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Darius Slay's New Contract Frees Up Plenty of Cap Space

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Last week, the Eagles made a blockbuster move to acquire cornerback Darius Slay from the Lions.

Some criticized the move claiming that Slay wasn't young enough and that Howie Roseman was not building a youth movement as he had claimed, simply ignoring the fact that he is waiting to use eight draft picks and Slay, at 29, was by far the oldest acquisition by the team.

Well, even those critics have to be in awe of Slay's new deal as announced by OverTheCap Wednesday.

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Tell Me Again Why I Should Feel Sorry For Athletes During All Of This?

By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

When the articles started coming, about ten days ago, I didn’t think much about them.  Articles lamenting the premature end of college athletic careers or, worse, professional athletic careers, due to the coronavirus.  Sad, for sure, that athletes who assumed they had games or entire spring seasons left were now facing the reality that their time as athletes had ended -- without fanfare, “Senior Days,” or even that knowing final moment on the court/field with the knowledge that this was it so best to soak it all in.  On the surface these portraits were heartbreaking.

Thinking more deeply about them, though, I realized that that was the idea.  To break our hearts, to cause us to empathize.  Which, to a point, is certainly not a terrible thing.  But what/who are we empathizing with here?  We’re all in a terrible position right now, no exceptions.  Each of us has already lost something due to the quarantine.  These articles, then, could really be about any of us.  But, of course, they’re not.  They’re about a small segment of us – ones who are, relatively speaking, more privileged than anybody else.  So why, again, are we singling them out, of all people, for our sympathy?

It’s not that I dislike these athletes.  I don’t.  It’s just that I’ve got more important things on my plate right now.  The fact that a Penn softball player won't get to play this year is so far down the list of things I have the bandwidth to care about that I’m not even sure it makes the list at all.  And yet when I read that article, or really, the several just like it (not to pick on that one as it’s no worse than any of the others), I feel as if there’s something wrong with me that it makes me angry rather than sympathetic. 

I’m sure the writers of these pieces were well meaning and, god knows, there’s not all that much for sportwriters to write about these days, but these sorts of articles are dangerous in that they normalize the idea that the privileged among us (however you define it) are somehow entitled to a life without consequence.  It’s why we don’t revolt en masse when there’s another billionaire bailout funded with money collected from taxpayers scraping to get by and why the protests aren’t louder when we similarly throw money at these same people to cover their stadium expenses when they have the funds to do so several times over.  

And it’s why we sort of feel sorry for Ivy League softball players -- who were no doubt the beneficiaries of a thumb on the scale in the admissions office merely because they played softball -- when they’re robbed of the additional glory of participating in Ivy League sports to go along with the Ivy League educations they’re already benefitting from.  Sure, these softball, basketball, lacrosse, players are hardly the equivalent of the billionaires running the banks and building the stadiums, but privilege comes in many shapes, forms and sizes.  It’s the idea that the rest of us should feel sorry for them that they didn’t get the opportunity to take advantage of 100% of their privilege that’s the problem.  And it’s not a small one.

We’re all feeling the pain right now.  Of isolation, of deprivation, of missing out on the things that mean so much to us.  In this way the quarantine has equalized so much that has heretofore been unequal.  Let’s not trivialize our own losses and the ones of our loved ones by magnifying the relatively trivial ones suffered by those who now won't be able to kick, shoot, or catch a ball one final time.


Flyers Run Prior to Pause a Clear Sign Window is Just Opening

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Who could have known two weeks ago when the Flyers took the ice against the Boston Bruins that it would be the last game there would be for some time. The 2-0 loss to the Bruins was not shocking, considering the Bruins are the top team in the league, but it was still a disappointment given the Flyers were locked into a close game and outplayed the Bruins for nearly two periods and saw a nine-game winning streak come to an end.

That recent run that included two wins over Columbus, two wins over the surging Rangers, a win over the division-leading Capitals and several more along the way, started to say a lot about this team. This team had a lot of potential. By the end of that stretch, they were a virtual lock to make the playoffs and had the division in their sights. All of that came to a screeching halt due to the Coronavirus crisis that suspended play, not a drop-off in the level of play.

It remains a mystery at this point if and when the season will return. Who knows how much of a regular season will be left after this suspension? Who knows what the playoffs will look like? But whenever the league comes out of this stoppage and gets back to playing, let it be known that the Flyers window to compete is just opening up.

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Flyers Sign F Tanner Laczynski to Entry-Level Deal

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

There isn’t much news around the NHL, but the Flyers made some positive news by announcing the signing of a top college prospect.

The Flyers have signed forward Tanner Laczynski to a two-year, entry-level deal, GM Chuck Fletcher announced on Monday.

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How A Canceled Season Could Affect Change Within The Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

It has now been 12 days since the Sixers have taken the court, and it does not look like we will be seeing them anytime soon. Covid-19 has put the sports world on pause, possibly to the point where we do not see a finish to this NBA season. 

A canceled season would leave the Sixers in an interesting spot. The regular season did not go exactly the way the team had hoped, which sparked the idea of personnel changes in the offseason. 

All year the idea of this team was that this team was built for the playoffs. The fit was a question all year, but Elton Brand constructed this roster to dominate in the postseason. With that being said, can the organization blow it up before seeing what the group can do in the postseason?

This has to do with two people, in particular, Al Horford and Brett Brown. It is no secret that the Horford experiment had gone the way that the team hoped when they signed him to a multi-year 109 million dollar deal. 

Horford’s fit next to Embiid has not looked good in large samples and with Ben Simmons still showing a reluctance to shoot from deep, Horford has done nothing but clog the paint. He has also shot 61 more threes this season than he did last season in eight fewer games. Along with his shooting percentage from deep dropping three points. 

Rumors swirled throughout the season of the Sixers possibly trying to trade Horford in the offseason for shooting. But if Elton Brand does not get to see what Horford can do for the Sixers in a playoff series, I think it could lead to Horford playing for the Sixers in the 2020-2021 season. 

A coaching change is something that has been tied to the Sixers in recent years as well. It seemed like this year was going to be Brett Brown’s last chance to see if he can put the Sixers in contention to win a title. 

Brett Brown has been at the helm since 2013. He has been around through this entire rebuild. Although people have been calling for his head for years, I feel like it is very unlikely that he is removed as the head coach if the season does indeed end up not resuming.

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Where Do The Eagles Stand: Roster Construction, Salary Cap, 2021 Compensatory Picks

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Nearly one week has passed since the new CBA was passed and teams began making a flurry of roster moves.

With no other sports having any sort of normalcy to them, it was a welcome sight for sports fans to follow the moves throughout the NFL.

While many big-ticket free agents have found new homes and many trades have already taken place and blockbuster deals have been made, there are still players out there.

Players like Everson Griffen, Robby Anderson and Prince Amukamara remain unsigned while some teams are still holding onto some players available for trade like Yannick Ngakoue.

So where do the Eagles stand this offseason?

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With Delay, Could Spencer Howard Open the Season in Phillies Rotation?

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While Phillies fans were down in sunny Clearwater, Florida, Phillies top prospect Spencer Howard was in the backfields doing drills.  Howard was held back from taking the mound early in Spring, despite having the big league camp invitation.  While the plan was to hold Howard back a bit in the hopes of him helping the Phillies down the line in 2020, that line just might be the start of the season.

In Saturday's Philadelphia Inqurier, Scott Lauber points out that the impact of Howard could be much greater in a delayed season:

But amid the nearly unprecedented uncertainty for the sport, this much is clear: Time, the Phillies’ enemy in terms of their plans for Howard this season, suddenly is on their side.

An eight-week hiatus would mean that spring training won't resume until mid-May and the season won't begin until the first week of June. And those are best-case projections. If the virus isn't contained until July or August, the entire season would seemingly be in jeopardy. So it would be conceivable, Lauber says, that Howard could start the season in the Phillies starting rotation.

Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inqurier spoke to Phillies manager Joe Girardi after his Grapefruit League debut:

“You really get excited about that arm,” Girardi said. “His ability to pitch deep into games, swings-and-misses. I’ve watched his bullpens and they’ve been good and crisp. For him to be able to carry it out here his first time, that’s a positive.”

Catcher J.T. Realmuto regularly speaks of Howard's arm being special.

With the Phillies season delayed and almost surely going to be truncated in some way, we can easily think about the missed prime of Aaron Nola and Realmuto.  But perhaps this will open the door for Howard.  One of the biggest challenges is often sustaining the stamina of a team throughout the whole six months.

If this season is going to be just four months long, could that help the Phillies avoid a September swoon?  It was the September drop off in back-to-back seasons that ultimately cost Phillies manager Gabe Kapler his job.  The best available talent, going full throttle for four months could mean the Phillies are a playoff team.

So, should the Phillies find themselves with four months to win the National League East, perhaps Spencer Howard should be let loose.


Report: Eagles are Shopping Rasul Douglas

By Justin Bradley, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

After three years of playing for the Eagles, it looks like cornerback Rasul Douglas' tenure may be over. According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the Eagles are shopping Rasul Douglas. This shouldn’t be a surprise due to the recent move of trading for 3x Pro Bowler Darius Slay. This move makes the CB crowded with the names of second-round pick Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, and Cre’von Leblanc in the room as well. Douglas looks to be the odd man out.

The 99th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft from West Virginia has five interceptions in 46 games with limited playing time. Douglas has shown the ability to become a solid starting corner when given the chance, but he has not been able to keep up with a team’s number one receiver. Trading Douglas would save the Eagles $2 million in cap space. If the Eagles do in fact trade Douglas it will be more likely they would do a player swap. There would be more value for another player than a pick for Douglas who is in the last year of his deal.

Douglas might want a fresh start after numerous seasons of not being able to consistently get on the field. Hopefully, the Eagles can find a trade partner where a wide receiver could be involved. The Eagles continue to improve the defenses but there is still a big hole to fill, that being a wide receiver.

 

 


Nelson Agholor Agrees to Deal With Raiders

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles have officially lost another free agent.

The Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald reports that former Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor has agreed to a deal to join the Raiders in 2020.

Agholor was a first-round pick by Chip Kelly that essentially had one good season in Philadelphia. Was the first-round pick worth his performance during the Eagles Super Bowl run? Could the Eagles have one having taken a different first-round pick? That's how to decide if Agholor was a bust or not.

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