The next NFL offseason domino has fallen. We’re just getting started. Who’s next? I’m not sure, but T.J. Watt is going above and beyond to bring J.J. Watt to Pittsburgh. Tampering, much?
Wentz Gets His Wish
Eagles Trade QB Carson Wentz to Colts for 2 Draft Picks in NFL’s Latest Blockbuster
Another seat has been taken in quarterback musical chairs. The Philadelphia Eagles traded QB Carson Wentz, the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. In return, Philly receives a 2021 3rd-round pick and a 2022 conditional 2nd-round pick that could become a 1st-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps for Indy. In the end, Wentz reunites with his former coordinator and mentor, Frank Reich, and the Colts reclamation project begins. The North Dakota product had his worst season ever in 2020. He led all NFL QBs in sacks (50) and interceptions (15), and he only played 12 games.
Cap, Cash & Contracts
The Eagles traded multiple picks to move up and draft Wentz in 2016, and they gave him a $128 million contract just one year ago. After the Eagles imploded in 2020 — benching Wentz and firing head coach Doug Pederson — they now suffer a $33.8 million dead-money cap hit. That’s the largest in NFL history. The good news? They’ll still save $47 million that was owed to Wentz over the next two seasons as they attempt to rebuild.
What It Means for the Colts
The quarterback void left by Philip Rivers was the only missing piece between Indianapolis and Super Bowl contention. Wentz was an MVP candidate in 2017 under Reich in Philly. With a great offensive line, top-tier defense and extensive weapons in Indy, he could return to 2017 form. But if Reich can’t fix him, no one can.
AUS Open: The Finals Are Set
(1) Djokovic to Meet (4) D. Medvedev or (5) S. Tsitsipas (Live) in Australian Open Final
After two weeks in Melbourne, we’ve reached the end of this middle-of-the-night sports saga that’s wrecked the sleep schedule of tennis fans everywhere. The Finals are set, but it’ll take some caffeine to stay up and watch. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic was a straight-set winner over underdog Aslan Karatsev early Thursday morning (6-3, 6-4, 6-2). His challenger will be the winner of this morning’s match between (4) Daniil Medvedev and (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas. That semi-final should be concluding around the time today’s newsletter is published. You can check the AUS Open website or click the highlight link below to see live updates. Djokovic will go for Grand Slam title No. 18, while both Medvedev and Tsitsipas are still searching for their first.
Both finals feature heavy favorites in Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, but can an underdog steal the spotlight? We’ll tie a bow on the Australian Open in Monday’s edition.
Match Highlights (Men’s Semifinals)
(1) N. Djokovic def. A. Karatsev (6-3, 6-4, 6-2)
Australian Open Finals
W: (3) N. Osaka vs. (22) J. Brady (Sat. 3:30 am ET)
M: (1) N. Djokovic vs. TBD (Sun. 3:30 am ET)
Atlanta to Host 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend in Condensed Format
Despite the pull-quotes from many NBA stars questioning the thoughtfulness of a 2021 All-Star Game, the league gave it the green light on Thursday. The NBA confirmed details of All-Star Weekend — now “All-Star Day” — for March 7 in Atlanta. Here’s what you need to know:
NBA All-Star Schedule
6:30 pm: Skills Challenge & 3-Point Contest
8:00 pm: 70th NBA All-Star Game
Halftime: Slam Dunk Contest
*All Times Eastern
The game will follow the same format as last year, featuring team captains and a player draft, as well as the individual quarter scoring and a 4th-quarter target score of 24 points (Kobe Bryant). LeBron James (West) and Kevin Durant (East) will act as captains for the All-Star Draft that will take place on March 4. The All-Star reserves will also be announced at that time.
West: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic
East: Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving
NY Times: Predicting NBA All-Star Picks & Snubs
The Nets got the best of the Lakers last night in Los Angeles (109-98), but LeBron James hit another milestone. He became the third player in NBA history to reach 35,000 points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).
️ USWNT: Lavelle’s Late Goal Wins It
The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Canada (1-0) last night in Orlando for the SheBelieves Cup. Rose Lavelle struck home a deflected ball from a set piece in the 79th minute to break the tie.
Sam Burns (-7) is the low man on the leaderboard with a two-stroke lead after Round 1 of The Genesis Invitational. Big names like Patrick Cantlay (-4), Dustin Johnson (-3), Brooks Koepka (-3) and Jordan Spieth (-3) are still within striking distance.
Spring Training is here. Finally. Today, we can utter four beautiful words: Pitchers and catchers report. Here are some key questions and answers about 2021 Spring Training. (MLB.com)
Damian Lillard has taken his crunch-time brilliance to new heights this season, but the one-man band, as breathtaking as it may be, can take the Blazers only so far. (The Ringer)
What happens when the most talented and recognizable quarterback prospect of a generation lands with the most anonymous franchise in the NFL? (Sports Illustrated)
️ WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The Must-Watch List
Busy, busy sports weekend ahead. After two weeks in Melbourne, we’ll crown the Aussie Open champs bright and early the next two mornings. Basketball — pro and college — picks up steam as we head into March. If you’re stuck indoors due to winter storms, may this guide treat you well. Enjoy the weekend!
Australian Open Finals
(3) N. Osaka vs. (22) J. Brady (Sat. 3:30 am)
(1) N. Djokovic vs. Medvedev/Tsitsipas (Sun. 3:30 am)
Jazz at Clippers (Fri. 10:00 pm)
Heat at Lakers (Sat. 8:30 pm)
Nets at Clippers (Sun. 8:00 pm)
Golden Knights at Avalanche (Sat. 3:00 pm)
Maple Leafs at Canadiens (Sat. 7:00 pm)
Flyers at Bruins (Sun. 3:00 pm)
NCAA (Men’s Basketball)
#15 Texas Tech at #23 Kansas (Sat. 2:00 pm)
#13 W. Virginia at #12 Texas (Sat. 3:00 pm)
#7 Virginia at Duke (Sat. 8:00 pm)
#3 Michigan at #4 Ohio State (Sun. 1:00 pm)
NCAA (Women’s Basketball)
#13 Oregon at #8 UCLA (Fri. 8:00 pm)
#21 Tennessee at #22 Georgia (Sun. 12:00 pm)
#15 Ohio State at #11 Michigan (Sun. 2:00 pm)
#17 Kentucky at #2 S. Carolina (Sun. 3:00 pm)
SheBelieves Cup (Sunday)
USWNT vs. Brazil (3:00 pm)
Argentina vs. Canada (6:00 pm)
The Genesis Invitational (All Weekend)
*All Times Eastern