Friday, February 26, 2016

Leadoff with Lee 2.26.16

By Chris Lee, @TripleThreatLee

- The Brooklyn Nets waive seven time all star Joe Johnson on Thursday. Johnson has until March 1st to sign with a team to be eligible for the playoffs. According to several reports Johnson's buyout with the Nets is worth about $21.9M. He has already been linked to sign with Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Boston and Toronto. Early indication is Joe Johnson will take a couple days to sift through offers, now that he's secured buyout. Johnson will clear waivers Saturday at 5 PM. He is averaging 11.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game this season. Tax Implications for the Cavaliers for signing a player for the remainder of the season is around $980k (not including salary).

- On Thursday, MLB and the MLBPA jointly announced new rule changes for 2016 regarding slides to break up double plays.

- Runner begins his slide before reaching the base.
- Runner is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot.
- Runner is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide.
- Runner slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.
- Runner may not engage “in a roll block or intentionally initiate or attempts to initiate contact with the fielder’s upper body.

Not following the new rules will result in an automatic double play.

If the runner is deemed to have violated any of these conditions, then he and the batter will be called out for interference. Potential violations will be reviewable using instant replay, as will, for the first time, “neighborhood play” calls.

Also the pace of game program will expand this season to include timed 30-second visits to the pitcher’s mound by managers and pitching coaches.

- Browns VP Sashi Brown on Josh Gordon: 

"He understands that he's made some mistakes in the past, I think he's accountable for those and everything that we see and hear in talking to his representation and those that have been in communication with him is that he's eager to get back and contribute. And we feel like if he's accomplished those things, there's a spot for him on the roster, could certainly help".

That has been the strongest statement made by anyone with the Browns new regime concerning Josh Gordon since taking over. He's under contract for nearly $1.1 million in 2016, which is crumbs for a playmaking receiver. He'll be a restricted free agent in 2017.

- The word this week from the agent for Browns free agent Travis Benjamin was that contract talks ended. Despite that rumor, the Browns met with Benjamin's agent Ron Butler at the combine Wednesday night.

Don't expect the Browns to place the transition or franchise tag on any of their free agents, Mitchell Schwartz, Tashaun Gipson or Travis Benjamin, but at the same time Sashi Brown has made it clear when he said, "We're behind two or three weeks". Brown continued, saying "When you're on a coaching search, you're not able to spend as much time as we would have liked focusing on our rising unrestricted free agents' extensions. But they're all talented guys and can contribute".

Gipson will command about $10.6M with the franchise tag, while the amount for Schwartz is $12.7M and $7.5-$8M for Benjamin. 

- The Johnny Manziel domestic violence case against victim Colleen Crawley has been referred to the Dallas county district attorney's office for presentation to the grand jury.

If charges are brought onto Manziel he could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Legal experts say Dallas Police decision to let a grand jury examine Manziel case means it's weak. But you better believe he will need to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before he steps back on to the field.

- Colon Kaepernick and his agents request a trade from the 49ers. This new s come days after the Niners said Kaepernick would be on the roster come April 1st when his $11.9M salary becomes guaranteed. The biggest issue for the 49ers is finding a trade partner and possibly if Kaepernick can secure a new contract with that new team. In order to seek a trade and not lose his guaranteed money, Colin Kaepernick needs written permission from the 49ers. He has not been granted that as of yet. 

A possible draft day trade? Are the Browns going to be players in the mix? Browns coach Hue Jackson said he thought Kaepernick was the best quarterback in that draft, which included No. 1 pick Cam Newton. When he was coach of the Raiders in 2011, he wanted to trade up to draft Kaepernick, but it didn't work out. "Scouting him, I fell in love with the kid", said Jackson. "Leader, won a ton of games at Nevada, really impressive when you talked to him, strong, all the tools to win in the NFL. No doubt in my mind he was going to be good".

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