The700Level

JJ Redick calls attention to Markelle Fultz's shot 'a little obsessive'

JJ Redick calls attention to Markelle Fultz's shot 'a little obsessive'

Have you seen the latest video of Markelle Fultz taking a shot at practice or during warmups prior to a Sixers game?

There's a good chance you have. That seems to be a very frequent topic of discussion among Sixers circles and not everyone is happy about it.

What can you really make from video of a guy taking one or two shots in who-knows-what kind of circumstance? Tough to say.

JJ Redick, for one, wants the media to relax a little bit with all of it.

“It’s annoying,” Redick said at shootaround on Friday. “The guy is 19. He’s working his ass off. I understand fans want to see his progress. This is maybe going to be a longer process than we all hoped for. And it may not be, he may be back on the court soon, I don’t know. That’s obviously not my thing.”

“I don’t get the coming in here every day to watch him shoot pull-up jumpers. That’s a little obsessive.”

The obsession from Sixers fans and the media over Fultz's shot and status stems in part to the lack of clarity around it all from the team.

The latest update on Friday didn’t settle any of that.

"There's always a chance that he's going to be out there soon, and there's a chance that he's not going to play this year," Bryan Colangelo said Friday. "I can't answer that question because we don't know the answer to that."

Until we actually know an answer to those questions, it's hard to imagine the interest in how Fultz looks playing basketball to decrease.

Eagles fans donate to Minnesota charity and received a historic gift

confettid.jpg
USA TODAY

Eagles fans donate to Minnesota charity and received a historic gift

What goes around comes around, at least for some charitable Eagles fans.

Some good karma has found its way to particular Eagles fans, courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings Foundation. Fans who donated to head coach Mike Zimmer’s foundation to apologize for some of Philadelphia’s rowdy behavior before, during and after the NFC Championship Game have received a special memento from U.S Bank Stadium.

Eagles fans were gifted a jar of the historic confetti that streamed down onto the newly-crowned Super Bowl Champions at the Vikings’ home field on Feb. 4 and a thank you note acknowledging their contribution to the organization.

Check out Reddit user EYEsoar’s photo for proof.

While it may not be enough for fans to perform their own Jalen Mills-style confetti angels, these generous Eagles fans will hold a piece of Philadelphia history.

The donation from Eagles fans now total more than $18,000 as of Jan. 26, according to the ZimFoundation Twitter page and we can only imagine this total will grow.

It pays to be nice.

Eagles can create cap space and still keep Jason Peters

usa-jason-peters.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles can create cap space and still keep Jason Peters

Contrary to rumors the Eagles could try to trade Jason Peters, signing the 36-year-old left tackle to a contract extension might make more sense.

The Eagles are well over the projected NFL salary cap for 2018, and Peters’ money looks like an easy target. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection is scheduled to cost more than $10 million next season after suffering a torn ACL in October. Since then, the team went on to win a Super Bowl with Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle.

Peters is aging, expensive, recovering from a serious injury, and a young alternative would earn a fraction of his salary — all sound reasons for the Eagles to explore a trade.

“The offense operated well without Peters, and he'd have some value,” an anonymous league executive told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. “The kid who filled in is nothing special, but the offensive line as a whole was fine without Peters.”

La Canfora expects the Eagles to be “proactive” in their effort to move Peters.

I’m not so sure. Entering the final year of his contract, Peters and the Eagles agreed to a new contract last June — a deal fueled in part by Peters’ desire for financial security beyond the 2017 season. Though the pact does not explicitly prohibit a trade, it certainly disincentivizes the Eagles from going down that route.

According to estimates, trading Peters creates only $4.3 million in cap savings for 2018. The Eagles would be on the hook for another $6.3 million, for a player who will no longer be on the roster.

At that point, why not just pay him?

Peters is still the best left tackle on the team. He was well on his way to another Pro Bowl before injury struck. He’s probably the most respected player in the locker room. As long as the stated goal is to repeat as world champions, this is somebody the Eagles should want around.

If money is the motivating factor, extending Peters may prove more helpful. The Eagles can pick up his team option for 2019, perhaps even add a year in 2020, and structure a new contract similar to the deal reached last summer, pushing bonus money into future years to lower his cap hit in '18.

Obviously, there is risk involved. Restructuring kicks the can down the road, so the Eagles will have to deal with the financial consequences next offseason rather than now. 

There aren’t many better options, either. Peters reportedly declined to take a pay cut last offseason — he’s not just going to give the money back. And while the Eagles could recoup some draft picks in a swap, it would come at the expense of their O-line depth, with minimal financial benefit.

Peters was dominant last season. He’s bounced back after major surgery before, returning to form after a torn Achilles in 2012. In fact, every time there’s been concern about Peters’ ability or future, he seems to respond better than ever.

Maybe it’s about time we have some faith in an eventual Hall of Famer and quit trying to ship him out of town.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES BREAKDOWN
*Ages as of Sept. 6, 2018

Lane Johnson
Age: 28
2018 cap hit: $12.484 million

How good was Johnson last season? Just look at the names of pass rushers he silenced over the course of the year. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson surrendered three sacks all season while blocking the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Olivier Vernon, Ryan Kerrigan, Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Chandler Jones, to name a handful.

Jason Peters
Age: 36
2018 cap hit: $10.666 million

News flash: Peters isn’t even the highest-paid tackle on his own team anymore. In fact, his cap hit is third among Eagles O-linemen, behind Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks. Peters currently ranks 13th among all NFL left tackles, as well, so his contract is hardly some out-of-control cost.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Age: 25
2018 cap hit: $686,000

Is Vaitai the left tackle of the future? Maybe. Analytics haven’t been very kind to 'Big V,' but whether filling in for Peters or Johnson over the past two seasons, he got the job done. Fortunately for the Eagles, Vaitai isn’t a free agent for another two years, so there’s no need to rush to conclusions.

Will Beatty
Age: 33
Free agent

Signed as an insurance policy after the injury to Peters, Beatty’s only action came in the Eagles’ meaningless Week 17 clash against the Cowboys. The club will no doubt look to the draft and continue developing Taylor Hart — re-signed to a futures contract last week — for tackle depth in 2018.