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Cameron Jordan extension a win-win for Saints; Michael Thomas next? – New Orleans Saints Blog

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METAIRIE, La. — Sean Payton must have had contract extensions on the brain Tuesday after he finished talking about defensive end Cameron Jordan’s new three-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Because when Payton was asked a question about receiver Michael Thomas’ growth, the coach said, “He’ll be the next one, I’m sure. [General manager Mickey Loomis] will be working, and I know that they’ve probably already begun discussions.”

Thomas, who is scheduled to become a free agent next year, should command a new deal in the neighborhood of $20 million per year at some point this year or next.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Saints, who also have guys such as Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Andrus Peat scheduled to be free agents in 2020. Alvin Kamara, Larry Warford, Sheldon Rankins and Demario Davis have expiring deals in 2021; Marshon Lattimore, Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk would be free agents in 2022.

A roster this talented doesn’t come cheap for long.

But the Saints can only hope that the rest of their megadeals come together as smoothly as this one did with Jordan, who is now signed through 2023. He had two years and $19 million remaining on his previous contract.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the extension is worth between $17.5 million and $18.5 million over the three additional years, with more than $42 million guaranteed.

That practically feels like a bargain in this era, when defensive linemen Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald, DeMarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark have recently signed deals worth more than $20 million per year.

But it is probably a fair market value for Jordan, as the four-time Pro Bowl defensive end turns 30 next month and wasn’t scheduled to hit the open market until 2021. And it does make him the seventh-highest-paid defensive lineman in the NFL based on average salary, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Most importantly, the two sides got this deal done without any holdouts or contentious negotiations. Jordan told ESPN earlier this offseason that he just wanted to be paid fairly — but more than anything, “I just want to be a Saints lifer.”

He backed up those comments on Tuesday.

“I’ve always said it’s not about being the highest-paid player for me,” Jordan said. “My goal is to win a Super Bowl here. Then my goal will be to win another Super Bowl. I’ve always said that New Orleans has become my home. My kids are in New Orleans. I’ll be in New Orleans ‘til they decide they don’t want me no more.

“My dad [Steve Jordan] played for the Vikings for 13 years. I always said I want to be with the same team for the rest of my career.”

At some point the Saints might have to start making some tough financially related cuts to their roster. They already have more than $26 million in “dead money” scheduled to count against their salary cap in 2020 because of the way they have structured deals to defer cap costs into future years.

I wonder, for example, what they will do with Peat, Bridgewater and free-agent safety Vonn Bell next year, among others.

But Jordan’s deal shouldn’t force any immediate salary-cap repercussions because he already carried a cap charge of $14 million this year. And the Saints have proved time and again that they will spend money to add or retain core players.

Jordan is on a very short list of the most important ones.

The 6-foot-4, 287-pound Jordan had a good start to his career as a first-round draft pick in 2011. But he has really developed into an elite defender in recent years. He earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2017 after a career-high 13 sacks. Then he earned second-team honors with 12 sacks last season.

Jordan has always been one of the league’s best run-stopping defensive ends as well. And he has really matured as a leader and team captain in recent years, while also being heavily involved in community activities.

The Saints correctly decided that Jordan was a player they couldn’t afford to lose — just as they will decide with Thomas soon.

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Must-see sports photos of the week

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The most interesting sports shots from around the globe this week include a 120-kilometer race through the Peruvian desert, NASCAR stock cars spinning donuts in Nashville, Tenn., and a gold-medal-winning takedown in the Philippines.

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After 57 days and one win, Bengals superfan comes down from roof

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MILAN, Ind. — Chrissy Lanham stood next to a cardboard cutout of her husband as the final seconds ticked off the clock inside Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium.

The flesh-and-bone version of Jeff Lanham was watching roughly 45 miles west in the makeshift tent atop the couple’s restaurant and bar in Milan, Indiana. After two months, he was ready to get off the roof.

An offhand comment about living above the Lanhams’ Hog Rock Cafe until the Cincinnati Bengals won a game turned into a 57-day period that unexpectedly transformed Lanham into his town’s biggest celebrity since the basketball team that inspired the movie “Hoosiers.”

When the Bengals finally picked up a win by beating the New York Jets in Week 13 to improve to 1-11, everyone around Chrissy celebrated with “Cardboard Jeff” while the real person was surrounded by screams and flying beer at the bar in southeastern Indiana.

A few drinks, a tree-trimming truck and belief in one of the worst teams in the NFL put Lanham on the roof of his own restaurant. Resolve kept him there.

“I didn’t do it, really, for anything,” said Lanham, 42. “I just made a comment and owned up to a comment and did it.”

Back in 1991, Dennis “Wildman” Walker spent 61 days on a Cincinnati billboard under similar circumstances, a feat that inspired Lanham’s comments.

Cincinnati was 0-4 when Lanham said he would live on the roof until the Bengals won. It was hours before the Bengals hosted the Arizona Cardinals, the NFL’s worst team last season. Jeff and Chrissy watched from the usual spot in the stadium as Arizona won 26-23 on a last-second field goal. Cincinnati started its course toward the NFL cellar, with six consecutive losses to come.

When they drove back to the Hog Rock in their black and orange party bus, Lanham knew where he had to go. A friend grabbed a tent; someone else fetched their tree-trimming truck; and Lanham headed to the roof on a rainy night. Once he woke up the next morning, he realized he might be stuck up there for a while. He moved down a story to the lower portion of the roof so he wouldn’t have to use an extension ladder to climb down to the bathroom and shower.

Decades earlier, people actually paid to live in the building. Back then, it was called the Railroad Inn, a reference to the train tracks that are less than 100 feet from the entrance. But when he and Chrissy started the restaurant, Milan (pronounced MY-lan) was vastly different.

Phyllis Coe, 72, said she bought the building at a sheriff’s auction after the previous owner let the building rot. She charged the Lanhams $500 rent. Lanham, who hadn’t worked for a year after a leg injury forced him to stop working in a mill, poured all of his money into fixing the place up.

“You can’t discount the kid,” Coe said.

When Lanham received international media attention for his stay on the roof, it was the biggest thing to happen to Milan since the high school’s boys basketball team won the Indiana state title in 1954 against Muncie Central, which inspired the 1986 film “Hoosiers.”

Lanham said he used his growing media exposure to remind people about the ’54 champions. He also used his brief window of stardom to raise money for the medical costs of a friend’s daughter who was born with spina bifida. He came down for roughly 12 hours during a benefit event.

During his time on the roof, he held 50/50 raffles during Bengals games and sold $5 raffle tickets for people to eat in a tent that was donated by a friend’s company. He donated most of the things he received, including a pallet of soup from Campbell’s.

He had heaters and plenty of people to keep him company, but it was still tough.

Jeff and Chrissy watched Netflix simultaneously in different places, calling to start shows at the same time and see whether they liked them. She, along with others, brought laundry and food up to his tent, including meals from Skyline Chili topped with habanero cheese. They put up another tent and had Thanksgiving up there.

After nearly two months, he came home. The Bengals easily trounced the Jets, 22-6 on Sunday, for their first win of the season. People near Chrissy at the stadium gave Jeff’s cardboard cutout high-fives, while the watch party back in Milan erupted when the game ended. By the time Chrissy arrived home, Jeff was celebrating with everyone at Hog Rock. They stayed until 11:30 that night.

“Jeff was ready to come home,” Chrissy said.

After the victory, Bengals running back Joe Mixon said he’d like to give Lanham something for staying up there that long. Lanham said that’s not necessary.

“I can’t say I want something from somebody because I didn’t do it for that,” he said.

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Source — Patriots re-signing veteran kicker Nick Folk

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The New England Patriots will be re-signing kicker Nick Folk, a league source confirmed to ESPN.

The move, which was first reported by NFL Network, was expected after the Patriots waived Kai Forbath on Monday and were left with no kickers on the roster.

Forbath was signed to replace Folk, who had an appendectomy last week. In Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans, Forbath went 1-for-2 on extra points and made a 23-yarder on his only field goal attempt.

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