Monday, August 15, 2022

DK Metcalf is latest WR to get paid big bucks, plus Aaron Judge ties clutch Mickey Mantle record

Happy Friday, everyone! Another week down.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

DK METCALF…

It’s been a good offseason for the wallets of top wide receivers. DK Metcalf is the latest to take advantage. The Seahawks star inked a 3-year, $72-million extension tying him to Seattle through 2025.

  • The deal includes a $30-million signing bonus, the largest ever for a wide receiver. Over $58 million of the $72 million is guaranteed. The $24 million per year is sixth-highest among wide receivers.
  • Metcalf has 3,170 receiving yards and 29 receiving touchdowns since entering the league in 2019. The only other players to hit those marks over that span are Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill and Mike Evans.
  • Metcalf joins *deep breath* Adams, Kupp, Hill, Stefon Diggs, Mike Williams, Chris Godwin, DJ Moore, Christian Kirk and fellow 2019 draftees A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin as notable wide receivers to get a big contract this offseason.

While expectations are down this year in Seattle as Drew Lock and Geno Smith battle to be named Russell Wilson‘s successor, this is a great deal for Metcalf. He will be in Seattle long enough to see the franchise’s long-term quarterback plans (the 2023 draft class is loaded, by the way), and if things don’t go well in that department, he’ll hit free agency again at just 27 years old.

Attention now turns to Deebo Samuel, who is “holding in” just like Metcalf was. Samuel is at 49ers training camp but not participating until he gets a new deal. Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson, also seeking a new contract, is practicing on a limited basis.

… AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO AARON JUDGE

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USATSI

After getting swept by the Mets, the Yankees needed a spark. Aaron Judge went 0-for-5 in Wednesday’s loss and he needed a spark, too. Good thing for both parties, that spark came at the exact right time.

Judge hit a towering walk-off solo home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 win over the Royals last night.

  • Judge’s homer was just the Yankees’ second hit of the game.
  • It’s Judge’s third walk-off home run this season, tying Mickey Mantle (1959) for most by a Yankee in a single season.
  • It’s Judge’s 39th home run of the season, most in MLB.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

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RYAN JENSEN, TOM BRADY AND THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Buccaneers were already dealing with replacing two starters from last year’s offensive line. Now, Tom Brady will have to get acquainted with another new starter. Center Ryan Jensen suffered what’s believed to be a “serious” knee injury in yesterday’s practice and had to be carted off the field.

  • Jensen was named to his first Pro Bowl last season after allowing just two sacks. He signed a 3-year extension this offseason.
  • Jensen has played in every game since joining the Buccaneers in 2018.
  • Tampa Bay already lost both of last year’s starting guards this offseason. Alex Cappa signed with the Bengals and Ali Marpet retired.

It may take some time for Jensen’s official diagnosis, but any time he misses will be a major blow for the Buccaneers, whose first four games are at the Cowboys, at the Saints, against the Packers and against the Chiefs.

Not so honorable mentions

The Angels won’t trade Shohei Ohtani… right? ⚾

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We know it’s been a rough week (well, really, a rough past two months), Angels fans, but don’t freak out quite yet. The Angels are “extremely unlikely” to trade Shohei Ohtani… but they are at least fielding calls regarding the reigning AL MVP, according to reports.

  • Ohtani, 27, was named an All Star as both a pitcher and batter for the second straight season. He is making just $5.5 million this season. He is set to be a free agent after next season.
  • As we discussed in yesterday’s newsletter, the Angels are nowhere near contending (and likely won’t be next year either), and they now have to deal with Mike Trout‘s rare back condition.

Again, let me emphasize that a trade remains extremely unlikely. Ohtani is a magnificent talent — a true superstar doing things we’ve never seen done before. But given the situation, it’s worth it for the Angels to at least think about it, writes MLB guru Matt Snyder.

  • Snyder: “We’ve got to consider how good Ohtani is both at hitting and pitching. He’s already unique there. Then there’s how little money he makes compared to how productive he is. There’s the extra year of team control, so he’s not a ‘rental,’ but it’s only one more year before he’s a free agent. The Angels are terrible and not looking much like a team ready to contend in 2023, either, so that’s another factor. Ohtani has expressed his desire, multiple times, to play for a winner.”

Cardinals remove that odd stipulation from Kyler Murray‘s contract 🏈

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What started as a unique contract stipulation has turned into a heated topic for Kyler Murray — and an awkward situation for the Arizona Cardinals. Murray, whose 5-year, $230.5-million contract extension included a film study requirement, held an impromptu press conference yesterday that raised plenty of eyebrows.

The Cardinals then proceeded to remove the clause in the contract late last night, saying it was “perceived in ways that were never intended.” How exactly were we supposed to perceive it, then? Anyway, who is Murray trying to convince? His teammates? His coaches? The front office? The fans? The media? Himself?

Murray’s approach has not been a good one, pens NFL insider Jonathan Jones, who was at the press conference. Maybe the drama finally ends here, now that the clause has been removed. Given how the last few months have gone, though, that’s far from guaranteed.

What we’re watching this weekend 📺

We’re watching the NWSL all weekend. And also…

Friday

🏀 Aces at Fever, 7 p.m. on NBA TV

🏀 Liberty at Sky, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Saturday

🏀 Storm at Mystics, Noon on ESPN

Brewers at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. on FS1

Twins at Padres, Cardinals at Nationals or Phillies at Pirates, 7:15 p.m. on FOX

Rangers at Angels, 9:07 p.m. on FS1

Sunday

🏀 Sky at Sun, 1 p.m. on NBA TV

🏀 Mercury at Liberty, 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Cubs at Giants, 7 p.m. on ESPN

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