Sports

No deal for Dak and Dallas: Barnwell picks winners, losers and dominoes

The franchise-tag extension deadline has come and gone. While a long-term contract between Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys seemed to make sense for all parties involved, the two sides weren't able to come to terms. Prescott will play out his $31.4 million franchise tag for the 2020 season before we go through all of this again next offseason. The Cowboys will be unable to sign their quarterback to an extension for the remainder of the league year. This decision doesn't impact solely the 26-year-old and his employers. The Prescott news, in fact, affects teams and players around the league both now and in the offseason to come. Let's cover some of those winners and losers in light of Wednesday's news:Losers: UsThe most likely scenario for Prescott's 2020 season is that he plays well e...

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The next MLB superstar? Gleyber Torres is ready to own his moment

FIVE EXECUTIVES FROM Octagon and two others from Major League Baseball's player marketing team traveled to Tampa, Florida, to meet with Gleyber Torres in January. They rented a private room near the back of a fancy steakhouse and spent five hours talking about his brand potential. Meetings like these are hardly ever staged for baseball players; they're usually reserved for stars of the NBA and the NFL, sports with greater appeal to younger fans. But Torres possessed both the potential and the interest. He flew his parents and his in-laws in from Venezuela and stayed engaged throughout, constantly asking questions. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was partly right when, in reference to superstar Mike Trout, he said that baseball players are generally unmotivated to promote themselves. Market...

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NFL franchise tag primer: 13 players who could get long-term contracts this week

9:30 AM ETNFL NationESPN The deadline for teams to sign franchise-tagged players to extensions is Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, and 13 players still are awaiting new deals, including Dak Prescott and Derrick Henry. If the players do not agree to new contracts, they will play this season on the tag. Only two players have not signed their franchise tenders: Yannick Ngakoue and A.J. Green. (Chris Jones, a 14th player originally tagged, signed an extension on Tuesday.) Franchise tag figures are based upon the top five salaries at each position. Here's a look at the 13 players who were tagged -- listed alphabetically -- along with why the teams made the decision to tag them and their current salaries for the 2020 season:Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett finished with a league-high 19.5 sacks in 201...

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Eight NBA X factors integral to this year’s title race

After 4½ months, the NBA is almost back. We are weeks away from real games and, if everything goes smoothly, just under three months away from crowning the 2020 NBA champion. While the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers remain the favorites to win it all, the Larry O'Brien Trophy is up for grabs as an unprecedented season concludes in Orlando, Florida, which will be teeming with star players who will make or break their teams' chances. Here's a look at eight X factors around the league and the big questions surrounding each player. MORE: Potential surprise players for all 22 NBA teamsPascal Siakam: Can he lead a championship offense?Siakam was the best performer on the floor in Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals, dropping 32 points on 17 shots. Now the Toronto Raptors are h...

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Helwani’s UFC welterweight plan: Gilbert Burns vs. Leon Edwards for No. 1 contender

With this past Saturday's UFC 251 welterweight title fight out of the way, I think this is an appropriate time to take a look at the rest of the division. After all, welterweight is fascinating these days, and it's always fun to matchmake a hot-and-heavy weight class, so let's get to some matchmaking, shall we? Of course, we have to start with the champion, Kamaru Usman. He won a hard-fought battle and deserves some time off. I mean, what a stressful summer for Usman. He goes from thinking he will fight Jorge Masvidal to then a teammate in Gilbert Burns to then Masvidal again, all on six days' notice, no less. The UFC returns to Fight Island with a rare Wednesday night card. The main event features two surging featherweights, as Calvin Kattar faces Dan Ige. Kattar (21-4) has won th...

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Mikaela Mayer dominates Helen Joseph, wants title shot

5:55 PM ETSteve KimESPN Junior lightweight contender Mikaela Mayer easily outclassed Helen Joseph in a one-sided, 10-round, unanimous decision in the main event of a Top Rank boxing card on ESPN at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Tuesday. This was the first time a women's fight had been the main event for a Top Rank card on ESPN. Putting forth a strong and focused exhibition of boxing and combination punching, Mayer began the fight at a fast pace and never let up. After 10 rounds, the scores read 99-91 and 100-90 (twice) for Mayer, who remained undefeated and on track for a junior lightweight title shot.Punch StatsPunchesMayerJosephTotal landed19586Total thrown538377Percent36%23%Jabs landed499Jabs thrown23571Percent21%13%Power landed14677Power thrown303306Percent48%25%-...

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How the events of 2020 forced the Washington NFL team’s name change

The road to a new nickname, one that has existed for 87 years for Washington's football team, was decades in the making for some. But for Washington owner Dan Snyder, it was almost an overnight decision. While the battle over opponents of the franchise's name had gone on since the early 1970s, it wasn't until the past month and a half that the pace changed from a light jog to a Usain Bolt sprint. Here's a look at what has transpired, ending with Snyder's monumental decision to retire the name.May 25: George Floyd's deathESPN NFL reporter John Keim explains why this time the Washington franchise decided to move on from the nickname and what it might mean for other teams with Native American nicknames. Listen Floyd's death while in police custody in Minneapolis spurred protests, riots a...

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MLB’s short season could create some big surprises

We're going to have baseball this summer after all, although the season will be only 60 games long -- a little more than a third of a normal campaign. We might see some surprise statistical leaders, given the relatively small sample size, which got us thinking: What happened the last time the Major League Baseball season was shorter than usual? That was in 1994, when the season ended prematurely because of a strike. Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell were named the American League and National League MVPs that season, and both are now members of the Hall of Fame.Tony Gwynn was close to a .400 batting average when baseball's season ended in 1994. Focus on Sport/Getty ImagesBut Matt Williams was actually the major league leader in home runs when the season was stopped, with 43. Ken Griffey Jr...

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MLB roundtable: Is the ball still juiced and other key home run questions for 2020

7:00 AM ETMLB InsidersESPN Among all of the unknowns heading into the shortened 2020 campaign for Major League Baseball, one of the biggest is this: How much of an encore will even a 60-game season be on last season, the Year of the Home Run? With memories of 2019's exploding scoreboards and record rates of balls belted into the cheap seats, we asked three of our MLB insiders -- Bradford Doolittle, Sam Miller and David Schoenfield -- for their thoughts on what we should expect as far as big flies are concerned in an abbreviated season.Predict how many total home runs will be hit in 2020Bradford Doolittle: Let's say 2,238, or thereabouts. This estimate balances some regression for what's happened over the past five years, along with a wild guess at how the ball will play on contact this y...

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2020 WNBA schedule: The 12 must-see games of the regular season

The new schedule for the WNBA's unorthodox 2020 season -- 22 games per team to be played on neutral sites -- is finally here, and it's time to highlight must-see games. While some of the league's biggest names are sitting out this season, there still promises to be plenty of excitement and drama with the debut of an anticipated rookie class led by former Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu and two WNBA legends, Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, returning after a year lost to injury. With that in mind, let's look at 12 of the season's biggest games. Seattle Storm vs. New York LibertyJuly 25, noon ET | ESPN The 2020 campaign tips off with the first matchup between Ionescu and Bird, two point guards with ties to the Pacific Northwest at opposite ends of their careers. For Bird and Stewart, it will ...

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