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Sports Corner

By: Robert Bishop

Back again, and on Wednesday, rumors surfaced surrounding a trade that would send receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Minnesota Vikings. By Thursday, the Browns front office emphatically shot down the speculation. It’s tough to believe the deal was ever genuine, at least in the rumored terms, given the Browns are only a year removed from surrendering a massive haul to land Beckham. His first season with the Browns was not pretty, but a nagging core injury and awful offensive line play deserve plenty of blame. Cleveland has made moves to improve in the trenches, and Beckham is looking to be fully recovered following surgery.

Defensive lineman Chris Jones was slapped with the franchise tag earlier in the off-season, and the Chiefs remain committed to signing him to a long-term extension. The deadline for an extension is in mid July, giving the team and Jones plenty of time to work through negotiations. Only 25 years old despite four seasons in the NFL, Jones is a force along the defensive line and easily Kansas City’s best defender. A long-term deal is incredibly likely, with Jones looking to rake in $18-$22 million per season.

49ers running back Matt Breida was expected to be released this spring, but San Francisco re-signed him to a one-year deal. Though he was an afterthought within San Francisco’s deep backfield during the second half of the regular season and the playoffs, Breida is a valuable contributor. Working in a part-time role across 2018 and 2019, Breida racked up over 1,400 yards while averaging more than 5.0 yards-per-carry. He remains below Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon, and Tevin Coleman on the depth chart, but Breida will serve as either a valuable reserve in case of injury or as a nice trade chip.  

David Johnson hasn’t been a star-level playmaker since 2016 (1239 rushing yards, 879 receiving yards, 20 TDs), but the Houston Texans are banking on a return to form for the running back. As the centerpiece Houston received in the swap that sent DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona, Johnson will be under plenty of pressure to justify the swap. Given Johnson struggled to earn playing time in 2019 with the Cardinals, it is tough to foresee him rediscovering stardom as a 28-year old running back working behind Houston’s poor offensive line.

As the draft inches closer, chatter continues to increase in volume linking the Miami Dolphins to Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Long expected to make a trade up from pick 5 to land Tu Tagovailoa, Miami seems to at least be flirting with the idea of Herbert over the Alabama product. Herbert has a great arm, with the ability to throw deep and with tremendous velocity. However, he struggled in big games during his college career. In the NFL, avoiding costly mistakes is paramount. Herbert’s tendency to panic when facing less than ideal conditions isn’t a good fit with a rebuilding Miami team. Best-case scenario for Herbert’s long-term prospects has him going somewhere that will provide him the opportunity to ‘redshirt’ for a year or two as he learns the pro game.

Receiver Denzel Mims of Baylor is part of a large second tier of receivers likely to go late in the first round or early in the second. Mims has been linked to the Raiders and Broncos in recent days, though the Eagles and Jets are just as likely to have serious interest. Mims represents a perfect fit for the Eagles, as his insane athleticism is much-needed in Philadelphia, and unlike the other potential landing spots, the Eagles have a quarterback capable of utilizing his strengths. It was recently revealed that Mims played an entire season with a broken hand, a revelation that alleviated concerns about his tendency to disappear for stretches. The Eagles will be on the board at selection 21, and Mims may be off it by selection 22.