Happy Thursday morning sports fans. It’s Chris Bengel filling in for my colleague Zachary Pereles, and we’ve got plenty of news across the sports landscape, including preparing for the 2022 NFL season.
Let’s not waste any more time and dive right into the news!
Good morning to everyone but especially to…
The Trey Lance era is slated to begin in the Bay Area as the San Francisco 49ers are ready to move on on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. On Wednesday, the franchise gave Garoppolo’s agents permission to seek a trade, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones. While Garoppolo can attempt to facilitate a trade, the 49ers have informed his representation that teams may not want to trade for the veteran signal caller until his injured shoulder is completely healed.
- Garoppolo has been cleared to start practicing after 49ers players reported to training camp on Tuesday
- If a team trades for Garoppolo, that club would then take on his non-guaranteed salary for the 2022 season and could work out a contract extension if they so choose
- The Seattle Seahawks are reportedly interested in Garoppolo, but don’t have the cap space to absorb the quarterback’s current contract. Additionally, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry notes that the Cleveland Browns are the only team that is in a position to take on Garoppolo’s full salary since they have $49 million in cap space — the very same Cleveland Browns that signed Deshaun Watson to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract earlier this offseason.
The Seahawks are certainly the franchise that could use Garoppolo’s services the most. As Seattle begins training camp, there will be a battle between Drew Lock and Geno Smith for the starting job. Garoppolo would clearly be an upside over either of those two options, but Seattle doesn’t have the cap space.
The Browns could be interested in Garoppolo’s services depending on how long of a suspension Watson receives. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks. Additional teams could be interested in Garoppolo if a starting quarterback were to get injured during the preseason.
And not such a good morning for…
EUROPE’S 2023 RYDER CUP TEAM
Henrik Stenson became the latest golfer to defect to the LIV Golf Invitational Series when he made the announcement on Wednesday. The Swedish golfer’s decision also affects his status for the 2023 Ryder Cup. As a result of joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series, Stenson has been removed as the captain for Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup team.
Some of the sport’s biggest names have joined LIV Golf, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Dustin Johnson. Stenson joins Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood as European golfers that have already jumped ship to the new tour.
- “In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfill certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe that he had committed to prior to his announcement as captain on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, and it is therefore not possible for him to continue in the role of captain,” Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement.
- “While I disagree with this decision, for now it is a decision that I accept,” Stenson wrote in a social media post. “I have huge respect and admiration for the Ryder Cup and those individuals behind it who I know are doing their utmost to act in the best interests of the historic event. I want to thank everyone I have worked with to date to prepare for Rome in 2023, I am hugely disappointed to not be allowed to continue in my role but wish you all the best in your ongoing preparations.”
Cameron Smith, who won The Open Championship this past weekend, is reportedly in talks to join LIV Golf. Shortly after winning The Open Championship on Sunday, Smith was asked to comment on what his plans are when it comes to LIV Golf, and he chose to not answer the question.
Burning questions that NFC North teams must answer 🏈
The 2022 NFL season is right around the corner as teams are starting to to their respective training camps over the next week. As the regular season draws closer, several NFL teams will have specific questions that they’ll have to answer when it comes to their roster for the 2022 campaign.
CBS Sports NFL writer Jeff Kerr took a closer look at the NFC North and discussed three burning questions that each team in the division will have to answer this season. Here’s a look at one of those burning questions for each team.
- Packers – Who is Aaron Rodgers‘ go-to target now that Davante Adams is gone?: “The Packers have a plan to develop in-house wide receivers after trading Adams — who has the most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns over the last four years — to the Raiders,” Kerr writes. “Allen Lazard has excellent chemistry with Rodgers and Randall Cobb is a reliable veteran for the MVP, but the development of Amari Rodgers and Christian Watson will determine how effective Green Bay’s passing game will be in 2022.”
- Vikings – Can Kevin O’Connell get Kirk Cousins to the next level?: “O’Connell’s job is to get Cousins past the top-10-to-15 level of quarterbacks and firmly into the top-10. Cousins will have to be better in December to start, as that was his worst month in completion rate (62.41%) and passer rating (89.1). Seeing how O’Connell helped Matthew Stafford last year and his prior relationship with Cousins in Washington, Cousins may be set up for his best season yet with an offense that favors his skillset.”
- Bears – What’s the future with Robert Quinn?: “The saga is an awkward one, as Quinn reportedly doesn’t want to be on a rebuilding team. He saw the Bears move on from Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks this offseason, signaling the team is in transition for this year. His 18.5 sacks set a franchise record for sacks in a season and were second only in the NFL to T.J. Watt. A second-team All-Pro selection in 2021, Quinn had 49 tackles, 22 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, 47 pressures, and 35 run stops.”
- Lions – How good can this offense be?: “Jameson Williams (21), Amon-Ra St. Brown (22) and D.J. Chark (25) are a talented wide receiver trio, while T.J. Hockenson (24) is one of the top-10 tight ends in the league. D’Andre Swift (23) is an emerging back with a good compliment in Jamaal Williams (27). Quarterback Jared Goff is protected with a good offensive line that includes Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Penei Sewell. The Lions have the ability to score a lot of points, but this comes down to how Goff performs in a prove-it year as the starting quarterback in Detroit. The Lions certainly gave Goff the pieces to have a big year.”
The Packers will have quarterback Aaron Rodgers back in the fold, but it’ll be strange not to see Davante Adams catching passes from the future Hall of Famer. Green Bay will still have the opportunity to win the NFC North if they can get enough production from their receiving options. It’ll be interesting to see if the Vikings can give the Packers a run for their money, now that Adams is out of the picture.
Burning questions that AFC North teams must answer 🏈
In anticipation of the 2022 season, CBS Sports NFL writer Jordan Dajani explored the AFC North, which is likely to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, especially after the Bengals reached the Super Bowl last season.
Here’s a closer look at some of the burning questions that AFC North teams will have to answer in 2022.
- Ravens – Clarity on Lamar Jackson situation: “I’m not saying the Ravens absolutely have to sign Jackson to an extension before the start of the season, but if I’m DeCosta or John Harbaugh, I want more clarity on this situation,” Dajani writes. “Is Jackson going to hold out of training camp? Does he genuinely expect to play for the Ravens for the rest of his career?”
- Bengals – Jessie Bates‘ future: “Oh boy. The July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term deals has come and gone, and according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson, Bates has no intention to report to training camp or play on the franchise tag in 2022. Will he force his way out of the Queen City? He basically has three options at this point: sign and play on the tag, sit out or request a trade. There’s plenty of optimism surrounding this franchise entering 2022, but this is a rogue dark cloud lingering in otherwise sunny Cincy skies.”
- Browns – Could the Browns add a quarterback?: “We are all expecting Watson to be suspended for a certain amount of games, but we aren’t sure about that number yet. If Watson were to miss a significant amount of time, Cleveland could sign a quarterback to back up Brissett, according to Cleveland.com. This isn’t an incredibly pressing issue, but it does make for an intriguing situation for Joshua Dobbs. Why wouldn’t the Browns just move forward with Brissett and Dobbs? Who would Cleveland sign? Maybe someone like A.J. McCarron? Could Jimmy Garoppolo find himself in Cleveland? Probably not, but general manager Andrew Berry has some decisions to make.”
- Steelers – Quarterback position: “This is an obvious one. The Steelers will conduct the most interesting quarterback battle this offseason between Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett. Mason Rudolph is in the mix as well. If I had to predict a winner, I’m going to go with Trubisky. Pittsburgh clearly targeted him, agreeing to terms with the former No. 2 overall pick on a two-year deal about an hour into the league’s legal tampering period back in March. But here’s the thing: Even if Trubisky starts Week 1, the battle isn’t over. He’s going to have to perform well, or Mike Tomlin will go to the rookie. Coach Tomlin has never fielded a sub-.500 team, and he isn’t going to start now.”
One of the biggest storylines to watch is how the Bengals follow up their Super Bowl appearance. Quarterback Joe Burrow blossomed into one of the league’s top stars throughout the 2021 season, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can put together another strong campaign.
Bold predictions for second half of MLB season ⚾
With the MLB All-Star Game now officially in the books, teams will shift their focus towards the second half of the 2022 season as they return to action, beginning on Thursday.
Shortly after the MLB returns to play, teams will also be forced to determine if they’re buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, which will be on Aug. 2. One team that will definitely be a buyer is the Atlanta Braves. Entering Thursday, the Braves have a 56-28 record and sit just 2.5 games behind the New York Mets for first place in the National League East.
With the defending World Series champions looking to making another run, CBS Sports MLB writer Mike Axisa revealed his bold predictions for the second half. One of which is Atlanta making a high-profile acquisition at the trade deadline.
- Axisa: “I’ll say [Reds pitcher Luis] Castillo goes to the defending World Series champs. Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is always aggressive at the deadline when his team is in the race, and he figures to have a little motivation this season with Atlanta trying to become baseball’s first repeat champion since the 1998-2000 Yankees. This is the time to go all-in and Anthopoulos knows that. Trading for a pitcher of Castillo’s caliber is never a bad idea, especially since he’s not a rental (he’ll become a free agent after 2023), but the stars align particularly well for this year’s Braves.”
Three of baseball’s six divisions are separated by just 2.5 or fewer games as the second half begins. With that in mind, it’s extremely likely that many of the league’s teams will be looking to add talent at the trade deadline.
Takeaways from this week’s SEC Media Days 🏈
The road to the 2022 college football season is officially beginning as conference media days are happening across the country. Earlier this week, the SEC held their annual Media Days in which head coaches and players from each program spoke.
The SEC annually dominates the college football landscape, which is evident in the fact that an SEC school has won four of the eight College Football Playoff title games. Georgia won the College Football Playoff a season ago as they defeated Alabama 33-18 in the championship game. En route to a collision course matchup in the national title game, Alabama and Georgia each accumulated a 13-1 record and were among the most dangerous teams in the nation.
CBS Sports college football writer Barrett Sallee provided some takeaways from SEC Media Days, including how the Bulldogs aren’t going to be complacent despite winning a national championship last season.
- Sallee: “Winning a championship is one thing. Sustaining success is completely different — especially with 15 NFL Draft picks gone from last year’s squad. That’s the task for Smart after claiming the national title. However, the massive roster turnover might be a blessing in disguise thanks to Smart’s experience at Alabama and a coaching staff that is ready and willing to take on that challenge.
Georgia did have five players selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but this is a group that is still as talented as ever. The Bulldogs will have quarterback Stetson Bennett IV back in the fold following his 29-touchdown pass season. If Georgia can survive through the regular season with only a loss or two, it’s definitely possible to see the Bulldogs playing in the College Football Playoff once again this season.
What we’re watching Thursday 📺
⚾ Yankees at Astros, 6:40 p.m. ET on MLB Network
⚾ Giants at Dodgers, 10:09 p.m. ET on ESPN