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Good morning. I tried a bunch of different jokes and they all fell flat. Instead, let’s try this.
- Nathan
In today's Sprint:
🏈  Franchise tags
⚽️  Ronaldo out
🏒  New deal
Trivia: What NHL goalie was traded three times in the same offseason, and twice for the same player?
  1. Dominik Hasek
  2. Stephane Beauregard
  3. Christian Ruuttu
  4. Marc-André Fleury

NFL
You're It
With the NFL salary cap dropping as fast as tech stocks earlier this week, teams are cutting players at an alarming rate. Notable names such as Alex Smith, Golden Tate, and Malcolm Butler have been cut loose to save cap space.
Enter the franchise tag
The franchise tag, which basically means the team and player couldn’t come to a long term agreement, had to be used by yesterday afternoon.
It’s designed as a win-win. By signing the tag, the player agrees to a one-year fully guaranteed deal valued at the prior year average of the top five salaries at their position. For the team, the tag provides more time to negotiate by keeping the player around for another year.
Stars receiving the tag:
  • WR Chris Godwin (Bucs)
  • S Marcus Maye (Jets)
  • WR Allen Robinson (Bears)
Stars not receiving the tag:
  • WR Kenny Golladay (Lions)
  • RB Aaron Jones (Packers)
  • LB Shaq Barrett (Bucs)
Barrett and Jones stated their desire to return to their respective teams. Golladay, on the other hand, wants out of Detroit and will enter free agency as the best wide receiver available.
Tying it all together: Introduced for the 1994 NFL season, the salary cap almost always increases. In fact, it has only decreased one time - 2011, the year of the NFL lockout.
Given the financial somersaults required of many teams to comply with the lower cap, this year saw only nine players tagged.

SPORTS MEDIA
He's Back
The most controversial, pot-stirring extraordinaire in sports media now makes more annually than Luka Doncic.
Yep, Skip Bayless just got extended with Fox Sports to the tune of 4 years, $32 million.
What’s the tea?
ESPN made Skip an offer to reunite with former co-star and good friend Stephen A. Smith. But, what ESPN did not do, is offer Skip a spot on First Take. Instead, they wanted him to host an ESPN+ show and do a halftime segment for Monday Night Football.
Skip decided to stay with Fox and co-host Shannon Sharpe on their show Undisputed. It’s rumored he’s prepping for a solo show, as well.
Zoom out: Pat McAfee called it ‘great f***ing news’ for sports personalities. We could not agree more.
Fox Sports isn’t just paying for Skip. It's also paying for his 3 million Twitter followers, 420K Instagram followers, and the massive attention he drives to Undisputed’s YouTube channel.
Say what you will about him, Skip just changed the game for sports personalities.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
Champions League - Round of 16, Aggregate
FC Porto 4 vs. Juventus 4
  • Away goals decided this thriller. As Juve only scored one goal at Porto, and Porto scored two goals at Juve, Porto won via the tiebreaker.
  • For the second straight Champions League season, Ronaldo’s Juve has been upset in the Round of 16.
Dortmund 5 vs. Sevilla 4
  • After bullying Sevilla defenders to score one goal and slotting home a penalty, Dortmund’s Erling Haaland passed Kylian Mbappe to become the youngest player to score 20 Champions League goals. He's 20.
College Basketball - Men’s
WCC Final: (26-0) #1 Gonzaga 88 vs. (20-6) BYU 78
  • Freshman Jalen Suggs (23 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast) led the Zags back from a halftime deficit to complete an undefeated regular season.
  • Fun fact: Gonzaga has won 23 straight games by double digits.
College Basketball - Women’s
WCC Final: (23-3) #16 Gonzaga 43 vs. (18-5) BYU 42
  • Jill Townsend and the Zags broke BYU’s heart with a buzzer-beater to win the WCC Final. Unfortunately for BYU, they were 0-2 against Gonzaga last night.
NHL
(18-6-1) Carolina Hurricanes 3 vs. (11-14-1) Nashville Predators 2 - OT
  • The Hurricanes are riding a 7-game win streak and have blown through any team outside of Tampa Bay this year.

WEDNESDAY WATCHLIST
Champions League - Round of 16, Second Leg
PSG vs. Barcelona - 3:00 ET on Paramount+
  • PSG leads 4-1 on aggregate
Liverpool vs. RB Leipzig - 3:00 ET on Paramount+
  • Liverpool leads 2-0 on aggregate
College Basketball - Men’s
ACC 2nd Round: Duke (12-11) vs. Louisville (13-6) - 6:30 ET on ACCN
Big 12 1st Round: #25 Oklahoma (14-9) vs. Iowa State (2-21) - 9:30 ET on ESPN
College Basketball - Women’s
#20 South Florida (16-3) vs. Tulane (17-7) - 5:30 ET on ESPN+
NHL
Las Vegas Golden Knights (16-5-1) vs. Minnesota Wild (14-8-1) - 7:00 ET on NBCSN
LA Kings (10-8-6) vs. Anaheim Ducks (8-12-6) - 9:30 ET on NBCSN

WATER COOLER TALK
🏈  Rob Gronkowski is the first professional athlete to launch his own NFT (digital trading cards) collection. In true 2021 fashion, he’ll only accept payment in cryptocurrency.
🏒  The NHL signed a seven-year deal with ESPN for the league’s U.S. media rights package.
🏀  The Miami Heat announced Myers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely after using an anti-Semitic slur on a Twitch livestream.
🏀  Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, and Yolanda Griffith headline the 14 finalists for the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
📺  An ESPN Colombia anchor had a wall fall on him. Thankfully, he is okay!

TRIVIA ANSWER
B. Stephane Beauregard was traded from Winnipeg to Buffalo to Chicago then back to Winnipeg in the 1992 offseason. He was traded for Ruuttu in both transactions with Winnipeg.
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