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#pounditWednesday, February 24, 2021

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Report: Rockets will part ways with DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins’ Houston Rockets tenure appears set to come to an abrupt end.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Rockets will be parting ways with Cousins in the days to come. The team wants to focus on a smaller lineup, and wants to grant Cousins the chance to land elsewhere.

This comes as a surprise, especially since Houston guaranteed Cousins’ contract for the rest of the season mere days ago. With Christian Wood sidelined, Cousins has been serving as Houston’s starting center, and is performing quite capably in the role. He is averaging 12.1 points and 9 rebounds per game since moving into the starting five, though the Rockets have lost all seven of those games.

Cousins has apparently been a good teammate, even sticking up for the organization when called upon. There is no doubt he could help a contender in the second half.

Teddy Bridgewater signals unhappiness with Panthers via social media

Teddy Bridgewater

The Carolina Panthers appear intent on upgrading at quarterback this offseason, which does not appear to be welcome news for the player currently occupying the position.

Teddy Bridgewater struggled as the Panthers’ starter in 2020 a year into the three-year contract he signed last offseason. Amid consistent rumors that the Panthers are likely to add a quarterback this offseason, Bridgewater appears to have unfollowed the Panthers on Instagram.

That wasn’t all. As of Saturday morning, Bridgewater had set his Instagram account to private.

Bridgewater threw for 3,733 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2020, but the Panthers do not appear to view him as their long-term quarterback. That’s why they’ve been heavily linked to the biggest name potentially on the market. Bridgewater has talent, but it’s clear that the Panthers just don’t believe it’s enough to really move the team forward.

Carson Wentz bids heartfelt farewell to Eagles in Instagram message

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz said farewell to Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia in an Instagram message on Friday.

Wentz thanks his teammates, coaches, and the fans in Philadelphia, adding that he hopes to continue charitable efforts in the area moving forward. He also added that he is “excited” to join the Indianapolis Colts, who agreed to acquire him in a trade on Thursday.

Notably, Wentz does thank his former coach Doug Pederson, even though the two apparently fell out quite spectacularly in 2020.

It’s yet to be seen how Eagles fans remember Wentz. He was awesome for the team in the first part of his career, but things completely came off the rails in 2020. Ultimately, he was the team’s quarterback for a good part of a Super Bowl season, and that has to mean something once the bad feelings from the trade subside.

Here is how bad relationship was between Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson

Carson Wentz

The problems Carson Wentz had with the Philadelphia Eagles obviously extended beyond his strained relationship with former head coach Doug Pederson. Otherwise, the quarterback would not have wanted to be traded after Pederson was fired. However, it now clearer than ever that the two did not get along toward the end of their tenure together.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter discussed the Wentz situation during a Friday morning appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. He said Wentz was “done” in Philly and wanted out as badly as Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston. Schefter also described how Wentz and Pederson went extended periods of time without speaking with one another at all.

“There are a lot of things that went wrong,” Schefter said, as transcribed by Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels. “We have the team drafting Jalen Hurts. We have Carson feeling jilted by that. We have the team trying to reassure him. We have Carson not getting past that. We have Carson struggling. We have Carson and Doug not talking for weeks on end during the season, where the head coach and quarterback are not talking for eight, nine, 10 weeks.”

It’s hard to imagine something more dysfunctional than a head coach and quarterback not speaking for more than two months in the middle of a season. Schefter added that there were “a lot of other people” who contributed to Wentz wanting a trade, but it certainly sounds like his poor relationship with Pederson got the ball rolling.

Wentz and Pederson looked like a match made in heaven a few years ago, but things went south in a hurry. There was a lot of pressure to bench Wentz last season with how poorly he played, and eventually Pederson gave Jalen Hurts the nod. At that point, it sounds like Wentz completely turned on the coach and wanted nothing to do with the franchise anymore.

If you want to know how quickly things turned in Philly, just read this surreal quote Pederson gave about Wentz back in 2017.

Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday for draft picks. The deal will set a new NFL record for dead salary cap money.

Carson Wentz trade will set NFL record for dead cap money

Carson Wentz

There is one interesting nugget to emerge from the Carson Wentz trade.

Wentz was dealt on Thursday from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Indianapolis Colts. Wentz wanted out of Philly after being benched last season, and the Eagles were ready to move on from him despite needing to eat a big cost.

Wentz is owed $25.4 million (all guaranteed) for the 2021 season and $22 million in 2022. Philly will be hit with a $33.8 million dead cap charge for trading Wentz to Indy. That is an NFL record for largest dead cap charge, as Dan Graziano shared.

Even though the Eagles have a big cap hit despite Wentz not playing for them, the difference is less than $1 million for how much he would have counted against the cap if he were on the team. In other words, Philly was in a bad spot financially concerning Wentz no matter what they did.

It’s hard to believe this is where things ended up for the Eagles and Wentz. Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson was raving about Wentz not too long ago. Wentz was playing at an MVP level in 2017 before tearing his ACL. The Colts are banking on being able to unlock that version of Wentz once again.

Carson Wentz traded to Colts from Eagles

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz is officially on his way to becoming the starting quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Philadelphia Eagles traded Wentz to the Colts on Thursday in exchange for a third-round pick this year and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that could turn into a first. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen were the first to report the news.

The 2022 pick would become a first-round pick if Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the Colts’ offensive snaps next season, according to Schefter. It would also become a first if Wentz plays at least 70 percent and Indy reaches the postseason.

The Colts have looked like the most likely suitor for Wentz for quite some time. Their head coach, Frank Reich, was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when Wentz had an MVP-caliber season back in 2017. Wentz was reportedly determined to reunite with Reich, though some other teams expressed interest in the former second overall pick.

Wentz also drew interest from the Chicago Bears, but it sounds like he did not want to play there. The Bears were not going to trade for Wentz knowing he didn’t want to play for them, which left the Colts as the only real suitor. Indy knew that and refused to up its offer, and that patience obviously paid off.

While he had a horrible season in 2020 and was benched for his poor play, Wentz has a great opportunity to revive his career with the Colts. He’s still just 28 and is plenty familiar with Reich’s system.

Tim Tebow retires from professional baseball

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow’s professional baseball career has come to a close.

Tebow was invited to the New York Mets’ spring training this year, but he won’t be joining the team there. The Mets on Wednesday announced Tebow had retired.

“I want to thank the Mets, Mr. Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization,” Tebow said in a statement shared by the team. “I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions. I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100 percent in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time as a Met.”

Tebow, 33, began his pro baseball career in 2017 at the Single-A level. Despite not playing since high school, he batted .220/.311/.336 with a .647 OPS in his first season. He performed admirably in his second full season, batting .273/.336/.399 with a .735 OPS in his second season in pro ball, which was at Double-A.

Tebow was pushed up to Triple-A in 2019 and seemed to hit his ceiling, as he batted .163 in 77 games at that level. The pandemic railroaded his career, as there were no minor leagues last year, hurting his development.

Tebow is probably now ready to find a new pursuit for his life. He finishes his minor-league career with a .223 batting average, .637 OPS and 18 career home runs.

This news probably isn’t surprising for anyone who read his comments in November.

Photo: Sports Spectrum/Wikimedia via CC-BY-SA 4.0

Vincent Jackson autopsy reveals ex-WR suffered from alcoholism

Vincent Jackson

Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found dead in a hotel room in Florida on Monday, and early indications are that substance abuse may have played a role in the tragic event.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister shared some of the findings from Jackson’s autopsy during a Wednesday appearance on Q105 in Tampa. Chronister said Jackson suffered from “chronic alcoholism,” according to PewterReport.com. The 38-year-old’s family also expressed that they believed Jackson was suffering from CTE.

Jackson had checked into a hotel in Brandon, Fla., on Jan. 11 and was reportedly staying there at the time of his death. A housekeeper discovered his body on Monday, and police said there were no signs of trauma.

Jackson had been reported missing by his family on Feb. 10, but authorities located him two days later. Police assessed Jackson’s well-being and then closed the missing persons case at that time.

Jackson, a second-round pick in 2005, played 12 seasons in the NFL. He spent his first seven seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers before finishing his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He made three Pro Bowls and had 9,080 yards and 57 touchdowns.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC-by-SA-3.0

Bucs LB Devin White says Chiefs hurt by being ‘cocky’

Devin White

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs at the line of scrimmage, which is a big reason why they won the Super Bowl 31-9. Bucs linebacker Devin White was all over the field and led his defense with 12 tackles and one pass defensed. His defense was able to dominate Kansas City’s line in large part because KC didn’t make enough adjustments to help their protection as they dealt with injuries.

White thinks the Chiefs’ cockiness had a role in that decision.

White was a guest on FS1’s “Undisputed” and talked about his defense beating the Chiefs’ offensive line.

“We knew that they were going to be a cocky team, which they have every right to be. They had the No. 1 offense in the entire National Football League. But we knew they couldn’t block us. We knew that our front four was going to dominate them. They did us a favor. They played right into our hands,” White said.

White also said that Kansas City shouldn’t complain about now having their tackles. He says if they felt disadvantaged, they should have helped out their tackles, which they didn’t. The result was they paid the price.

White has never been shy about sharing his opinion, as we saw during NFL Draft time. His assessment of how the Chiefs handled their offensive line in the Super Bowl is correct, and a big reason why Tampa Bay was able to dominate.

The Bucs really knocked it out of the park when picking White No. 5 overall in 2019. He’s fantastic.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have done it! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

JJ Watt reportedly giving serious consideration to signing with this team

JJ Watt

JJ Watt has already drawn interest from nearly half of the NFL’s teams since the Houston Texans released him last week, and we now know of at least one legitimate contender to sign the star defensive lineman.

Watt is seriously considering signing with the Cleveland Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports. The two main reasons for that are Watt views the Browns as a Super Bowl contender, and they are also in a good spot with their salary cap.

Watt has prioritized playing for a contending team or one that has the means to immediately turn into a contender. The Browns reached the playoffs this past season and dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. They then put up a fight against the eventual AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, losing 22-17.

The Browns are projected to have more than $20 million in cap space heading into 2021. That means they could pay Watt fair market value while also having some money left over to make other moves.

We know that these other teams are all interested in Watt, but some of them are over the salary cap. That will be a factor in their pursuit of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are considered one of the front-runners to sign Watt, as his two brothers TJ and Derek already play there. TJ sent a great tweet about the situation after JJ was released, but the Steelers are over the cap by about $30 million. They would need to make some serious changes in order to be able to add a third Watt.