first_imgOverlooked before the season in the Big East, the No. 3-ranked Syracuse men’s basketball team has cleaned house.On Tuesday, Jim Boeheim was named Big East Coach of the Year and Wes Johnson was awarded Big East Player of the Year. Syracuse plays the winner of Georgetown vs. South Florida on Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the Big East tournament.Before this season, Syracuse was predicted to finish sixth in conference — widely billed as a wild card with replenished pieces. After finishing as the Big East’s outright regular-season champions, the Orange (28-3) has reeled in the hardware.Boeheim was honored for SU’s unlikely turnaround, while Johnson leads the balanced team in points per game (15.7), rebounds (8.5) and minutes (34.5). Johnson is the first transfer from a Division I school to win the award and the fourth-ever Syracuse winner. Hakim Warrick (2005), Billy Owens (1991) and Derrick Coleman (1990) have also won. A day earlier, Kris Joseph was named the Big East’s Sixth Man of the Year.Among a field of premier scorers — such as Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody and South Florida’s Dominique Jones — Johnson’s overall game stood out. Fighting through injuries, he has handled a wealth of minutes while scoring in double figures in 28 of Syracuse’s 31 games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor Boeheim, this is simply more hardware. As the winningest coach in Big East history, he also won Coach of the Year in 1984, 1991 and 2000. For Johnson, the news was somewhat surprising considering his numbers have ebbed of late. After a furious start, he has been hobbled by a pair of injuries.The aftershock of a head-over-heels spill against Providence and a hand injury against Connecticut has hurt Johnson’s shot. He is averaging 12.3 points in his last nine games. Others, namely Andy Rautins, have picked up the slack. Johnson recently campaigned for Rautins to win the award.thdunne@syr.edu  Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on March 9, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more


first_img (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e7/22/cmc-100219-gettyjpg_wn6dfszzaxxi17waklism2w70.jpg?t=-1923431115&w=500&quality=80 I saw the tremendous value of a dual-threat running back early in my NFL front office career in Minnesota, where Chuck Foreman rushed for 1,155 yards and added 55 catches for 567 yards as the lead back on our 1976 Super Bowl team. McCaffrey is that type of special player.PANTHERS vs. JAGUARS PICKS:Pick against the spread | Straight-up predictionMcCaffrey, 23, currently leads the league in rushing with 411 yards and has caught 25 passes for 218 yards. His total of 629 yards from scrimmage, an average of 157.25 yards per game, would equate to 2,516 yards over 16 games.That would top Chris Johnson’s record of 2,509 yards in 2009. Next on the list is Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk at 2,429 yards in 1999 — pretty good potential company for the 2017 first-round pick.McCaffrey is a major reason why the Panthers are still in the NFC mix while missing quarterback Cam Newton. The RB had a career-high 37 touches in Carolina’s 16-10 win at Houston last week; 93 yards on 27 carries and 10 receptions for 86 yards. His 179 combined yards accounted for 60 percent of the Panthers’ 297 total yards.“He’s a great football player,” the Texans’ future Hall of Fame defensive end J.J. Watt said of McCaffrey. “He’s tough, physical, fast, quick. They obviously run their offense through him.”MORE: Cam’s injury forces Panthers’ hand on futureMcCaffrey entered the NFL as the eighth overall pick in 2017, but some questioned whether he could be an every-down back with his 5-11, 205-pound frame. Then-Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was confident McCaffrey could produce big numbers, helping elevate Newton and the Carolina offense along the way.Gettleman was fired in July of that year, before McCaffrey ever played a down in Carolina, but the running back began to fulfill his former GM’s vision with a strong rookie season. In 2018, McCaffrey added 1,098 yards rushing and 107 catches for 867 yards. He did not make the Pro Bowl in a conference loaded with excellent backs, but given his current pace, it will be hard to keep him out this year.While a Pro Bowl selection is a likely destiny for McCaffrey, his next contract will be an even more interesting story to follow in terms of timing and amount. Due to the NFL being a passing-driven league and the shorter career expectancy for their position, running backs have lagged behind other non-QB positions contract-wise despite how often they handle the ball. The highest-paid backs have started to narrow the gap in the past two years, but Elliott and Gurley, who are both in the $15-million-per-year range, fall $5 million-$7 million per year shy of the top receivers (Julio Jones and Michael Thomas) and close to $10 million behind the best defensive linemen/edge rushers (Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack).McCaffrey’s receiving prowess on top of his rushing skills should lead him to the top of the RB salary list. But can he approach $20 million per year with more than Elliott’s $50 million in guarantees? Will this trend of not paying running backs as much as wide receivers hold him back even when he is so prolific in both the running and passing games? If I were making the call in Carolina, McCaffrey would become the highest-paid running back in the NFL as long as he continues to play at this level.That’s what I expect Panthers GM Marty Hurney would do.Jeff Diamond is a former president of the Titans and former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected NFL Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a business and sports consultant who also does broadcast and online media work. He makes speaking appearances to corporate/civic groups and college classes on negotiation and sports business/sports management. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL.center_img The NFL’s best running back through the first quarter of the 2019 season is a player who probably is not the first to pop into people’s minds. He is not Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley or Le’Veon Bell, the three highest-paid backs in the league. He is not Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette or Nick Chubb, who are filling up the stats sheets.He is the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, and he is on a pace to break the NFL record for combined rushing and receiving yards. He also might soon top the running back salary chart. Following his third season, McCaffrey will be precisely where Gurley and Elliott were when they got their big extensions. Gurley was coming off 2,093 combined yards rushing and receiving in 2017. Elliott gained 2,001 yards from scrimmage last season, and it took a training camp holdout for him to get his deal done with the Cowboys.At this rate, McCaffrey’s rushing and receiving numbers in 2019 will leapfrog those of the pre-extension seasons for Gurley and Elliott. Unlike Gurley, McCaffrey will have the additional advantage of being durable thus far in his career with no games missed. And unlike Elliott, McCaffrey has no off-field blemishes.It’s also interesting that Newton’s injury status could wind up freeing money if the Panthers decide to move on from the 2015 NFL MVP whose production has declined. While leaning heavily on McCaffrey, the undrafted and low-salaried Kyle Allen has started at QB in the Panthers’ consecutive wins to reach 2-2.If Newton’s injury lingers through much of the season, Carolina could decide to cut him in March with just a $2 million dead money hit, saving $19 million under the 2020 salary cap that could help contribute to a new deal for McCaffrey. The Panthers then could select a QB from a strong draft class and have Allen compete with the rookie.NFL MOCK DRAFT 2020:Panthers keep focus on new-look defenselast_img read more