly wanted to be paid accordingly, and the 49ers have yet to oblige. Considering the running back’s NFL journey has left him with a pretty big chip on his shoulder, his reaction to that is understandable, if not frustrating from San Francisco’s perspective.

Amazon becomes latest retailer to pull Redskins merchandise from website

The Washington Redskins appear to be in the process of changing their team nickname, but if they weren’t already, the latest blow may push them closer to doing so.

Amazon said Wednesday they would stop selling all Washington merchandise on its website, and also sent a notice to affiliated third-party sellers to remove any flagged items within 48 hours.

“With the announcement from the Washington team and the NFL, we are removing products with the team’s name and logo from our stores,” Amazon told sellers in a notice obtained by Annie Palmer of CNBC. “Failure to properly close or delete all restricted product listings from your inventory may result in deactivation.”

The writing is on the wall for Washington now, if it wasn’t already. Nike removed all Washington merchandise from its store, and stadium sponsor FedEx also publicly asked Washington to change the name. With that much public pressure being put on the franchise, it’s no wonder that reports indicate a name change is likely.

Report: NFL, NFLPA working on player opt-out protocol for 2020

Roger Goodell

Much like other professional sports, the NFL is looking to allow players who have concerns about playing in 2020 to opt out of the season.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, both the league and the NFLPA are expecting to make an opt-out opportunity available to all players, though a deadline would be required for the decision to be made and communicated to the teams and the league.

“My understanding is both the union and the league intend to have an opt-out for players who have either a pre-existing condition, family (members) with pre-existing conditions, just general concerns over COVID-19, would not want to play this season,” Pelissero said on Wednesday’s edition of “NFL Now,” via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. “General managers were told on a call earlier this week there would be a specific date by which players would need to opt-out. That date is still to be determined.”

One issue that needs to be squared away is what would happen to the player’s contract if they did opt-out. This would need to be sorted out prior to the start of training camp.

The NFL is still finalizing its safety measures ahead of the 2020 season. It is likely that players and those around them will be tested often — at least those that are willing to play.

Josh Gordon auctioning off his 2018 Super Bowl ring

Josh Gordon

The Super Bowl ring presented to Josh Gordon for his role on the 2018 New England Patriots is going up for auction.

Heritage Auctions is handling the process, billing Gordon’s ring as “the sixth and final Patriots ring of the Brady era” and listing its estimated value at a minimum of $100,000. It is described as being in “virtually pristine condition.”

Gordon played in 11 games for the Patriots that season, catching 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. He ultimately did not appear in the playoffs, having said he was stepping away from the game to focus on his mental health. Due to his regular season contributions, the Patriots still issued him a Super Bowl ring.

It may be a sign that Gordon is in need of some money, or perhaps he’s just getting rid of something that he doesn’t really care to keep around. Either way, he’s currently suspended indefinitely due to another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, though he’s hoping to be reinstated before the start of the season.

Sammy Watkins offers refreshing thoughts on taking pay cut

Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins agreed to a restructured contract with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason that could amount to a pay cut, and the wide receiver remains totally at peace with the decision.

With Patrick Mahomes signing a 10-year contract extension this week that could be worth over $500 million, Watkins was asked during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio about his decision to take potentially less money. He said he’d rather make less with the Chiefs than put up big numbers for a team that is out of contention.

“How much money do I need? My family’s taken care of well,” Watkins said, per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. “Do I want to go to a team and lose and get 1,000 yards with a team that’s sorry. Or do I want to come back with one of the best coaches, the best quarterbacks, the best organization, the best team, the best wideout group — arguably — and come try to fight for another championship.”

Watkins was originally supposed to make around $14 million in 2020, but he agreed to a restructured deal that includes a base salary of $9 million with $7 million in incentives. He could potentially make more if he meets the incentives, but the guarantee is lower. The 27-year-old also received a no-trade clause from the Chiefs.

While his 52 catches, 673 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season were not exactly No. 1 wideout numbers, Watkins played a huge role in the playoffs. He caught 14 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown during Kansas City’s Super Bowl run. Now, he has an opportunity to put up big numbers heading into free agency, and his chances of doing that in arguably the best offense in the NFL are pretty strong. It’s nice that Watkins is prioritizing winning another title, but the situation is also an excellent one for him personally.