Before March Madness pops off and the spring sports calendar sprouts, the NFL offseason still has some lingering questions that need to be answered. Most notably: What is happening with Aaron Rodgers? We rode the Rodgers rollercoaster last off-season. If a week in isolation doesn’t bring clarity, I don’t know what will.
Out Of The Darkness…
And Into the Spotlight… What Will Aaron Rodgers Do Next?
You won’t hear me judging Aaron Rodgers for his week-long getaway to gain clarity on his future. It’s true that many of us wouldn’t subject ourselves to an extensive, monk-like experience in a cave, but I support the personal journey and self reflection. The Packers, though? They might be growing impatient.
Rodgers made offseason headlines last week when he escaped to a “darkness retreat” in Oregon, essentially isolating himself in a meditative sanctuary to gain perspective on his NFL future. Rodgers reportedly left Oregon yesterday, and now the NFL world awaits what is likely the next QB domino to fall this offseason.
What Did Rodgers Do Again?
The future Hall of Fame quarterback, now 39, went to the Sky Cave Retreat in Oregon to lock himself in a 300-square foot facility, complete with a queen bed, bathroom and meditation mat. Rodgers signed a 3-year, $150 million contract with the Packers last March, but he’s contemplating what’s next — return to Green Bay, request a trade or retire from football. The Jets and Raiders are rumored as the top potential landing spots should Green Bay trade their 10-time pro bowler. And after a week in darkness, Rodgers is now prominently in the spotlight.
What Comes Next?
The Rodgers decision has implications for the 2023 quarterback carousel that could see Derek Carr (Raiders), Jimmy Garropolo (49ers), Ryan Tannehill (Titans) and Lamar Jackson (Ravens) on the move. The franchise tag window is open and free agency begins in roughly three weeks (Mar. 15). It seems like a handful of QB-needy teams are waiting on the Rodgers news before locking down their signal-caller. Your move, Aaron.
Latest NFL Offseason Roster News
Titans Release OT Taylor Lewan & WR Robert Woods
Rams & LB Bobby Wagner to Part Ways After Year 1 of 5-Year Deal
Free Agent RB Miles Sanders Wants to Re-Sign With Eagles
QB Lamar Jackson & Ravens Prepared for Contract Standoff
NBC Sports: Darkness Retreat Over, Decision Time for Aaron Rodgers
ESPN+: Best Fits for Top 50 Available NFL Free Agents
B/R: Dream Offseason Trade Scenarios for Every NFL Team
USA Today: Six NFL Teams in Jeopardy of Crippling Setbacks During 2023 Offseason
The Dawn of Perfection
Women’s No. 1 South Carolina Rallies to Beat Tennessee (73-60) to Keep Perfect Season Alive (28-0)
Still perfect! The South Carolina women’s basketball team is now 28-0 after a comeback win at Tennessee in an SEC battle on Thursday night (73-60). The Gamecocks trailed the Vols by 10 in the first half before turning it on. Zia Cooke (19 points) caught fire to flip the scoreboard from 16-26 to 31-26 with a 15-0 run in the second quarter. Kierra Fletcher (15) and Aliyah Boston (11) added 26 points and Brea Beal (11-11-5) had a double-double. South Carolina is now 28-0 with one regular season game remaining (vs. Georgia, Sun. Noon ET). They’ve only had five games decided by single digits this season, including two overtime wins. With a title run next month, South Carolina and head coach Dawn Staley could go back-to-back and complete the first undefeated season since UConn in 2016 (38-0). Staley’s Gamecocks won it all in 2022 with a 35-2 record — now 63-2 in their last 65 games.
Is this the next UConn dynasty? Perfection awaits.
NCAA Women’s Scoreboard
#1 South Carolina def. Tennessee (73-60)
#3 Stanford def. #21 Colorado (73-62, 2OT)
#5 LSU def. Vanderbilt (82-63)
#8 Utah def. California (101-76)
#9 Virginia Tech def. #22 North Carolina (61-59)*
#10 Notre Dame def. Georgia Tech (76-53)
#11 Duke def. NC State (77-62)
Oregon def. #14 Arizona (73-59)
*Virginia Tech Escapes North Carolina With Buzzer-Beating Shot
NCAA Men’s Scoreboard
#12 Gonzaga def. San Diego (97-72)
Illinois def. #21 Northwestern (66-62)
We’ll unpack the conference standings and winners as they unfold next week. March is coming fast…
MLS Kickoff Primer
The 2023 MLS Season Begins This Weekend
More soccer? Yes, please. In the midst of Champions League drama, SheBelieves Cup and women’s World Cup preparations, the MLS regular season kicks off this weekend for a spring slate that will commence the 34-match sprint to the playoffs in October. It was Philadelphia and LAFC who stood tall above the league in 2022 before LAFC won the MLS Cup Final in penalty kicks (3-3, 3-0 PKs). And after a few offseason roster changes and the addition of St. Louis City SC — the 29th team and most recent expansion franchise — the odds for the 2023 MLS Cup still favor Philly and Los Angeles.
Top 2023 MLS Cup Odds
Philadelphia Union (+650)
LA Galaxy (+1000)
Nashville SC (+1000)
Others: Austin FC (+1100), Seattle Sounders (+1200), NY Red Bulls (+1600), FC Dallas (+1800), Atlanta United (+1800), CF Montreal (+1800), FC Cincinnati (+2000)
Opening Weekend Schedule
D.C. United at Toronto FC (Sat. 7:30 pm)
LA Galaxy at LAFC (Sat. 9:30 pm)
Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City (Sat. 10:30 pm)
Seattle Sounders at Colorado Rapids (Sun. 8:00 pm)
Full MLS Opening Weekend Schedule
Let’s get kicking!
MLS: Which MLS Teams Are Best Built to Win the Supporters’ Shield
Washington Post: The Starting XI: What to Know About the 2023 MLS Season
NBA: Jokic Breaks Magic’s Trip-Dub Win Record
A few 40-point performances and overtime thrillers highlighted the NBA’s return to action after the All-Star break last night, but Nikola Jokic’s 22nd triple-double of the season (24-18-13) in the Nuggets’ win over the Cavs (115-109). Denver has now won 25 straight games when Jokic stats a trip-dub, breaking Magic Johnson’s NBA record of 24 with the Lakers in the 80s.
NHL: McDavid & Oilers Hang 7 on Pens
After a rough stretch that included three straight OT losses in the last week, the Oilers are back on a two-game win streak after hanging seven on the Penguins last night (7-2) behind Conor McDavid’s four-point night (2 goals, 2 assists). McDavid also eclipsed his career-high for goals in a season (45) with 23 games to play.
The Must-Watch Calendar
Sports are constantly moving, and knowing when the biggest events are happening shouldn’t be a chore. The Sportsletter’s Must-Watch Calendar delivers a one-stop destination for users to see how each sport’s biggest events fit into their day simply by adding it to the place they check the most — their personal calendar. With the events added to your own Google calendar, you will be able to easily see when certain events occur, and it will be even easier to fit them into your busy schedule. If you read The Sportsletter each week, you’re familiar with our “Must-Watch List” on Fridays. It just got bigger and better.
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The Must-Watch List
The last weekend of February is basketball heavy. We’re eyeing all the big games in college hoops and watching closely as the NBA returns and Kevin Durant makes his Phoenix debut. The MLS is also back, and there’s a boxing match drawing attention on Sunday afternoon. Here’s what we’re watching:
Men: Arkansas at #2 Alabama (Sat. 2:00 pm)
Men: #8 Texas at #9 Baylor (Sat. 2:00 pm)
Men: West Virginia at #3 Kansas (Sat. 4:00 pm)
Men: #6 Virginia at North Carolina (Sat. 6:00 pm)
Men: #17 Indiana at #5 Purdue (Sat. 7:30 pm)
Men: #15 Saint Mary’s at #12 Gonzaga (Sat. 10:00 pm)
Women: #7 Maryland at #16 Ohio State (Fri. 6:00 pm)
Women: #3 Stanford at #8 Utah (Sat. 2:00 pm)
Women: #19 Texas at #13 Oklahoma (Sat. 2:00 pm)
Women: Georgia at #1 South Carolina (Sun. Noon)
Women: #10 Notre Dame at Louisville (Sun. Noon)
Women: #22 North Carolina at #11 Duke (Sun. Noon)
Women: #2 Indiana at #6 Iowa (Sun. 2:00 pm)
Heat at Bucks (Fri. 7:30 pm)
Nuggets at Grizzlies (Sat. 8:00 pm)
Celtics at 76ers (Sat. 8:30 pm)
Suns at Bucks (Sun. 1:00 pm)
Lakers at Mavericks (Sun. 3:30 pm)
Clippers at Nuggets (Sun. 10:00 pm)
Wild at Maple Leafs (Fri. 7:00 pm)
Avalanche at Jets (Fri. 8:00 pm)
Rangers at Capitals (Sat. 1:00 pm)
Stars at Golden Knights (Sat. 10:00 pm)
Lightning at Penguins (Sun. 6:00 pm)
SPA: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid (Sat. 12:30 pm)
MLS: LA Galaxy vs. LAFC (Sat. 9:30 pm)
EPL: Tottenham vs. Chelsea (Sun. 8:30 am)
FRA: PSG vs. Marseille (Sun. 2:45 pm)
Honda Classic (All Weekend)
Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury (Sun. 2:00 pm)
*All Times ET