darius slay

NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

Pro sports leagues are trying to find ways to safely play games and entertain fans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is obviously a tough and tall task.

But the NFL's latest proposed measure missed the mark... completely.

The league is looking to ban the popular post-game jersey swap tradition, according to NFL.com, as a proposed safety measure:

Under proposed NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols, teams would be forbidden from interactions within six feet of each other following games, and jersey exchanges between players would be prohibited, per sources informed of the situation.

If you think that sounds like a total waste of a rule, after the teams are engaged in hand-to-hand action for three hours, you're not alone.

Why the NFL feels the need to distance players after allowing them to breathe, sweat, and bleed on each other during a game is unclear. The league didn't provide an explanation.

Probably because there isn't one.

These are uncharted waters for sports leagues, and mistakes will be made, but sometimes it helps to just use common sense.

A few Eagles players were quick to point out the seeming absurdity of the rule on Twitter:

And a couple other star players from around the league chimed in as well:

Interestingly, NFL.com's Kevin Patra included this qualifier at the end of his story about the ban:

The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop.

That sounds like the league already setting itself up to change the rule down the line, considering the initial reception from players. 

We'll see if it lasts an entire season.

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NFL rumors: New salary proposal might lead to ugly, MLB-style money negotiations

NFL rumors: New salary proposal might lead to ugly, MLB-style money negotiations

If football fans thought the 2020 NFL season was safe from the kind of ugly public drama that Major League Baseball endured this spring, I have some bad news.

In an attempt to make up for sizable financial losses this season, the NFL has reportedly proposed escrowing up to 35% of players' salaries, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.

And the players' union... didn't respond well to the idea.

Here's what went down on Tuesday, per Pelissero:

I am told that the NFLPA informed the Board of Representatives in a call, this afternoon, that the NFL has proposed escrowing 35% of players' salaries throughout the 2020 season to account for some costs and potential lost revenue because of COVID-19. Now, how is the union responding to that? Don Davis, one of the union executives, said in a call with all players a short time ago, 'Basically, we told them to kick rocks.'

That's certainly one way to... kick off negotiations. (Sorry.)

When the league's idea caught players' attention on social media, they weren't hesitant to speak out against any pay reductions. Eagles cornerbacks Darius Slay and Rasul Douglas both tweeted their objections on Tuesday:

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas also spoke up:

The situation is eerily reminiscent of baseball's negotiations, which began with prorated pay and then turned into ugly back-and-forth mudslinging between the union, the owners, the league, and players themselves. During a global pandemic with record unemployment across the country, arguments over six- and seven-figure salaries didn't play well in the public eye - for either side.

Right now, the NFL expects to play a full 16-game season, though the state of the league's quickly-deteriorating preseason makes everything feel a little more up in the air.

Ideally, both the NFL and the NFLPA have learned from the brutal baseball talks and will be able to reach a resolution that keeps players safe, paid, and able to play football this fall.

But that might be asking too much of 2020.

The NFL is slated to begin its regular season on Sept. 10. 

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Most important Eagles for 2020: The man who could change the Eagles’ secondary

Most important Eagles for 2020: The man who could change the Eagles’ secondary

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season. 

20. Nate Sudfeld 
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert  
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor 
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders  
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
7. Zach Ertz 
6. DeSean Jackson 
5. Lane Johnson
4. Darius Slay

In the four years under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, there have been 17 different corners to get on the field for the Eagles. They’ve gotten by with Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and Dexter McDougle and a complete list of average to bad corners. 

The Eagles haven’t had an elite cornerback since Asante Samuel nearly a decade ago. 

They hope that’s about to change. 

This offseason, the Eagles shipped 3rd and 5th-round picks to the Lions for Darius Slay in March and then gave the 29-year-old a three-year extension with over $30 million guaranteed. The Eagles had no problem with that price because they believe they’re getting one of the best cornerbacks in the league. 

Slay has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last three seasons in Detroit. During those three seasons, he has 13 interceptions. During that same span every Eagles cornerback combined had  a total of 23.

During Schwartz’s time as DC in Philly he hasn’t used one corner to travel with top receivers, but that’s because he didn’t have a corner worthy of that responsibility. He does now. 

And Slay is ready for that. 

“Oh, I love the challenge,” Slay said this offseason. “I kind of ask for it a lot because of the fact that I want the game on me and I want to help win the game. If the best route to go about it is me traveling with a guy, then I’ll do it.”

Even though many considered Slay’s 2019 season to be a down years, according to ProFootballFocus, here’s how he performed against some of the NFL’s top receivers last season: 

Larry Fitzgerald: 1 target, 0 catches 
Keenan Allen: 11 targets, 6 catches, 81 yards, 1 INT, 1 PBU
Stefon Diggs (2 games): 8 target, 6 catch, 114 yards, 1 PBU
Adam Thielen: 2 targets, 1 catch, 25 yards, 1 TD
Allen Robinson (2 games): 9 targets, 5 catch, 74 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT 
Amari Cooper: 6 targets, 3 catches, 38 yards, 2 PBU 
Terry McLaurin: 10 targets, 3 catches, 42 yards, 1 PBU 
Chris Godwin: 2 targets, 1 catch, 6 yards
Davante Adams: 5 targets, 4 catches, 63 yards

That last note is particularly important for the Eagles, who will have to try to slow down Cooper for at least the next several years. 

Under Schwartz, the Eagles have been incredible against the run. In fact, they’re the NFL’s No. 1 run defense since 2016. But they’re 23rd against the pass. Having a stud cornerback like Slay could change all that. 

And if they have better corners, the pass rush will have more time to get to the quarterback. That could mean big things for the entire defense. 

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