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Source: Raiders releasing Sean Smith

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AP

Source: Raiders releasing Sean Smith

The Raiders are parting ways with veteran cornerback Sean Smith, a league source said on Monday morning.

The action saves $8.5 million in salary cap space, and occurred just before teams can start negotiating with representatives of pending free agents. Free agency formally opens Wednesday afternoon.

The Raiders had $15.8 million in salary cap space before the move – though Justin Ellis’ new contract will eat into that – according to the NFLPA. The cut creates some wiggle room entering free agency.

Releasing other veterans without guaranteed money can make more room. So can restructuring deals of players they’d prefer to keep.

Smith’s release is no shock. The veteran cornerback made a ton, but the Raiders couldn’t keep him even if they wanted to, due to a legal matter that will reportedly send him to prison.

Smith will plead guilty to felony assault with great bodily injury on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times, relating to a July 4 incident in Pasadena where he beat up his sister’s boyfriend. He will be sentenced to one year in jail and three years probation as part of his plea deal. He was facing felony assault and batter charges, with his trial about to start in earnest.

Smith played well after John Pagano took over as play caller, and was easily the Raiders best cornerback. He’s effective in the right system, and will be roughly 32 years old when eligible to re-enter the NFL market.

The Raiders don’t have many cornerbacks on the roster. Smith and David Amerson were cut, and TJ Carrie’s a few days from free agency. The Silver and Black are expected to sign one, possibly two veteran cornerbacks in free agency, and could re-sign Carrie to a new contract.

The position group has seen great turnover during the Reggie McKenzie era, and the team’s looking for stability surrounding 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley.

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

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AP

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

Green Bay Packers quarterback (and former Cal Golden Bear) Aaron Rodgers is known for his downfield accuracy. 

Rodgers has three successful Hail Marys to his name. The first, on Dec. 3, 2015 against the Detroit Lions, kept his team's playoff hopes alive. Another, on Jan. 16, 2016 against the Arizona Cardinals, sent the Divisional game to overtime, and a third came en route to a Wild Card game win against the New York Giants on Jan. 8, 2007. 

At the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, Rodgers added another notch to his belt.

His latest effort won't be confused with the other three, but it's not like any of those receivers landed in a body of water, either. 

The real question? Whether or not that's a catch under the NFL's new rules. 

Bay Area native Joey Chestnut eats record 74 hot dogs for 11th title

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AP

Bay Area native Joey Chestnut eats record 74 hot dogs for 11th title

Defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut chomped down a record 74 franks and buns to take home his 11th title at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

The renowned competitive eater from San Jose, California, takes home the coveted Mustard Belt and surpassed the previous mark of 72 dogs and buns he downed last year.

The heat wasn’t a factor; the National Weather Service put the temperature at 83 degrees with a heat index of 91 degrees.

Miki Sudo said after eating 37 dogs and buns that the heat may have slowed her down in winning the women’s competition.

That didn’t stop the Las Vegas eater from easily beating out second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona, who chowed down 28 wieners and buns.