Fun Fact of the Day: You probably already knew that college football team head coaches make boatloads of cash, but did you know that the top assistant coaches have insane salaries too? Alabama’s assistant coach Lane Kiffin makes a base salary of $1.4M and stands a chance of making a $306K bonus if Alabama takes the national title. What makes this even crazier? He’s the 3rd highest paid assistant coach at a public school.
More wheeling and dealing. Yesterday was Day 3 of the MLB Winter Meetings, aka that time of year when all the MLB team front offices get together and play real-life Let’s Make a Deal. Here were the biggest moves du jour:
- The NY Yankees signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a 5-year, $86M contract—the biggest ever for a relief pitcher. Chapman was on the Yankees just last year. They picked him up in a cheap trade because Chapman was embroiled in a ugly domestic violence incident, where he had yelled at his girlfriend and fired a gun into a concrete wall. Right before the playoffs the Yankees traded him to the Chicago Cubs for some top prospects. His 100+ mph pitches helped the Cubs win the World Series.
- The Kansas City Royals traded their All-Star closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for OF Jorge Soler. Davis was a big part the Royals’ World Series victory back in 2015. In exchange, the Royals are freeing up some cash and get Soler, who is has been a bit inconsistent but has a lot of potential at only 24-years-old.
- The Chicago White Sox traded CF Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals in exchange for 3 top pitching prospects. Eaton led the AL with 9 triples this season.
The Comeback, take 2. The Cleveland Browns are planning to start QB Robert Griffin III (“RGIII”) this week. It will be RGIII’s first game back since breaking his shoulder in Week 1. Let’s hope that he’s learned his lesson this time around. Throughout his career, RGIII has had a terrible habit of not protecting himself from big hits. Most QBs will slide at the end of runs to avoid getting hit but not RGIII, and it’s hurt his career in addition to his body. His performance has fallen a long way from his Rookie of the Year season back in 2012. Hopefully, he’ll be able to help the 0-12 Browns stage a comeback. The team is in danger of a winless season, and this week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals is their best chance for a win.
Make it worth my while. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is healthy again after tearing his meniscus in Week 2. But that doesn’t mean you should expect to see 2015’s rushing leader back on the field quite yet. Peterson said that he’d only play if the Vikings make the playoffs. Otherwise, he said playing would be “pointless.” Unfortunately, that means you probably shouldn’t hold your breath on a Peterson comeback. The Vikings’ record is moving in the wrong direction; they’ve lost 6 of their past 7 games.
Taggart, you’re it. Oregon hired South Florida's Willie Taggart as its next head football coach. Taggart’s a hot new commodity in the coaching game. He turned around South Florida’s program from a dismal 2-10 record just 4 seasons ago to this year’s 10-2 record—the best in the school’s history. Hopefully, he can do the same for Oregon, which sputtered to 4-8 this past season.
Seen and Heard
Flippin’ out. Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers blew out the NY Knicks 126-94. In the final minutes of the game, the Cavs were getting a little bored on the sidelines so they decided to liven things up by flipping a water bottle. For superstar athletes they were all surprisingly bad at it.
Oakland Raiders (10-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (9-3). Would you look at that? It’s actually a high-quality Thursday night football game! The Raiders are on top of the AFC West, but the Chiefs are just 1 game behind them. The last time these teams played was in October, and the Chiefs won. But since that game, the Raiders have won 6 straight games by an average margin of 9 points. 8:30pm ET on NBC