New York Jets Sign Connor McGovern (Report)

New York Jets, Connor Mcgovern

Connor McGovern was ranked as one of the top free-agent offensive linemen on the market, and now he’s on the New York Jets. Despite missing out on Graham Glasgow, the Jets remained steadfast in their mission for a new center. The Jets were rumored to have interest in Steven Wisniewski, a long time Eagle with connections to Joe Douglas. However, they went after McGovern and signed him to anchor the center spot for the future.

The Contract

McGovern signed a three year 27 million dollar deal to join the Jets with 16 million guaranteed. He will get A LOT more guaranteed money than Fant and much more job security within the parameters. McGovern got a very similar deal to that of Matt Paradis, a guy, the Jets, struck out on a year ago.

His Role

McGovern, as previously mentioned, becomes the anchor of the center spot. He also becomes the best center this team has had since Nick Mangold. He is 26 years old (turns 27 in April) and will be a Jet for the foreseeable future. Boy, is he talented. McGovern played 1,019 snaps last year and was flagged zero times and only gave up a single sack. The guy is a beast. PFF graded him as one of the better young centers in all of football. Production-wise he is efficient, and he becomes a great young piece.

What’s Next For The Line

The Jets woke up and added McGovern and resigned Alex Lewis. The interior of the line could be entirely sured up with the addition of G Greg Van Roten from Carolina. He’d give them a very good interior line and allow the Jets to focus on the tackle spot and other areas in the draft.

The New York Jets Free Agency Positional Needs, Ranked

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

As NFL free agency gets underway, the New York Jets have plenty of needs, some more imperative than others. 

While sports have crawled to a standstill, the NFL rages on in the form of its free agency proceedings. The New York Jets and their brethren have started making moves in their never-ending quest for a Super Bowl title. Gang Green has many needs as they look to end a playoff drought that is nearing a decade. Some needs, however, are more imperative than others, as they enter a crucial point on the franchise timeline.

1. Offensive Line

The Jets are in the midst of an exciting period in franchise history where they have two potential backfield saviors. With that great power comes great responsibility, as Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell need protection. Thus, blocking becomes by far their biggest need as the transaction period of the NFL calendar begins. As things get underway, a pair of serviceable outside starters (Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Shell) are up for free agency. Guard Brian Winters has been somewhat reliable, but the Jets would save just under $7.3 million in cap space if he is let go. It’s probably time to pull the plug on the Ryan Kalil experiment, but competition may nonetheless be brought in at center for Jonotthan Harrison. The Jets signed Connor McGovern to compete with Harrison in 2020 on Tuesday afternoon. They also signed tackle, George Fant, who will slot in as a primary protectant for Darnold.

2. Wide Receivers

Every great quarterback has reliable receivers attached to him, and the Jets need to take care of this now with Darnold still developing. The Jets can gain a lot of clarity on their future once the Robby Anderson situation is resolved. Anderson will likely be looking for his market value (likely at least $11 million) so the Jets (currently working with just under $45 million in cap space) might make a few budgetary cuts if they’re going to keep, by far, their most prolific receiver since 2016. The free-agent market is slightly bare with the potential exception of Amari Cooper now that the Dallas Cowboys have franchise tagged Dak Prescott.

3. Edge Rushing

In the NFL, empires can rise and fall with the play under center. Thus, opposing defenses need to make sure that quarterback is as uncomfortable as possible. The Jets have had major trouble in that department in recent years. They’ve ranked 20th or worse in sacks in three of the past four seasons, and pressure will be absolutely necessary when dealing with a mobile threat like Josh Allen in Buffalo for the next several seasons (and a potential multi-talented thrower like Tua Tagovailoa possibly coming to Miami and/or New England). Brandon Copeland and Jordan Jenkins are the Jets’ current free agents on the edge, and keeping them becomes somewhat imperative after Chris Jones and Shaq Barrett were respectively tagged by Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

4. Specialists

Two special teamers represented the Jets in the 2019 Pro Bowl, but both kicker Jason Myers and returner Andre Roberts each departed last offseason. The Jets went through four different kickers after Myers left, and neither Ty Montgomery or Braxton Berrios was able to fill the void Roberts left behind. They were able to lock up long snapper Tom Hennessy through 2024, but punter Lac Edwards is also up for free agency this spring. Brant Boyer could be looking at a very different unit come training camp.

5. Secondary

The Jets’ future is perhaps defined by the antics of Jamal Adams, but he’s going to need some help. New York sorely lacks in secondary depth, something that came to the forefront when injuries took out several key names. Many Jets fans are going to going to celebrate the departure of Trumaine Johnson, but it’s going to eliminate another potential starter. Brian Poole is one of the Jets’ biggest impending departures, and they must bring him back. Bless Austin turned out to be a day three gem in his first, abbreviated year.

6. Interior Defense

Last season saw the Jets drastically upgrade their interior help, adding inside linebacker CJ Mosley in free agency and drafting tackle Quinnen Williams third overall. There could be cap casualties in the interior group, like Avery Williamson ($6.5 million in savings), Steven McLendon ($2.5 million), and Henry Anderson ($1.3 million). Still, there are serviceable, affordable options on both fronts. Former Eagles front office man Joe Douglas could look into a reunion with, say Nigel Bradham, and other interior options include Nick Vigil or a perhaps a reunion with Kevin Pierre-Louis could be in the cards. Affordable free agent tackles include another Eagle, Timmy Jernigan.

7. Quarterback

For the umpteenth year in a row, the Jets are looking for help at quarterback, but not in the way you’re accustomed to. Darnold is undoubtedly the Jets’ future on offense, but the fact remains that he has missed six games over the past two seasons…all Jets losses. Losing Darnold should not mean that the operation folds entirely. Thus a veteran backup would be a wise investment, especially because Darnold repeatedly spoke wonders about the impact Josh McCown had on him during his rookie season. The Jets had the right idea in picking up Trevor Siemian last season, but the former Denver starter is slated to hit free agency after an injury ended his New York tenure after one half.

8. Running Back

Douglas’ biggest accomplishment during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis was firmly declaring that the Jets had no interest in trading Bell, whose name was brought up at the trade deadline and almost immediately after the 2019 season. This clarity allowed the Jets to fully assess their offseason plan to build around he and Darnold. Spell options may be necessary, however, as both Montgomery (who never truly found a slot in the rushing rotation) and Bilal Powell are hitting free agency.

9. Tight End

Chris Herndon is set to return in 2020, and the Jets certainly hope he duplicates the production and potential he displayed in his rookie season. In the meantime, the Jets were able to find depth in the form of veterans Daniel Brown and Ryan Griffin (a late summer addition who later inked a four-year deal). There’s certainly a place for fourth-round sophomore Trevon Wesco as well, potentially even as a fullback.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

New York Yankees: Second minor leaguer tests positive with Corona Virus

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees major league teams seem to be safe and sound for the time being, but their minor league system could be on the verge of a pandemic. A second minor league player has tested positive with Corona Virus after Denny Larrondo, a pitching prospect in the Yankees’ farm system tested positive two days ago, according to MLB Insider, Bryan Hoch.

Since the outbreak began, the Yankees’ top squad has camped out in Tampa while the minor league team that saw a player test positive has been holed up in a hotel where meals are being delivered. They will remain put for the time being — I expect more positive tests to return.

The New York Mets are helping pay minor leaguers before MLB comes up with plan

The COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak smashed any plans to have a normal MLB season. The quickness with which the virus is spreading around the globe forced lots of professional circuits of all sports, including MLB, to suspend their operations until further notice. That’s why the New York Mets and other MLB teams don’t know when the season will start again.

With the MLB minimum set at more than $500,000, most major leaguers won’t be severely affected by the halt, but minor leaguers are in a state of limbo, as The Score explains here.

MLB and the Players’ Association (MLBPA) are trying to come up with a plan to address every issue regarding major leaguers before moving to minor league stuff, as MLB officials told Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser.

However, some MLB teams are starting to attend their minor leaguers before an official MLB and MLBPA resolution. Such is the case of the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers, for example.

Minor leaguers, generally speaking, depend on a per diem instead of salary during spring training. They aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits because they remain under contract with their parent clubs.

Other organizations are taking the Mets’ way

Other MLB organizations that confirmed they would continue to pay minor leaguers the allowances they would have received during spring training are, in addition to the Mets and Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox and the Miami Marlins.

In the specific case of the Red Sox, they are paying the allowances through March 19 and are discussing how to proceed after that date.

As former Mets’ player Ty Kelly has said through Twitter, minor leaguers are extremely frustrated with their current status and compensation. Their salaries are significantly lower than those of big leaguers to begin with, and their realities are not the same, as well.

Kevin Durant Is Identified as 1 of 4 Brooklyn Nets with Coronavirus

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Earlier today, it was reported that four anonymous Brooklyn Nets players were diagnosed with the coronavirus. The team was unwilling to publicly announce which players on the roster had the virus without their consent.

It was then later revealed, one of the Nets with the virus was Kevin Durant. Shams Charania broke the story on Twitter earlier today: “Kevin Durant tested positive for coronavirus, Durant tells @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Durant says he is feeling fine: “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.” (Tweet Here)

It seems as though Durant is in good spirits, as it is reported that he has not shown symptoms of the virus yet. The three other players remain unnamed.

Spencer Dinwiddie caused an uproar on Twitter earlier by tweeting, “Lmao this Corona Virus stuff putting me between a rock and a hard place. If I stopped tweeting y’all would all assume I have it.” (Tweet Here) Dinwiddie is one of the more active NBA voices on Twitter and had tweeted several times today before the news came out. Dinwiddie often enjoys tweeting about the financial market, hypothetical NBA matchups, breaking down his own game, and of course, about Marvel movies. Dinwiddie is a HUGE Marvel fan.

@FiresideNets will keep you posted if any of the other three players with the coronavirus are identified. We wish KD, the three anonymous players, and the thousands of people across the world dealing with this virus a quick and full recovery.

New York Mets: Former GM Sandy Alderson calls for MLB shutdown

New York Mets

The coronavirus, striking since December 2019, is now spread all over the world. It has caused sickness, death, and enormous financial losses. In the case of the New York Mets and the MLB, baseball won’t be played for the next eight weeks as a minimum.

As teams grant permission to players to leave for their homes, some of them continue to work independently at spring training facilities. However, one experienced voice would prefer for authorities to implement a complete shutdown in case it is necessary.

Sandy Alderson, a former New York Mets’ general manager, told Mike Puma of the New York Post that it baffles him that players are still working out.

Alderson took the Mets to the World Series in 2015, where they lost to the Kansas City Royals. Now a consultant for the Oakland Athletics, he says that he would be “surprised if anybody is in camp after the next two or three days, because No. 1 it doesn’t make any sense from a baseball standpoint, if the season is not going to start until maybe June 1.”

He went on: “Secondly it doesn’t make any sense in terms of setting an example for the rest of the population to have a bunch of athletes running around playing catch. That does not constitute social distancing.”

The Mets keep working out

As recently as Monday, a group of approximately 20 Mets players were working out in Port St. Lucie. In fact, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman were among the players later seen departing the facilities.

Following a positive case in the New York Yankees, specifically a minor leaguer, the Yankees quarantined the players in the minor league camp.

When Puma asked Alderson if he could have seen this coming in recent weeks as news of the virus behavior unfolded, he said: “It’s been somewhat gradual, but it doesn’t take a genius to look two or three steps ahead at this point and see where we’re going. One would have hoped our national leadership would have been able to do that a few weeks ago.”

New York Giants land linebacker with nice ceiling – familiar with Patrick Graham

New York Giants, Kyler Fackrell

The New York Giants signed former Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Blake Martinez on Monday and landed his teammate, Kyler Fackrell, on Tuesday.

Martinez signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the Giants to feature as one of their starting linebackers. His immense tackle numbers (155 combined in 2019) prove his worth, and he will act as the MIKE MLB on the Giants’ defense. He’s very familiar with Giants’ defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, who joined Big Blue from the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

As for Fackrell, the Giants are getting a solid player who has a high ceiling. In 2018, when Graham featured as his LB coach, he posted 10.5 sacks and 42 combined tackles. Last season, he was pushed into a reserve role, playing in all 16 contests but failing to earn a start. He tallied just 1.0 sack, 23 tackles, and 10 QB hits.

If Graham can bring the most out of Fackrell, he can end up being a competitive player who adds pass rush depth to the defense. He signed a one-year, $4.6 million deal with the Giants.

New York Jets welcome back Alex Lewis (Report)

The late summer addition via a trade with Baltimore reportedly re-ups with the New York Jets for $18.6 million over three years.

Per Connor Hughes of The Athletic, the New York Jets will welcome back guard Alex Lewis on a three-year, $18.6 million deal. It is the Jets’ first readdition of one of their own free agents.

Lewis, set to turn 28 in April, recently wrapped up his fourth season of NFL service and first with the Jets. The Nebraska alum entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2016 NFL Draft. He would join the Jets in the latter stages of last summer, as the Jets sent over a conditional seventh-round pick (226th overall) to acquire him from the Ravens.

It didn’t take long for Lewis to reach the starting lineup, as he was called upon to replace the injured Kelechi Osemele. He wound up making a career-high 12 starts, partaking in all but one game overall. Lewis was placed on injured reserve in December after he suffered an ankle injury in the Jets penultimate game of the season.

Blocking runs in Lewis’ blood. The Tempe, Arizona native is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Bill Lewis, who played seven seasons with the Raiders, Cardinals, and Patriots.

With Lewis in tow, the Jets continue to make changes to their offensive line. They previously added Seattle tackle George Fant earlier this week. Further changes could be on the way. Current starting guard Brian Winters, one of the longest-tenured Jets on the roster, would save the Jets $7.2 million in cap space if released. A fellow starter, center Jonotthan Harrison, would yield $2.25 million more.

Other Jets free agents on the offensive line include tackles Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell and center Ryan Kalil. All spent significant time in the starting lineup last season.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Knicks interested in Detroit Piston Christian Wood

New York Knicks

With the entire sports world at a stand-still, the New York Knicks rumors live on.  It’s being reported that the Knicks are ‘enamored’ with Detroit Pistons Christian Wood, according to SNYs Ian Begley.

Recently, Wood became the 3rd player who’s been diagnosed with the coronavirus.  The first being Utah Jazz center Ruby Gobert then teammate Donovan Mitchell.  The members of the Knicks awaiting to be tested after being one of the last 5 teams to play against the Jazz.  However, their have been 4 unnamed Brooklyn Nets players that have just tested positive.

Wood went undrafted out of UNLV in 2015.  He’s averaging 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. Wood took over after Andre Drummond was traded to Cleveland and his stock keeps rising.  He’s currently on the final year of a two-year contract and could be looking to cash in on a good end of the year, or whenever the NBA returns.

New Knicks team president, Leon Rose, could be looking to give Mitchell Robinson a partner to wreak havoc in the paint.  It would make sense to add another young center since Taj Gibson might not return after his one-year deal.

While adding another big man will help the Knicks, there are more areas of concern.  The team can use a consistent shooting guard along with an everyday point guard.  The Knicks also need a coach too.

There will be a lot of decisions to be made to start the Leon Rose era.  Instead of focusing on players, Rose needs to get his front office and coaching staff in tact first.  It would be best to say that this is just a rumor with the NBA currently suspended.  More New York Knicks speculation to come.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Kyle Higashioka, a dream to be realized!

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Kyle Higashioka, a dream to be realized

There are probably New York Yankee fans that don’t know who Kyle is. He is part of the great depth the Yankees have and is the backup catcher Austin Romine who is backup to Gary Sanchez. When either of them goes down to injury, Kyle comes up from the Rail Riders, where he is the primary catcher and shores up our lineup while calling and catching important Yankee games. Higashioka is multi-lingual.

Higashioka (he-GAH-shi-OH-kah) is a fourth-generation Japanese American who was born on April 20, 1990, in Huntington Beach, California. He attended high school there and played for the for its baseball team. He has always preferred the backstop position when playing. After high school, he committed to the University of California to play for the California Golden Bears but instead signed with the Yankees when they drafted him in the seventh round of the 2008 MLB draft.  He is the longest-tenured Yankee with Brett Gardner.

His time in the minor leagues

In the minors, he played for the Tampa Yankees A-Advanced team in the Florida State League and the Trenton Thunder AA club. During 2013 and 2014, he played in only 13 games due to an injured thumb and the need for Tommy John surgery. He played for the Tampa team again in 2015. After the season, he as a free agent again signed with the Yankees and started the 2016 season with the Trenton Thunder and won a player of the week award. He was then promoted to the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. He finished the season .276 with 21 home runs and 81 RBI’s, and he was added to the 40 man roster, only to be optioned to the Rail Riders again at the beginning of the 2017 season. Due to an injury to Gary Sanchez, he was called up and made his major league debut on April 10. when he went 0-18 and was again sent back to the Rail Riders upon the return of Sanchez.

Kyle makes his major league debut

He in July suffered a knee injury and only played eight games in August and September. He started the 2018 season at the Rail Riders but was called up in June due to another Sanchez injury. On July 1, he hit his first major league home run against the Boston Red Sox’s David Price. His next two hits were also home runs, making him the 1st player to hit three home runs as his first hits in the majors since 1920.

During the rest of 2018 and in 2019, Higashioka was called up several times due to Sanchez’s injuries. When called up, he usually alternated with Austin Romine caring for the backstop’s duties and is an integral part of the organization. Kyle is not the best hitter, but when he does, it’s often for power (23 HR’s between the Rail Riders and the Yankees last season). He calls a great game and is an excellent defender. He is the longest-tenured Yankee minor leaguer having been with them eleven years before this season.

Competing to be the full-time backup catcher

After long-time catcher Austin Romine left for the Tigers, this year in the shortened spring training he played in 12 games and made 31 plate appearances.  In those appearances, he hit a team-leading three home runs and drove in four while providing excellent backstop defense.  He competes to be the backup catcher for Gary Sanchez with Chris Iannetta and Erik Kratz.  With his performance in spring training, he has nearly assured himself of the backup job and a dream realized.

Higashioka’s personals

Kyle is married to his wife, Alyse. They were married in November of 2016 in Maui, They reportedly have no children as of yet and live in southern California in the off-season. There are no know scandals involving Kyle. Kyle, although of Japanese heritage, could not speak Japanese, so he learned it to be able to better communicate with the likes of Masahiro Tanaka. Being the studious type, he also learned Spanish to better speak with the Latino Yankee Players.

He earned the nickname “Higgy” from his fellow Rail Riders and Yankee players, and is very well-liked and respected by the other players. Austin Romine had often referred to Kyle as a Godsend. In the off-season, he takes classes in mechanical engineering at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.