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Solanke transfer, like Neymar deal before it, could permanently distort the transfer market

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This may be the only time you will see Neymar’s and Dominic Solanke’s names appear in the same sentence, but the two forwards actually have something in common: Both men may have distorted the transfer market with their fees.

At £198 million, Neymar’s world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 was a moment of financial folly that sent shockwaves through the game. The transfer was over £100m more than the previous record of £89.3m — set by Paul Pogba’s 2016 switch from Juventus to Manchester United — and it triggered a domino effect of similarly inflated deals. PSG went on to negotiate a £166m deal for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe, following an initial 12-month loan period. Barcelona dipped into their Neymar cash by spending a potential £135m on Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele and then, six months later, splashed out a further £142m on Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

In a game flush with money at the top end of the market, those transfer fees were perhaps an inevitable consequence of the riches flowing through Europe’s biggest clubs. In fairness to the players involved — even Dembele and Mbappe, teenagers at the time of their big moves — they had all shone in the Champions League before making their moves. Even Bayern’s repeated bids for Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, an 18-year-old with high potential, look reasonable given the Bundesliga giant’s need for young talent, as does Chelsea spending nearly £60m for Christian Pulisic, a player with a track record in Germany and a skill set that will help the Blues over the long term.8

Yet Bournemouth’s move for Solanke feels significant in a different sense. It’s not unusual to see teams completing surprisingly expensive deals, but the Cherries’ £19m move for a player with one Premier League goal and just five starts since his Chelsea debut in 2014 feels significant for all the wrong reasons.nfl nike jersey cheap

Solanke cost Bournemouth less than a tenth of Neymar’s world record fee but it’s still a major outlay for a club of their stature; it could yet rise to an eventual £25m if the former Chelsea youngster is able to trigger £6m worth of incentivised add-ons.

The deal means that Solanke becomes the third-most-expensive English striker of all time behind Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney. Carroll ultimately flopped at Liverpool after his £35m move from Newcastle in January 2011, but he had at least proven himself in the Premier League at St James’ Park — Carroll had scored 33 goals in 90 league games for Newcastle — prior to his transfer. Rooney, who was just 18 when he completed a £30m move to United from Everton in August 2004, was a star for club and country before swapping Goodison Park for Old Trafford. He was also clearly a prodigious talent.

However, Solanke makes the top three on the list having scored just one Premier League goal during his time at Liverpool and Chelsea. The 21-year-old started five league games in a season-and-a-half under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield (also making 16 substitute appearances) and did not appear at all in the Champions League. At Chelsea, he never kicked a ball in the Premier League and became a symbol of the club’s failure to promote its highly rated youth-team prospects.

It wasn’t pretty, but for at least one more night, the Browns are still in the playoff hunt

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“Right now for these young guys in there, every game is important,” said interim coach Gregg Williams, who improved to 4-2 since he took over for Hue Jackson. “We’ve been playing each and every week like it’s a playoff. So they’re pretty experienced right now.”
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The Browns will need help on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, if Pittsburgh (vs. New England), Indianapolis (vs. Dallas) and Tennessee (at the New York Giants) all win, the Browns are eliminated from the postseason regardless.

Which means the Browns will be fans of the Patriots, Cowboys and Giants — they need only one of the three to win to stay alive heading into their Dec. 23 game against the Bengals.9

Saturday’s game was a struggle — for both teams. But the Browns got a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield and some big runs from Nick Chubb (100 yards on 20 carries) as they beat the Broncos for the first time since 1990.

“No, it definitely wasn’t our best game, starting with myself,” Mayfield said. “But coming out with a win on the road is hard. And we did that.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Mayfield was nowhere near as effective as he had been the previous four games, but when it mattered most, he came through. After a T.J. Carrie fourth-quarter interception, Mayfield hit Jarvis Landry for 12, Rashard Higgins for 16 and Landry again for 6 before he found Antonio Callaway for the 2-yard touchdown that provided the winning margin.

Denver would get a field goal to cut the lead to one, but Chubb broke a 40-yard run and the Browns were able to keep the ball until 1:49 remained. On fourth-and-1 from the 10, Williams bypassed a field goal attempt and went for the win, but Chubb was stopped for a 2-yard loss.

“The easy thing to say is yeah, you can kick a field goal and make them score a touchdown, but if you get the first down nobody is going to say a thing,” Mayfield said. “We’re aggressive.”

Trae Young finding success, but not with his long-range shooting

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Trae Young’s first five games of summer play have raised an intriguing possibility: What if the No. 5 pick in this year’s NBA draft is better as a passer than a shooter?

Yes, Young led the NCAA in both scoring and assists during his lone season at Oklahoma. However, it was his 30-foot 3s off the dribble that caught the nation’s attention more so than Young’s work distributing to an unheralded set of Sooners teammates. So it has been somewhat surprising that Young has found far more success as a playmaker than a scorer so far in the NBA, first at the Utah Jazz Summer League and now at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

During Saturday’s 21-point effort against the New York Knicks, his highest-scoring game this summer, Young finally saw a few of those long 3s off the dribble go down. For the most part, they haven’t fallen — or sometimes haven’t even caught rim. Young has shot 6-of-35 (17 percent) on 3s in this span, most of them long and heavily contested.

As I noted in last summer’s study on the meaning of summer-league stats, shooting percentages have little if any predictive power when it comes to how players will perform the following regular season. The samples are simply too small. However, the quality of the shots Young is taking hasn’t been any better than the results, suggesting his low-percentage shooting is more than just a fluke.8

The same has been true for Young inside the arc, where he has been only slightly more accurate (10-of-31, 32 percent). At 6-foot-2, Young always has to finish over bigger defenders in the paint, and he struggled in that regard even against college opposition. Young’s 53.5 percent shooting on attempts at the rim was lowest among NCAA players drafted in this year’s first round, per Hoop-Math.com research.

While Young made an impressive reverse finish headed away from the basket in Utah, for the most part he hasn’t even tried to challenge rim protectors. Instead, Young has turned to a low-percentage floater that he will need to improve dramatically to have any chance of shooting a decent percentage on 2-point tries early in his career.

A fast break during the final minute of Saturday’s game was illustrative of Young’s limitations and how he can work around them. With the Hawks trailing 85-80, Young forced a turnover near midcourt and headed toward the basket with a defender charging after him. Instead of attempting the layup, Young dropped a pass off to teammate Antonius Cleveland for a dunk.

Young has managed to draw enough defensive attention out of the pick-and-roll to set up teammates for open looks on a regular basis, displaying excellent court vision. He averaged 6.0 assists in his four full games, including 11 against the Knicks, and easily could have had more with better shooters around him. (Whether Atlanta’s real roster will provide better shooting remains open for debate.)cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

In the first half of Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, before he was shut down for precautionary reasons because of a quad contusion, Young focused largely on playmaking. Hounded by bigger defender Wade Baldwin, Young attempted only two shots and handed out three assists in the nine minutes he played.

Ex-Raptors coach Dwane Casey wins NBA’s Coach of Year honors

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Dwane Casey was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year on Monday night for a season in which he led the Toronto Raptors to their best regular season, only to be fired after they were ousted for a third straight playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Casey, who has since been hired as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons, led Toronto to a team-record 59 wins this past season and the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but he lost his job after the Raptors were swept by the Cavs.

“Once you get fired, it’s not a good feeling when someone, after you have a franchise record [in wins] and then you still get let go, that’s the uneasy part,” Casey said. “Say, OK, something must be wrong with me. But the opportunity in Detroit has given me more enthusiasm, and I’m excited to get going again. Again, a lot of it goes with Tom Gores, the owner; he’s exciting and excited to get another chance in Detroit.”89

Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics and Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz also were up for the award.

The Raptors’ record improved in six of seven seasons under Casey.

“A lot of the same core guys have been there and they grew,” Casey said. “That’s a regret you have that we made it to the Eastern Conference finals, but we couldn’t get over the hump to get to the Finals to try to win a championship. So that’s always a regret. But, again, I can still hold my head high from what we had and what we grew from, and nobody can ever take that away.”

Last month, Casey also was named winner of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, which is voted on annually by the league’s 30 head coaches.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“I have no regrets,” Casey said. “I’m excited about the new journey in Detroit with the group we have there. So can’t look in the rearview mirror. Winston Churchill said success is measured by failure, failure, and then come back with enthusiasm, and that’s what I’ve done.”

Extra Special: Andujar HR, double as Yanks hammer Twins 14-1

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For rookies Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres and most everyone else swinging a bat for the New York Yankees, this was an extra special evening.

Andujar homered and doubled to extend his barrage of extra-base blows, Torres got his first major league hit and the Yankees hammered the Minnesota Twins 14-1 Monday night.

”I saw all my guys hitting pretty well,” Torres said. ”I’m part of that.”

Slumping Giancarlo Stanton homered in going 4 for 4 and Didi Gregorius hit a grand slam as the Yankees nfl apparel for men posted their first three-game winning streak under new manager Aaron Boone.

”Tonight was a great night, up and down,” Boone said.

The teams hadn’t met since New York topped the Twins 8-4 in the AL wild-card game last October at Yankee Stadium.

This was no contest as Minnesota lost its fourth in a row and brought in center fielder Ryan LaMarre to pitch in the eighth inning – Tyler Austin tagged him for a two-run homer.

Austin also doubled and had a career-best four RBIs. Along with their four homers, the Yankees hit four doubles.260

”We’ve been playing from behind a lot, and I think that can be trying if you do it day after day,” manager Paul Molitor said.

Andujar kept taking meaty cuts and delivered an extra-base hit in his seventh straight game – tied with Pittsburgh’s Corey Dickerson for the longest streak in the majors this year. Andujar is 15 for 29 (.517) during that span with eight doubles, a triple and three home runs, raising his season average from .107 to .316.

The 23-year-old third baseman lined a solo drive into the left-field seats in the second inning and added a hard double.

”I just want to keep doing the same thing,” Andujar said through a translator.nfl apparel for women  ”It’s about sticking to the plan.”

A day after making his debut, Torres singled in the eighth, ending an 0-for-7 start for the prized 21-year-old.

”It was cool,” Boone said. ”Hopefully, he can be on his way now.”

Stanton hit a loud, long drive for his fifth homer, and Gary Sanchez boomed a two-run double. Both sluggers began the game batting under .190.

Jose Mourinho insists Manchester United are in ‘a good position’

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Jose Mourinho has issued another strong defence of his record at Manchester United in his programme notes ahead of Swansea’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday.

Two weeks on from United’s demoralising authentic nfl jerseys Champions League exit to Sevilla, Mourinho insisted the club are “in transition” and that finishing second in the Premier League behind Manchester City this season would represent progress.

“It is clear for everyone to see that this club is in a moment of transition,” he wrote in United Review. “In the history of football all around the world, all of the biggest clubs have phases of continuous victories and phases of transition, and these cycles go on.

“Despite this, last season we managed to win two major trophies, including the only competition this club had never won — the Europa League — and we also returned to the Champions League.”

After winning the Carabao Cup and the Europa League this season, Mourinho could add a third trophy in two seasons if United win the FA Cup. They face Tottenham in the semifinals next month before a potential final against either Chelsea and Southampton in May.

Mourinho added: “This season, we are through to the semifinal of the FA Cup and our aim, of course, will be to try to win it. We are also aiming to qualify for the Champions League again, while moving forward from last season’s sixth-place finish to secure a second-place finish in the Premier League table.

“I think this club is in a good position. We are always looking to the future, and in the future, wholesale nfl jerseys of course, we want to be the top team in the Premier League. That is not realistic this season so, in the meantime, we must do all we can to secure second place.”

Big $5 million payday keeps Eli Manning, Giants bound together

This is the day that the marriage between Eli Manning and the New York Giants officially gets renewed. The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback earns his $5 million roster bonus Sunday just for being on the 90-man roster.

The bonus was guaranteed as long as Manning was on the roster Sunday,nfl jerseys cheap authentic the fifth day of the new league year, a source familiar with his contract said. The Giants’ starting quarterback would’ve had to be cleared off the roster by 4 p.m. ET Saturday not to earn the bonus. That did not happen, and was not expected to.

The $5 million will be paid out to Manning on Wednesday, according to the terms of his current contract.92

The Giants and their new regime committed to Manning immediately after new coach Pat Shurmur was hired. Shurmur said the 37-year-old quarterback has several good “years” remaining.

The veteran is looking to have a bounce-back season under Shurmur, who is known for his work with quarterbacks and worked magic with Nick Foles, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum in recent years. Keenum threw 22 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in a career year with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017.

The Giants’ renewed commitment to Manning began with the hiring of general manager Dave Gettleman before the end of the season. nike nfl jerseys cheap Gettleman has a previous relationship with the quarterback, and was impressed by his performance in a late-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

That helped convince the Giants that Manning still had something left in his arm and body.

Manning should benefit from the Giants’ focus this offseason on the offensive line. They spent $62 million on left tackle Nate Solder to protect his blind side. The Giants also signed guard Patrick Omameh from the Jacksonville Jaguars and tendered center Brett Jones in an effort to solidify their line for the upcoming season.

The Cubs’ leadoff answer? Ian Happ is turning heads atop lineup

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One of the few downsides to all of the success the Chicago Cubs have had recently is that there aren’t many unknown quantities for fans to discover during spring training. But before you get to the middle of Chicago’s star-laden lineup, there exists a possible sleeper for the top spot of the order — and he has been hard to miss so far this spring.

Switch-hitting second-year man Ian Happ wasn’t drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft to hit leadoff or play center field, necessarily, but that’s exactly what he has been doing during an eye-opening stretch of Cactus League play. If spring training is any indication, the seeds are being planted for manager Joe Maddon to grow the former Cincinnati Bearcat from a part-time piece to the primary guy as the leadoff hitter in Chicago’s 2018 lineup.

“I’m more comfortable, no doubt,” Happ said early in camp. “I know what to expect.”

After Happ hit 24 home runs as a part-time player last year, his apprenticeship seems to be over. Maddon has him batting first most often this spring, and he has responded. Going into Friday’s Cactus League action, Happ is 9-for-21 with a .500 on-base percentage and four home runs, two coming left-handed and two coming right-handed, and two of the four have led off a game.

Spring stats are hardly telling, but the Cubs haven’t had that kind of dynamism at the top of the order since Dexter Fowler left after the 2016 World Series. Happ is soaking in everything he can about the spot in the order where the Cubs ranked 12th in the National League in batting average and 10th in on-base percentage last year.

“My thought process going in is,nfl jerseys cheap authentic it’s no different than anywhere else, I’m just going to get more at-bats,” Happ said. “It’s a different perspective knowing you’re going to get five at-bats as opposed to three to four.

“To be the best you can be that day, you want to be on base at least twice in five at-bats. Middle order or back order, you’re not really looking at it that way. At the top, if you get on once, you didn’t really do your job. Twice is a good day. More than that is great.”

In other words, it’s a mindset: Don’t change your swing or your style at the plate, but do change your mentality.

That’s what Happ has learned. And from whom did he learn it?

“You have to pick guys’ brains,” Happ said. “I keep getting back to Dexter. He was always trying to get on base twice. It doesn’t matter how you do it.”

The word you hear most from scouts who have seen Happ for half a season in the majors is “athlete.” Yes, he’s still raw — especially in the outfield — but it doesn’t take long to see his hand-eye coordination as well as his speed.

“The thing that stands out is his power,” one NL scout said. “It’s hard to see that coming from his frame. He needs work on his baserunning, but he looks fast.”

Happ is listed at 6 feet and 200 pounds, but those might be generous numbers. He packs a wallop, though. In the Cubs’ third spring game, he worked the count against Madison Bumgarner, then hit a 3-2 pitch out to right field.customized nfl jerseys cheap His two home runs hitting right-handed this spring are only three fewer than he hit from that side all last season, and a switch-hitting leadoff man with power at the top could make an already stacked Cubs lineup even more dangerous.

Happ isn’t slated to play every day, but it’s looking more and more as if he might bat first when he is in the lineup. A season-long debate revolved around what batting first did to Kyle Schwarber in 2017: Did it change a young hitter’s mindset too much? Schwarber has a keen eye and still struggled in the role, and Happ will have to eliminate some swing-and-miss from his game to succeed — his strikeout rate was 31 percent, and his strikeouts-to-walk ratio wasn’t pretty at 3.31 — but he’s just learning the league and himself.

One of Maddon’s concerns about players at the top of the order is the number they see on the scoreboard. An 0-for-5 day, as opposed to 0-for-3 or 0-for-4, can really hurt a batting average — and an ego. That’s why taking some walks at the top of the order is important, for the team and the player. It kind of limits the exposure to a failed day.

“I know it’s going to even out over the course of the season,nfl custom jerseys cheap but your goal as a leadoff hitter is to get on base as much as possible for the big boys behind you,” Happ said. “You don’t put pressure on yourself or overthink it, but you just know going in you’re going to get that extra at-bat. If you don’t come to terms with it early, it’s going to eat you up.”

Happ won’t be 24 until August, but he already understands what the leadoff process is all about — and what it’s not.

“I’m going to attack the baseball the same way,” he said. “I can’t change who I am as a hitter. I’m going to continue to be aggressive and take my walks when they come.”

A tiny oral history: The viral James Harden crossover

It began like so many Rockets possessions.

James Harden dribbled upcourt with Houston leading the LA Clippers 28-7 in what would ultimately be a 105-92 road victory for the Rockets. Harden began to drive to his left as Clippers defender Wesley Johnson tried to keep up. And then … rest in peace, Wesley Johnson’s ankles. Harden’s brutal crossover left Johnson on his rear end, and Harden stepped back, stared at Johnson on the ground and drilled a 3 that got the Rockets bench on its feet, left the Staples Center abuzz and rocked Twitter.

Here’s how one of the season’s most memorable — and meme-worthy — moments went down.20

CLIPPER DARRELL, LONGTIME CLIPPERS SUPERFAN AND SEASON-TICKET HOLDER WHO WAS IN THE STANDS FOR THE FEB. 28 GAME: Are you talking about the play where James Harden traveled and pushed off? Come on, man. I’m a big James Harden fan. But everybody saw that forearm that he threw out, and the three steps he took going backward before he hit the 3.

TREVOR ARIZA, ROCKETS SMALL FORWARD WHO RAN DOWN THE SIDELINES AFTER THE CROSSOVER: The fact that [Johnson] was on the ground, that was the part that got me out of my seat. We see James do that all the time, get separation and spacecustom nfl jerseys cheap, but not often do guys, like, touch the ground.

JAMES HARDEN, ROCKETS MVP CANDIDATE: It was probably my best move, just because of how much time I had. There’s other moves where you make a great move, and then you’ve got to either make a shot or do another move right after. But I had so much time in between.

PJ TUCKER, ROCKETS SMALL FORWARD: I don’t think it would have been as bad if Wes would have just got up real fast. But Wes just sat there and he smiled and kind of laughed.

CLINT CAPELA, ROCKETS CENTER: It happens a lot that players get crossed and somebody falls. But that second was special.

HARDEN: I was just trying to figure out what he was doing. I didn’t know. I was looking at him, and he was looking at me. I was thinking, What are you doing? I was going to shoot it, but I was waiting to figure out what was going on. I was confused. And then, obviously, I shot it.

CAPELA: We were shocked that [Harden] waited, but the shot has to go in to be worth anything. And when the ball went up, I was like, “If this goes in, it’s something special.” And it went in. We were like, “Oh my gaawwdd. Bam!”customized nfl jerseys cheap

WESLEY JOHNSON, CLIPPERS SMALL FORWARD:custom nfl jerseys I was just thinking, “Next play.” People oohed and aahed, but it’s just on to the next play.

CLIPPER DARRELL: People were saying they lost respect for Wes because he ran back down the court laughing. But it was funny, because you get pushed and don’t get the foul call, and it’s like, come on, ref. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

JOHNSON: Stuff like that happens. Somebody gets dunked on, somebody falls down, it’s going to go viral. Social media is undefeated right now.

TARIK BLACK, ROCKETS CENTER: I’ve got to stay out of this one. Wes is my boy. He took care of me when I was a rookie [with the Lakers]. It was a great move, a great move. But yeah, I can’t.

MIKE D’ANTONI, ROCKETS COACH: James does things that are ridiculous. He does incredible things. He’s a very gifted player offensively, obviously. … The game was over [after the Harden crossover]. James put it away.

CLIPPER DARRELL: James, I love you, man. But you’re not welcome at Staples anymore. Leave my Clippers alone.

Raiders cut Sean Smith; CB to be sentenced to prison for assault

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders released Sean Smith amid news that the cornerback will plead guilty to a felony assault charge Tuesday and be sentenced to one year in prison.

The Raiders also released starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse on Monday.

Smith’s legal issues stem from an incident with his sister’s boyfriend last summer in Pasadena, California. Smith has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of assault with great bodily injury and will be sentenced to one year in prison and three years of probation, the attorney for the alleged victim confirmed to The Associated Press.

Smith,nfl jersey for cheap 30, was accused of assaulting his sister’s then-boyfriend, Christopher Woods, on July 4. Two witnesses testified during a preliminary hearing in December that Smith stomped Woods’ head as he lay bleeding and unconscious.

Attorney Jonathan Dennis said Woods “felt the sentence, obviously, was not as strict as it should have been, but he’s pleased he’s admitting guilt.”

The Raiders’ move to release Smith saves the team $8.5 million on their salary cap. Entering Monday, Oakland had more than $16.5 million in salary-cap space, per ESPN Stats & Information. Smith was due base salaries of $8.25 million in 2018 and $8.75 million in 2019.

After signing a four-year,best nfl jerseys $38 million free-agent contract with the Raiders in 2016, Smith struggled immediately, getting benched at New Orleans in the season opener. Last season, he lost his starting job to TJ Carrie before becoming one of the Raiders’ better defenders in the last month of the season.

After John Pagano replaced Ken Norton Jr. as defensive playcaller, Smith was used more to his strengths. Entering the season finale, Smith was ranked eighth in the NFL in passer rating allowed (36.3) among cornerbacks with at least 110 coverage snaps in Weeks 12-16, per Pro Football Focus. This after being ranked 109th in passer rating allowed in Weeks 1-11.

“Nothing has changed on my end,” Smith told ESPN the last week of the season. “I guess I’m just on the field more.”

Smith’s two interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 17 led the Raiders, who had only five picks on the year. He said he was only on the field in certain packages early in the season and could not get into the flow of a game as a result.

Smith, who played in 29 games (23 starts) in two seasons with the Raiders, had four interceptions for Oakland and is the second high-priced veteran cornerback released by the Raiders this offseason, joining David Amerson, who was released last month. Amerson later signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Oakland is relying on last season’s first-round pick, Gareon Conley, to fill the void at cornerback as he returns from a shin injury that limited him to two games. Carrie is a free agent.

A veteran of nine seasons,nfl jerseys cheap authentic Smith has also played for the Miami Dolphins and Chiefs and has 14 career interceptions, 102 passes defensed and 424 tackles.

Newhouse, 29, started 14 games at right tackle for Oakland in 2017 after signing a two-year contract with the team last offseason.

“There’s a lot of change going on over there,” he told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “Outside of [GM] Reggie [McKenzie], no one else familiar with me there. I’m a good pro and teammate. I have a lot of flexibility to live wherever in the country. I’m still young and healthy.”

Newhouse has appeared in 100 games (70 starts) in his career with the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Raiders.