Fun Fact of the Day: Shooting 3-pointers is so hot right now, but one player is not on board with the trend. LeBron James was shooting 35.4% from behind the arc last season, but is now shooting only 28.4%.
We won’t stand for that. NY Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will be suspended for the first 30 games of the season under MLB’s new domestic violence policy. This past fall, Chapman denied assaulting his girlfriend, but admitted that they had an argument about something she found on his phone. He got mad and fired gunshots into a concrete wall in his garage. Chapman agreed that probably wasn’t the best way to handle things and won’t appeal the decision. The Yankees will miss Chapman, who has the fastest recorded pitch in history at 105 mph and the 50 fastest pitches last season.
Please, don’t leave me. Yesterday was the franchise tag deadline so we saw a lot of teams say, Tag, you're it! to their best players. Don’t have a clue what that means? Here are your franchise tag basics. Each team can tag 1 player with an expiring contract to force him to stay for 1 additional year. He’s paid the greater of 120% of his previous salary or the average of the top 5 salaries for his position. Players don’t like getting tagged because it keeps them from raking in the $$$ they would get in free agency and they prefer the security of long-term deals. Fortunately, the tag only goes into effect after July 15, so there is still a chance that these players can get their teams to commit to longer-term contracts.
Yesterday, these tags made the biggest news:
- Denver Broncos tagged Super Bowl 50’s MVP Von Miller. No surprise here. Miller was killing it all season, including sacking Panthers QB Cam Newton 2.5 times during the big game.
- Carolina Panthers tagged star corner and “Dark Knight” Josh Norman. Norman is already 28 so he’s looking for a long-term contract because this could be his last chance at a big pay day.
- Washington Redskins tagged QB Kirk Cousins. Kirk helped lead the Redskins to the NFC East title and revitalized the fanbase with his “You like that!” catchphrase. But some think tagging him might be a too much too soon because this was his first full season as a starting QB. With the tag, he’ll be making nearly $20M next year, more than some other QBs you may have heard of like Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson.
- Buffalo Bills tagged offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and decided to release defensive end Mario Williams, who was a 4x Pro Bowler but dropped off over the past year under new head coach Rex Ryan.
Who else is going to stick around? The Philadelphia Eagles decided to re-sign QB Sam Bradford to a 2-year deal worth up to $40M. He wasn’t great last year, but we’ll see how he does under a new coach with Chip Kelly gone.
Spotlight on Michigan State
Michigan State is tearing it up on the court! Here’s our spotlight, so know you what to watch for in tonight’s game against Rutgers and as you fill out your bracket next week!
What are their strengths? The Spartans started off the season with a 13-0 start and were ranked #1 in the nation for 4-straight weeks (the longest of any team this year). They looked a little iffy when their best player Denzel Valentine was injured, but they’ve made that a distant memory by winning 8 of their past 9 games. And boy do they look good. They have a bunch of quality wins, beating Kansas, Maryland, Louisville, Indiana, Wisconsin, Providence, and Florida.
What are their weaknesses? Their second leading scorer Bryn Forbes can be really hot or really cold. From 3-point range he hits 16% in Michigan State losses and 54.9% in wins.
Who should I watch out for? Denzel Valentine, who is in the conversation for National Player of the Year. He leads the team in scoring (19.6 pts/game), assists (7.2), and rebounding (7.6). Also, keep an eye out for Matt Costello who is impressive on the boards.
Seen and Heard
Looking sharp. You know Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson for his ability to make plays on the field and his squeaky-clean, celibate image off the field. Now, he wants you to know him for his fashion sense. Yesterday, Russell launched the Good Man clothing brand. Each purchase donates $3 to Russell’s Why Not You Foundation. Caring and looking good come at a price. T-shirts start at $76. Ouch.