Here Comes That Linebacker Help: Eagles Trade for MLB DeMeco Ryans

Here Comes That Linebacker Help: Eagles Trade for MLB DeMeco Ryans

The NFL's free agency market for linebackers has taken time to get rolling, but the pieces started to fly on Tuesday. One of the Eagles' top presumed targets was Stephen Tulloch, who re-upped to stay in Detroit. That signing was believed to be a catalyst for the market, and the Eagles struck quickly after, only they did not go with a free agent. 
On Tuesday night, the Eagles agreed to acquire MLB DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans, pending a physical. CSN's Reuben Frank relays that the Birds sent the Texans a fourth round pick in 2012 that was previously acquired from Tampa Bay, and the teams exchanged third round picks; the Eagles gave up the 77th pick and received the 89th. 
Roob lists Ryans' annual base salaries as $5.9 mil in 2012, $6.6 mil in 2013, and $6.8 mil in 2014 and 2015 and calls the move a big upgrade for the Eagles. Dan Graziano of ESPN adds that none of the money is guaranteed past the upcoming season. 
Roob initially passed along the trade information reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. McClain describes Ryans as a team leader and one of his all-time favorite interviews. Great news for a defense that could use not only a strong MIKE, but also some personality. 
Ryans (6'1, 250) turns 28 in July and was drafted by the Texans out of Alabama as the 33rd overall pick in the 2006 draft. He was the 2006 Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowler in 2007 and 2009, and a 2007 All-Pro. 
He was also the Texans defensive captain and a popular player with teammates and fans. 
So why did they let Ryans go for what may seem to be such a small haul? 
McClain points out that he played weakside interior linebacker in the 3-4 that the Texans defense now runs under Wade Phillips, a position that comes off the field in passing downs. When Houston went to the dime, strongside inside linebacker Brian Cushing was always on the field. 
A true MIKE, Ryans' strengths were wasted in Wade's scheme. In its first year of implementation, the new defense was successful without Ryans playing a big role, and the Texans are said to have asked him to take a pay cut, which is understandable given their cap constraints and his diminished role in the 3-4 scheme. 
Instead, they found a team with ample cap space and a desperate need for someone who fits Ryans' bill.  
Ryans also suffered a season-ending achilles injury in 2010 and was nicked up with elbow and hamstring injuries early in 2011, though he returned to play every game of the season and had a strong second half according to McClain. He'll need to pass a physical before the deal is finalized, and assuming he does, there's no guarantee he returns to pre-injury form.
It will be interesting to see what the Eagles do in the upcoming draft now that their most glaring need is presumably filled. Still plenty of room for improvement and future planning, and linebacker is still an option if the Eagles like their options when they're on the clock.

NFL to reopen investigation into Giants' Brown for domestic violence


NFL to reopen investigation into Giants' Brown for domestic violence

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The NFL is going to re-open its investigation of New York Giants placekicker Josh Brown after police released journal entries and emails in which he admitted that he verbally and physically abused his former wife.

The NFL issued a statement on Thursday saying the league's investigators made repeated verbal and written attempts to obtain any and all evidence and relevant information in the May 2015 case from the King County Sheriff's Office in Washington, but were denied.

The sheriff's office released the journals and emails late Wednesday to SportsNet New York.

The league said law enforcement's response limited its yearlong investigation of the domestic abuse incident that led to Brown's arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. No charges were filed against the 37-year-old player.

"We concluded our own investigation, more than a year after the initial incident, based on the facts and evidence available to us at the time and after making exhaustive attempts to obtain information in a timely fashion," the league said. "It is unfortunate that we did not have the benefit or knowledge of these materials at the time."

Brown, who was suspended by the NFL Brown for the opening game of the season for a violation of its personal conduct policy, practice on Thursday but he was not in the locker room afterward as the team prepared to leave for its game against the Los Angeles Rams in London on Sunday.

Tom Quinn, the Giants' special teams coach, said that Brown remains the Giants kicker. He said that any change in Brown's status would have to be made by someone above him.

That could be the league or the Giants, who have not issued a statement on the latest revelations.

"In light of the release of these documents yesterday, we will thoroughly review the additional information and determine next steps in the context of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy," the league said. "We will not be making any comments on potential discipline until that time."

Giants spokesman Corry Rush declined comment Thursday.

"I have physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally been a repulsive man," Brown wrote in one journal entry. "I have abused my wife."

The journal was part of was part of 165 pages of documents that were turned over to authorities by Brown's former wife, Molly, after his arrest. She had accused him of more than 20 instances of domestic violence.

One of the documents dated more than two years before Brown's arrest was called a "Contract for Change" and appeared to be signed by both the kicker and his former wife.

"I have controlled her by making her feel less human than me, and manipulated her with money," said one of the eight items in the list. "I have disregarded my stepsons' feelings and they have witnessed me abusing their mother."

In a 2013 email, Brown said he caused his wife to fear him.

"From the bruise on your leg when we argued ... to the zipper that caught you last April. I am ashamed and disgraced to call myself a husband," Brown said.

Brown is one of the top placekickers in the NFL. He scored a career-high 134 points last season. He has made 11 of 12 field goal attempts this season and all eight extra points.

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

With Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless hurt, the Sixers are still lacking a distributor, and so it makes sense that they've been in contact with the point guard-rich Timberwolves.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Sixers and New Orleans Pelicans have shown interest in T'wolves backup point guard Tyus Jones. 

With fifth overall pick Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota is set at PG. Jones, 20, is third on the totem pole a year after being drafted 24th overall. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves are more inclined to trade Jones than Rubio. 

Jones has a connection to the Sixers in Jahlil Okafor, a former teammate at Duke. Both were one-and-dones for the 2014-15 National Championship team. Jones averaged 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Blue Devils. 

He played sparingly as a rookie last season with Minnesota (37 games), averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 15.5 minutes, but stood out this summer, winning Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

T.J. McConnell has started the majority of the preseason at point guard for the Sixers. Sergio Rodriguez got the nod in the last game against the Pistons. Brett Brown is also looking at Nik Stauskas to fill the spot in a non-traditional role.