The Summer of Boogie: Pelicans’ Top Offseason Priorities and Potential Targets

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The New Orleans Pelicans’ ability to rally and reshape themselves after DeMarcus Cousins’ Achilles tear helped them score their first playoff-series victory of the Pelicans era—and, more importantly, of Anthony Davis’ career.

But it also cast a fascinating cloud of uncertainty over their offseason, which started after Tuesday’s series-ending 113-104 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

If they could sweep the Portland Trail Blazers nike nfl jersey cheap  and take a semifinal tilt from the champs without Cousins, what does (or should) that mean for his impending free agency?

He’s the second-most talented player on the roster, but perhaps his absence created more favorable on-court conditions for Davis. Plus, Achilles tears present tricky recoveries for any player, let alone one carrying 270 pounds on a 6’11” frame.

This was always going to be the Summer of Boogie in the Big Easy, but the narrative has changed. What seemed like a no-brainer decision to route several Brink’s trucks his way has now given way to conversations about offering him a much cheaper and shorter contract than anticipated.

“The Pelicans have broached internally the idea of offering Cousins a two- or three-year deal at less than the max, per sources familiar with the discussions,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported. “I would not expect that to go over well with Cousins’ camp.”cheap nfl jerseys nike

The Cousins conundrum is by far the biggest obstacle New Orleans needs to clear this summer. But there are also other free agents to re-sign or replace, a late-draft dart to throw in June and tricky roster-building puzzles to solve so this 48-win season becomes a springboard to something greater and not the peak of the Pelicans’ powers.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

New Orleans already has at least $92.8 million on next season’s books. Considering the NBA projects a $101 million salary cap and $123 million luxury tax, the Pelicans have virtually no wiggle room even before they start spending.nfl jerseys nike cheap

That’s an issue considering all the spending New Orleans must do over the coming months.

Cousins isn’t signed. Neither is Rajon Rondo, their starting point guard and fourth-most utilized player in the postseason. Same goes for Ian Clark, cheap nike nfl jerseys china who paced Pelicans reserves in playoff minutes, and Jordan Crawford. Darius Miller, who led the club with 147 triples, has a non-guaranteed salary. Cheick Diallo, Emeka Okafor and DeAndre Liggins have partial or non-guarantees.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald Were Both Passed on by More Than 10 Teams

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Lesson to be learned: Don’t become preoccupied with your “needs” or your scheme

The Bills’ mistake in 2014 was magnified by the fact they could have stood pat with the No. 9 overall pick and still landed Odell Beckham Jr. or Aaron Donald, both of whom have become megastars. But while Buffalo misevaluated and overrated Watkins, several other teams with top-10 picks appear to have made the mistake of passing on Beckham and/or Donald (who were chosen 12th and 13th overall, respectively) because they weren’t great fits.

Just look at the Lions, who had Beckham and Donald available to them in the No. 10 spot but instead took tight end Eric Ebron. Wanna bet Detroit would have gone in a different direction if Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh weren’t already on the roster? Who needs Beckham when you’ve got  cheap nfl jerseys nike  Megatron? Who needs Donald when you’ve got Suh?

But Suh lasted just one more season in Detroit, while Johnson retired abruptly just a year after that. Meanwhile, Ebron was cut this offseason after a disappointing four-year run there. The Lions could really use a Donald or a Beckham right about now.

The Falcons sure could have used a player like Donald or Beckham the last few years, but at the time, they had just signed defensive linemen Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson to work with veterans Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Kroy Biermann up front, and Julio Jones and Roddy White remained the top two receivers. Plus, Atlanta’s offensive line was a mess in need of a stalwart offensive tackle. Ergo, they drafted raw, short-armed tackle Jake Matthews sixth overall, passing on Donald, Beckham and another elite receiver in Mike Evans.

Might the Browns have considered Beckham in the No. 9 spot? Not with the flashy young Josh Gordon coming off a season in which he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards in just 14 games! Instead, Cleveland took cornerback Justin Gilbert, who is no longer in the league. nike nfl jerseys for cheap

(You wonder if the Carolina Panthers or Cincinnati Bengals will soon feel the same way about passing on 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore (who went 11th to the New Orleans Saints) in order to address more dire needs with slow-starters Christian McCaffrey (eighth) and John Ross (ninth), respectively.)

Of course, it’s also possible the Falcons and Browns passed on Donald because Cleveland ran a 3-4 defense and Atlanta was in the process of transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4. The 6’1″ Donald was arguably better-suited for a 4-3 defense, and he had been almost exclusively linked to teams with 4-3 defenses ahead of the draft. nfl jerseys nike cheap

If the guy is good enough, you adapt your scheme to him. And if he’s truly exceptional, he’ll dominate regardless of scheme. cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The Rams drafted Donald and he excelled immediately as a 4-3 defensive tackle. But when Los Angeles made the switch to a 3-4 in 2017, the four-time Pro Bowler had his best season yet while earning his first Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Houston Astros Need to Upgrade at the Catcher Position

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The Logic

The Houston Astros reportedly showed interest in Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto during the offseason, with Craig Mish of SiriusXM  nfl authentic jerseys reporting that the team had engaged in trade talks centered around top prospect Kyle Tucker.

No deal came to fruition, but it’s easy to see the logic.

Brian McCann posted a 109 OPS+ with 18 home runs and 62 RBI during the 2017 season, but he’s 34 years old and in the final guaranteed year of his contract.

Meanwhile, slugger Evan Gattis is better served as a regular DH, and backup Max Stassi had shown little in 44 games of MLB action over the past five seasons.

The Reality nfl wholesale jerseys

Catcher is still a long-term need for the Astros.

It doesn’t look like an issue at all here in 2018, though. The tandem of McCann and Stassi has performed well splitting starting duties:

McCann: 41 PA, .333/.463/.424
Stassi: 30 PA, .269/.367/.462

Further, flipping Tucker could have been a mistake the team would wind up seriously regretting. nfl jerseys from china The 21-year-old looks like a star in the making and one who could make a major impact soon.

Swinging a deal for Realmuto seemed like a good move on the surface when that rumor first broke, but a few months later, it looks like the front office made the right decision going with the official nfl jerseys cheap  status quo behind the dish.

Andrew Cashner Is Not the Answer to the Baltimore Orioles’ Pitching Woes

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The Logic

The Baltimore Orioles had the worst rotation in baseball last season with an unsightly nfl wholesale jerseys  5.70 ERA from the starting staff.

After kicking the tires on a number of mid-level options, the front office settled on signing Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million deal that includes a $10 million team option for 2020 as the first major move to address that issue.

While his 3.40 ERA in 2017 looked strong on the surface, it came with a 4.61 FIP and a 4.6 K/9 rate that ranked 57th among 58 qualified starters.

The regression candidate was simply not the answer for a team that needed a massive rotation overhaul.nfl jerseys from china

The Reality

The Orioles starting rotation is still far from a strength, and late-offseason signing Alex Cobb was shelled in his first start of the season official nfl jerseys cheap.

Cashner is off to a great start, though.

After giving up four earned runs in five innings in his Orioles debut, he’s turned in three straight quality starts.

@ NYY: W, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
vs. TOR: ND, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
@ DET: L, 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

The Cashner signing looked like a Band-Aid on a bullet hole at the time, but so far, he’s been one of the better offseason additions nfl authentic jerseys  leaguewide on the starting pitching side of things.

Portland Trail Blazers: Offensive Firepower

The Portland Trail Blazers match up just fine with pretty much all of their possible first-round foes. But later-series tilts with the Warriors and/or Rockets (probably) loom if they plan to advance.

Do they have enough raw firepower to combat the juggernauts ahead of them?nfl jerseys

This feels like a stupid question for a team touting Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, two of the NBA’s premier tough-shot makers. But Portland’s offensive distribution raises some red flags when looking at best-of-seven sets with Golden State or nfl jersey Houston.46b8f8e31b28ffd3070dc4cdee85241a_crop_exact

The Blazers are 17th in three-point-attempt rate. That won’t fly against a Rockets contingent launching more than 42 triples per 100 possessions—not even with the Blazers canning a respectable 37.6 percent of their outside looks. They’ve vaulted themselves into the top eight of downtown frequency since the All-Star break without sacrificing much efficiency, but a demonstrative chasm remains between them and Houston.

Modest three-point volume doesn’t hurt the Blazers as much against the Warriors. They’re 16th in frequency on the year and 19th since the All-Star break. cheap nfl jerseys china

Good luck trying to make that quantitative deficit mean something. The Warriors override it with unrivaled accuracy and transition blitzes. No team shoots a better clip from behind the rainbow, and only the Los Angeles Lakers dedicate more of their offense to fast breaks.

Portland’s machine is closer to the extra-methodical side authentic nfl jerseys . Half-court sets are the emphasis. The offense is dead last in transition frequency and 29th in points scored per fast-break possession.

Both the Warriors and Rockets would invariably force the Blazers to deviate from their wheelhouse. They’re built to play an array of styles, but they’re also experts at dictating terms. So even if the Blazers effectively combat their offensive genre, it could come at the expense of their defense—wholesale nfl jerseys just like it has through six meetings with Houston and Golden State during the regular season.

Cincinnati Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap

The Cincinnati Bengals got a big rookie season out of 2017 fourth-round defensive end Carl Lawson, and there’s still a good chance third-round pass-rusher Jordan Willis takes a big step forward in his sophomore campaign. Those two should play large roles in 2018, along with veterans Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson.

But that depth could also inspire Cincinnati to deal Dunlap prior to the final season cheap nfl jerseys china  of his five-year, $39.4 million deal. 2ac1ecb6572db5357969460052a8b9cd_crop_exact

It’s not as though the 29-year-old isn’t worth his $7 million salary after a 7.5-sack season, but a trade would save the thrifty Bengals some cash while allowing them to get something for a player who might leave next offseason.

If I were running a team in need of some pass-rushing experience, I’d be dialing up the Bengals and asking about Dunlap, or even Johnson.

The Los Angeles Chargers gave veteran cornerback Casey Hayward a authentic nfl jerseys three-year contract extension this weekend, and the Bolts got strong performances from young corners Desmond King and Trevor Williams in 2017.

General manager Tom Telesco could consider trading talented 2014 first-round pick Jason Verrett before his $8.52 million team option for 2018 becomes guaranteed.

Knee injuries have caused the 26-year-old to miss all but five games the last two years. wholesale nfl jerseys The Chargers probably won’t want to sell low, but any offer for that type of injury-prone player might work for a Bolts team with extreme deep at that position.

So if you’re a team with money and room to take a flier on a superb talent hoping to prove himself, you might want to consider making an offer to nfl jerseys wholesale Telesco.