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Jumbo Package: A Slow Monday

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Position previews, NFL contracts, and Nick Saban for president

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Practice John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a slow news period, so here’s about all there is out there. However, during the offseason, no news is great news. This has so far been better than last year.

Alabama in position to recover after major losses at LB

But Alabama already has talented players in place capable of filling their shoes. Shaun Dion Hamilton will be back after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the SEC championship game. All he did before getting injured was make 64 tackles and intercept two passes. Rashaan Evans is also returning. The former five-star recruit is a versatile athlete, capable of playing on the outside and inside. Last season, in a backup role for most of the season, he collected only eight fewer stops than Anderson.

Hamilton and Evans will lead a group loaded with talent. Christian Miller, Terrell Hall and Anfernee Jennings have all flashed potential and they figure to grow into the kind of ferocious pass rushers Alabama is known for producing.

We’ll have ourown position previews here at RBR in the upcoming weeks, but for now, here’s a similar piece from AL.com. The linebacker group has been nothing short of exceptional with its depth the last few years. Despite losing Reuben Foster, Ryan Anderson, and Tim Williams (all of whom should be called in the first two days of the draft), the group looks just as solid as ever, in both the new starters and the new depth. These guys and the running backs are the two positions that Alabama is really set at.

Alabama Roots: Who got how much in NFL free agency

Dre Kirkpatrick, cornerback, Gadsden City High, Alabama

Kirkpatrick re-signed with the Bengals. His five-year, $52,500,000 contract includes a $7,000,000 signing bonus, $12,000,000 in guaranteed money (signing bonus plus roster bonus of $5,000,000) and a $2,550,000 base salary for the 2017 season.

Kirkpatick’s deal has raised some eyebrows, as he spent his first few years looking like a major bust before finally putting together a full season as a starter in 2016. He was good, but not great, and managed to work the market to get a higher price than most expected. That said, only $12 million guaranteed ($7 million up front) out of a $52 million deal, means that the Bengals aren’t totally sold on Kirkpatrick’s reliability, and gave themselves a way to easily cut or trade him after a year without absorbing too much cap hit.

Other Alabama players of note are: Donta Hightower signing a 4-year, $35 million deal, a staggering $17 million of which is guaranteed, with the Patriots; Eddie Lacy with a 1-year, $4.25 million deal with the Seahawks, and Damien Square with a 2-year, $4 million with the Chargers.

Approval rating for Alabama football head coach Nick Saban: You decide

In SEC Country‘s first coach approval rating poll, Saban came in first place with a 97.1 approval rating. He was the only coach who finished with a rating above 90.

Saban earned a reported salary of about $7.1 million in 2016. So what do you think Saban after his latest hire? Do you think he could’ve gotten a bigger or better name?

It’s not really noteworthy news, but hey, like I said, there’s not much happening out there right now. If anything, it’s good to know that in our current political climate a large group of people can actually agree that they like someone. #Saban4President

2017 Spring Primer: Alabama's special teams

The specialists we see this spring don’t match the ones we see Sept. 2 in Atlanta, at least not all of them.

Scott and Fletcher, an early enrollee from IMG Academy, are locks to start at punter and long snapper, respectively, and Pappanastos will make a case for the starting placekicker job. But Bulovas and some of the speedy receivers that will compete for special teams roles won’t be on campus until later in the year, after their high school careers come to a close.

Players like Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith would certainly make sense as returners with their explosive, playmaking abilities, and freshmen are not excluded from seeing the field and having control over the field position battle. And as we saw a season ago, Nick Saban is willing to make changes on a weekly basis if he doesn’t like what he sees from his current return men.

The special teams will be interesting to watch this year. Our lord JK Scott returns, but the rest of the specialist positions are up in the air. At kicker, there will be a battle between Papanastos and Bulovas. Long snapper will be between freshman Thomas Fletcher and last year’s preferred walk-on, Scott Meyer. And the kick/punt returners never even got settled last year, so the battle will continue there too.