LeBron James

NFC West Notes: Rams, Jones, 49ers, LeBron

Marvin Jones exited his ninth NFL season without a playoff win, and the former Bengals and Lions wideout is looking for a championship contender to become his third team. His most recent quarterback is already pitching him on a trip to Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford called Jones about teaming up with the Rams, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The soon-to-be 31-year-old receiver, however, is believed to have interest in joining the Dolphins and Jaguars. Jones played out a five-year contract with the Lions, with Stafford being his primary QB. The Rams are not exactly in position to be chasing higher-end free agents, being more than $30MM over the cap as of Friday. And the team has Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp signed long-term, with Van Jefferson under team control through 2023. But the Stafford move shows the Rams are making a big push. Through that lens, Jones would make sense as an auxiliary option.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers are facing a tough situation with Dee Ford, who is battling a back injury that sidelined him for 15 games last season. If the former Pro Bowl pass rusher is not healthy by April 1, his $11.6MM injury guarantee becomes fully guaranteed. With John Lynch indicating recently Ford may not be ready by the 2021 season, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, it appears safe to assume the 49ers will eat that cap charge. This is a somewhat similar situation to Ford’s 2018 offseason, when the Chiefs were forced to pick up Ford’s fifth-year option because he was unable to pass a physical. The 49ers restructured Ford’s contract last year, ballooning his 2021 cap number to $20.1MM — second on the team. The most San Francisco could save with a Ford cut would be $3.7MM, in a post-June 1 transaction.
  • A more proven pass rusher does not have to worry about any release. Asked about an NFL.com list of prospective cap casualties that included Chandler Jones, Cardinals GM Steve Keim rejected the notion that is on the table during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (via the Arizona Republic). Jones is due to count $20.8MM against Arizona’s 2021 cap. The two-time All-Pro is entering the final season of a $16.5MM-per-year deal that has fallen to 13th among edge rushers, pointing to a potential extension that would lower his cap hit.
  • A year prior to the Seahawks‘ run of playoff appearances, they reached out to a notable ex-wide receiver about potentially joining a then-Tarvaris Jackson-quarterbacked team. LeBron James confirmed that, in addition to the Cowboys contacting him about a tryout, the Seahawks did the same during the 2011 NBA lockout. Then in his second year as Seattle’s HC, Pete Carroll shipped James a custom Seahawks jersey along with the workout invite. “I would have tried out, but I would have made the team,” James said, via The Athletic’s Christopher Kamrani and Bill Oram (subscription required). “I don’t mind working for something, so if I would have had to try out for the Cowboys or the Seahawks, or if I’d have stayed home and went back home to Cleveland, I’d have tried (out), but I would have made the team.” Some close to James, 26 during the lockout, convinced him not to go through with NFL workouts. The NBA legend received significant recruiting interest as a wideout at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron but quit the sport ahead of his senior year.

LeBron James Considered Playing Football In 2011, Received Contract Offer From Cowboys

Back in 2011, LeBron James considered taking his talents to…the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. And no, we’re not saying he considered playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki on the Dallas Mavericks. Rather, the NBA star flirted with the idea of joining the NFL, and he had at least one potential suitor in the Dallas Cowboys. 

During an appearance on “Uninterrupted” yesterday, the future NBA Hall of Famer revealed that he considered switching to football during the 2011 NBA lockout (and the concurrent 2011 NFL lockout).

“I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be, and myself and my trainer … we really started to actually train to be a football player,” James said (via David Helman of DallasCowboys.com). “We started to clock our time in the 40, we started to add a little bit more to our bench presses and things of that nature.”

How serious did it get? Well, Maverick Carter, James’ friend and business partner, revealed that Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones sent the basketball great a contract (which James subsequently framed). Considering LeBron’s star power, you’ve got to assume that the contract offer was legitimate; even if the MVP’s talents didn’t translate from the court to the gridiron, he undoubtedly would have been atop the list of jersey sales.

Of course, it’s not even that outlandish to suggest that James could have succeeded in the NFL. At 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds, James has the ideal body for a modern tight end. Plus, while we know we shouldn’t put too much stock into high school stats, LeBron hauled in 27 touchdowns in just two seasons while playing for St. Vincent-St. Mary.

As we all know, LeBron ended up sticking with basketball, which proved to be the right decision. Since the summer of 2011, the veteran has won three NBA championships and a pair of MVP awards. Still, it’s fun to wonder whether James could have helped guide the Cowboys to their first championship since 1995.

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Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.