Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan is rich bitch!

Most of the time, the NFL Draft is just a mirage because although franchises get to select their future cornerstones, getting them to sign a deal usually takes the better part of the offseason. You remember last year’s debacle between the Raiders and top pick JaMarcus Russell, right? Well, believe it or not, but the bumbling, stumbling Atlanta Falcons discovered the secret to getting players into camp quick: throw a boatload of money at them.

Matt Ryan signed a $72 million, six-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, ending concerns that prolonged negotiations could threaten his chance to become the starting quarterback as a rookie.

Ryan, the No. 3 overall pick in last month’s draft out of Boston College, is guaranteed $34.75 million. His guaranteed money is $4.75 million more than that given to Jake Long, the No. 1 overall choice who also is represented by agent Tom Condon.

If you’re eyes are bulging out of your head over the sheer size of the check, don’t worry, you’re not alone. However, we gotta admit that we’re happy to see a team willingly hand over a titanic contract instead of the usual hostage-type negotiations that occur every year between players, agents and owners. Will he be worth it? Only time will tell, but we applaud all parties for taking care of business quickly so Ryan can focus on producing in his rookie year, meaning the chances of seeing more in-game vomiting out of the Boston College product are a distinct possibility. That should make Donovan McNabb feel a little less lonely in the puking department. Now, if we could just get Dorenzo Hudson drafted in the NBA.


[The Associated Press]: Falcons sign QB Matt Ryan to 6-year, $72M contract

New York Yankees

This isn’t an SNL skit, the Yankees sign Billy Crystal

The Yankees did it again. New York is unlike any other pro sports franchise in that they have a seemingly endless supply of money to throw at whoever they want whenever they want. With the season rapidly approaching, it’s time for the club to start doing some its famous Yankee tinkering, but we think they’re going to regret their latest acquisition. After all, Billy Crystal might be a beast in the field, but he’s got no power whatsoever left in his swing.

Crystal will sign the [one-day] contract and work out with the Yankees at Legends Field on Wednesday, before playing in the club’s game on against the Pirates on Thursday. Commissioner Bud Selig approved the Yankees’ extension of a contract to Crystal.

“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this call,” Crystal said. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and Commissioner Selig. I know this’ll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I’m looking forward to helping the younger players — by the way, which is all of them.”

Crystal, who turns 60 on Friday, will wear uniform No. 60 in the game.

Wait, Crystal is 60 years old!?!? Has someone checked this guy for illegal substances yet?


[]: Yankees to sign comedian Crystal
[]: Billy Crystal To Play In Yankees Exhibition

New England Patriots

Randy Moss signs new deal for some "straight cash, homey"

In case you haven’t heard by now, there will be no Randy Moss offseason movement. After threatening to bolt from New England in favor of reuniting with Daunte Culpepper of all people, the Pats wrote out a big check for $27 million with a $12 million signing bonus to keep Moss around for another three years. Its good news for Patriots fans, but its GREAT news for fans of Straight Cash Homey!


[]: Moss Stays Put After Flirtation in Free Agency

Phoenix Suns

The Matrix Relocated?

Hearing trade demands coming from Andrei Kirilenko is understandable. After all, who actually wants to spend their whole career in Salt Lake City? Apparently not even Russians. But hearing the news of trade demands coming from Phoenix is something totally different. Especially when those demands are coming from Shawn Marion, the face of the franchise for the past eight years.

Despite the championship caliber club surrounding him, the Matrix is sick and tired of hearing his name coming up in trade talks and his not too happy about his contract either.

I’m tired of hearing my name in trades,” Marion said by phone from his Chicago home Tuesday night. “I love my fans in Phoenix but I think it’s time for me to move on.”

Marion, the highest paid Suns player, has two years remaining on his maximum-level contract – $16.4 million for this year and a $17.8 million salary if he did not opt out before the 2008-09 season. He said the Suns’ unwillingness to extend his deal is “only a part of why” he wants to leave but would not confirm that he has asked for a three-year, $60 million extension, saying, “The numbers aren’t important.”

Suns General Manager Steve Kerr declined comment.

And at this point, it doesn’t really look like there much for Kerr to say. According to Marion, he’s already packed his bags and is ready to go anywhere he has to. Even, dare we say it, Utah?!?

There are two known trade suitors in the Utah Jazz (for Andrei Kirilenko, if not others) and the Los Angeles Lakers (for Lamar Odom and a teammate), with Marion showing an interest in the latter because of a friendship with Kobe Bryant.

“Regardless of everything that went on with the extension, I’m tired of hearing my name in trade rumors,” Marion said. “It’s time for me to move on. I felt like they tried to force my hand to Boston with the (Kevin) Garnett stuff.”

In June, there was the possibility of a three-way trade sending Garnett to Phoenix, a Boston pick package going to Minnesota and Marion to Boston with a contract extension but the Marion camp killed it.

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” said Marion, a four-time All-Star. “I leave it on the floor night in and night out. Sometimes, it’s just time, and it’s time to go. “It’s been like a nightmare. It hurts me making this phone call. It’s hurting me in my stomach.”

Marion said he has no problem with any of his teammates but did not want to comment on the Suns staffers, saying, “It’s just a bad marriage. I’m not talking about anyone. It’s just time for me to go.

We know that Marion is standing up for his principles and all, but he’s going to be kicking himself if he ends up with the Clippers or Bobcats. Heck, even the disgruntled Kirilenko would rather go to Europe than play in those wastelands.


[]: Marion: `Time for me to move on’

Utah Jazz

Stephon Marbury isn’t the only player that wants to ball overseas

We’ve known for some time now that Andrei Kirilenko has been unhappy in Utah. We’ve even heard about how his poor, Kobe-like mentality has him demanding a trade. So, we knew that things were bad, but we just didn’t really believe all the hype, until AK-47 said that he’d be willing to skip out on his contract’s remaining $63 million. That’s when realized that he really friggin’ hates that team.

According to a translation by The Salt Lake Tribune, Kirilenko said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Sport Express that he is prepared to go without the money remaining on his NBA contract to get away from the Jazz.

According to the Tribune, Kirilenko is quoted in the Russian newspaper as saying: “I just want to explain to everybody what I think and feel and that I could sacrifice my career with the NBA. The only thing I’m not prepared for is if I’m told, ‘Andrei, we want you to stay anyway.’ I’m sure then the next season would be a repetition of the previous one, and what will the fans say then? How could you possibly rely on a player who wants to leave?”

Kirilenko, who is under contract through the 2010-11 season, told Sport Express he thinks the chances of his contract being voided are small. But he remains steadfast in his desire to leave Utah, even if it means playing on a worse team, NBA or otherwise.

“I have never been unfair and I don’t want to enjoy something that I don’t deserve,” Kirilenko told Sport Express. “Big money is obviously good, but I am prepared to make less. The size of my salary doesn’t mean that much for me. The main thing is to play with a spark.

Kirilenko went on to say that he’d like to play somewhere in Russia, but at this point it sounds like he’d be willing to play in Guatemala if it meant he didn’t have to be around Jerry Sloan anymore. A fine or suspension could be around the corner if Kirilenko fails to show up for camp on October 1.

I would like to be where I am needed and right now I feel that my country needs me,” Kirilenko told Sport Express. “But I cannot exclude some European clubs. Trust me, I really am prepared to leave NBA. It certainly does not mean that I’m dying to go to Europe. I’m just ready.”

“Last year, we had a conversation with him,” Kirilenko told Sport Express “and Sloan said, ‘Andrei, if you don’t like something about the way I conduct training you could always break the contract with the Jazz.’ So that’s exactly what I want to do now!

We love the added emphasis Andrei put on the last sentence. It almost as if he’s convinced that he’s talking to Sloan and not some Russian reporter. Settle down a bit, Andrei, there’s no need to yell. Maybe now would be a good time to break out your `free tail’ pass and release some of that frustration that’s been mounting.


[]: Kirilenko `ready’ to leave NBA, $63M contract

Oakland Raiders

Finally the Russell-Raider signing struggle wraps up

You better be worth it kid!

When the Raiders and the Lions played on Sunday, the second overall draft pick was in the lineup and in the endzone before the end of the day. Unfortunately, Oakland couldn’t say the same thing about the No. 1 pick in the draft, JaMarcus Russell. But it appears that the long, painful wait is over for Raider Nation.

Russell could sign a deal as early as today and reports have the deal being worth around $60 million over six years with a pocket stuffing, wallet busting $31 million in guaranteed jack. Seems like JaMarcus knew what he was doing by holding out all this time after all.

It just continues to sound like they are getting closer and closer,” (Lane) Kiffin said at his weekly news conference Monday. “It could be (Monday). You just never know. I know that the sides are as close as they’ve ever been.

Considering that Russell and the Raiders have been battling over money since late April, we’re thrilled that this dollar drama is finally coming to a close. We know that these guys gotta get the most money they can in guarantees and such, but there is absolutely nothing more disgusting than seeing a rookie who has never even taken a snap hold a professional sports franchise hostage over a couple of million bucks.

If it were up to us, we’d be as tough on our players in the real world as we are on our fellow GMs in the fantasy world.

JaMarcus: I really don’t think that’s proper value for a player of my caliber and potential.

SC: You will take what we give you!


[]: Raiders, Russell agree in principle to deal

College Football

Mack Brown gets another decade tacked onto his contract

Get ready for a whole lot more of Mack Brown wearing burnt orange because it looks like the Longhorns head coach will be receiving a new contract for an additional 10 years later today. Brown has already put in a decade of work in Austin and is currently making about $2.6 million with an even $100,000 raise per year. This new deal should vault him up into the $3 million per year range. Not too shabby for a guy who used to have a bounty on his head because he couldn’t win the big games.

Vince Young should be receiving his thank you card in the mail any day now.


[]: Source: Texas coach Brown to be extended through 2017

Detroit Pistons

Mr. Big Shot isn’t going anywhere

Get ready to hear “Chauncey
B-B-B-Billups” for a long, long time.

There has been lots of talk over the past few months that Chauncey Billups was going to leave Detroit for a lucrative offer from another team, but the Pistons have officially squashed any doubt that they would lose their point guard after they threw a wad of cash at him and he promptly accepted. Joe Dumars locked up his Finals MVP winning guard to a $60 million contract that will keep Billups in Motown for the next five years with $46 million guaranteed over the next four seasons and a team option for the fifth.

We said from the beginning that re-signing Chauncey was our top priority, and now we can move forward knowing that Chauncey will continue to lead this team,” Joe Dumars told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “One of the toughest positions to fill in this business is the point guard position, and that’s why it was imperative that we re-sign Chauncey.

Apparently Dumars has learned his lesson after he let one of the other “toughest positions to fill” skip town when Ben Wallace, one of the few legitimate centers in the league, bailed out of Detroit for the rival Bulls last year. This move goes a long way to helping the Pistons shoot for a sixth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance; and even if they don’t make it back to the East’s championship game, an average salary of $12 million per year will make it a lot easier to cope with the pain of losing. At least for Billups it will.


[]: Billups re-signs with Pistons for $60 million