Former Pro Bowl pass-rusher joining Chicago on one-year, $10.5 million deal

Yannick Ngakoue has finally found his next NFL home. The former Pro Bowl pass rusher is signing a one-year, $10.5 million deal that includes $10 million guaranteed, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. ESPN reported the signing Thursday night.

Ngakoue, 28, broke into the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2017 after leading the NFL with six forced fumbles. He was part of a Jaguars defense that season that spearheaded the team’s run to the AFC title game.

Ngakoue played for four teams from 2020-22. He spent parts of the 2020 season with the Vikings and Ravens before recording 10 sacks during his lone season with the Ravens. As a member of the Cotls last season, Ngakoue tallied 9.5 sacks in 15 games.

Aaron Rodgers says Jets’ Garrett Wilson has traits similar to former Packers teammate Davante Adams

New Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers brought a lot of former Green Bay Packers — seven — with him in order for the longest-tenured Packer (18 seasons in Green Bay) to feel at home in New York: wide receivers Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Malik Taylor, offensive tackle Billy Turner, quarterback Tim Boyle, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and safety Adrian Amos. One player Rodgers couldn’t bring with him was three-time All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, the player who has caught more touchdowns from Rodgers (68) than anyone else in the four-time NFL MVP’s storied career. Fortunately for Rodgers, he sees plenty of similarities between Adams and the Jets’ No. 1 wide receiver, 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson.

“Yeah,” Rodgers said on July 20 when asked if Garrett Wilson reminds him of Davante Adams. “Look, I love Davante. I saw him this summer. Davante is in a category by himself still, but that 17 [Wilson] reminds me of the other 17 [Adams] as far as his [Wilson’s] ability to get in and out of breaks and his quick twitch at the line of scrimmage, for sure.”

The four-time NFL MVP doubled down on his praise for Wilson by once again comparing him to Adams during a sideline interview in the third quarter of the Hall of Fame Game between his Jets and the Cleveland Browns.

“Man Garrett, what an amazing kid,” Rodgers said Thursday during the Hall of Fame in an interview with NBC Sports announcers Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth. “I have so much love and respect for Davante [Adams], he’s the best receiver in the league. I don’t say this lightly, but there are definitely traits that this 17 [Wilson] has that special 17 [Adams] has as well. I’m not going to put him in that category yet because Davante is in a category by himself, but Garrett really has the potential to be special. … He has great talent, incredible work ethic, and he’s a freaking great kid. He’s a good human being. He cares about it and carries himself the right way, like a seasoned vet.”

Jets’ Aaron Rodgers calls Jordan Love ‘a great one,’ feels like it’s ‘part of the job to help young guys’

With Aaron Rodgers now the starting quarterback for the New York Jets after a trade this offseason, the Green Bay Packers will have a new starting quarterback in Week 1 — 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love — after 15 seasons of Rodgers. Teammate and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones described Love as “a true leader” ahead of Packers training camp opening this week. Love sat behind Rodgers for three seasons, observing Rodgers win NFL MVPs in two of them. Yet, Rodgers went out of his way to praise Love, calling him a “great one” during Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game.

“I always felt like it was a part of the job to help those young guys out, and get them ready to play,” Rodgers said Thursday during the Hall of Fame in an interview with NBC Sports announcers Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth. “There was a great one behind me in Green Bay [Jordan Love.”

Following Love’s first training camp practice as THE GUY on July 26, he revealed Rodgers, the Packers’ longtime leader, contacted him Tuesday to encourage his Green and Gold successor and wish him well.

“Aaron reached out to me last night and that’s exactly what he said. … He said ‘just be yourself, have fun, enjoy it, that it’s obviously my time now and to enjoy it.'”

Packers’ Matt LaFleur says quiet part out loud, calls 2023 Jets ‘Green Bay East’

Even future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 475 — now suiting up for the New York Jets in 2023 — has helped ensure Gang Green would have a cheesy vibe in 2023.

Eight former Packers are now a part of the Jets: Rodgers, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, wide receiver Allen Lazard, wide receiver Randall Cobb, wide receiver Malik Taylor, offensive tackle Billy Turner, quarterback Tim Boyle and safety Adrian Amos. Rodgers’ new Jets head coach Robert Saleh even provides Rodgers a connection to his former Packers head coach Matt LaFleur: Saleh and LaFleur came up in the NFL together, and LaFleur was the best man at Saleh’s wedding.

When asked if he would be keeping up with Rodgers and the Jets in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and throughout the 2023 season by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, he interrupted Pelissero to nickname the 2023 Jets “Green Bay East.” However, LaFleur then seriously answered the question by talking about having his hands full with his young Packers offense that is set to break in new starting quarterback Jordan Love.


— CheeseheadTV 🧀 (@cheeseheadtv) August 3, 2023
“I think we have enough to worry about with the Green Bay Packers, but certainly a lot people I care about in that organization and on that staff,” LaFleur said Thursday, via NFL Network. “You always take account of what other teams are doing, especially guys you are close to in this league.”

Chargers’ Austin Ekeler reveals temporary solution to help fix issues surrounding NFL’s running back position

Once football’s glamour position, running back is currently under attack by a system that has diminished their monetary value. Austin Ekeler — with his and his peers’ livelihoods being challenged — has offered a temporarily solution that could lead to better days for him and the league’s other top-tier running backs.

The solution was formed during a private meeting between organized by Ekeler that included some of the league’s top backs, including Ekeler, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry, San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey, Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, New York’s Saquon Barkley, Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs and Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris. The issue at hand was the financial hit that the running back position has taken recently, as many of the league’s best backs are playing well below their market value.

“All the running backs out there, what we can do in the short term is to continue to make an impact,” Ekeler said during a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports. “I’m going to go out there and try to score as many touchdowns as I can, play my game, be consistent, make a big impact. And also, when we get asked about it, have some type of narrative. For us, we need to have some consistent messaging when it comes to that. … That’s why we had to have those calls. Things like that are things we can do in the short term to help ourselves out.”

Ekeler is among the league’s top backs who are grossly underpaid. While his current market value is $12.82 million per season (via Spotrac), Ekeler’s 2023 salary includes a $6.5 million base salary and a $1.5 million signing bonus. He requested a trade this offseason over his salary before accepting the Chargers’ offer of an extra $1.75 million in incentives for what is his final year under his current contract.

Why Anthony Richardson, Jonathan Taylor could be historic if they remain teammates

Before the Colts potentially trade Jonathan Taylor, they should think about what they could be walking away from.

While rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is a bit of a mystery, he has a sky-high ceiling. With Taylor, they could form one of the most dynamic QB/RB rushing attacks in NFL history.

Richardson blew up the NFL combine with a 4.43 40-yard dash, 40.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump at 244 pounds. He also ran for 654 yards and nine touchdowns while leading all FBS QBs in yards per rush (6.3) last year.

He can do this:


— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 16, 2022
Taylor won a rushing title in 2021 (1,811) while also leading the NFL in touchdown runs (18) before battling injuries in 2022.

He can make house calls too:


Jonathan Taylor makes a 67-yard house call to shut the door on the Patriots 🙌

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 19, 2021
Colts head coach Shane Steichen was the Eagles offensive coordinator last year when Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders helped Philadelphia finish fifth in rushing yards. Hurts led all quarterbacks in run-pass option (RPO) plays in each of the last two seasons, something you can expect a lot of from the Colts in 2023.

Those plays put defenders in conflict. Hypothetically, when Richardson sticks the football out to Taylor, defenders will be wondering at the mesh point whether Richardson is going to hand off, keep and run, or keep and throw.

All that would mean more running lanes for two of the most talented rushers at their respective positions.

Given the circumstances around Taylor and mystery around Richardson, it’s a big IF, but can you imagine the possibilities for this electric, rushing combo if both play to their potential?

Lucky for you I’ve been dreaming up benchmarks and comparisons for the Colts’ pair.

The ceiling for a rookie Richardson and Taylor this year is Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. The duo rode the zone-read option to a playoff appearance and combined for 2,428 rushing yards in both of their rookie seasons in 2012, the most combined rushing yardage by a QB-RB pair in a season in NFL history according to SportRadar. They are also the only duo in NFL history to feature a QB with 500 rushing yards and a RB with 1,500 rushing yards in a season.

That got me and my fellow CBS Sports researcher Brian Coyle thinking about other rushing “clubs” for QB-RB combos. And this doesn’t extend to just rookies.

Rays to call up top prospect to make MLB debut in push to regain first place in AL East

The Tampa Bay Rays will promote infield prospect Curtis Mead for his big-league debut ahead of Friday’s series-opening contest against the Detroit Tigers, the team announced Friday. Mead will be taking the roster spot of left-handed ace Shane McClanahan, who was placed on the injured list on Thursday night because of forearm soreness.

Mead, 22, has batted .291/.379/.453 with three home runs this season in 46 Triple-A games. He missed nearly two months earlier in the summer because of a wrist injury. Since returning to the Durham Bulls lineup in late June, he’s hit .355/.460/.538 in 113 trips to the plate. It is worth noting that Mead has homered just once over those 24 games, though he has recorded 12 other extra-base hits.

Mead’s ball-tracking statistics include an 89.3 average exit velocity, a 12.3 degree launch angle, and a 16.4% barrel rate. He was ranked by CBS Sports over the offseason as the No. 1 prospect in the Rays system. Here’s what we wrote:

Mead, who originally signed with the Phillies out of Australia, was acquired in exchange for lefty reliever Cristopher Sanchez in November 2019. He’s since ascended thanks to an above-average offensive projection. Mead split last season between Double- and Triple-A, batting .298/.390/.532 with 13 home runs in 76 games. He hits the ball hard and often, and he walked more frequently in 2022 than he had in past years. Mead’s best defensive position is in the batter’s box, since he lacks the arm to be good at third base and the range to excel at second. The Rays may try to play him all over the place anyway, but make no mistake: his bat is the selling point.

Mead has primarily played third base since coming back from injury.

Former World Series champion calls it quits after 15 seasons in MLB

The San Diego Padres announced on Friday that left-hander Cole Hamels and righty Craig Stammen had been placed on the voluntarily retired list.

Hamels, 39, signed a minor-league pact with the Padres in February with an eye on making his way back to the majors for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2021. He never appeared in an official game with the San Diego organization.

Hamels’ final big-league appearance came with the Atlanta Braves during the 2020 season. He finishes his career having pitched in 423 games and accumulating a 3.43 ERA (123 ERA+) and a 3.34 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He made four All-Star Games and played a pivotal run in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2008 World Series title, winning the Most Valuable Player Award designation in both the National League Championship and the World Series itself.

In addition to that time with the Phillies and Braves, Hamels also suited up as a member of the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021 but, as with the Padres, never appeared in an official game with the organization.

Stammen, 39, had not pitched this season after suffering a torn capsule and strained subscapula in spring training. At the time, he suggested that without surgery his ailment could heal in four to six months’ time. Still, Stammen was not optimistic about making his way back onto the mound.

“Without saying that I’m done,” Stammen told the San Diego Union-Tribune in March, “it’s highly unlikely that I pitch again.”

Stammen appeared in 562 big-league games over a 13-year career. He amassed a 3.66 ERA (109 ERA+) and a 3.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Stammen appeared in games as a member of the Washington Nationals and Padres and spent a minor-league season in the Cleveland Guardians farm system.

Former MLB player Raudy Read runs into crowd to confront fan after completing double play

It was quite the scene on Thursday when an independent league baseball player made his way into the stands to confront a fan. Spire City Ghost Hounds first baseman Raudy Read, who spent time with the Washington Nationals, ran into the crowd midway through the 10th inning of Thursday’s game against the Long Island Ducks.

Read had just completed a double play to finish off the top half of the 10th inning. The 29-year-old then ran into the stands and chased someone all the way up the concourse.

Former MLB player Raudy Read completes a double play then immediately runs up into the crowd to confront a fan

— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 4, 2023
It’s unclear what exactly angered Read to the point that he raced into the crowd. Immediately after turning the double play, he threw his glove down, and before anyone could even react he was running up the concourse.

According to a fan who claimed to be in attendance, a man and his daughter had been calling Read “barbaric” names during the top half of the 10th inning.

Independent baseball Twitter account Indy Ball Nation reported that Read wasn’t ejected from the game. The fans that Read was chasing “took off running” once they noticed Read chasing after them. Indy Ball Nation also reported that Read may have been following another player into the stands, potentially to restrain them.

Read appeared in 14 games with the Nationals in 2017 and 2019, and he’s hitting .303 with Spire City during the 2023 season.

This four-way parlay returns over 7-1

With the exception of the NL East, which the Atlanta Braves lead by 11.5 games, every division in baseball is tight entering the first weekend of August. The 14-game Friday MLB schedule features only a handful of division matchups, but teams still have a chance to make up some ground. The tightest race is the NL Central, where the Milwaukee Brewers lead the Cincinnati Reds by just half a game. The Brewers host Central foe the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Reds take on the NL East’s Washington Nationals as part of the Friday MLB schedule. The Houston Astros head to New York to face the Yankees, and they trail the Texas Rangers in the AL West by 1.5 games. The Rangers host the Miami Marlins in a three-game interleague series starting Friday night.

The Yankees are in last place — but five games above .500 — and could build some confidence if they can find success against Houston. Astros vs. Yankees is set for first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. Houston is a -154 favorite (risk $154 to win $100), while the Yankees are +131 underdogs in the SportsLine consensus MLB odds. The over/under for total runs scored is set at 9. The 14-game Friday MLB schedule is short on big matchups, but there are plenty of opportunities for wagers. If you combine your favorite picks into a parlay, you can cash in big.

Before making any MLB picks or parlays, be sure to check out the MLB predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s proven simulation model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every MLB game 10,000 times. It went 331-285 on top-rated MLB money-line picks (+357) over the past two seasons. It entered Week 19 of the 2023 MLB season 49-39 on all top-rated MLB picks this season and has excelled on top-rated run-line picks, going 11-3 (+504). The model also hit on Wednesday’s parlay at +548. Anyone following it has seen big returns.

For Friday, the model has locked in four confident MLB best bets for games that begin at 7:05 p.m. ET or later. If you successfully parlay the picks, you’d be looking at a payout of over 7-1. You can see the model’s best bets at SportsLine.

Top MLB picks today
After simulating every game on Friday 10,000 times, the model is taking the White Sox +1.5 (-152) against Cleveland. Mike Clevinger is expected to start for Chicago, while Logan Allen is the scheduled starter for the Guardians. It’s the same pitching matchup as last Saturday’s meeting between the teams, and Chicago won that one 7-2. White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson led the game off with a home run, his only one of the season, and Allen gave up eight hits and five runs. The left-hander has yielded 15 hits and nine earned runs in his past 13 innings.

Both pitchers are 4-4, with Clevinger’s ERA at 3.59 and Allen’s at 3.70, but the White Sox righty has been better recently. Clevinger hasn’t allowed a run in his past two starts, giving up five hits in 9⅔ innings. Andrew Vaughn also homered off Allen in last weekend’s victory and has 13 for the season. Luis Robert took the day off Thursday, and he’ll look to add to his 29 homers. Chicago lost its fourth in a row as the Rangers finished a three-game sweep with a 5-0 victory on Thursday. But the Guardians were just swept by Houston and have lost five of their past six. See more picks at SportsLine.