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The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 27, 2024

The 2024 NFL Combine is this week (Thursday-Sunday) in Indianapolis.


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2024 NFL salary cap gets massive jump


The NFL’s salary cap for the 2024 season has jumped an unprecedented $30 million up to $255.4 million. This passed even aggressive cap projections, and the increase—thanks to increased revenues—gives cap-strapped teams more wiggle room while giving even more money to spend to teams with cap space. The bottom line: Business is booming for the NFL.



Matthew Slater retires


Longtime Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater has retired after 16 seasons in the NFL (all with New England).



  • This was the expectation, and now it’s official after Slater played all 16 years in the league under the great Bill Belichick.
  • Belichick, who has talked about his fortune in coaching the players he feels are the best offensive (Tom Brady) and defensive (Lawrence Taylor) players in history, has called Slater the best special teams player in NFL history
  • Slater was a three-time Super Bowl champion, a five-time First-team All-Pro, a three-time Second-team All-Pro, and a ten-time Pro Bowler.
  • He also won the Bart Starr Award (2017) and Art Rooney Award (2021).
  • Slater should have a spot waiting for him in Canton in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point.


2024 NFL Combine look ahead


The 2024 NFL Combine is this week in Indianapolis, and we’ve gotten word on some of the quarterback participants in on-field work outs. USC’s Caleb Williams and LSU’s Jayden Daniels will not throw, while Oregon’s Bo Nix, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy will. Here’s the full Combine workout schedule:


  • Thursday, Feb. 29: DL and LB (3:00 PM ET)
  • Friday, Mar. 1: DB and TE (3:00 PM ET)
  • Saturday, Mar. 2: QB, WR, and RB (1:00 PM ET)
  • Sunday, Mar. 3: OL and ST (1:00 PM ET)


NFL news and notes


Ahead of free agency, Bills receiver Gabe Davis has indicated that he’s grateful to Buffalo and might be leaving for another team. We’ll see if the salary cap jump somehow makes it more likely that the Bills do keep the weapon that once scored four touchdowns in a playoff game.



‍☠️ The Buccaneers are releasing pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019 and was a key member of Tampa’s Super Bowl LV winning squad that season. Head coach Todd Bowles has indicated there’s a chance Barrett returns to the team during free agency.


❌ The Dolphins released former All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard and pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah. Jalen Ramsey posted a tribute to Howard despite not much time on the field together and appeared to take a shot at former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in the process.



The Bengals officially placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins.


Running backs Saquon Barkley (Giants), Josh Jacobs (Raiders), Tony Pollard (Cowboys), and Derrick Henry (Titans) are NOT expected to be tagged.


✍️ The Chiefs are expected to sign head coach Andy Reid to a contract extension that makes him the highest-paid coach in the league.


Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Rams head coach Sean McVay have joined the NFL Competition Committee.



In Eagles news, head coach Nick Sirianni struggled to control his emotions without notorious security man “Big Dom” on the sidelines down the stretch, according to Derrick Gunn. And receiver A.J. Brown went on Philadelphia radio station WIP to say emphatically that he wants to remain with the Eagles.



Recent NFL transactions


The Chiefs signed punter Matt Araiza, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Bills in 2022 but has not yet played in the league after apparently being falsely accused of sexual assault.


The Rams re-signed receiver Demarcus Robinson to a one-year deal after he came on strong down the stretch in 2023.


The Lions signed stud special teamer Jalen Reeves-Maybin to a two-year extension.


➡️ The Lions released veteran safety Tracy Walker after six seasons. The Rams released center Brian Allen after five seasons. The Steelers released starting center Mason Cole.


In assistant coaching news:


  • Former Chiefs and Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has taken the associate head coach/offensive coordinator job at UCLA.
  • The Rams are hiring former Bears and Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai in a senior assistant role.
  • Former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is joining the Raiders as a senior offensive assistant.


Other Sports Updates


Three members of the University of Wyoming swimming and diving team died in a car crash last week.


⚾️ Former NL MVP Cody Bellinger re-signed with the Cubs for three years, $80 million.


A “Chad Powers” series starring Glen Powell has been ordered by Hulu.



Apple launched a sports app, Apple Sports.



‍♂️ Major League Baseball’s new uniforms made by Fanatics are widely viewed as atrocious… apparently by everyone aside from the MLB, Nike, and Fanatics.



EA Sports College Football 25 will officially have every FBS team in the game.


Blue Jays pitcher Tim Mayza’s punishment for finishing last in the team’s fantasy football league was to be a bat boy with his team record on the back of his jersey during a spring training game.



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