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The Wolf Sports Newsletter: July 24, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is a weekly newsletter giving an efficient update on the recent happenings in the world of sports. In an era where Twitter (X?) is a primary news source for many sports fans, you can think of The Wolf Sports Newsletter as a Tweet Sheet delivering key information every Monday. The focus is on football, but big news from other sectors of sports will also be included to keep you in the loop with all the action to start the week.


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This week’s newsletter begins with the official closing on the sale of what can and should be a crown jewel sports organization.


🏛️ Washington Commanders sale to Josh Harris group becomes official.


  • Mitchell Rales, Magic Johnson, Mark Ein, and David Blitzer are among the prominent partners as new owners of Washington’s NFL franchise.
  • There was a celebration and press conference on Friday after the sale officially closed—and new ownership has made it clear their goal is to build Washington back into a crown jewel sports franchise.
  • Improving the stadium and fan experience are two of the top priorities for new ownership. The RFK Stadium site would obviously be ideal, and ownership including Harris and Rales have a connection to going to games at RFK during the organization’s years of glory.
  • A name change from the unpopular Commanders sounds likely after the season.
  • Simultaneous to the sale approval on Thursday evening, the Mary Jo White report was released and former owner Daniel Snyder has to pay $60 million—but he came away with $6.05 billion from the sale of the team he bought in 1999.








💲 Running backs unite: Players speak out after Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs fail to land long-term contracts with Giants, Raiders.


  • Barkley and Jacobs will now have to play the 2023 season on the franchise tag after not agreeing to long-term contracts by the July 17 deadline.
  • Cowboys running back Tony Pollard will also play the season on the franchise tag, but he and Dallas were not expected to do a long-term deal.
  • Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey—players that have been given lucrative long-term contracts—were among the running backs to speak out about the devaluing of their position.
  • Analytics has certainly played a role in running backs not getting paid, and the franchise tag gives teams a lot of power to control the position.
  • Running backs seem to be trying to plot ideas to change things, but it’s tough to see a path for progress unless the franchise tag were to be eliminated. The other hundreds of players in the NFLPA are willing to keep the franchise tag to get other concessions in CBA negotiations, as the tag mostly just impacts top players in the league.











⛺️ NFL training camps get under way.


  • By the end of the week, all 32 teams will have reported for camp.
  • Among the early reporting highlights are the defending champion Chiefs and the Aaron Rodgers-led Jets.
  • Football season is coming, and it should be here before we know it.



⭐️ Cowboys All-Pro right guard Zack Martin and Chiefs All-Pro defensive lineman Chris Jones are planning to hold out of training camp.


  • Jones already didn’t report to camp for Kansas City.
  • Both players are unhappy with their contracts and want new deals.
  • However, the NFL’s CBA makes it much harder to hold out than it was in the past, as players can be fined $50,000 per missed day of camp.
  • One of the downsides to having so many star-level players like is that it can be hard to make everyone happy: for Dallas, CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs are both due for massive new contracts soon.
  • Madden ratings are notoriously bad, but Martin did just become the first guard to get a 99 overall rating since Larry Allen in 2003.






☠️ Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) passes physical ahead of training camp.


  • There was some concern over Garoppolo’s Week 1 status several weeks ago, but he’s ready to go for his new team after he had foot surgery this offseason.
  • If Garoppolo was unable to pass a physical to start the season, the Raiders could have gotten out of the contract without owing him anything.
  • Jimmy G being ready to go for Day 1 of camp allows him to get acclimated with superstar receiver Davante Adams and his other teammates ahead of a key second season for Josh McDaniels with the Raiders.





💰 Steelers sign outside linebacker Alex Highsmith to a four-year, $68 million extension.


  • Highsmith had 14.5 sacks last season as one of the most under-the-radar top pass rushers in football.
  • The 2020 third-round pick out of Charlotte also led the NFL in forced fumbles (five) in 2022.
  • Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt and Highsmith are somewhat quietly one of the league’s most fearsome duos off the edge for Pittsburgh.




Other Sports Updates


⛳️ Brian Harman wins The Open Championship by six strokes for his first career major victory.



🐊 Netflix releases trailer for next volume of UNTOLD, including stories centered around Johnny Manziel and the 2006-2009 Florida Gators program with Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow.



⚽️ Lionel Messi sinks game-winning goal on free kick in first match with Inter Miami.



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