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Rams sign Jalen Ramsey to record-breaking contract, Ryan Shazier and Aqib Talib retire, and more sports news

LeBron James became the NBA's all-time leader in playoff wins as a player, passing Derek Fisher with the Lakers' Game 3 victory over the Rockets on Tuesday.

Jalen Ramsey will be paid to cover the best receivers the Rams face.
Jalen Ramsey will be paid to cover the best receivers the Rams face.Read moreJohn Bazemore / AP

Jalen Ramsey arrived at the Jacksonville Jaguars' training camp last summer in an armored truck, implying that it was time he got paid. Jacksonville eventually traded the Pro Bowl cornerback, but he’s about to have more than a truck full of cash.

Ramsey and the Los Angeles Rams agreed to a five-year, $105 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history.

The deal comes four days after Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White signed a four-year, $70 million extension to become the highest paid cornerback in NFL history. Being paid in the NFL usually is more about timing than talent, but Ramsey’s deal completely resets the market for No. 1 shutdown cornerbacks.

Cornerback is arguably a more important position than ever. It’s harder to be physical with receivers because of the increased emphasis on higher scoring and player safety, and the league is throwing the football more than ever. A shutdown cornerback is a rarity, and Ramsey has proven he’s in that category.

Ramsey has made three Pro Bowls in his four seasons. He only had one interception last season, but he doesn’t shy away from guarding No. 1 receivers.

This was an important move for the Rams, as their NFC West rivals are loading up at wide receiver. Just yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals signed DeAndre Hopkins to a contract extension. Seahawks second-year receiver D.K. Metcalf looks like a future star, and the 49ers selected wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the first round of the 2020 draft.

Ryan Shazier, Aqib Talib announce NFL retirements

Ryan Shazier and Aqib Talib were both last Pro Bowlers in 2017 and now they’re announcing their retirement for different reasons.

Talib ends his 12-year career as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in the last decade. He made five consecutive Pro Bowls from 2013-2017. Whether it was in New England, Denver or Los Angeles, wherever he went, that team became a formidable secondary. He spent his first four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The ballhawk cornerback made a habit of turning turnovers into scores. He finished his career with 10 interceptions returned for touchdowns, which is fourth most all-time.

Talib said he had an offer from the Patriots and his former coach Bill Belichick to play, but he turned it down once he saw that he’d be guarding tight ends like Travis Kelce and George Kittle.

“Once that negative thought crossed my mind, I was like, my heart, my competitive edge ... like, I ain’t really in it like that no more,” Talib said a Twitter video.

Shazier’s ending wasn’t as fairytale. The former Steelers linebacker quickly became one of the league’s most exciting young defensive players because of his blazing speed and playmaking ability. But during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Shazier suffered a spinal contusion injury that ended his career. Doctors were unsure if he’d ever walk again, but he was up dancing a year and a half later at his wedding.

Shazier never formally retired until Tuesday.

“To lose the game in a way I never envisioned has not been easy,” Shazier said in a Twitter video. “Now, it’s time for me to do what [God] wants me to do. I’m going to step away from the game for a while and see what else life has to offer.”

LeBron sets record for most playoff wins in NBA history

After appearing in eight consecutive NBA Finals and nine total, it was only a matter of time before LeBron James became the winningest player in NBA playoffs history. James achieved the feat Tuesday after the Lakers' Game 3 win over the Rockets. He passed Derek Fisher after earning his 162nd playoff victory.

The stat is impressive in its own right, but once you factor in that James achieved all of those wins as one of — if not — the top player on his team, that makes it even more impressive.

Fisher’s run was great, but he had a little bit more luck involved. He was an important starter on five Lakers championship teams with Kobe Bryant, but he earned another 28 wins as a role player on the young Thunder squads led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Of the players in the top 10 in all-time playoff wins, James has the least number of championships, and that may be one of the biggest knocks on his career. However, he does have the best win percentage, and if the Lakers' current playoff run is any indication, James will be putting a big gap on the playoff wins list between himself and second place.