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Rating the Rumor: Eagles to 'make a push' for Kenny Stills

Rating the Rumor: Eagles to 'make a push' for Kenny Stills

Among the more intriguing free agents this offseason is Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills. Last month, Eliot Shorr-Parks for NJ.com reported the Eagles will "make a push to sign" the four-year veteran when the market opens on March 9.

That’s assuming Stills reaches the market, of course. The Dolphins are interested in re-signing the speedy wideout, who was acquired from the New Orleans Saints in a trade for a third-round draft pick and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe in 2015.

Although preventing Stills from testing free agency might not be easy. Armando Salguero for the Miami Herald is hearing contract offers could be in the $12-million-per-year range, in which case, both player and front office would be wise to see what materializes.

Salguero also corroborates stories that the Eagles would target Stills, describing their interest as "an open secret" around the NFL.

There's no doubt Stills would fill a glaring hole for the Eagles, and not merely the need for a receiver. More specifically, the offense lacks speed on the outside, and Stills is a proven deep threat. He led the league as a rookie with 20.0 yards per reception and finished third with a 17.3 average just this past season.

That being said, $12 million per year seems pricey. Stills’ most productive season was in 2014, racking up 63 receptions for 931 yards, with Drew Brees playing quarterback, mind you. In two years since, Stills only has 69 catches for 1,166 yards for the Dolphins, although he did score a career-high 9 touchdowns in ’16.

Yet $12 million may not be an unrealistic figure, either. Wide receivers had a big year financially in 2016, with the likes of Doug Baldwin, Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns all signing long-term contracts that average between $10 and $11.5 million per year. Austin’s case, in particular, might be relevant here, as Stills has produced more yards from scrimmage and the same number of rushing and receiving touchdowns over as many seasons.

These are extensions, too, and not players who reached free agency, where overpaying is the name of the game more often than not. When multiple teams are bidding on Stills, the price will only go up.

Is Stills worth that kind of money? That’s debatable, but he has some things going for him. He only turns 25 in April, and again, fits a very specific need as somebody who can stretch the field. All but one of Stills’ 9 touchdowns last season went for at least 24 yards or more, and since he’s come into the league, only two players have more – Antonio Brown and DeSean Jackson.

Stills also flashed the capability to be more than just a deep threat when Brees was under center. That’s a Hall of Fame-caliber signal caller we’re talking about, so whether Carson Wentz can utilize Stills similarly is unknown, but the ability is there.

Is it worth the monetary risk? Look, the salary cap is going up and receivers are getting paid. It’s impossible to say what the Eagles would be comfortable spending, but it will almost have to be upwards of $10 million annually for anybody who’s actually a difference maker.

The bigger question is whether the Eagles will see Stills as that difference maker. The potential is certainly there, and his speed is enticing.

The initial reaction is to call this a huge overpay if estimates are correct. Then again, if the Eagles view Stills as a young DeSean Jackson in the making, you can understand why they would be willing to take that chance.

Rating the Rumor: Can’t and shouldn't rule it out

Dodgers fan wearing Chase Utley jersey catches Justin Turner home run ball for 2nd year in a row

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MLB

Dodgers fan wearing Chase Utley jersey catches Justin Turner home run ball for 2nd year in a row

Dodgers fans had a reason to be ecstatic on Sunday night after Justin Turner hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Cubs, 4-1, and give Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.

But not as ecstatic as one fan in particular.

Keith Hupp, a retired police officer and lifelong Dodgers fan, was waiting under the home run ball in the center-field stands and snagged it with his son's glove. He was also wearing a Dodgers Chase Utley jersey.

He even made the catch with his non-preferred hand.

“I’m a lefty,” Hupp said to J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register. “I’ve dislocated my right shoulder so many times, I had to resort to my son’s glove on my left hand. So the last five or six home run balls I’ve caught, I’ve caught with my left hand.”

And the craziest part about this story is that it wasn't the first time it had happened. Hupp caught Turner's sixth-inning solo homer in Game 3 of last year's NLCS against the Cubs in almost the same place, the center-field stands at Dodger Stadium.

Although he has 24 home run balls in his collection, Hupp won't be keeping last night's game-winner. After making the catch, he gave the ball to a security guard, and was escorted underneath the stadium to meet Turner and make a trade with him. 

In a postgame interview with MLB.com, Turner said Hupp couldn't decide what he wanted for the ball right away. They exchanged information and agreed that Hupp will get back to Turner in a few days when he decides what he wants.

Twitter had some good responses to Hupp's memorable home run catch:

Hassan Whiteside responds, doesn't back down from Joel Embiid rivalry

Hassan Whiteside responds, doesn't back down from Joel Embiid rivalry

Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside battled on the court on Friday night and then on social media following the Sixers' victory over the Miami Heat to finish off the preseason.

Embiid seemingly got the better of Whiteside, sending Philadelphia fans into a frenzy when he told Whiteside his "+/- was ass."

It appears as if Whiteside is taking it all in stride and actually has a pretty good level of respect for Embiid. The Miami big man was asked about the trash talk after practice over the weekend.

"It's funny to me," Whiteside said according to the Sun Sentinel. "I'm going to talk trash back if somebody talks trash to me. Maybe when I was younger, I would have been a little more angrier, I would have been a little madder.

"But, you know, that's the kind of guy he is. He makes jokes. He's a good player, so it's all fun to me. I can go all day with it."

Embiid has shown glimpses that he has the potential to be one of the greats of the NBA game on the court, while he's already one of the best at entertaining off of it. Whiteside will clearly have his hands full but he knows a little trash talk on social gets fans excited.

"Yeah, man, you know fans love it, man. Fans get into it. I love it, too," he said. "Because I know the next time we play him, he's going to give it his all, he's going to go as hard as he can. And as a competitor, that's what you want. You want your opponent to play at his maximum speed."

Playing at maximum speed is something Sixers fans hope and pray they get to see out of Embiid this season on a more regular basis. The trash talking is bonus fun.

"It's not him talking about somebody's family," Whiteside said. "It's not nothing crazy. It's just basketball. He called me softee. Come on, man. He knows that's not true. I'll be on his team's scouting report."

The Heat and the Sixers meet again on Feb. 2. Let's just hope both Embiid and Whiteside are out on the court to go another few rounds off of it afterward.