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The USMNT scandal is turning into a soap opera, plus the NFL’s options for resuming Bills-Bengals

The USMNT scandal is turning into a soap opera, plus the NFL's options for resuming Bills-Bengals


Good morning to everyone but especially to…

RAFAEL DEVERS AND THE BOSTON RED SOX

Just one day after agreeing to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, third baseman Rafael Devers and the Boston Red Sox pulled a complete 180, agreeing to an 11-year, $331 million deal. It’s the richest contract in Red Sox history by more than $110 million in total value. 

Devers, 26, has been an All-Star each of the last two seasons and received MVP votes in three of the last four campaigns. Over the last four seasons, Devers leads MLB in extra-base hits and is third in hits and RBI. In terms of total money, this is the sixth-largest deal in MLB history.

  • Mike Trout, Angels: $426.5 million (2019-30)
  • Mookie Betts, Dodgers: $365 million (2021-32)
  • Aaron Judge, Yankees: $360 million (2023-31)
  • Francisco Lindor, Mets: $341 million (2022-31)
  • Fernando Tatis, Padres: $340 million (2021-33)
  • Rafael Devers, Red Sox: $331 million (2023-34)

It’s a huge, worthwhile commitment to a winning future, writes Matt Snyder.

Honorable mentions

Not so honorable mentions

Damar Hamlin update; potential options for Bills-Bengals game 🏈

Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition in the ICU of University of Cincinnati Medical Center after suffering cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Bengals.  The NFL said that the game will not be made up this week and that Week 18 will go on as planned around the league. That includes the Bills facing the Patriots and the Bengals playing the Ravens, both at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The decision for resuming the Bills-Bengals will come in the coming days, the league said. It’s an unprecedented situation, notes our Jonathan Jones, but not a completely unsolvable one. The easiest solution is likely not making up the game. But that would make determining playoff seeding a tough task.

  • Jones: “If it’s ruled a no-contest, that would require a manipulation of the playoff seeding qualifications that would be carried out by Goodell in consultation with club ownership groups. Would the AFC seeding be based off winning percentage? That seems to be the clearest path forward. … The league has long been resistant to moving its playoff calendar. Moving the playoffs back a week in any sort of form would either add a week of rest for teams who didn’t earn a one seed or potentially strip a top seed of their own bye.”

Concern first and foremost remains with Hamlin, of course. Joe Burrow

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