Happy Friday everyone, we’ve made it to another weekend. It’s Chris Bengel back with you once again. We’ve got plenty of exciting news to get to in the NFL ranks, while Major League Baseball returned to play on Thursday.
Let’s dive right into it!
Good morning to everyone but especially to…
Throughout the offseason, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray made it clear that he wanted a contract extension. On Thursday, Murray’s wish was granted as he agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension worth $230.5 million ($160 million guaranteed).
Murray will now be in a Cardinals uniform through the 2028 season. The contract makes the 24-year old the league’s second-highest paid quarterback, annually, behind Green Bay Packers signal caller Aaron Rodgers. Murray is coming off of a season in which he completed a career-best 69.2 percent of his passes to go along with 24 passing touchdowns and five touchdowns on the ground.
Popular topic that has arisen in the wake of the Murray deal is what will become of Lamar Jackson and his negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens on a contract extension. CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones wrote that he doesn’t believe that Murray’s extension has much bearing on the type of deal that Jackson could be looking for. Instead, Jones thinks that Jackson should be aiming to top Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s fully-guaranteed $230 million deal from earlier in the offseason.
- Jones: “But I don’t get the sense that Murray’s deal necessarily impacts Jackson, as many have said in the hours since the initial Murray numbers were reported. Jackson, a former unanimous NFL MVP with two playoff appearances and one playoff win, should still be aiming to match and top Watson’s guaranteed deal. That should still be the bar for Jackson.”
Jackson is currently in the final year of his contract and slated to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2022 season. The fifth-year quarterback has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league. During his negotiations with the Ravens, it’s extremely likely that Jackson will be striving to be one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.
And not such a good morning for…
Veteran starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel is having a season to forget. For the second time in 2022, Keuchel has been designated for assignment, this time by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In four starts with the Diamondbacks, the 34-year old left-hander produced an 0-2 record to go along with a 9.64 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP. Keuchel yielded at least seven runs in two of those starts, including surrendering eight runs on eight hits in just 2 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants last week. Earlier this season with the Chicago White Sox, Keuchel posted a 2-5 record and a 7.88 ERA in eight starts.
Despite Keuchel’s struggles, the 2015 American League Cy Young winner isn’t exactly over the hill, so he could easily be picked up by another team down the road.
Three questions each NFC South team will have to answer 🏈
In non-contract news, the 2022 NFL season is right around the corner. Teams are starting to report to training camp as they prepare for the upcoming campaign.
The NFC South has been dominated by the New Orleans Saints as of late with four division titles over the past five years. However, with Drew Brees retiring following the 2020 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to win the NFC South in 2021. Now the Buccaneers will be looking to repeat as division champions with Tom Brady returning for his 23rd NFL season after a brief retirement.
CBS Sports NFL writer Patrik Walker previewed the division by taking a look at three burning questions that NFC South teams will need to answer this season.
- Panthers – Is Mayfield the answer for the future?: “Once he is firmly in the driver’s seat, the onus is on Mayfield to prove he’s everything Darnold isn’t: a former first-round pick who is still worth the price of admission. He’ll get an early chance at not only making waves, but creating a full-on storm surge, because his first opponent will be the very same Cleveland Browns who traded him away to the Panthers after making a blockbuster trade (and then awarding a historic contract) for Deshaun Watson while Mayfield was still on the roster (ouch).”
- Buccaneers – Can Tom Brady do it again?: “I mean, let’s be real here for a second. This is Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. we’re talking about. The very same one who helped turn the New England Patriots into a dynasty before leaving to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win a Super Bowl ring in his first year with the club, and despite the challenges presented by a raging COVID-19 pandemic. And yes, the very same one with seven Super Bowl rings and five Super Bowl MVP honors. Still, the question needs to be asked, seeing as Brady retired this offseason (only to unretire) and remains noncommittal about 2023 and beyond, and he’s shown recent vulnerability in losing to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams on his own field in January. Toss in a swap at head coach and, well, it’s not all exactly as it was in 2020.”
- Saints – Is Michael Thomas still a force to be reckoned with?: “Which Michael Thomas will the NFL see in 2022? Will it be the record-setting All-Pro who absolutely owned the league in his prime, or the one who struggles to knock off rust after playing in only five games over the last two seasons due to injury? Will it be the one who’s completely bought in with the Saints, or the one still carrying a grudge from how the final two seasons he spent with Sean Payton devolved?
- Falcons – Can they be competitive in 2022?: “This coming season will mark the first time the Falcons have not had Matt Ryan as their franchise quarterback since he took over as a rookie in 2008, the previous season having been one of the most controversial and disappointing in the history of the organization — led by Bobby Petrino headlines only one season after the Michael Vick dogfighting revelation. Ryan went on to not only become league MVP in his career, but to also become the longest-tenured quarterback in Falcons history, a legend in Atlanta who is now readying to suit up for the Colts in 2022.”
The NFC South was going to be wide-open after Brady announced his retirement. However, that was extremely short-lived as Brady only stayed retired for 40 days. The Saints certainly could challenge for the division crown if quarterback Jameis Winston can stay healthy and Michael Thomas gets back on track. Still, it’ll be an uphill battle if star running back Alvin Kamara ends up getting suspended for multiple games due to being arrested for battery during Pro Bowl weekend.
MLB power rankings ⚾
As the second half of the 2022 Major League Baseball season gets underway, it’s worth looking at where the entire league stands. CBS Sports MLB scribe Matt Snyder outlined a forecast for the MLB pecking order with his latest edition of the Power Rankings.
As Snyder notes, the league is very top-heavy. When the dust settles on the regular season, we could see four 100-win teams this season in the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Mets. As should come as no surprise, those are the top four teams in Snyder’s power rankings as the second half begins.
For the rest of the top 10, take a look at how Snyder sees the MLB landscape.
- 1. Dodgers
- 2. Yankees
- 3. Astros
- 4. Mets
- 5. Braves
- 6. Rays
- 7. Mariners
- 8. Blue Jays
- 9. Red Sox
- 10. Padres
The Yankees had been the best team in baseball throughout the majority of the season. However, The Bronx Bombers have won just seven of their past 15 games, including splitting a doubleheader with the Astros on Thursday. Prior to the season, many believed that the Dodgers were the team to beat, and they’re starting to play like it. The Dodgers won four consecutive games heading into the All-Star break and with a star-studded lineup, they could be the favorite to win the World Series this year.
Forecasting a potential Juan Soto trade ⚾
Last weekend, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension offer from the team. As a result, it’s expected that the Nationals will look to trade the All-Star outfielder, who is just 23 years old.
It’s unclear what the Nationals’ timetable is to get a deal done involving Soto. Soto won’t be eligible for free agency until 2025, so any team that were to acquire his services would have time to come to terms on an extension.
With this latest Soto news dominating baseball headlines, CBS Sports baseball writers R.J. Anderson, Dayn Perry, Mike Axisa, and Matt Snyder debated when a deal could come to fruition and what teams are positioned to potentially acquire him. There was a divide as to when Soto could be dealt.
- Anderson: “It would take a lot of work for a deal to come together between now and Aug 2. As such, this feels like an offseason trade to me. The top three teams I identified as potential landing spots were the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Yankees. I think the Cardinals can offer the most talent, prospect and big-league variety, but it’s always hard to bet against Andrew Friedman when it comes to impact talent. Is it cheating to say either the Cardinals or Dodgers? Probably, but we make the rules here.”
- Perry: “I think the Cardinals can offer the most alluring package of prospects and cost-controlled young talent, and this is the kind if impact trade for which they’ve shown a knack throughout recent history. For the sake of variety, I’ll say it goes down before the upcoming deadline.”
The Nationals certainly don’t need to be in a rush to get a potential Soto deal done. Since he’s got a few more years under team control, perhaps Washington attempts to return to the negotiation table once again in the hopes of re-signing the generational talent.
Soto will fetch a king’s ransom regardless of where he ends up being traded. If the Nationals eventually do move him, they’ll be getting several top prospects in exchange for him.
What we’re watching this weekend 📺
⚾ Padres at Mets, 7:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
⚾ Guardians at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
⚾ Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. on MLB Network
⚾ Guardians at White Sox, 1:10 p.m. on FS1
⚾ Astros at Mariners, 4:10 p.m. on Fox
🏀 Sparks at Aces, 10 p.m. on NBATV
⚾ Blue Jays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. on MLB.TV
🏀 Dream at Storm , 6 p.m. on NBATV
⚾ Padres at Mets, 7:08 p.m. on ESPN