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Cam Newton to the Patriots is the ultimate Bill Belichick move – theScore

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Just when it looked like the AFC East was finally up for grabs, the New England Patriots replaced Tom Brady by making an experienced, accomplished quarterback appear out of thin air. The Pats also pulled this off in the middle of the damn summer, a few weeks before training camps are scheduled to open (maybe). Even by Bill Belichick’s beguiling standards, signing Cam Newton qualifies as a pretty deft maneuver.

Newton had been available for any team to sign since March. But he’s taken a pounding in recent years and is coming off a serious foot injury that kept him sidelined for nearly all of 2019. Teams have been unable to give him a medical evaluation because of the coronavirus pandemic, and even his deal with New England is reportedly contingent on whether he can still pass a physical.

But by signing him, the Patriots did something that fits with how they’ve operated across Belichick’s two decades in charge: They found value in a veteran player other teams either didn’t want or couldn’t find the right place for. The only difference is that New England has long done this without having to worry about its quarterback. But by adding Newton, they’ve worked the same angles by gaming the salary cap and the compensatory draft-pick system to shore up the most important spot on the roster.

The rough terms of Newton’s deal drive home the point:

That “worth up to $7.5M” is the real giveaway: Newton’s deal appears to be heavy on incentives. This means it’s a low-risk addition with the potential for high reward – exactly the sort of personnel move on which the Patriots have long staked their dynasty.

If this works out … hoo boy. But the Pats have also set themselves up to possibly recoup the draft pick they’re about to lose because of last season’s Spygate sequel.

(It surely was a coincidence that news of the Spygate II punishment leaked right around the same time Sunday night that word of Newton’s signing made its way to the Schefterphone. Belichick’s other great success is his ability to foster easy cynicism.)

At the same time, if the Newton signing doesn’t work out, it won’t cost New England very much. The Patriots went into the summer with less salary-cap space than any other team – roughly $1.3 million, per Over The Cap. So they didn’t have much to offer. But because no real market developed for Newton, and because New England could offer the likelihood of a starting job and the chance to work with the greatest head coach in NFL history, the Patriots were able to present a modest contract that defers most of its impact on the salary cap into 2021.

As Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap noted, Newton’s deal is likely similar to the low-cost pact Jameis Winston signed with the New Orleans Saints: a base salary near the league’s veteran minimum ($1.05 million in Newton’s case) with incentives that can bring it up to $7.5 million if he were to start and to hit some additional statistical benchmarks. This matters because the accounting for any contract incentives gets rolled onto the cap the year after those incentives are achieved.

Kathryn Riley / Getty Images

There are benefits to this arrangement for both Newton and the Pats. Newton gets to bet on himself; if he thrives, he’ll set himself up for true starter-level money after the uncertainty of the pandemic and its potential negative impact on the league-wide salary cap has passed. The Pats get whatever Newton might have left for a least a year, with an exclusive window to try to retain him if things work out, along with the possibility of a compensatory-pick payoff if he were to walk. Once again, Belichick thought of everything here.

Dom Cosentino is a senior features writer at theScore.

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Jackson apologizes for anti-Semitic post – TSN

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has apologized after backlash for sharing anti-Semitic posts on social media over the weekend.

“My post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community,” Jackson said in a video he posted on Instagram on Tuesday. “I post things on my story all the time, and just probably never should have posted anything Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person, and I know that.”

The team issued the following statement: “We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts. Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling. They have no place in our society, and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization. We are disappointed and we reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect. We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and are committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow.”

The NFL also issued a statement, saying: “DeSean’s comments were highly inappropriate, offensive and divisive and stand in stark contrast to the NFL’s values of respect, equality and inclusion. We have been in contact with the team which is addressing the matter with DeSean.”

Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, is in his second stint in Philadelphia, returning last season to the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Former Eagles president Joe Banner criticized Jackson on Twitter. Banner wrote: “If a white player said anything about (African-Americans) as outrageous as what Desean Jackson said about Jews tonight there would at least be a serious conversation about cutting him and a need for a team meeting to discuss. Which would be totally appropriate. Absolutely indefensible.”

Banner, who also worked for Cleveland and Atlanta, later shared an anti-Palestinian tweet with the hashtag “Palestinianprivilege getting away with murder.”

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Players sitting out Orlando Tournament: Vela, Onuoha and five Whitecaps – MLSsoccer.com

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Lucas Cavallini tight shot SOLO

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS is Back Tournament kicks off on Wednesday, July 8 and the details of the club rosters are gradually being revealed. 

Below is information provided by some of the clubs regarding the personnel that traveled to Orlando:

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on July 7 that they will compete without five players who will sit out the tournament. Forwards Lucas Cavallini, Tosaint Ricketts and Fredy Montero are among the five — along with Andy Rose and Georges Mukumbilwa.

In an Instagram post, Montero said it wasn’t an easy decision, but “my family and I have had a complicated few months not only with being isolated in Canada without family or friends but also with an unforeseen health emergency.”

The Colombian forward said he was “deeply disappointed” he’ll be unable to help teammates, but looks forward to rejoining them after the tournament.

Ricketts will not be playing due to a pre-existing condition, Rose’s wife is set to give birth during the tournament and Mukumbilwa — a Canadian permanent resident — was not cleared to travel outside of Canada

Cavallini, the team’s new starting forward, released the following statement.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I would love to be out on the field with my teammates fighting with everything I have to play for this club and community in Orlando. Unfortunately COVID-19 has had a very big impact, taking away two beloved members of my family. I feel that it is best that I remain home to support my loved ones at this challenging time.”

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha on July 7 explained his decision to sit out the tournament. The defender said he didn’t feel comfortable being separated from his wife and children for a month during the global pandemic. The veteran central defender said he has the support of his teammates and the RSL coaching staff.

LAFC

On July 6, reigning league MVP Carlos Vela revealed that he would remain in Los Angeles to be with his pregnant wife and support her during a “risk pregnancy.” The following was his statement via a league release: 

“I would like nothing more than to be with my teammates in Orlando. I always want to give everything I have to my club, our fans and supporters and the city of L.A. However, it is in the best interest of the health of my family to stay home and be with my wife during what is a risky pregnancy. I will miss being with my teammates and coaches, but I will be cheering and supporting LAFC from a distance. I can’t wait to be back on the field, playing for all of you and accomplishing great things with our club. Vamos LAFC!”



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Jays handed tough schedule amid much uncertainty – TSN

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays don’t have a home yet, but they’re facing one of the toughest schedules in baseball regardless of the city they reside in.

If they end up playing games at all.

Slated to open their 60-game regular season on July 24 in Tampa against the Rays when the 2020 MLB schedule was officially revealed Monday evening, the Jays organization spent the day working through the logistical challenges that surrounded another positive COVID-19 test in Dunedin, and the subsequent grounding of a number of players who came in contact with that teammate.

While a group of Blue Jays — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are two of the stars in town — were able to get on the field at Rogers Centre on Monday for a private workout that was closed to the media, it meant a portion of the Jays’ 60-man player pool is still stuck in Dunedin.

The team would not confirm who was left behind or the latest COVID-19 case.

On Monday morning, the Jays were also still awaiting test results for team personnel from Friday, as much of baseball experienced testing snafus over the July 4 holiday weekend.

Not a good start.

A week since intake testing officially began on July 1 when players reported to camps, the number of revealed positive COVID-19 cases has been reasonable, according to data released by the league, but it has not been a calming experience for many players across baseball.

In announcing their schedule Monday evening, the Jays left a reminder of just how much is still unsettled, with opening day for the club now officially a little more than two weeks away.

“While no final decision has been made on a site for Blue Jays regular season home games, the club’s preference remains Rogers Centre,” the statement read. “The team continues to pursue this option with the health and safety of the general public and the team at the forefront and will communicate an update as information becomes available.”

You can be sure that the federal government has been watching the MLB testing process closely, and the latest positive case emerging from Dunedin as the team got set to charter north isn’t good for perception.

Despite the uncertainty of where they’ll play home games, the Jays’ schedule won’t change, no matter if they’re playing at Rogers Centre or out of the club’s spring training facility, TD Ballpark, in Dunedin.

Either way, it’s a tough one.

Subjectively, there’s the obvious road through legit World Series contenders in the AL East in the New York Yankees (10 games) and Rays (10 games), while the NL East cross-over format features the defending champion Washington Nationals (four games), the 97-win Atlanta Braves (three games), and potential contenders in the Philadelphia Phillies (six games) and New York Mets (three games).

Objectively, it’s the third-toughest strength of schedule based on 2019 winning percentage at .567, behind only the Mets (.571) and Pirates (.568).

Starting with three games against the Rays and then four against the Nats is a challenge, equalled perhaps by a stretch run that sees the Jays facing the Yankees 10 times in 19 games.

Another wrinkle this year — not that it matters for fans heading to the ballpark because that won’t be happening in 2020 — is first pitch for all Jays home games from Monday through Saturday will be 6:37 p.m. ET, rather than their usual 7:07 p.m. first pitch.

On Sundays, they’ll start at 3:07 p.m.

If they start at all.

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