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Sports Corner

By: Robert Bishop

Back again, and quarterback Cam Newton, who is still toiling away on the free-agent market, is said to be willing to accept an offer to be a back-up. Considering there are no starting jobs up for grabs, Newton’s willingness isn’t a talking point for potential suitors. It is a necessity. There are plenty of teams for which Newton would be an upgrade under center. However, some of the franchise’s with apparent needs at quarterback—New England, for example—aren’t entering next season with winning games in 2020 at the top of the ‘to-do’ list. Now 31 years old and with a lengthy injury history, Newton’s career as a starting quarterback is not over in the long-term. The short-term is a different matter.

News surfaced yesterday that the Las Vegas Raiders were not among the teams interested in signing free-agent defensive edge Jadeveon Clowney. By most accounts, a team not having an interest in a player isn’t news. The only reason this is noteworthy is because Clowney would represent such a noticeable upgrade for the Las Vegas Raiders. Clowney is likely going to have to settle for a bargain-level deal thanks to a frigid free-agent market, making it even more laughable that the Raiders aren’t going to be among the teams in the bidding. Vegas has spent the off-season making moves with an aim at winning in 2020. As it stands, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans are the front-runners to land Clowney.

Dallas’s front office remains convinced a long-term deal with quarterback Dak Prescott will be reached, though there is no clear timetable on when. Prescott is looking for a long-term deal, with July 15 as the date to watch given it stands as the final day for a franchise-tagged player to sign a long-term agreement. Prescott is looking to become the highest-paid quarterback in football, a lofty sum considering his place is on the outside of the game’s truly elite. However, historic contracts are all about timing, and Prescott stands to benefit. Ignore any speculation surrounding Dallas’s move to bring in Andy Dalton as Prescott’s back-up. Dalton’s presence is insurance for a potential Prescott injury, not for Prescott leaving via free agency next off-season.

Detroit made the wise move of declining the fifth-year option of linebacker Jarrad Davis. Davis has made a career of racking up stats without having much of an impact on winning football. On the stat sheet, Davis looks like a star.  On the field, he is a back-up level player seeing way too much playing time. Last year, Detroit seemed to acknowledge Davis’s shortcomings, spending a second-round pick addressing the need to upgrade. However, it was a wasted effort as the Lions shockingly took Jahlani Tavai. Unfortunately, Tavai was a massive overdraft in the second round, and he showed next-to-nothing as a rookie. Detroit’s linebacking corps will once again be among the worst in the NFL.

Last season, Baltimore boasted an incredible, innovative rushing attack led by eventual MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens added to its most significant strength during April’s draft, netting running back J.K. Dobbins in the second-round with the No. 55 selection. Dobbins is a perfect complement behind Jackson and alongside veteran running back Mark Ingram. Jackson’s unique skill set allows Baltimore to utilize more of an old-school approach to the running back position, and Dobbins has precisely that. He’s a high-volume runner that is efficient, and Dobbins should have no issues adapting to the NFL. Running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jonathan Taylor will likely be handed full-time roles as rookies. Still, Dobbins is a safe bet to have an equally sizeable impact as a rookie for the Super Bowl-hopeful Baltimore Ravens.