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The Wolf Sports Newsletter: July 31, 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 X is a primary news source for many sports fans, you can think of The Wolf Sports Newsletter as a cheat 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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The most crowded edition of the newsletter yet hits on the biggest happenings around the NFL with training camps in full swing.


🐴 Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has requested a trade.


  • The timeline: Taylor showed up to camp but was placed on the PUP list and has not been participating. It was then revealed that the Colts have not offered him a contract extension. Taylor’s agent Malki Kawa has been very vocal on Twitter/X about being unhappy with Colts owner Jim Irsay. Taylor met with Irsay for over an hour, and then his formal trade request news dropped.
  • Taylor is in a “hold-in” situation, while the Colts are clearly totally dug in and have no plans to offer a contract after a disappointing 2022 season.
  • The running back situation has been coming to a head in recent days, with players at the position voicing displeasure about how they are valued, but it’s surprising the Taylor—by all accounts a tremendous person and teammate—decided to take this very hard stance.
  • Indy took a hard stance of their own, considering placing Taylor on the non-football injury list claiming a back issue, which would mean they would not have to pay Taylor’s 2023 salary if he remains on the list all season.
  • Taylor ran for over 1,800 yards two seasons ago, and he’s probably preemptively trying to avoid a situation where he racks up touches this season only to be franchise tagged in the offseason.
  • For the Colts, Taylor is obviously a massive part of the offense, and he was expected to make life easier for rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.
  • Irsay, who made odd comments about how no one would miss either him or Taylor if they were out of the league tomorrow, told multiple reports that the team “will not” trade the star running back—though that could be posturing for potential trade negotiations.
  • Despite an insanely crowded backfield, we like the Eagles as a potential landing spot for the uber-talented back.











🐅 Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is out “several weeks” with a calf injury.


  • Burrow was injured while scrambling during a training camp rep, and he immediately went down and was grabbing his calf.
  • Many initially speculated that the injury was something worse, but thankfully it is not a season-ending type of injury.
  • Instead, Burrow—while waiting on a new contract—is working against the clock to be ready for Week 1.
  • Remember, Burrow missed most of last summer due to an appendectomy, and he was somewhat rusty early in the season.




⏰ Franchise-tagged running back Saquon Barkley and the Giants agree to a revised one-year deal, avoiding a holdout.


  • The thought was that Barkley would hold out due to his frustration over long-term contract negotiations and the franchise tag.
  • However, the former No. 2 overall pick decided to show up for the start of training camp—ultimately saying that he “followed his heart” and thought about his teammates.
  • Barkley’s revised deal added $909,000 in incentives, split evenly for 1,350 rushing yards, 65 receptions, and 11 total touchdowns—all while the Giants make the playoffs.
  • The Giants can still franchise tag Barkley again this offseason if they choose to do so.






💰 Chargers Justin Herbert becomes the highest paid player in NFL history.


  • Herbert and the Chargers agreed to a five-year, $262.5 million extension with $133.7 million fully guaranteed.
  • The $52.5 million per year puts Herbert atop the league at the highest mark in league history.
  • This offseason, Jalen Hurts was the highest paid player for a little over a week, Lamar Jackson was for under 100 days, and now we’ll see how long Herbert is at the top—with Joe Burrow expected to eclipse the mark when his extension gets done.





✈️ Aaron Rodgers agrees to revised two-year contract with the Jets.


  • Not only does this move clear up cap space for New York (allowing them to potentially make a move like signing Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook), but it basically confirms this is not a one-and-done situation for Rodgers with his new team.
  • This decision by Rodgers is a bit of a change from where he often used to stand with his contract, but it’ll help his team compete for a championship as he looks to join Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to lead two teams to a Super Bowl title.



🤑 More big contracts: Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas, Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter all get new deals.


  • Diggs gets five years, $97 million deal, making him tied for the fifth-highest paid player at his position. He would’ve almost certainly gotten more on the open market, but he remains in a great spot with Dallas, a team that also needs to extend Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb.
  • Thomas was very mistakenly called a bust by the “experts” early in his career, but he’s developed into arguably the best young left tackle in football.
  • It looked like Hunter—one of the most underrated pass rushers in football—would be traded by the re-tooling Vikings at some point, but he instead agreed to a new one-year deal worth up to $20 million.







😳 Sean Payton goes scorched earth on 2022 Broncos coaching staff.


  • In an interview with Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports, Payton said there were “20 dirty hands” involved in Denver struggling so much last year, saying that it wasn’t just on his new quarterback Russell Wilson.
  • Payton basically blasted former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett for the team’s play including most notably the pre-snap penalties and an inability to get play calls in; he said: “Everything I heard about last season, we’re doing the opposite.”
  • He also criticized the Jets, where Hackett is now the offensive coordinator, for “trying to win the offseason.”
  • And, it went a bit under the radar, but he said allowing Wilson to bring his own support staff into the building last year was an “incrimination” on GM George Paton and president Damani Leech—still with the team and working with Payton—along with Hackett.
  • Payton later admitted he had his media hat on too much after spending a season with FOX Sports last year.
  • For what it’s worth, the former Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Saints said he expects to make the playoffs this season.
  • Aaron Rodgers told NFL Network’s Peter Schrager that he was disappointed by Payton’s comments and added, “I think he needs to keep my coaches’ names out of his mouth.”
  • Circle Week 5 on the calendar, when the Jets face the Broncos at Mile High.








🐬 Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey is out until December with a meniscus injury.


  • Ramsey went down with a non-contact knee injury during training camp practice.
  • Ultimately, a full meniscus repair—often the best option for long-term healthy—was the path, which should have Ramsey back in December.
  • Miami traded a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long to the Rams for the All-Pro defensive back this offseason.




🙌 Two-time Super Bowl champion running back Sony Michel has retired from the NFL.


  • Michel recently signed with the Rams after he was an integral part of their championship squad a couple of seasons ago, but he’s decided to retire early in camp after talking with head coach Sean McVay.
  • The former first-round pick of the Patriots set the NFL rookie record for touchdowns in a postseason (six) and scored the only touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl LIII victory.
  • Michel then gave the Rams a big boost as a downhill runner and their leading rusher during the regular season, a year that ended with LA winning Super Bowl LVI.
  • The Georgia product was more of a dynamic weapon in college and worked in tandem with Nick Chubb with the Bulldogs, but he dealt with some knee issues and adjusted his game a bit at the next level to remain an impactful runner.





😕 Bills running back Nyheim Hines was injured in a freak accident in which he was hit by a jet ski, and he tore his ACL.


  • The star returner is out for the season, which is a tough blow for him and the Bills.
  • Hines had the unforgettable opening kickoff return touchdown in the first game since Damar Hamlin’s scary injury last season—and then he followed it up with another return touchdown in the same game.
  • Now, there unfortunately appears to be a question about Hines’ contract/salary after the injury occurred the way that it did.




⚜️ Jimmy Graham is back with the Saints.


  • The towering tight end played for the Saints from 2010-2014 to start his career, a tremendous run that included seasons of 99/1,310/11 (2011) and 86/1,215/16 (2013) during a time Rob Gronkowski was also dominating the league at the position.
  • After time with the Seahawks, Packers, Bears, and a season off in 2022, Graham is back in New Orleans in a tight end group that includes Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, and Foster Moreau.





Other Sports Updates


🏈 Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is expected to be suspended four games for alleged NCAA violations.



⚾️ Mets trade starting pitcher Max Scherzer to the contending Rangers.



😱 Like he’s playing in Little League, Shohei Ohtani throws a shutout in the first game, hits two homers in the second of a doubleheader.



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