NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – The Indian cricket board (BCCI) will seek government permission to stage this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates, league chief Brijesh Patel told Reuters yesterday. Monday’s postponement of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, which had been scheduled to take place in Australia from Oct. 18, has presented the BCCI with a new opportunity to stage the IPL, even if it has to be in another country due to the COVID-19 crisis in India.Cricket boards in UAE and Sri Lanka have offered to host the league considering the situation in India where the number of coronavirus cases had surged to 1.16 million on Tuesday morning, including 28,084 deaths.“We are yet to finalise when it will begin, maybe sometime in September,” IPL governing council chairman Patel told Reuters by telephone. “They (Emirates Cricket Board) made an offer to host it but we require government permission to stage it in UAE.“We’ll discuss the issue in the next governing council meeting in 7-10 days.”The BCCI has been looking for a new window in which to stage the lucrative league, which was postponed days before it was to begin in late March, and avoid a potential $536 million loss in revenue. Earlier this month, BCCI treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal told Reuters they would consider hosting the IPL abroad as a last resort to salvage the tournament. The 2009 edition of the franchise-based league, which coincided with India’s elections, was held in South Africa, and the UAE hosted the early matches of the tournament five years later for the same reason.“We have played there before and they are familiar in organising international matches. They are well-equipped,” Patel said.“From a pandemic position, too, the situation is significantly better there.”
Related Articles Gaming operator 32Red has posted a record revenue performance for 2015 with a 52% increase in net gaming revenues for the year – however its figures have been blunted by a £4.8m point of consumption tax bill.The firm saw 35% increase in its core 32Red revenues to £41.7m, a 54% jump in its Italian business to £1.7m and a half year contribution of £5.2m from the acquired Roxy Palace operation. Despite this great revenue growth, EBITDA profits for the year dropped slightly from £5.4m to £5.2m. Operating profits before exceptional items more than halved though, from £3.5m in 2014 to £1.6m last year. Profit after tax dipped below £1m to £964,000 – a 70% fall from 2014.For from bemoaning the introduction of the tax though, 32Red CEO Ed Ware saw it as an opportunity. He explained: “Smaller operators have withdrawn from the UK market and with some larger operators choosing to reduce their marketing expenditure, 32Red identified an opportunity to leverage its strong, established brand and grow its UK market share by accelerating marketing investment.“This strategy resulted in a 35% organic growth in revenues, with growth accelerating during the year and H2 net gaming revenues for the core business up 34% on H1. Furthermore, I am pleased to report that this momentum has so far carried forward into 2016.”The firm said that overall its sports betting revenues continue to grow but that focus remains centred on cross-selling the casino products to new sportsbook players.Ware added: “2015 was a very exciting and indeed record-breaking year for 32Red, achieved despite significant external regulatory and tax headwinds. These results are an excellent demonstration of 32Red’s core strengths – a talented and dedicated team, first class ROI-driven marketing skills and established, highly appealing online gaming brands.“The acquisition of the Roxy Palace business in July complements the strong organic growth delivered in the core business as we exploited targeted marketing opportunities and attracted new customers to the 32Red brand. Marketing expenditure will be increased again in 2016 we are well positioned for another year of progress, building on the excellent achievements in 2015.”Trading during 2016 to date has been very strong across the Group’s portfolio with like-for-like net gaming revenues for the first nine weeks of the year up 35% on the same period in 2015 and up 66% including the contribution from Roxy Palace.The firm added: “The Board remains committed to delivering strong growth, both organically and via acquisitions and, as the landscape continues to evolve, we remain encouraged by regulatory developments in new European markets. 32Red remains very well positioned to capture growth opportunities in the online gaming market and build on the excellent progress made in 2015.” Share Submit Italian bookmakers face cruel summer as ADM sanctions shop closures July 27, 2020 CT Gaming bolsters Italian profile with The Betting Coach August 27, 2020 StumbleUpon TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 Share
Operator CEOs head speaker line-up for Latin America’s largest virtual betting and gaming conference May 28, 2020 StumbleUpon Submit Related Articles New Bitcoin sportsbook Sportsbet.io has said it has enjoyed a bumper Olympic Games, with 40 per cent of bets taken during the 16-day event coming on Olympic markets.Not surprisingly tennis and football proved the most popular sports, with nearly a quarter of all Olympic bets struck in August coming on the tennis tournament in Rio, with Andy Murray’s gold medal-winning game against Argentinian Martin Del Potro seeing the most activity.Football also commanded a big slice of the action with one in five bets placed on the sport, but perhaps most surprising was the popularity of handball, which saw similar results.Serbia’s basketball match against America was the most popular individual event of the whole tournament, with Usain Bolt also proving popular with punters looking for a quick thrill.In-play betting was also at a premium, with 60 per cent of bets struck coming during events.Sportsbet.io spokesperson Joe Jordan, said: “Rio 2016 has demonstrated just how popular betting on the Olympic Games has become. Not just on tennis and football, but also handball and track events. Tennis and football will always prove popular, however it’s the popularity of the so-called lesser sports that is impressive. Nobody would have expected handball to achieve similar volumes as football.”While the Olympic numbers were boosted by tennis and football, the enhanced profile given to some sports show that there is interest in any competitive game as a betting event if it is televised and promoted enough, and perhaps if there is local involvement.Despite these figures, the industry isn’t convinced that the Olympics, and it’s four year cycle, will ever make a huge boost to the bottom line like other major international tournaments. In a poll on industry content portal TotallyGaming.com, two thirds of respondents said that the Olympics is ‘just not engaging enough for a sports betting customer’. Sportsbet.io ‘bowled over’ with Brett Lee partnership July 7, 2020 Share Sportsbet.io becomes main club partner of Southampton FC August 25, 2020 Share
It’s no secret that the Orioles want to keep Nick Markakis.The organization’s first-round pick in 2003 and the regular right fielder since 2006, Markakis is the longest-tenured Oriole and offers some value that can’t be easily measured as a longtime leader in the clubhouse. But even as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette engages in contract talks to keep the soon-to-be 31-year-old in Baltimore for the 2015 season and beyond, everyone has a price and determining Markakis’ overall value is a tricky proposition.It was apparent a couple years ago that the Orioles weren’t going to exercise Markakis’ $17.5 million mutual option for 2015. Even as a favorite of manager Buck Showalter and his teammates, the right fielder’s numbers have declined in recent years as 2013 was his worst season and he still only produced a .729 on-base plus slugging percentage this year. He’s hit below .280 in each of his last two seasons and his slugging percentage has fallen below the .400 mark in back-to-back years as he doesn’t provide the same gap power he did as a hitter who once averaged 45 doubles or so.A simple look at his numbers over the last four years — save a productive 2012 that was limited to 102 games due to injuries — suggests the Orioles should attempt to find an upgrade in right field, but it isn’t quite that simple with a player like Markakis. This winter’s crop of free-agent outfielders offers few options as good as Markakis, let alone better.That reality not only means it would be challenging to find a player of his caliber, but demand could be substantial in the open market, further driving up his price. The Orioles could make the $15.3 million qualifying offer that would drive down demand from other teams who would then forfeit a draft pick to sign him, but Markakis could simply accept the qualifying offer — in addition to his $2 million buyout — and essentially be back where he was with the original mutual option.Internal options to replace Markakis in right field include Steve Pearce and a variety of fourth-outfielder types such as David Lough, Alejandro De Aza, and 25-year-old outfield prospect Dariel Alvarez unless you’re going all in to re-sign slugger Nelson Cruz to a long-term contract.So, how much is Markakis really worth?The general consensus is that a win costs approximately $6 million on the open market and Markakis has averaged just over two wins above replacement (WAR) per season over the last five years if you eliminate a very productive 2012 cut short by injuries and a horrendous 2013, the two clear outliers in that period of time. If we’re to assume Markakis continues to be a 2.0 WAR player over the next few years — optimistic, but not unreasonable for a player in his early 30s — that would put him in the neighborhood of earning $12 million per year in a vacuum.Of course, that’s a statistically-driven monetary value that doesn’t consider the intangibles that Markakis brings that can’t be easily quantified or the supply and demand of the open market in any given offseason.What does each side expect from the other? Do the Orioles want Markakis to take a hometown discount after signing shortstop J.J. Hardy — who’s been a 3.65 WAR player per year since 2011 and is only slightly older — to a reasonable three-year, $40 million contract with a vesting option? Does Markakis expect the Orioles to split the difference between what the numbers suggest he’s worth per year and the $17.5 million option for 2015 that they declined? Does he expect to be paid as much as or more than Hardy even though the latter has been more valuable over the last four seasons?Even though he’s one of the few Orioles to make Baltimore his year-round home in recent years, Markakis has never had the opportunity to test the free-agent market and perhaps he’s curious to see what other teams might offer.If you’re the Orioles, a three-year contract worth somewhere between $34 million and $38 million would be acceptable if you can’t reap the benefits of a hometown discount. Perhaps a vesting fourth-year option similar to the one Hardy received — which is reportedly based on plate appearances — would be an attractive addition, but there has been too much decline in Markakis’ production in recent years to go much higher than that in terms of years or money unless you’re perfectly fine with overpaying.Entering the 2015 season at age 31, Markakis should have plenty of solid baseball ahead of him, but the last five years suggest the best you’re reasonably going to get from him is worth roughly $12 million per year on the open market and that’s assuming he doesn’t decline further. Of course, his value isn’t based solely on the numbers, but you have to be careful not to overpay for intangibles and sentimentality.Replacing Markakis wouldn’t be easy in terms of finding a leadoff hitter and replacing his leadership in the clubhouse, but the Orioles shouldn’t overpay for those qualities, either, with other players and other needs to address this offseason and in the coming years.
There were too many “big” mistakes, plain and simple.Add to that a power play that goes 0 for 4, including a poorly executed one with 2:54 left, and it all adds up to a 3-1 series lead lost, and a game seven on Wednesday night between the Capitals and the Rangers.What an opportunity lost on Sunday night. Home ice was there for the Caps to hold serve and they squandered it with a terrible start and end to period one.Then, after a dominant second period where the Capitals would outshoot the Rangers, 18-4, they gave up an early third period goal to make it 3-1. Just over three minutes later it was 4-1 when Curtis Glencross lost Dan Boyle in the defensive zone and #22 shot one by a screened Braden Holtby (24 saves).In the past, most Capitals teams would’ve gone in the tank and packed it in for game seven.Not this Caps team coached by Barry Trotz, though. Washington put on a furious rally and closed to within a goal with 9:27 remaining only to see New York find a way to hang on.The Caps dominated most of the final forty minutes after a first period that saw New York carry the shot attempt totals by 32-26. The Rangers, like they’ve done all series in the opening 20 minutes, had the better of the quality chances.Chris Kreider scored both goals after Capitals mistakes. On the first goal Washington had a couple of early good chances but the puck came out of the offensive zone and Kreider got position on Matt Niskanen. The big forward scored on a backhand on his team’s first shot. Niskanen needed to haul the Ranger down there, plain and simple.Then to end the period, the unthinkable happened. After a questionable roughing call on Troy Brower, the Caps lost the defensive zone face off with 3.6 seconds remaining and Kreider scored with 0.3 of a second on the clock after the puck bounced off of John Carlson’s skate right to #20. That’s unacceptable to allow a goal there.But the Capitals battled back and outplayed the Rangers in period two, but only scored on Jason Chimera’s rebound tally just 28 seconds into the middle frame.Evgeny Kuznetsov (2 points) and Joel Ward (3 points) would score during the third period rally that fell short. For the 4th consecutive game in this series, both Alex Ovechkin (12 shot attempts) and Nicklas Backstrom (4 shot attempts) were held pointless.Rick Nash scored his 1st goal of the series 54 seconds into period three. The Capitals made several defensive zone mistakes on that goal, with Niskanen’s giveaway the biggest. However, afterwards Trotz felt that the linesmen missed an obvious icing call on New York. The Rangers player shot the puck in the zone six feet behind the red line but somehow icing was washed out?The Caps, however, did not lose this one due to the referees, in fact, blaming them would be ridiculous. Washington had four power plays and only generated five shots on net. That’s terrible! It might be time to make some personnel changes as the Rangers did a super job of not allowing the Capitals to get in the zone and set up. With so few power plays available in the playoffs, it makes sense to load up your top unit with your best offensive players in order to score. Towards that end, I’d drop John Carlson and Marcus Johansson off of that unit and insert Mike Green and Evgeny Kuznetsov.So now we have a game seven on Wednesday night. The Capitals certainly did a lot of good things on Sunday night. They outshot attempted the Rangers, 96-55, including 70-23 over the last 40 minutes. Part of that was the score effects, but the biggest difference was the Caps played with a sense of purpose and pressured the Rangers defense with more physical play and hard work.That pressure the Rangers in their own end recipe is one that Coach Trotz needs to employ more on Wednesday. Sure it opens you up to some odd man rushes, but if the Caps play the system correctly, the third forward should be in position to prevent those.Washington certainly played some of their best hockey of the series and ended up losing. You can put that on defensive lapses and a poor power play.As Trotz stated afterwards, the pressure is equally on both teams. The Rangers have the best record in the NHL and are very speedy and talented so they’re expected to win. Washington has an immensely talented squad too and had a 3-1 series lead.At this point, the two days off actually help the Capitals in this one because they spent a lot of energy trying to come back. Washington would love to have home ice, but that’s gone now. The Garden will be rocking and most people will be picking the Rangers to win.But it is one game, winner take all, and the Caps have the luxury of not worrying about tickets and distractions, like the Rangers players will endure.Washington just has to show up and play a hockey game on Wednesday.If they can play with the ferocity they did in periods two and three and not make so many costly mistakes, they could win the game.They’ll also need their stars, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Holtby to deliver top performances.
Our resident NFL reporter Luke Jones joined Nestor and looked ahead to the NFL playoffs. Who in the AFC could challenge Denver and New England at the top of the conference? Who does Luke think has the best roster in the NFC, and what head coach is his NFL X factor? Give it a listen!Audio Playerhttp://c631904.r4.cf2.rackcdn.com/Luke%20NFL%20Playoffs%20010415.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
Continuing their search for fresh and effective arms in an injury-depleted bullpen, the Orioles designated veteran Edwin Jackson for assignment and optioned Stefan Crichton to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday morning.Baltimore recalled right-hander Logan Verrett and selected the contract of 25-year-old Jimmy Yacabonis from the Tides to fill those open spots on the 25-man roster before the finale of a three-game set with the New York Yankees.Jackson, 33, had just been promoted from Norfolk on Wednesday, but he had struggled mightily in his three appearances, surrendering seven runs (four earned), 11 hits, two home runs, and four walks in five innings. Manager Buck Showalter expressed hope that Jackson would remain with the organization, but the right-hander was of little help to a bullpen currently without two-time All-Star closer Zach Britton and 2015 All-Star setup man Darren O’Day.Crichton gave up six earned runs in a combined 3 1/3 innings on Friday and Saturday and now holds an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings with Baltimore this season.Many have clamored for Yacabonis to receive an opportunity with the right-hander posting a 0.90 ERA in 30 innings with the Tides this season. However, the right-hander has struck out just 18 batters while walking 16, making one wonder how his stuff will translate to the major league level.Despite a 5.87 ERA for the Tides this season, Verrett has fared well in his previous stints with the Orioles, pitching to a 3.38 ERA in eight innings and twice recording victories in extra-inning performances.Coming off Saturday’s disastrous 16-3 loss to the Yankees, the Orioles rank 13th in the American League with a 4.61 team ERA.In more encouraging bullpen-related news, manager Buck Showalter revealed that Britton will complete one more bullpen session and throw live batting practice this week. If those sessions go well, the lefty is scheduled to begin his minor-league rehab assignment at short-season Single-A Aberdeen on June 19.Britton has spent all but a few days on the disabled list with a left forearm strain since mid-April.
“People are going to believe what they want to believe. It’s what I believe is best going forward for our offense and for our football team. That’s not to say anybody can’t do the job or didn’t do the job. Cam was doing a heck of a job here – doing a heck of a job here for a long time. Nobody knows that better than me, and nobody has stated that more times. I believe that. I also believe that right now at this time, the timing says this is the best thing, and this is what we’re going to do.”– John Harbaugh (December 10, 2012) THE SHORT RIDE HOME FROM Fed Ex Field after an excruciating loss was particularly disturbing for John Harbaugh. On the bus he started thinking about where the Baltimore Ravens would be in the coming weeks if things remained the same and this team continued to perform inconsistently. He’d been thinking about the end of this season since the end of last season. Harbaugh was a big picture guy with all of his assistant coaches. It’s the NFL – Not For Long. Change is inevitable.But when exactly is the right time to make a glacial movement in philosophy? When, exactly, do you decide to decide to make a change in personnel? And how do you know if it’s the right decision?“I was on the bus back from the Redskins game, and I just did it,” Harbaugh said. “I just decided this is what we needed to do.”Twelve hours later, head coach John Harbaugh brought his longtime friend, former boss and current offensive coordinator Cam Cameron into his office in Owings Mills and fired him. Later in the afternoon, Harbaugh did his usual Monday press conference.“We’ve replaced Cam [Cameron] with Jim Caldwell,” he began. “It’s been something that we went through last night and this morning and had a conversation with Cam real early this morning and then with Jim. And I just want to say that Cam Cameron has done an excellent job here over the last, almost, five years as our offensive coordinator. The record proves that. When you take a look at what’s been accomplished on offense for the last four years – the games that have been won, the points that have been scored, and really, by every measurement – Cam is a very good football coach. He is a loyal, hard-working guy. He’s a great friend. Obviously, it’s a difficult thing, personally, to do something and make a move like that with any coach, especially guys that you’ve been battling with for all these years, and Cam has been right in there battling. He has been a member of this team, and I’m proud of what he has accomplished here. At this time, the move is made to give us a chance to be the best that we can be. And that’s not saying anybody can’t do it, but it’s just an opportunity to try to get this thing going and become the best offense and the best team we can be, and we feel like it’s what is best for the team at this time. And, that’s why we made the move. There’s no more to it than that. We’ll go forward with that. So, Jim will take over. That started this morning. He’s working on the game plan with the rest of the staff. The rest of the staff is on board, and we’ll go to work like we always do and see how it plays out.”In trying to piece together the story of how it had gotten to this point, this desperate place where Harbaugh felt he had no other option but to fire Cameron on the bus ride home from Fed Ex Field in Week 14 of the season, you have to go back to the biggest of big picture philosophies in Owings Mills.“What gives us the best chance to win the Super Bowl?”Much like when Bisciotti fired Billick nearly five years earlier, or when Billick fired his pal and offensive coordinator Jim Fassel during a bye week in 2006, this was as much about the team as it was any one or two issues, disagreements, or personal relationships.The truth? It was hard to find anyone in the building who truly trusted, fully understood or had an ideal two-way communication
Instead of going through the exercise of making league-wide predictions, the following focus on the Ravens and their goal to win back-to-back AFC North division titles for just the second time in team history:1. Lamar Jackson won’t break Michael Vick’s season rushing record for a quarterback, but his 3,000 passing yards and 60-percent completion percentage will be positive steps in his development.Make no mistake, the 22-year-old will continue to run more than any quarterback in the NFL, but general manager Eric DeCosta didn’t invest meaningful resources at running back and the Ravens didn’t practice their passing game so exhaustively this summer for Jackson to again average 17 carries per game like he did as a starter last season. There won’t be a rigid cap on how much he runs, but this offense will use more play action and run-pass options to create higher-percentage, short-to-intermediate throws with occasional deep shots. He’ll still have accuracy lapses, but his mechanics were steadier and he threw the ball more consistently all summer. The biggest question is how much he’s improved his ball security, an area more difficult to gauge in controlled practice environments without the threat of contact.2. The defense will register 37 sacks and see its pressure rate fall to the bottom half of the league.Baltimore was tied for 11th with 43 sacks last year, but its pressure rate (33.4 percent) ranked eighth in the league, according to Football Outsiders. Wink Martindale isn’t panicking with one of the best secondaries in the NFL backing up his well-designed blitzes, but there’s so much uncertainty beyond Matthew Judon. Pernell McPhee should provide some help if his snaps are managed properly, but Willie Henry and Shane Ray, two players thought to be potential answers, were jettisoned at the end of the summer. Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs weren’t elite last year, but expecting the trio of Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, and rookie Jaylon Ferguson to just step in without drop-off and growing pains is asking a lot. The good news is Football Outsiders ranked the Ravens first in their DVOA defensive metric when failing to pressure, again illustrating the secondary’s value. They’ll lean on that more heavily this year.3. Mark Ingram will give Baltimore its first 1,000-yard rusher since Justin Forsett.Frank Gore averaged 268 carries per season in Greg Roman’s four-year run in San Francisco and LeSean McCoy was on a similar workload pace in an injury-abbreviated 2015 season in Buffalo, dispelling the myth that the new Ravens offensive coordinator prefers a timeshare at the running back position. That’s not to say 2018 leading rusher Gus Edwards and rookie fourth-round pick Justice Hill won’t have roles, but the Ravens gave Ingram $6.5 million guaranteed for a reason after they had already averaged 5.1 yards per carry over the final seven regular-season games last year. Ingram’s career-high 230 carries two years ago seems like a reasonable mark for him to approach or even surpass.4. Mark Andrews and Patrick Onwuasor will take a step forward.It’s easy envisioning Andrews as Baltimore’s leading receiver with Jackson’s passing strength being over the middle and the wide receivers being so inexperienced. Volume remains a question, but seeing the 2018 third-round pick produce 2002-03 Todd Heap-like numbers wouldn’t be shocking. We’ve spent so much time discussing the pass rush this summer that we forget Onwuasor will be replacing four-time Pro Bowl selection C.J. Mostly and only played 41.9 percent of defensive snaps last year. The Ravens wanted Mosley back before offers from the New York Jets became too lucrative, but Onwuasor will be steady enough to ease concerns about the position, even if inside linebacker won’t be viewed as a strength.5. Gus Edwards and Jimmy Smith will take a step back.Edwards won’t go by the wayside like recent season leading rushers like Alex Collins, Terrance West, and Forsett, but he’ll have a reduced role and could even lose backup touches to the speedy Hill as the year progresses. The 2018 rookie free agent averaged an impressive 5.2 yards per carry last season, but his best bet might be short-yardage situations and a bigger fourth-quarter share of carries when the Ravens lead. Entering the final year of his contract, Smith is now 31 and has plenty of wear on the tires after a number of injuries over the years. The veteran cornerback had an uneven training camp, but he has much incentive to prove his value, whether in Baltimore or elsewhere on the free-agent market.6. Ben Powers will be starting at left guard by the bye week.The late-summer signs pointed to Bradley Bozeman beginning the season as the starting left guard, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday and this position remains a week-to-week evaluation anyway. Ideally, Powers, a fourth-round rookie from Oklahoma, would be ready to take over in the way Orlando Brown Jr. did at right tackle last October, but he struggled with first-team reps early this summer.7. A rough November will cost the Ravens their chance at winning the AFC North.The month of October has frequently been the bane of John Harbaugh’s existence in the past, but the November pain won’t be because of New England’s Sunday night trip to Baltimore. The Ravens will take full advantage of their Week 8 bye to knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots, but three straight losses will follow as they play at Cincinnati and host Houston with both teams coming off their byes, a tricky scheduling quirk not to be overlooked. The month concludes with a long trip to Los Angeles to play the Rams on a Monday night, another defeat that will have the Ravens’ playoff hopes looking bleak.8. Miles Boykin will tie the franchise rookie record for touchdown receptions with seven.First-round pick Marquise Brown missing Friday’s practice was a reminder that early expectations should be tempered after he missed so much valuable practice time in the spring and summer and is still managing his surgically-repaired foot to some degree. Meanwhile, Boykin was impressive during the summer and presents a 6-foot-4, 220-pound target with speed for a quarterback whose accuracy issues aren’t a big secret. Boykin, a third-round pick from Notre Dame, won’t put up monster numbers overall, but he will offer a nice boost inside the red zone, an area where the Ravens’ revamped offense struggled down the stretch last year. He’ll tie the record shared by Torrey Smith (2011) and Marlon Brown (2013).9. Marlon Humphrey, Marshal Yanda, and Earl Thomas will be named to the Pro Bowl.After being voted Ravens MVP by the local media last year and receiving more praise for his play this offseason, Humphrey appears primed to become Baltimore’s first Pro Bowl cornerback since Chris McAlister in 2006. Meanwhile, Yanda will continue to add to a resume that will receive strong Hall of Fame consideration with his eighth trip to the Pro Bowl in the last nine years. Some intrigue remains over just how close Thomas will be to his old self after his second broken left leg in a three-season period, but he’ll extend the Ravens’ streak of sending a safety to the Pro Bowl to four straight years. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley and Andrews will be named Pro Bowl alternates.10. A December rally will lead to a 9-7 finish and another trip to the playoffs.A 5-6 record and plenty of outside doubts entering the final month won’t stop the Ravens from getting hot and reeling off three straight wins to put themselves back in wild-card position. A last-minute defeat at Cleveland in Week 16 will look like the death knell, but the Browns will “Brown” their playoff spot away in a season-ending loss at Cincinnati while the Ravens will regroup to beat the AFC North champion Steelers, who will only be playing for playoff seeding in Week 17. Baltimore will follow that up with a road playoff win over the Texans before bowing out in the divisional round, ending a promising year for a young team with plenty of salary cap space and draft capital going into 2020.Bonus Super Bowl pick no one asked for: Kansas City 30, Philadelphia 24I just can’t stomach predicting another championship for New England, so I’ll go with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid finally getting over the hump against the team he coached for 14 seasons.
With the start of free agency less than a month away and the window to use the franchise tag opening this week, the Ravens haven’t yet revealed their plans for Matthew Judon.Baltimore’s top unrestricted free agent and Pro Bowl outside linebacker registered a career-high 9 1/2 sacks and ranked fourth in the NFL with 33 quarterback hits last season, but how far will general manager Eric DeCosta go to keep the 27-year-old Judon?“We’ve had good conversations with his agents. They’re ongoing, and we’ll continue to see how far that progresses,” DeCosta said at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. “As far as the franchise tag goes, that’s definitely something that’s in consideration, that’s still on the table. We have some time to go before we make that decision. We’ll have to see how it all kind of transpires over the next few weeks.”The Ravens ranked just 21st in the NFL with 37 sacks despite blitzing more frequently than any team in the league last season, illustrating how much defensive coordinator Wink Martindale depended on numbers to disrupt the pocket. That reality could make one argue how critical it is for the Ravens to retain their only reliable pass rusher or suggest Judon’s production stemmed more from Baltimore’s scheme than his individual talents, leaving quite the dilemma.Named to his first Pro Bowl last season, the 2016 fifth-round pick from Grand Valley State has never missed a game due to injury in his career — he was a healthy scratch for two games as a rookie — and played a career high in snaps in 2019. Pro Football Focus graded Judon a career-best 44th among qualified edge defenders, but he would likely receive elite money on the open market much like former Raven Za’Darius Smith did from Green Bay last year.The non-exclusive franchise tag is projected to cost just over $16 million for linebackers, which would eat more than half of the Ravens’ projected salary cap space. However, Judon moving on would leave DeCosta needing to add at least two viable pass rushers this offseason, which would be no easy task.“If [the tag is] what we have to do, then we’ll probably have to do it,” DeCosta said. “But there’s other options as well on the table — long-term deal being something that we would love to get accomplished. We’ll have to see how it all kind of works out.”A tag and trade is another option as Houston did with Jadeveon Clowney and Seattle did with Frank Clark last year.Secondary depth decisionsCornerback Jimmy Smith is expected to test free agency while the Ravens have made no decision on their $6 million option for veteran defensive back Brandon Carr that must be exercised next month.With outside corners Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey and slot man Tavon Young all under team control for at least the next two years, Smith would no longer be in line for an every-down role, complicating his value for the organization that made him a first-round pick in 2011. Turning 32 in July, Smith has played in more than 12 games in a season only twice and missed nearly seven full games last season with a knee injury suffered early in the 2019 opener.“I thought he played his best football later in the year,” DeCosta said. “Jimmy’s a guy that we value, so we’ll see. I suspect that Jimmy’s going to want to hit the market and assess what his value is, and he probably should. He’s a veteran. He’s worked hard to see what his value will be on the market, but lots of respect for Jimmy as a player.“His agent and I have a really good relationship, and there’s communication, so we’ll just see. I wish Jimmy the best, no matter what. We’d love to see him back in Baltimore, but he’s a free agent.”Carr would bring more positional versatility as a reserve safety and slot corner who could play a role in sub packages, but a $6 million price tag is high for a soon-to-be 34-year-old.Next wave of extensions?To no surprise, DeCosta confirmed the desire to sign “elite, young players” such as Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley and Humphrey to long-term contracts in the near future.Stanley is entering the fifth-year option year of his rookie contract and would appear to be the bigger priority from a timing standpoint after being regarded by many as the NFL’s best at his position in 2019.“We’ve talked quite a bit. We’ll meet again this week,” DeCosta said. “We love Ronnie. He played his butt off this year — All-Pro left tackle. We’re excited about that, excited about his future, excited about the player, and excited about the person. We’ll try to continue to have those dialogues as well.”The Ravens are all but guaranteed to exercise their fifth-year option for Humphrey, which would keep the 2017 first-round pick under team control through 2021.Waiting on YandaDeCosta is still awaiting word on the future of eight-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda, who is contemplating whether to retire or return for a 14th season.Yanda is under contract and scheduled to make $7 million for the 2020 season, but he has considered retirement in recent years. His departure would create a major need for the interior offensive line with no established or clear-cut replacement currently on the roster.“I had a great conversation with Marshal at the Pro Bowl. We didn’t talk about the future,” DeCosta said. “I’m sure we’ll have those discussions probably in the next month or so.”