NFL

Russell Wilson signs four-year extension with Seahawks

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Russell Wilson signs four-year extension with Seahawks

Russell Wilson is getting paid. 

The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to a contract extension with their quarterback to the tune of four-years $87.6 million.

The terms were first reported by Peter King of Sports Illustrated. 

More from King:

Seattle general manager John Schneider and Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, beat a 1 p.m. Eastern Time deadline—the official start time for the first training camp practice of Wilson’s fourth NFL season—by agreeing to a four-year, $87.6 million contract extension, making Wilson, for now, the second-highest-paid player in NFL history.

The deal includes a $31 million signing bonus and approximately $60 million in guarantees.

The previous biggest contract signed in the NFL was Aaron Rodgers’ five-year, $110 million contract in 2013. That contract became a major stumbling block in these talks, because it was signed 27 months ago, when the NFL salary cap was $123 million. Now, with the cap up 17 percent over the last two years (it is $143.8 million this year), Rodgers was insistent that the new contract wouldn’t be soon overtaken if Wilson was going to commit to the Seahawks long-term. With the cap likely increasing up to $10 million a year over the life of Wilson’s deal, Rodgers surely argued, Wilson’s deal had to be in Aaron Rodgers’ league. Turns out it was $100,000-per-year less.

Wilson was scheduled to make $1.54 million this season in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract.

Rodgers had put a Friday deadline to get a deal done, stating talks would be cut off and Wilson would become a free agent next season. 

If no new contract was signed, Wilson faced being tagged as the franchise player next February.

Wilson commented on the deal Friday morning on Twitter.

The biggest hiccup in contract negociations stemmed from "new money," the cash up front and guarantees Wilson would receive, in addition to the debate over a yearly salary.

Wilson's agent didn't want his client to get a rich deal, similar to that of 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, but be incentive laden without guarantees. 

Wilson will be under contract with the Seahawks through 2019.

Corn syrup, Michael Bubly, chunky milk: the best/worst Super Bowl commercials

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Mint Mobile

Corn syrup, Michael Bubly, chunky milk: the best/worst Super Bowl commercials

While some are attending Super Bowl parties on Sunday to avidly watch players, plays, schemes, others may gather for just the commercials. It is a rare time when you don’t want to mute or change the channel, or fast forward, but rather listen, laugh, cry, and question these commercials.

We all have our favorites and yes this is all subjective, but let’s take a closer look at some of the best and worst Super Bowl commercials from Sunday. 

In no particular order:

BEST

Bud Light Corn Syrup

NFL 100

Audi 

Peanut Nut Man

Michael Buble

Hyundai with Jason Bateman

 

WORST

Mint Mobile's chunky milk

Turbo Box child robot thing

#EatLikeAndy

How the Ducks, Beavers influenced the Super Bowl

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How the Ducks, Beavers influenced the Super Bowl

First of all, how great is that photo. Former Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers coming together. Brandin Cooks showing support for Patrick Chung, who left the game due to injury. 

But let’s look into how the former Ducks and Beavers performed in Super Bowl LIII:

 

ProDucks: Patrick Chung; Troy Hill; Johnny Mundt

10-year veteran safety Patrick Chung delivered a big hit on first drive of the Super Bowl. But unfortunately his time was short lived. Chung left the game at the 13:50 minute mark in the third quarter with a right arm injury and would not return. He walked off the field in an air cast. His presence and veteran leadership was surely missed and was evident in the fourth quarter. There was a big mis-communication in the Pats secondary that lead to a wide open Brandin Cooks in the end zone, but thank goodness for the closing speed of DB Jason McCourty to get there just in time.

Chung finished his day recording four tackles, two solo tackles and one pass deflection.

Johnny Mundt and Troy Hill spent their day on special teams coverage.

 

ProBeavs: Brandin Cooks; Johnny Hekker; Sean Mannion

A potential Super Bowl MVP candidate was Johnny Hekker, the former Oregon State Beaver. At one point, Hekker had more punts (7) than running back Todd Gurley had carries. Hekker really kept the Rams in this game with decent field position.

Hekker finished his day with nine punts for 417 yards averaging 46.3 yards per punt. His longest was 65 yards, which is a Super Bowl record.  

When the Rams needed a first down, Jared Goff targeted his favorite receiver, sure-handed Brandin Cooks. The ever-dangerous and speedy Cooks was held quiet in the first half, but finished the game leading the Los Angeles passing game with eight receptions for 120 yards. 

It was a tough day for Cooks as he was targeted twice in the end zone with the ball touching his hands, but just couldn't come down with it.

Super Bowl halftime show: We could’ve used more Spongebob

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Super Bowl halftime show: We could’ve used more Spongebob

Grade: C

That grade may even be generous. We got a fever and the only prescription is more Spongebob. In the not-so-anticipated Super Bowl half time performance of Maroon 5 (before Travis Scott and Big Boi were announced as supporting performers), Adam Levine delivered the performance that you would imagine he would give (and even took his shirt off).

But the moment that fans were waiting for was Spongebob Squarepants. Yes, that yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea that took over the 90’s into 2000’s kids television is STILL funny today. What was rumored to maybe be part of the show was just a glimpse of the ever-famous band geek scene. 

However, it was still quite the moment as it introduced Travis Scott who then appeared on stage, forged in fire. Like literal fire. It was straight fire, quite literally. 

Then a drumline and choir joined the stage to join Maroon 5 sining “Girls Like You” which was pretty cool. 

Big Boi literally drove a car within the crowd, on the field, to the stage. His look was fresh to say the least as they performed “I Like The Way You Move”. 

Overall, could have been better. And Twitter definitely took note of the lack of Spongebob:

 

NFL News and Rumors: If you could ask Tony Romo one question about your future...

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NFL News and Rumors: If you could ask Tony Romo one question about your future...

Perhaps you are still recovering emotionally from the NFL weekend. Both road teams winning, controversial calls or rather controversial no-calls, and only two teams remain as the Super Bowl 53 stage is set. 

But there was a certain someone not named Tom Brady that stole the show late Sunday evening, and his name is Tony Romo. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and now CBS broadcaster was an abolsute gem to listen to throughout the game solely by the fact that he called the play, actually several, before it even happened…

Whether it’s a high football I.Q. or a complete guess, fans, professional athletes, and other commentators are taking notice. Some are even reaching out to Romo for information regarding their futures:

And with CBS airing the Super Bowl, one can expect Romo to be on the call.

Would you be surprised if the New England Patriots win in Kansas City on Sunday?

Would you be surprised if the New England Patriots win in Kansas City on Sunday?

Who do you take: rookie, MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes or arguably the G.O.A.T of the NFL, Tom Brady? Will the New England Patriots reign of terror on the AFC finally come to an end this Sunday in the AFC Championship game? Get your popcorn ready and claim your spot on the couch soon, because this will be a good one between the visiting Patriots at the Chiefs.

Only time will tell… Rob Parker of Fox Sports 1 joins the Brian Noe Show to discuss the upcoming AFC Championship matchup between the Patriots and the Chiefs. 

“I would be very surprised because the Patriots have lost their last three AFC Championship games on the road,” says Parker. “They do not perform when they have go on the road and get it done…”

Kickoff time set for 3:40 PM (PT) at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri. 

Carolina Panthers running back Kenjon Barner lit up by a punter Matt Bosher

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Carolina Panthers running back Kenjon Barner lit up by a punter Matt Bosher

Rule No. 1 during a kick return: do not let the kicker tackle you. 

Destroyed, lit up, leveled, you name it. Atlanta Falcons kick-off specialist/punter Matt Bosher absolutely crushed Carolina Panthers running back and special teams player Kenjon Barner on a kick-off. 

Very rare, but when it happens, it is all too sweet. At least for the kicker. For the returner, it is embarrassing. Just read for yourself:

In his fifth year of his NFL career, Barner (former Oregon Ducks running back) finds himself back with the team that originally drafted him in Carolina. On Sunday, despite getting brutally tackled by Bosher, he had a nice game recording four punts for 109 yards and his longest of 37 yards. Unfortunately for Barner, that doesn't matter to the internet.

The Panthers (6-9) continue their downfall with their seventh loss in a row, this time to the Atlanta Falcons (6-9), 24-10 in Carolina. 

 

San Francisco 49ers' DEs DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead bright spots in disappointing season

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USA Today

San Francisco 49ers' DEs DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead bright spots in disappointing season

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers' disappointing season, upended by the knee injury to budding star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, certainly has revealed areas of need that must be addressed in order for this team to ever contend in the NFC West division. 

Defensive end is not on that list because of the presence of two former Oregon Ducks. The previous regime in charge before John Lynch became the franchise's general manager in 2017 drafted well in that area when it selected Arik Armstead with the 17th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and followed up the next year by taking DeForest Buckner with the seventh pick of the first round. 

Their careers have contrasted since they helped lead the Ducks to the national championship game during the 2014 season. Buckner has blossomed quicker in the NFL while Armstead, held back by injuries, is just now starting to realize his potential. 

During their growth as professional players and transitioning from college kids to professional adults, they have always been able to lean on each other. Both arrived at Oregon in 2012 and since have not been teammates only once, in 2015. Their hope now is that they can continue to grow together and help lead the 49ers (4-10) back to respectability and achieve similar success to what they accomplished at Oregon where together they experienced only five losses in three seasons. 

“We’ve been playing together for seven years," Armstead said. "It’s been great. It’s a unique situation to be playing with somebody for so long and kind of grow together and always be there through the ups and downs. It’s been a pretty cool experience.”

--- Buckner emerges 

The 49ers' locker room at Levi's Stadium following Sunday's 26-23 overtime win over Seattle - just two weeks after losing 43-16 at CenturyLink Field - didn't feel like that of a losing team. In part, that was because everyone in that locker room knew how much that win meant to former Seahawks' superstar cornerback Richard Sherman. Also, the win snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks dating back to 2013. 

“We took it personally," Buckner said. "They flat-out embarrassed us two weeks ago."

Buckner, from Hawaii, had 11 tackles and two sacks in the game to reach 11 sacks for the season. Armstead, from Sacramento, Calif., added five tackles. He has three sacks on the year. For sure, Buckner is putting up the sexier numbers and was rewarded by being named as a Pro Bowl alternate. But Armstead's contributions can't be discounted. He is a strong run stuffer opposite Buckner and according to San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is starting to emerge as a pass rusher. 

"He does have that type of ability, so I think that's what people hope for," Shanahan told reporters last week. "But, that's not just something that you do. That takes a while, and it takes guys some time playing in this league, playing different positions, to really find their groove. I do see that chance for Arik."

First, Armstead must continue to remain healthy. He has been hindered by injuries off and on since landing at Oregon. After appearing in all 16 games as a rookie, Armstead missed eight his second year and 10 last season. This year has had played in all 14 games. 

"I don't want to jinx myself," Armstead said. "We have two more games. I'm just blessed to be healthy out there."

--- Adjusting to change

Last season San Francisco switched from the 3-4 defense, which the franchise ran when it selected Buckner and Armstead, to the 4-3 defense when Shanahan took over and hired defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The change didn't impact Armstead and Buckner much given that each is well equipped to play either defense given their considerable athleticism especially given their size.

Both are the prototypical, large, two-gap, 3-4 defensive ends at 6-7, 300 pounds for Buckner and 6-7, 292 for Armstead. However, each is more athletic than your average man of that size. While most 4-3 defensive ends are smaller, it cannot be forgotten that hall of famer Reggie White racked up 198 sacks at 6-5, 291 and Carolina's Julius Peppers will likely make the hall of fame with 158 career sacks at 6-7, 295. Comparing Buckner and Armstead to the likes of the late White and Peppers is, of course, premature. However, both Buckner and Armstead certainly fit into the same breed of defensive end. Large. Strong. Athletic. 

Buckner has certainly shown flashes of being a potential future All-Pro with 20 sacks in three seasons thanks to 11 this year. 

“Getting to double digits, I knew I was capable of it and to see my hard work get paid off, it’s definitely gratifying," he said. "I knew I could do it and I worked my tail off in the offseason to get there."

Saleh said Buckner last year had many pressures and QB knockdowns that could have been sacks with fine-tuning of his technique when disengaging from blockers and closing on quarterbacks. 

"We talked about him needing to find that extra half of step," Saleh told reporters this week. "He's really taken it to heart and he's found that step."

Sometimes, Saleh said, it takes a while for young defensive linemen to find their way. Armstead is no different. 

"Arik is probably having his best year," Saleh said. "It just takes time."

--- Remaining 49ers

The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on Armstead's rookie contract and Shanahan said they hope to resign him long-term. That's also the plan with Buckner. Armstead said he certainly wants to remain with the 49ers. 

"I love it here," he said. "I've been here my whole career. They drafted me and gave me an opportunity. I want to be here and help win games."

Armstead entered the NFL at age 21 and said he has grown a lot in four years. 

"Most, probably as a person," he said. "I'm 25. Getting kind of old. But maturing as a person. I'm out on my own now. I'm a professional. I've had a good experience."

Armstead has been very active doing charity work in his hometown of Sacramento, which he said is very important to him. 

"I feel like I've been blessed in my life with so many things and it's my responsibility to give back in any way that I came," he said. "A lot of my efforts are directed to people in Sacramento where I'm from and trying to impact my city in a positive way."

The Oregon duo of Buckner and Armstead is respected by teammates. Defensive tackle D.J. Jones said the two are often inseparable.

"You see one you see the other," he said. "They are the twin towers." 

Jones said teammates don't give the former Ducks too much grief for being bosom Ducks. 

"Both are phenomenal people off the field," Jones said. "On the field, they are just the same. I've learned so much from them."

Their NFL careers are in full swing and their futures appear to be strong. How long they remain teammates will be played out on the business end of the NFL pool. One thing for sure is that both have benefited from entering this world together as former Ducks tied at the hip and supporting each other. 

“It’s encouragement and helping each other," Armstead said. "Teaching each other things we’ve learned and passing it along. Having good communication out there from playing together so long. Definitely encouraging each other is the main thing.”

The AFC/NFC playoffs: who's in, who's in the hunt, who's spiraling

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The AFC/NFC playoffs: who's in, who's in the hunt, who's spiraling

First, let’s start with the AFC

Who is in:

There are only two teams that have clinched a playoff berth: the Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) and the San Diego Chargers (11-3). The two teams had an epic battle under the Thursday Night Football lights that ended with a winning two-point conversion by the Chargers to win 29-28 over the Chiefs. Interestingly enough, these two teams are both in the AFC West division, have split the series between the two, but the Chiefs are the division leader while the Chargers lead the Wildcard race.

Division Leaders:

- AFC South: Houston Texas (10-4)

- AFC East: New England Patriots (9-5)

- AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)

Notable games:

- New England loses on the road to Pittsburgh 17-10.

- Houston defeats the New York Jets, but clinching the division is still on hold with another Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans victory.

In the hunt:

- Don’t count out the Baltimore Ravens just yet. After taking it to the Chiefs last week, the Ravens (8-6) bounced back today with a 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Ravens lie one game behind the Steelers, who beat the Patriots today.

- The Indianapolis Colts (8-6) are 7-1 in the last eight games. After shutting out the visiting Dallas Cowboys today 23-0, next up for the Colts are the Giants and then at Tennessee.   

- The Tennessee Titans (8-6), also in the same division as the Colts, shut out the Giants 17-0 and are battling in a tight race for second and a potential Wildcard spot with the Colts. The two face up in the last week of the regular season.

- Miami (7-7) coming off a loss to the Vikings and Cleveland (6-7-1) are also still in the hunt.

 

Now, for the NFC

Who is in:

Three teams have clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs: the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Chicago Bears. 

Division Leaders:

- NFC South: New Orleans Saints (11-2)

- NFC West: Los Angeles Rams (11-3)

- NFC North: Chicago Bears (10-4)

- The only remaining division yet to be clinched is the NFC East, which the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) currently lead but were shut out by the Colts today. Riding their coattails are the Eagles (7-7), coming off a big win Sunday night, and the Washington Redskins (7-7) who won on a game-winning field goal 16-13 over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This division will come down to the wire. 

Notable games:

- The Seattle Seahawks (8-6) dropped to the San Francisco 49ers (4-10) in the Bay Area in what “should have” been a win to clinch a playoff spot is now on hold with Kansas City coming into Seattle next Sunday. 

- The Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) picked up a big win over the Miami Dolphins to remain in the Wildcard race.

- The Eagles (7-7) defeated the Los Angeles Rams on the road.

In the hunt:

- Washington got its prayers answered with a win over Jacksonville to remain in playoff contention at 7-7, also with a Dallas Cowboys loss. The NFC East is anyone’s division at this point.

- The Carolina Panthers (6-7) need to get back on track but face the Saints next on Monday Night Football.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys ran out of Luck in shutout loss

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Dallas Cowboys ran out of Luck in shutout loss

The Dallas COwboys ran out of, or rather into, Luck. Andrew Luck that is. 

When all was going in the right direction for "America's Team", today was a turn of the tides. The Cowboys (now 8-6) were riding a five-game win streak and in a good spot on top of the NFC East after beating division rival Philadelphia last Sunday now hit the road into Colts territory. But it did not look like the same Dallas team, on both sides of the ball, got off the plane. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot was limited to 87 yards on 18 carries, an average of 4.8 yards per carry. While counterpart quarterback Dak Prescott did throw for 206 yards, but had one interception and zero touchdowns on the day.

For the first time since 2003, the Cowboys were shutout in a 23-0 loss to the Colts (8-6).

Perhaps this recap should be more about Andrew Luck and the Colts offense because not only has this Cowboys defense been stellar the past two weeks, but Andrew Luck or rather this Colts offensive line got it done today making way for the ground game to put up 178 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Next up the Colts look to keep their playoff hopes alive hosting the New York Giants (5-9) on Sunday.