Happy Friday! Deshaun Watson formally requested a trade yesterday. Thankfully, it wasn’t on the Robinhood app.
In today's Sprint:
- 🏀 All that jazz
- 🏈 QBs on the move
- 🎾 New team owner
Which tennis player won the men's singles Australian Open title in 2011?
- Roger Federer
- Novak Djokovic
- Rafael Nadal
- Andy Murray
The unheralded Utah Jazz are leading the entire league with a 14-4 record, meaning owner Ryan Smith will be donating at least 14 college scholarships.
(14-4) Utah Jazz vs. (8-10) Dallas Mavericks - Fri. 1/29, 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
- With Donovan Mitchell (23.4 pts, 4.9 ast, 4.4 reb) in concussion protocol, the Jazz will be shorthanded against Luka Doncic (27.4, 9.7 ast, 9.4 reb) and the Mavs.
(6-10) New Orleans Pelicans vs. (11-6) Milwaukee Bucks - Fri. 1/29, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Beating the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.8 pts, 5.6 ast, 11.0 reb) will be a tough task for the Pelicans.
(14-6) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (10-7) Boston Celtics - Sat. 1/30, 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
- Jayson Tatum (26.5 pts, 3.8 ast, 6.8 reb) is back, giving the Celtics plenty of firepower to take down the Lakers.
(14-3) #9 Alabama vs. (10-4) #24 Oklahoma - Sat. 1/30, 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Stat of the day: The Sooners are the first team since 1996 to play six top-10 teams in one calendar month.
(11-2) #8 Virginia vs. (12-3) #20 Virginia Tech - Sat. 1/30, 6:00 p.m. ET on ACCN
- After a rough start to the year, UVA has been on a tear, winning its last seven games. Yes, the Cavaliers are still the defending champions.
(11-5) #15 Kansas vs. (11-3) #18 Tennessee - Sat. 1/30, 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
- In a game between two struggling teams, the loser may lose its spot in the top-25.
(11-3) #5 Texas vs. (5-10) Kentucky - Sat. 1/30, 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Texas may win by 40. We’re here for it.
Deshaun Watson’s formal trade request did not come as a surprise. But if he wants to leave Houston, he may have to force the team’s hand. If he holds out, it’ll cost him:
- $95,877 - the fine for sitting out minicamp
- $50,000 - the fine for each day of training camp he misses
- $620,000 - the fine for sitting out a preseason game
- $21.6 million - the money he will have to pay if he chooses to retire
While there is little to no chance Deshaun retires, the no-trade clause in his $156 million contract means he will only be dealt to a team of his choosing. He may have options, as reports say over half of all teams have called about his availability.
This offseason will likely feature a historic number of starting quarterbacks on the move. They fall into one of four categories:
Staying put: Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff
- In a surprisingly honest take, Rams’ coach Sean McVay said, “he’s the quarterback right now” about Jared Goff. Goff may play backup to John Wolford in 2021, but no team will want to take on his four-year, $134 million contract which takes effect this year.
On the trade block: Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz
- The NFL is slowly becoming a player driven league, and these stars will provide immediate value to quarterback needy teams while netting their old squads much needed draft capital.
Cap casualties: Jimmy Garoppolo, Teddy Bridgewater, Ben Roethlisberger
- Big Ben expects to be back in Pittsburgh, and so does his $41 million cap hit. Pittsburgh has to decide if it wants to keep its defensive core or its long-time signal caller as they try to stay competitive in the tough AFC North.
Next year’s backup: Cam Newton, Mitchell Trubisky, Ryan Fitzpatrick
- The right signing could provide a low-cost option for a team looking for a high-quality backup QB or someone to start while a 2021 draft-pick gets his bearings.
WATER COOLER TALK
- 🏈 Coach “Riverboat” Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team has been declared cancer-free. He battled squamous cell carcinoma throughout this past NFL season.
- 🏈 Chiefs’ receiver Tyreek Hill said this about offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, “He’s that kind of dude. He wants to get better and he wants to become a head coach. His time will come.” At some point, a team will get itself a heck of a coach in Bieniemy.
- ⚽ Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-1 to reclaim a spot in the Premier League’s top-4.
- ⚾ Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is returning to play in Japan after completing a seven-season, $155 million deal with the Yankees.
- 🏒 The NHL borrowed $1 billion to help combat lost revenue due to COVID-19, offering each team up to $30 million for financial issues.
- 🎾 23-year-old tennis star Naomi Osaka invested in the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, becoming a team owner. Forbes named her the highest-paid female athlete last year, raking in $37.4 million.
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B. Novak Djokovic won the 2011 men's Australian Open, defeating Andy Murray in three sets.