New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers named as surprise summer trade candidate

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The cap situation for the New York Giants naturally isn’t as good as it was before this offseason. The Giants spent big to bring in new additions and retain important players from last year’s roster, in the hopes of turning things around and making the playoffs in 2021. But could they improve their standing with the salary cap by making a trade this season that would offload a player with a large contract?

CBS Sports listed the Giants as one team that could make such a trade in an article predicting surprise players that could switch teams during training camp. Among the names listed was Jabrill Peppers, who looks to have plenty of security with the Giants right now. Despite being secure in his spot, though, the Giants have other high profile players at Peppers’ position and could do well to save money by moving on.

He’s still a big name with a big role, but with 2022 free agency on the horizon, Peppers could be dangled for the chance to gain $6.8M in cap savings for a team with just $2.4M in current space. It’s not as if New York hasn’t invested in alternatives at the position, paying up to retain Logan Ryan, recently spending a high pick on Xavier McKinney and finding snaps for the versatile Julian Love.

To put it simply, the Giants are paying a lot for Peppers when they have others that can fill the role well. Logan Ryan is on a good sized deal of his own and looks like the leader at the safety position, and the Giants also still have Xavier McKinney to develop into a player on a similar caliber to Ryan or Peppers. When you add in Julian Love to the mix, the position looks quite crowded.

It would be understandable if the Giants did want to move on from Peppers and clear some cap space while getting back something in return in a trade.

There’s nothing wrong with Peppers’ play on the field, after all, even if it’s clear why the Giants might want to move on from a teambuilding perspective. Given that, it also wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants got a decent draft pick in return for sending him elsewhere.

Anderson Silva and Logan Paul in talks for boxing match

In the year 2021, we’ve seen a lot of interesting things in the world of boxing. We have seen Jake Paul knock out former MMA champion Ben Askren. We’ve seen Logan Paul go the distance in an exhibition with Floyd Mayweather. 

We have also seen former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva defeat former boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in the boxing ring. Next month, Jake Paul is going to be in the ring against former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.

Now, we have learned that there is another boxing match in the works that will pit a former UFC champion against a Paul brother. ESPN was the first to report this evening that Anderson Silva and Logan Paul are in talks for a boxing match for the end of this year.

Paul’s management confirmed the talks and indicated that a deal is getting close to being finalized.

Paul – Silva in Boxing

If the deal does get done, this will be a big step up in competition for Logan Paul. Now, you might want to bring up the fact that he was in the boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather is considered to be one of the greatest of all time.

While that’s true, it’s important to remember that Logan Paul was literally twice the size of Floyd Mayweather. Paul will have no such advantage with the former UFC champion. Anderson Silva proved last month that he can handle his own in the boxing ring.

It’s worth noting that while Silva is 46 years old, he still moves very well and showed off tremendous skill against Chavez Jr last month. This will be a real test to me to see how good Logan Paul actually is in boxing.

Yes, Logan and Jake still have not taken a fight against a legit professional boxer. However, I will give them credit for stepping in there with guys who can actually throw punches. We will learn a lot about the Paul brothers in their boxing matches with Woodley and Silva.

BREAKING: New York Jets sign WR Elijah Moore to rookie deal

elijah moore, jets

Moore was the New York Jets’ second-round draft choice in April. Zach Wilson is now the only green draft pick left unsigned.

The New York Jets have signed second-round draft pick Elijah Moore to his rookie contract, the team announced on Wednesday night. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the four-year rookie deal includes full guarantees in each of his first three seasons. Ian Rapoportof NFL Network claims that three-year salary amounts to just under $9 million.

Zach Wilson, Moore’s presumed franchise quarterback, is the only Jets draft pick who has yet to sign with the team, following their inking of Alijah Vera-Tucker on Tuesday night.

His New York status secure, Moore is set to join a revamped receivers room that features sophomore and fellow second-round pick Denzel Mims as well as free agent acquisitions Corey Davis and Keelan Cole and reigning slot target Jamison Crowder. Moore’s 189 receptions in college are currently good for third-best in Mississippi football history, tied with current Tennessee Titans star A.J. Brown. The 2,441 yards he earned in that span are good for third in program history.

“Moore is a dangerous playmaker who is a threat to score and rip off long gains on any reception,” WalterFootball’s Charlie Campbell said of Moore prior to the draft. “With his speed off the line and his second gear, Moore is fast through his route and his burst out of his breaks consistently creates separation. He is deadly on double moves because his route running and suddenness allow him to get open downfield while challenging defenses vertically.”

Moore has shown no hesitation sharing the wealth of his newfound NFL windfall; over the weekend, a video posted on his Instagram account documented a promise to his mother Elisa to pay off her debts while partying with friends and family off the coast of Miami.

Jets rookies reported to One Jets Drive in Florham Park for training camp on Tuesday, while veterans are set to arrive on July 27.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

Report: Knicks could lose Reggie Bullock in free agency as Celtics and 76ers have interest

Reggie Bullock of the New York Knicks

One of the Knicks’ more coveted free agents is shooting guard/small forward Reggie Bullock, who signed a two-year, $8.2 million deal during the 2019 free agency. He earned just $4.2 million last season, contributing heavily toward the Knicks’ postseason run, shooting a stellar 41% over 6.1 attempts from three-point range. He averaged 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and contributed 0.8 steals on defense.

Overall, the Knicks got ample value from a player who was making insignificant money last season, but he is set to earn a nice payday for his services. If the Knicks theoretically bring him back on a one-year deal, they could offer him $5.46 million, with the difference from his 2020-21 salary not included in the team’s cap space.

There will be competition for Bullock in free agency, as other teams have already expressed interest apparently.

Marc Berman of the NY Post reported that multiple teams have interest in Knicks’ free agent, Reggie Bullock:

According to an NBA source, two Atlantic Division squads, the Celtics and 76ers, have interest in Knicks swingman Reggie Bullock, who started all season at either shooting guard or small forward.

The Knicks will have plenty of competition for Bullock’s signature:

Not only do the Celtics and 76ers have Bullock on their list, but the Los Angeles Lakers could also enter the picture, Berman reports. While his preference is to stay in New York, likely commanding a $9.23 million full mid-level exception deal, it is possible he seeks a multi-year contract, giving him some job security.

As a player who averaged 30 minutes per game, the highest of his entire career, he offered the team plenty on both sides of the floor, hitting a few clutch shots down the stretch to help the Knicks secure the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Hopefully, they can retain him on an efficient contract without having to overspend for a player like Duncan Robinson of Miami. Otherwise, there will be plenty of free-agent targets to consider.

Paige VanZant out for redemption in BKFC 19 as Pedro Diaz beefs up her camp

With the addition of a world-renowned boxing trainer to her camp, Paige VanZant goes for a knockout in her second fight in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.

VanZant is out to prove that her debut loss to Britain Hart was just a fluke when she fights Rachael Ostovich on Friday at the main event of the BKFC 19 at the Florida State Fairground in Tampa.

Vanzant has enlisted the services of Pedro Diaz, who has trained seven world boxing champions, including Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux. She’s splitting time with Diaz and at the American Top Team.

“I had an amazing training camp in Miami, Florida. Pedro Diaz will be in my corner. It’s been a great experience, and I’m really confident going into this one,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media on Wednesday.

VanZant is familiar with her second BKFC opponent. She has previously beaten Ostovich in the UFC two years ago via submission. While she has the mental edge and the BKFC experience, VanZant isn’t leaving anything to chance.

“Of course, I’m going to go for a knockout. But the most important thing is really for me to fight smart. That’s gonna get me the win,” VanZant said.

VanZant is coming to this fight with the momentum of her solid showing in the final two rounds against Hart, where she started to look comfortable with the new combat sport.

“I think it was just getting the experience of knowing what to expect, knowing how the fight is going to feel. There were a lot of changes coming from MMA, especially in terms of the style of fighting,” Vanzant said. “Hopefully, you’ll see a better boxer. That’s the plan.”

BKFC President David Feldman expects an explosive fight between the two women who are out to prove that this sport is for them. 

“People say it’s a rematch but it’s not really a rematch since it’s a different sport,” Feldman told Empire Sports Media. There’s a lot of storylines in this fight. And a lot of curiosity here.”

The VanZant-Ostrovich fight headlines a stacked BKFC 19 card that also includes Hart vs. Jenny Savage grudge match and the heavyweight fight between former BKFC heavyweight champion Arnold Adams (4-1) and the undefeated Michael Terrill (4-0), where the winner could have a shot at reigning champion Joey Beltran.

The BKFC 19 will air on FITE.TV (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT) in addition to the BKTV APP for existing subscribers.

Advance tickets starting at $65 are now on sale through BKFC.com. The Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 US-301, Tampa, FL 33610. Doors will open on the night of the event at 7:00 p.m. ET, with the first bell at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

UFC: Justin Gaethje fires back at Michael Chandler

We seem to have a little bit of bad blood forming in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Earlier this week, top contender and former title challenger Michael Chandler (22-6) took to Instagram Live where he talked about what’s next for him.

Chandler last fought at UFC 262 when he came up short against Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title. The former Bellator lightweight champion said that he’s targeting a return in either November or December of this year.

Chandler said that without a doubt the guy that he wants to fight is former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (22-3). Gaethje is ranked second in the division and he last fought at UFC 254 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Chandler said that Gaethje has been ducking him and refuses to accept the fight. He went on to say that the UFC has offered the fight to Gaethje three or four times and Gaethje has refused to take the fight.

However, Gaethje has since responded on Twitter. Let’s just say that ‘The Highlight’ wasn’t too thrilled with Chandler’s comments and he made it very clear that he hasn’t been ducking Chandler at all.

Will the UFC make this fight happen?

I will agree with Michael Chandler when he says that the fight between him and Justin Gaethje is the fight to make. There is no questioning the fact that this is the fight that the UFC should make next.

Both men are coming off of losses in UFC title fights and both are ranked at the very top of the division. Not too mention the fact that stylistically, this is about as good as it gets when pairing any two lightweights against each other in terms of excitement.

Chandler and Gaethje would be fireworks and I think the UFC knows it. Dana White has mentioned that this is the fight that he wants to make and I think it happens. Whether it’s a Fight Night headliner or a co-main on a PPV, I’m expecting to see Chandler – Gaethje by the end of the year.

New York Giants have two capable slot cornerbacks to rely on in 2021

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants have invested a lot of assets into their secondary over the last few years. They have spent numerous draft picks on guys like Julian Love, Xavier McKinney, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes, and others. They have also made some big signings like James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Adoree’ Jackson. One could argue that the Giants have the best trio of starting safeties in the NFL. But they do not just have depth at safety.

The Giants also have solid depth at slot cornerback where two players could be competing for the starting job. Darnay Holmes, entering his second season, is looking to keep his job as the starting slot cornerback. But the Giants also went ahead and drafted Aaron Robinson in the 2021 NFL Draft, another slot cornerback that could get hungry for the starting job.

Darnay Holmes stats and highlights

Darnay Holmes was an impressive rookie slot cornerback who did not allow a touchdown in coverage during the 2020 season. Holmes was targeted in coverage 52 times and let up a fair amount of completions, but none in the end zone. In fact, he had some impressive pass breakups that prevented touchdowns, like the one below:

Darnay Holmes made the switch to slot cornerback in the NFL after playing outside during his collegiate career at UCLA. There were some ups and downs for the rookie, but Holmes flashed enough potential for the Giants to feel confident that they have a starting-level player long-term. Darnay finished the year with 5 passes defended 1 interception, 0.5 sack, and 30 combined tackles.

In 2020, Darnay Holmes fit nicely into Patrick Graham’s zone-coverage defensive scheme. He has good instincts and a quick reaction time. Darnay struggled at times to cover receivers in man coverage across the middle of the field. That is where Aaron Robinson comes in.

Aaron Robinson stats and highlights

Aaron Robinson’s playing style is far different from Darnay Holmes. Darnay fits better in a zone scheme while Aaron fits better in a man-coverage scheme. Patrick Graham has stated in interviews that the Giants are looking to run more press-man in 2021 than they did last season. Aaron Robinson is a physical press-man slot cornerback that will help allow Patrick Graham to make that scheme the focus of his defense.

Robinson’s aggressive playing style also gives him the ability to compete on the outside as well. Arguably ARob’s most impressive trait, though, is his ability to make an impact in run defense. Aaron Robinson posted an 80+ PFF run-defense grade in each of his last two seasons at UCF.

Regardless of who gets the start in the slot, the Giants have a good problem on their hands. They have two talented players that might be deserving of a starting role. That means that they have a lot of talent at the slot cornerback position and, of course, quality depth.

Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant doesn’t dwell on ‘What If’, impressed with Bucks continuity

The NBA Playoffs’ most talked about sliding door moment never entered Kevin Durant’s mind when he watched Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy from his room in Tokyo, Japan.

Durant and his Brooklyn Nets were reduced to being a footnote of the Bucks’ title run this season.

Kyrie Irving sprained his ankle. James Harden played hurt. Durant came a couple of inches away from eliminating the Bucks. But alas, the basketball gods smiled on the Greek Freak.

“I’m not really [thinking about what could have been],” Durant said on Wednesday after Team USA practice. “You don’t play for moral victories. You only want to be the last team standing in the NBA Finals. We understand how good we are and not just go push the Bucks [to seven games].”

“Our goal is to win it. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Congrats to the Bucks, an amazing team who fought through a lot the last two years to get to this point. I have a lot of respect for them.”

The super team in Brooklyn, which was supposed to steamroll its way to the Nets’ first NBA championship, could not be healthy enough to stay together on the floor.

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo bucked a hyperextended knee in the playoffs and capped off his dominant NBA Finals run with a 50-piece and five blocks.

Seven years ago, Antetokounmpo promised he would not leave the city without winning a championship. He followed through by signing the supermax extension. The Bucks’ front office repaid his loyalty with boom-or-bust moves, including the botched trade for Bogdan Bognadovic that cost them a second-round pick. The Jrue Holiday trade paled in comparison to the Nets’ all-in move to acquire Harden. But they beat the Nets to the draw in trading for Harden’s former Houston Rockets teammate PJ Tucker.

“It’s easy to go somewhere and go win a championship with somebody else,’’ Antetokounmpo said. “I could go — I don’t want to put anybody on the spot — but I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship. But this is the hard way to do it, and this is the way to do it and we f—–g did it.”

Durant was never asked to react to Antetokounmpo’s postgame remark. But he came away impressed with how the Bucks build their championship team.

“It was good to see Milwaukee forming some sort of a dynasty with that team,” Durant said. “I know it’s the first championship. I know a lot of people will call you a dynasty after a few [titles]. The continuity of that team is something that is impressive. How they continue to keep building and adding and now they’re a champion. So you can appreciate that.”

The Bucks are guaranteed to have Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Holiday, and Brook Lopez together until the 2022-23 season. Durant will have another shot at the Bucks next season, provided Brooklyn’s Big 3 will be healthy.

But in a couple of days, he will have to set aside the rivalry and join forces with Middleton and Holiday at Team USA and welcome Phoenix Suns’ rising star Devin Booker, who could still be reeling from that stinging loss, squandering a 2-0 lead, to the squad.

“We got respect for these guys. That experience doesn’t happen to just anybody. You respect those guys that went through that journey,” Durant said.

“You see a young team like Phoenix, who everybody has been counting out in the last five to six years. And now they made themselves into a contender and hopefully become a contender moving forward in the West,” he added.

Durant has been both on the opposite side of the spectrum. Before becoming a multiple NBA champion with the Warriors, Durant, like Booker, lost a young team in Oklahoma City. So he knows the feeling.

But they need Booker to recover quickly. They need Middleton and Holiday to chill down from the euphoria of winning their first championship. They have a mission in Tokyo. A goal that looked vulnerable at the onset with the missing players due to COVID-19 issues and different circumstances.

“I think there will definitely be adjustments just with the quick turnaround. But those guys know what they’re getting into themselves when they made the commitment a few weeks back,” Durant said. “They had an understanding of what this journey is and they have an extra couple of weeks added on to their postseason now. We’re looking forward to those guys coming in and we understand that it will take a while for them to take their legs back under them, calm down from all the hype of the NBA Finals but we can’t wait to incorporate them.”

Durant has already moved on from a lost NBA season. His eyes are set on a different prize.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Mets Finally Get An Easy Win in 7-0, One-Hit Victory Over Reds

In two of the last three games, the New York Mets failed to get multiple innings out of their starting pitcher, and Marcus Stroman gave them the length they desperately needed. Stroman pitched eight dominant innings, holding the Cincinnati Reds to just one hit on the day. It gave Luis Rojas a nice welcome as he returned from his two-game suspension and led the Mets to a 7-0 win.

Stroman had struggled over his last handful of starts but was masterful and efficient from the start. He struck out seven over his eight shutout innings and needed just 90 pitches. Stroman’s sinker/slider combination kept Reds hitters flailing and making weak contact, resulting in nine groundouts. Jeurys Familia finished the one-hit shutout by striking out the side in the ninth inning.

Since the second half started, the Mets offense has found the life it did not have for the first half. All of the seven runs the Mets scored came on home runs. Jonathan Villar opened up the scoring with a second-inning solo homer, and Dominic Smith‘s grand slam in the following inning gave the Mets a 5-0 lead. Luis Guillorme‘s first home run of the season made it a 7-0 game, which was more than enough for Stroman. Only one starting position player failed to record a hit in the series finale.

The win was their 50th of the season pushes the Mets back to over .500 in July. It also guarantees the Mets keep at least a 2.5 game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East. Despite getting a whole week to rest for the All-Star Break, they get a much-needed day off on Thursday. When they return to Citi Field, they welcome the Toronto Blue Jays into Queens. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

This expansion draft is a whole new ballgame for Islanders from first one in 2017

The day of the expansion draft has finally arrived. For the first time since 2017, when the Vegas Golden Knights were entering the league, several big names will leave their respective clubs to fill out the inaugural Seattle Kraken roster.

It should be a stressful day with plenty of intense moments in both the lead-up and when the selection are finally made. And these next 12 hours might just be that for the Islanders. Why?

Well, the last time the expansion draft had any significant meaning to them, the organization was completely different. They had just missed the playoffs for the first time in two years, Garth Snow was still running the team, and their roster wasn’t as deep as it is today. All you need to do is go look at Snow’s protection list, and you’ll realize how much has changed.

Snow also had made the bold decision to swing a deal with Vegas — which included Mikhail Grabovski, prospect Jake Bischoff (who?), a 2017 1st-rounder and 2019-second rounder — for them to stay away from d-man Adam Pelech.

At the time Pelech wasn’t even considered anything valuable, but has since become one of the best defenders in the league. That deal remains one of the two last salvos of Snow’s reign upstairs.

But back then there was never a feeling then the Isles had a chance to lose someone that could really hurt them. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

There is a nervousness among many that they could very well lose Josh Bailey. The longest-tenured forward on the Isles’ roster was surprisingly left unprotected when the team’s list was revealed this past Sunday. He along with Jordan Eberle — the player many are hoping/expecting the Kraken to take — have been acknowledged as primary candidates.

Reports from this morning indicated that the Kraken would be going with Eberle over Bailey, but that can only be confirmed once the draft happens tonight. Still, possibly losing either player will hurt.

Both have played a huge role in the Isles’ turnaround the past few seasons, which has resulted in back-to-back conference final/semifinal appearances.

Bailey is close to playing 1,000 games with the franchise and is already on some of the all-time lists among players who have worn the blue and orange. He is also one of the most-respected leaders in the locker room and someone head coach Barry Trotz has praised overwhelmingly since he took over behind the bench.

The Isles being a good team now means they have players who are attractive to be taken away. Times have definitely changed from where they were at this point from the previous expansion draft.