You made it! Happy Friday, my friend! We had a busy week -- I even got back to the gym THREE times (please clap) -- so we've earned ourselves a good weekend.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Before we spend the weekend eating garbage, sucking down cheap beer and racing internet marbles (what? just me?) we still have some notable news to get to this morning. We're going to close out your week by updating you on some big Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson developments, plus a look back at the MLB offseason and more.
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If you need me over the next couple days, you can find me on Twitter (all my tweets are still free) and on Twitch (where I will be hosting the aforementioned marble racing.) If you'd prefer to forget about me for a few days, I can't say I blame you. I'll see you back here bright and early Monday.
📰 What you need to know
1. Russell Wilson hasn't asked for a trade, but... 🏈
I'll be honest with you ... I wasn't totally buying the Russell Wilson trade rumors that have been swirling around for the past few weeks. Why would the Seahawks trade Russ when they still want to be competitive and he's far from the problem, right?
But it seems as though the fractured relationship between Wilson and Seattle might be more serious than I initially expected, as these trade rumors have been picking up a little steam in recent days. Here's the latest:
- Wilson still hasn't demanded a trade out of Seattle (and he'd prefer to stay with the Seahawks) ... but he has provided the club with a list of teams he'd be willing to play for
- The veteran QB would reportedly waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to four teams: the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders or Chicago Bears
Well, that's certainly an interesting group of teams he's eyeing, huh? The Cowboys being thrown into the mix is not a development I anticipated, but our Jason La Canfora did say a couple weeks ago that the Raiders would make a ton of sense for Russ. Keep an eye on that.
We also learned yesterday that Wilson apparently stormed out of an in-season meeting during this past campaign, meaning things have been icy and delicate for a little bit now. The question that begs to be answered, though: Is the damage irreparable? I can't imagine Seattle is in a big rush to deal Wilson, but they do have to figure out if this wound is going to fester if they try to work through it or if it can be cleaned and healed through the proper treatment methods (namely, protecting Russ in the pocket and letting him go to work every Sunday.)
Time will tell, but it's fair to say that we probably shouldn't just assume everything will work itself out in the Pacific Northwest.
2. Deshaun Watson still wants out of Houston 🏈
While there's still a bunch of grey area in the Russell Wilson saga, Deshaun Watson is trying to make his situation in Houston as black and white as possible. Watson doesn't care who his new coach is or what else changes within the organization ... he still wants out.
- Watson finally met with new Texans coach David Culley remotely last Friday and things apparently did not go well
- In that meeting, Watson made it clear that he doesn't plan on playing for the Texans again
- Culley was hired by the Texans on Jan. 27 and then waited nearly three weeks before he met with Watson for the first time
- According to NFL.com, Houston won't even return calls about a potential Watson deal
Well, if Culley was hoping that he could get settled in and things would just blow over by the time he got his office set up ... it doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Sure, Houston doesn't have to trade Watson considering he's under contract, but he also doesn't have to play for them either. And if he's promising that he's done with the organization then the Texans may as well field some calls and try to get whatever compensation they can in return -- preferably before the draft.
Right now it seems like Houston's strategy to resolve the matter is to unplug the phones, turn off the office lights, and hide under the desk until all their problems are solved. Not sure it's going to work!
3. Which MLB team had the best/worst offseason? ⚾
You may still be dealing with the winter blues but Spring Training is officially upon us and real live baseball will be played this weekend with the Cactus League and Grapefruit League getting underway. But before teams take the field for their first action of the spring, now is a good time to reflect on the offseason that was and discuss which teams had strong winters and which left a lot to be desired.
Our baseball crew got together for a thoughtful roundtable in which they shared their standout picks.
- Best free agent signing: Four of our five writers chose George Springer, who signed a six-year, $150 million deal with the Blue Jays -- the largest contract in the history of the organization. Springer was the top player in this year's free agent class and sometimes it's best not to overthink things
- Best under-the-radar move: Our Matt Snyder chose the Brewers getting Kolten Wong. "Not only is Wong likely to run a high on-base percentage and run -- and we know the Brewers love stealing bases -- but he's one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball"
- Most improved team: All but one of our writers picked the Mets, who retained Marcus Stroman and added Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, among others
- Most disappointing team: The Angels were a popular pick, and our Mike Axisa explains why: "Mike Trout turns 30 this August and we're at the point now where we can reasonable say he's closer to the end of his reign as the game's best player than the beginning, and this is the type of pitching staff they keep putting around him. The AL West is as winnable as it's been at any point in the last five years, and yet Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana. How underwhelming."
You can check out the full slate of selections and analysis right here. It's a great way to refresh your memory on some of the stuff that went down (or didn't go down) this offseason.
For as smart and thoughtful as our writers are, they can hand out all the offseason accolades they want ... it won't matter until those lauded moves produce meaningful results on the diamond. We've seen plenty of moves go bust before and someone is bound to disappoint after a notable offseason. We don't know who it'll be just yet but we do know that the work begins over the next couple of days.
4. The most underrated NFL free agents 🏈
This NFL offseason is promising to be a wild one with plenty of big names on the move -- hell, several big names have already been on the move -- but it's not always the big, shiny names that have the biggest impact. An NFL team is usually only as good as the depth on its 53-man roster, so sometimes under-the-radar signings can become turning points in retrospect.
As such, our Cody Benjamin has ranked the top 10 most underrated free agents set to hit the market:
- Jacoby Brissett, QB: Brissett could be the perfect guy to pair with a young No. 1 or a starter-in-waiting. He's proven to be a safe and mostly reliable option at quarterback in his stints as a starter
- Mike Davis, RB: He's not a home run threat but he can bulldoze in volume. "If you're looking for the sweet spot between shelling out big bucks for a play-maker such as Aaron Jones and taking a swing on an unproven late-round rookie, it's Davis"
- Corey Davis, WR: He broke out with a career-high 984 yards and five scores in 2020 but he's seems to be getting overshadowed by splashier names getting ready to hit the market. Still, Davis is just 26 and he's emerging as a big-play threat
- T.Y. Hilton, WR: He's 31 and has dealt with injuries in recent years, but Hilton's resume speaks for itself. He recorded 1,000 yards in five of six seasons from 2013-18 and he's still highly capable if he can stay on the field
- Nelson Agholor, WR: He took a small one-year deal last year and made a bet on himself. This year, he'll cash in. He may not be reliable enough for a job as a team's top target but he's starting to showcase big-time athleticism and flash
You can find the rest of that underrated list right here.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert killed himself after being charged with human trafficking and other crimes on Thursday
- Gritty crashed a wedding during the Flyers' weekend at Lake Tahoe for the NHL's outdoor event
- The NBA suspended Timberwolves' Malik Beasley for 12 games as result of a felony gun charge in 2020
📺 What to watch this weekend
🏀 Pacers vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m. | BOS -3 | TV: ESPN
🏀 Mavericks vs. Nets, 8:30 p.m. | TV: ABC
🏒 Bruins vs. Rangers, 12 p.m. | TV: NBC
🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday
Wanna see an ice skater launch himself off a ramp at high speeds to dunk on a basketball hoop? Yeah. Yeah, you do.