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Dispatches
Peter King
December 25, 2000
The average annual payout of the 10-year, $252 million contract that shortstop Alex Rodriguez recently signed with the Texas Rangers is $1.3 million more than the total (for salary-cap purposes) that will be paid this year to the NFL's three highest-paid players. Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe counts $8.5 million against the cap, followed by Vikings defensive lineman John Handle ($7.8 million) and Giants defensive end Michael Strahan ($7.6 million)....
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December 25, 2000

Dispatches

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The average annual payout of the 10-year, $252 million contract that shortstop Alex Rodriguez recently signed with the Texas Rangers is $1.3 million more than the total (for salary-cap purposes) that will be paid this year to the NFL's three highest-paid players. Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe counts $8.5 million against the cap, followed by Vikings defensive lineman John Handle ($7.8 million) and Giants defensive end Michael Strahan ($7.6 million)....

Vikings coach Dennis Green and his staff deserve credit for developing the two unheralded centers who will play for the NFC in the Pro Bowl. After a year on the Cardinals' practice squad, Jeff Christy was picked up by Minnesota in 1993, was the team's starter from '94 through '99 and then signed with the Bucs as a free agent. He was succeeded in Minnesota—and was followed in the NFC Pro Bowl vote-by Matt Birk, a 1998 sixth-round draft pick who hadn't started a game before this season....

The expansion Browns, 5-27 after two seasons, did at least one thing right in 2000: Last April they took strong, mobile defensive end Courtney Brown with the first pick in the draft. He finished the season with an 11-tackle game against the Titans on Sunday, giving him 85 tackles and 4� sacks for the year....

The Jets will sorely miss the gritty leadership of linebacker Bryan Cox, a free agent after this season, who will probably move on. After suffering a broken right leg in the first half of a loss to the Lions on Sunday, Cox was in the locker room trying to tape the leg tight enough so that he could limp through the second half.

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