Hpy Monday! Welcome back to the grinder after a beautiful eventful sports weekend for better or worse. My hockey fans are probably still trying to treat The NHL’s chaotic spectacle that went down by Lake Tahoe over the last few days and I will give my thoughts on this shortly (spoiler: It was a mess, but I absolutely loved it.)
Before we get to that, we need to talk a little bit about some of the unexpected big name veterans who could join the NFL-free agency class. We also have some potential moves on Panthers’ interest in Deshaun Watson.
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Hope you enjoyed your weekend, but now it’s time to get back to business. Wipe the sleepy ones away and get comfortable with me in these trenches. We have another big week ahead of us, so let’s start it properly.
📰 What you need to know
The NHL has a wild, chaotic stay at Lake Tahoe 🏒
Even during an uneven pandemic-shortened season, the NHL still found time to bring its product outdoors this past weekend. The league had to cancel its annual tent Winter Classic event this year, however The NHL successfully held (semi) two outdoor games without fans at Lake Tahoe this weekend to compensate for that, and it was quite eventful … and chaotic … few days in scenic Nevada.
It was not the smoothest or most well-executed event the NHL has ever held, but in the end it was a very cool and unique weekend of hockey. Yes, for sure, we see lots of outdoor games now and you can say they have become too gimmicky or watered down, but this one was unlike any of the previous offers from the league.
Was the nine-hour delay on Saturday a terrible look at the league during a tent event? Absolutely, but in the end it allowed us to experience outdoor hockey after midnight and it was absolutely weird and unforgettable I can get behind. And honestly, I did not miss the fans over the weekend either.
While it’s hard to imagine the NHL passing on the fan revenue that comes from these outdoor games in a normal year, it would be very cool if they did more “retreat” type events like this. Multiple teams involved over a weekend … playing games during the day and at night … making the experience campy. That would be amazing. All in all – the beautiful scenery, the chaos, the uniqueness – this may have been my favorite outdoor event yet.
Stiff yourself up for the 2021 NFL free agency 🏈
We’ve already had something crazy across the NFL already this offseason, but you better think things get a lot weirder and crazier the closer we get to free agency. There is a good chance that we will start to see an increased effort in the coming weeks NFL teams can place franchise tags on players from tomorrow through March 9th (Last year, 14 franchise tags and 1 transition tag were placed on players.)
But because this is the NFL, and the salary c always causes injuries every offseason, we can also see teams choosing to separate from expensive veterans. There is a number of big name veterans who could unexpectedly get into free agent gather this offseason, including several quarterbacks:
- Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers: The 49ers do not appear to be in love with Jimmy G and they may consider upgrading to QB position this offseason. If they can do it, we can see them directly cut Garoppolo to clear $ 23.6 million from their books
- Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers: Carolina is only a year deep with Bridgewater under center, but their owner wants parental to become more aggressive and daring at QB. Cutting Bridgewater would only save them $ 2.9 million this year, but would clear more than $ 20 million in 2022
- Alex Smith, Washington: Smith won this year’s comeback player – which was more about the story and less about his performance. They have inked Taylor Heinicke for an extension and it looks like there is a strong chance that WFT chooses to save $ 14.7 million to move on from Smith
Of course, it’s not just quarterbacks who could pack their bags so you can find the rest of Cody Benjamin’s cost-saving list right here. We all know that the NFL can sometimes be a cruel business, even when it comes to guys who have been around for a while and have done a lot of good things in the league. This is often the time of year when we are reminded of it when some popular names are cut loose.
3. Are the Panthers preparing a push against Deshaun Watson? 🏈
Remember last week when our Jason La Canfora told you that Carolina Panthers should be a sleeping cabin in Deshaun Watson competitions? I hope you are not still sleeping on them because it bulbs as if Carolina is preparing to run on the Texans’ disgruntled QB.
- They released Kawann Short (clearing $ 9.822 million in c-room), Three Boston ($ 3.5 million) and several others
- Carolina also converted part of downtown Matt Paradis’ base salary for a signature bonus that added nearly $ 4.7 million in c-rum
- The Panthers have cleared an additional $ 25.7 million in c-space over the past week alone. They have it now nearly $ 40 million in space under c to work on this offseason
All of this does not necessarily guarantee that the Panthers will land Watson, but it does indicate quite clearly that they can do something … and it can be something big. For anyone who likes to connect the dots:
Hmmm … draw your own conclusions there, I suppose. If they are not preparing to run a serious race for Deshaun, they are doing a job of throwing out red herrings and playing with our emotions.
4. Max Homa surpasses Tony Finau in the playoffs on the Riviera 🏌
If you did not catch the end of 2021 Genesis Invitational on the Riviera yesterday, you missed a wild ride. Max Homa took home the victory (the second of his career) but he had an absolute roller coaster experience to get there. Here’s what happened:
- After smashing his tee shot on the 18th hole, Homa hit a beautiful baby pull that came to rest approx. 40 inches away from the cup
- Homa just needed it sink the short putt to win the event but his putt fell out and he headed for a playoff with Tony Finau
- On the first playoff hole, Huma’s tee shot came to rest right against a tree. He then hit a miraculous chip and somehow made a 4 to force another playoff hole
- Finau shot the second playoff hole and Homa won by a pair
It was a creepy and captivating last few holes, and it’s probably safe to say that a whole lot of people escaped a sigh of relief when Homa eventually took home W after his brutal finish to 18. Seeing him recover and hanging on was pretty satisfying, especially when he broke down and got emotional during the post-win interview. It definitely meant a ton to him, so congratulations on the big day – even if it was a little unnecessarily dramatic.
📝 Odds and ends
📺 What to see tonight
🏀 Grizzlies vs MagicKl. 20.30 | DAL -196 | TV: League Pass
15 Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma StateKl. 21.00 OKS +3 | TV: ESPN
🏒 Golden Knights Vs. AvalancheKl. 21.00 COL -135 | TV: ESPN +
🏀 Oregon vs. No. 17 USCKl. 21.00 USC -4 | TV: FS1
🥇 The best I saw yesterday
Before yesterday’s Bruins-Flyers game at Lake Tahoe, Boston players showed up to the rink throughout 90s clothing – including neon suits, belt bags, nostalgic accessories and more. It was huge.