BREAKING: Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone taking immediate medical leave of absence

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

As per the Yankees media:

“As many of you know, I underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, and I wanted everyone to understand where I’m at regarding the procedure that’s taking place today,” said Boone. “Over the last six-to-eight weeks I’ve had mild symptoms of lightheadedness, low energy and shortness of breath. As a result, I underwent a series of tests and examinations in New York prior to the beginning of spring training, including multiple visits with a team of heart specialists. While the heart checkup came back normal, there were indications of a low heart rate which, after further consultations with doctors in Tampa, necessitates a pacemaker.

“My faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I’m in a great frame of mind because I know I’m in good hands with the doctors and medical staff here at St. Joseph’s Hospital. They are confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life. I look forward to getting back to work in the next several days, but during my short-term absence, I have complete trust that our coaches, staff and players will continue their training and preparation at the same level as we’ve had and without any interruption.

“I also want to take this opportunity to remind all those dealing with heart issues to remain vigilant in your care and to reach out to your doctor should you have any symptoms of discomfort or trouble. Any issue involving the heart has the potential to be serious. Staying on top of your health is always the first and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.”

Per managing partner Hal Steinbrenner:

“The thoughts of the entire organization are with Aaron and his family as he undergoes this procedure and takes the time he needs to properly heal,” said Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. “Aaron leads our players, coaches and staff with a rare combination of work ethic, intelligence and a genuine concern for others. Our only priority at this time is Aaron’s health and well-being, and we will support him in every way throughout his recovery.”

We here at Empire Sports Media wish Boony well and have him in our hearts as he recovers from this scary situation.

BREAKING: New York Jets to hire Robert Saleh as next head coach

New York Jets, Robert Saleh

The New York Jets got their guy. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN, the Jets have reached an agreement with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to become the next head coach. Saleh was expected by many to be the favorite for the Detroit Lions gig coming into the offseason, but Joe Douglas and company got the guy they wanted.

Saleh is the CEO

Anyone who knows Saleh gives him rave reviews. He is a fiery and passionate leader capable of willing his men to victory. Look no further than the defensive success without stars like Nick Bosa this past season.

Saleh has the love for the game and leadership capabilities to be the true CEO the Jets long for. Saleh is inked to a five-year deal, which matches the duration of the remainder of Joe Douglas’s deal. The team finally got their coach and front office on the same page with a hire. Now, Douglas and Saleh will lead the next era of gang green football.

As Saleh looks to fill his staff next and the team has many questions to answer, like who is the quarterback of the future? The first big move Saleh can make towards figuring that out is bringing in a brilliant offensive mind. Look for Mike LaFleur, brother of Titans coach Matt LaFleur to be the hire. For now, though, one thing is for certain. Rejoice, Jets fans, this time, they really did get it right.

New York Yankees lose out on the Francisco Lindor sweepstakes in blockbuster fashion

New York Yankees, Mets, Francisco Lindor

If you are a New York Yankees fan, you are usually used to general manager Brian Cashman solidifying blockbuster deals. Being on the other side of the fence is a rarity, especially when compared to the New York Mets, a franchise that has seldom made big deals during the off-season.

However, new owner Steve Cohen wasn’t joking when he said he was going to invest back into the team. The New York Mets are closing in on star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. This would give them one of the best defensive players in baseball and an above-average starter who can slide in behind Jacob deGrom.

According to Jeff Passan:

So far what we know of the New York-Cleveland blockbuster: Mets get SS Francisco Lindor and RHP Carlos Carrasco.

Cleveland gets: SS Andres Gimenez, RHP Josh Wolf, OF Isaiah Greene

The New York Yankees had their chance, but it’s long gone now:

The Yankees have been linked to Lindor multiple times over the past few seasons, and that rumor mill didn’t stop once the 2020 campaign concluded. The Yankees still aren’t sure about Gleyber Torres at SS, and if they lost DJ LeMahieu this off-season, Lindor was a consideration for them.

However, Cashman elected to take a different approach, avoiding long-term deals like the one Lindor is bound to receive from the Mets. It is a little worrisome that the team only a 7 train away is making such a big splash with new ownership, as they are confident in their quest to compete with the Yankees and their salary cap expenditures.

In 2019, Lindor hit .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs. For his slugging ability, he has an astronomically low strikeout rate at about 14%.

Ultimately, he would’ve been welcomed with open arms if the Yankees acquired him, but they are focused on DJ LeMahieu and his contract extension. Other teams have reached out to DJs representatives, including the Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Considering this blockbuster deal by the Mets, the Yankees simply can’t let LeMahieu walk, otherwise, they might have a riot on their hands.

BREAKING: New York Jets fire head coach Adam Gase

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets have relieved Gase of his duties after two seasons at the helm, the shortest tenure since Al Groh’s single campaign.

The New York Jets have announced the firing of head coach Adam Gase following their 28-14 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

Gase’s two-year New York tenure ends with a mark of 9-23, picking up the second-worst win percentage for a Jets head coach with at least one full year in the role, besting only Rich Kotite (1995-96, .125). His two-year term is also the shortest for a Jets head coach since Al Groh served a single season in 2000. Gase also held the title of interim general manager for just under a month after the firing of Mike Maccagnan during the 2019 offseason.

“This evening, I informed Adam Gase he will no longer serve as the Head Coach of the Jets,” Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a team statement. “During his time here, I had the pleasure to get to know Adam and his wonderful family and wish them nothing but the best moving forward.  While my sincere intentions are to have stability in our organization – especially in our leadership positions – it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction. We knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam joined us in 2019. Our strong finish last year was encouraging, but unfortunately, we did not sustain that positive momentum or see the progress we all expected this season.

“To our fans, it is obvious we have not been good enough. We are committed to building a strong organization, on and off the field, and will continue to provide the necessary resources to field a team that you can be proud of.”

Hired in January 2019 after three years overseeing the Miami Dolphins, Gase was marketed as a head coach that could help the Jets’ offense turn the corner. He was reportedly even recommended by Peyton Manning, who posted the best numbers of his career during Gase’s time as the offensive coordinator in Denver.

However, the Jets never lived up to the promises of offensive prosperity, ranking dead last in the league in yardage in each of their two years under Gase’s watch. Additionally, franchise quarterback Sam Darnold never took the steps forward the Jets were hoping to see. The Jets endured several lengthy losing streaks over the past two seasons, including a streak of 13 consecutive defeats to open this season.

Gase’s tenure was also marred by rumors of in-fighting with several notable names in the organization, namely former rusher Le’Veon Bell, who was released in October. Bell was in the midst of the second season of a four-year, $54 million contract and never returned to his former All-Pro form displayed in Pittsburgh. Other prominent Jets to depart during the Gase years included Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Steve McLendon, Avery Williamson, Jason Myers, and Andre Roberts.

With this latest lost season, the Jets now own the longest active postseason drought in the NFL at 10 seasons after Cleveland, and Tampa Bay ended their respective streaks of futility this year. The Jets’ most recent two-win campaign was also their worst victory tally since the 1996 season under Kotite (1-15). Their last winning season came in 2015 when they finished 10-6 and lost their playoff spot on the last day of the season. Relative consolation comes from the fact that the Jets will choose second in the 2021 NFL Draft in April, a choice they will potentially use on their next franchise quarterback.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Knicks select Obi Toppin with 8th overall pick in 2020 NBA Draft

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

After a tumultuous 2019-20 season, the New York Knicks were looking to bolster their team with a premium pick in the 202 NBA Draft, unfortunately, the lottery did not fall their way. The Knicks landed the 8th overall selection, putting them out of reach for the top prospects in the draft, but they managed to land a premium player regardless.

New York native Obi Toppin, who dropped to the 8th pick for the Knicks, was their easy selection.

Toppin’s godfather and mentor, Victor Monaros believed that despite being a bit undersized in high school, the young power forward had an advantage.

“He learned to understand how to play at a high level against the nationally-ranked programs. It’s not like going to a typical high school. For him coming in just to get the chance to play against the best kids, compete against the best talents all over the country. That was one of the biggest adjustments for him —understanding the pace of the game at a high level. Once he embraced that, we started to see him getting unleashed and make that great strides.”

Toppin spoke with the Knicks in a pre-draft interview, in which he stated it went “very well.”

“I spoke with the Knicks,” Toppin said on an NBA Zoom, according to Empire Sports Media’s own Alder Almo. “I had an interview with them. It went very well. They have a great organization. It would be great to go home but there’s a lot of other teams that are in front of them that are great too.”

For Dayton during the 2019-20 season, Toppin averaged 20 points and 6.4 defensive rebounds per game. He shot .633 from the field and .390 from beyond the arc, while he seldom took shots from downtown.

According to ESPN, Toppin is an “explosive leaper with solid size. Big hands. Runs the floor hard. One of the most efficient transition finishers in college basketball. Lob threat out of pick-and-roll and from the dunker spot.”

This is a big move for the Knicks, who needed to add a powerful player in their front-court, and Toppin fits the bill perfectly.

New York Giants player tests positive for COVID-19

New York Giants, Quest Diagnostics training center

It was only a matter of time before new Covid cases popped up around the NFL, and the New York Giants are the latest team to be hit by the virus.

According to Mike Garafolo, the Giants found out about a positive case late last night, and a player has since been quarantined and his close contacts have also entered a quarantine process.

STATEMENT FROM THE NEW YORK GIANTS:

Late last night, we were notified that a Giants player tested positive for COVID-19. The player was immediately self-isolated, and the contact tracing process was initiated.

All of the player’s close contacts were identified and were informed to remain home today. Those individuals will participate in meetings remotely. We are working closely with the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer regarding next protocol steps.

Quest Diagnostics Training Center will remain open, and the rest of the team will follow their normal practice and meeting schedule.

There is no word on which player tested positive, and hopefully, it isn’t correlated to Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley’s night out last weekend. Testing will continue at a rapid rate and the Giants will manage this issue going into Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hopefully, no other players were infected and they can proceed normally with this player separated from the crowd.

UPDATE:

An offensive lineman tested positive and all but four have been placed in quarantine. how this affects Monday’s game is yet to be seen, but we will keep you posted.

 

New York Giants trade OLB Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals

New York Giants, Markus Golden

Well, with the New York Giants dropping to 1-6 on the season, management made the executive decision to sell at the November 3 trade deadline. They’ve already begun making moves, as the Giants traded outside linebacker Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick.

In fact, I am quite surprised at the Giants even managed to gain any value out of Golden, who signed his free-agent tender this past off-season with Big Blue. He was looking for a multi-year contract worth big money, but teams ultimately weren’t looking to sign him for his asking price. He stuck around with the Giants, and their intelligent move paid off in draft capital.

Golden had only played in 36% of defensive snaps this season, compiling 1.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, and 10 combined tackles. He was essentially put on the back burner in place of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, who are both now on injured reserve.

Golden only played in 33% of snaps against Philadelphia in week seven, which is quite surprising given the Giants don’t have a significant rotation at the moment.

Nonetheless, adding a sixth-round pick is essential, as the Giants previously only had five picks in the 2021 NFL draft. I expect they will make more moves in the coming days as we draw closer to November 3.

New York Jets trade OLB Jordan Willis to the San Francisco 49ers

New York Jets, Jordan Willis

The fire sale continues! The New York Jets have now traded promising edge rusher Jordan Willis to the San Francisco 49ers. The Jets will get back another 2022 6th Round Selection while parting ways with Wllis and a 7th this season.

Willis has only played 42 snaps this season, and was even in active the last three games. Despite that, he has displayed promise. Since being drafted to Cinncinati in 2017, Willis has displayed potential with a total of 52 tackles, 8 TFL’s and 3.0 sacks. This is a move that provides the 49era more depth at a position that has been decimated by injuries this season. As for the Jets, this is only a sign of more to come.

As I previously noted, with some veterans on cheap deals, teams that are willing to part with a mid rounder could entice Joe Douglas. Calling this a full-blown fire sale is still a stretch on my end, but a fire sale would not be an awful idea.

The team would have more draft flexibility and more cap room while also providing some younger players an opportunity to get in game reps. As for the veterans, this lets them out of the awful coaching staff’s grips and gives them a shot to rebuild their stock. With the team continuing to flounder and reportedly, ”Tanking for Trevor”, there is no end in sight to the roster upheaval coming.

BREAKING: Jets’ Steve McLendon traded to Tampa Bay

Steve McLendon has been a quality veteran piece for the New York Jets since 2016. Coming over from Pittsburgh, he had decently high expectations. Ranked by PFF as one of the most efficient nose tackles in the game, the Jets were looking to gain a reliable piece upfront.

Since then, McClendon has provided that and then some on the field, McClendon has been a formidable piece for the squad. With his last season totaling up 36 tackles, seven QB hits, 10 TFL’s, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. Not only that, but McClendon has not missed a game since 2017. McClendon is also a vocal leader and someone, the coaching staff, has been immensely complimentary of.

Per Jim Stroud, McLendon has been traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he reunites with former Jets had Coach Todd Bowles. In his last season with Bowles, McClendon had 3.5 sacks, 7TFL’s, a forced fumble, and 28 tackles. McClendon adds a veteran presents upfront to an already stout buccaneer defense.

As for the Jets, this is a sign of full-on rebuild mode. After releasing an offense of leader and playmaker and Le’Veon Bell earlier this week, they now followed it up by trading away a defensive captain in an eye-opening move. With the deadline just a few days away, you’d have to wonder if this is a signal of more to come. With the bulk of the Jets’ top players on short term deals and the team now sitting at 0-6, it would make more sense than not to begin the deconstruction now.

In terms of compensation, the Jets will send a 2023 7th Round selection along with him in order to gain a 2022 6th rounder. At 34 years old, yes, he does provide value, but he was likely not going to fetch anything more than a late rounder. Still, the Jets were able to shed cap, provide young guys opportunities to step up, and earn a role in the future, while also giving McClendon a much-deserved opportunity on a contender.

New York Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter suffers ruptured Achilles

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

New York Giants EDGE defender, Lorenzo Carter, suffered a ruptured Achilles on Sunday afternoon in Dallas, per Mike Garafolo.

This was a devastating injury for Big Blue and the Georgia alum as this projected to be the year where Carter broke out. After just 8.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and 23 QB hits in his first two years, Lorenzo Carter was slowly developing into his role as the premier edge threat for New York.

Carter had already posted one sack, two tackles for loss, eight pressures, and four QB hits in the first four games of the season. In three of these games, Carter played over 80-percent of snaps proving that he was a vital aspect of the team.

The third-year defender was really coming into his own as he had been a top 20 EDGE defender in the run with a Pro Football Focus (PFF) run-grade of 71.5. Carter also had an overall grade of 68.4 ranking him 34th in the league amongst EDGE defenders.

This season-ending injury adds to a laundry list of devastating injuries seen around the NFL this season. It has called into question the true preparedness that the players possessed coming into the season with a shortened prep period due to COVID-19.