Good morning to everyone but especially to...
AARON JUDGE AND THE NEW YORK YANKEES
Arson Aaron Judge sweepstakes is over, and, despite some confusing drama that briefly connected him to the Bay Area on Tuesday afternoon, he is staying in the Big Apple. The slugger agreed to a massive nine-year deal worth $360 million on Wednesday morning, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirmed.
Let's break it down:
- The $40 million average annual value is a record for a position player, beating out Mike Trout's $35.54 million annual deal with the Angels.
- Judge, 30, joins Mets pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander ($43.3 million annually each) as the only $40-plus-million per year players in baseball history.
- After turning down the Yankees' seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer in spring training, Judge hit 62 home runs to break the American League single-season record and nearly won the Triple Crown. In doing so, he made himself an additional two years and $146.5 million in total money.
- Of course, the Yankees still have a ton of work to do after getting swept by the Astros in the ALCS. "The Yankees didn't get better today. They just didn't get worse," our baseball expert David Samson said on CBS Sports HQ.
This was a move the Yankees simply had to make. Judge was far and away the top player in our free agent rankings, he's a homegrown, record-setting talent and he kept the Yankees afloat while so many players struggled last year.
Could there be sharp decline by the end of his contract? Sure. But for now, he's a star in his prime staying in Pinstripes. That's a huge win for the Yankees.
AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO THE ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois lost a lot of players from a very good team last year. The new faces might make this year's Fighting Illini even better. No. 17 Illinois beat No. 2 Texas, 85-78 in overtime in Madison Square Garden.
- Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, and Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer had a team-high 21 points. He was a perfect 5-5 from three.
- It was freshman, Jayden Epps, though, who came to the rescue with a personal 5-0 run in the final minute of regulation to force overtime.
- Illinois now owns two top-10 wins this season: This and then-No. 8 UCLA in November.
Our Matt Norlander was on hand at Madison Square Garden for the game and has takeaways.
- The Rams claimed Baker Mayfield off waivers, and he could reportedly play Thursday.
- The stove is hot! Cody Bellinger to the Cubs, Taijuan Walker to the Phillies, Mitch Haniger to the Giants and more. You can keep up with it all with our live blog.
- The Pirates won the first-ever MLB Draft lottery.
And not such a good morning for...
In a somewhat surprising move given the timing and the circumstances, the Titans fired GM Jon Robinson on Tuesday. Vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden has been named interim GM.
The Titans have lost two straight but still have a three-game lead in the AFC South and a 96% chance to make the playoffs, according to SportsLine projections.
- It certainly didn't help that the last game -- a 35-10 defeat to the Eagles -- featured A.J. Brown catching eight passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in his first game against his former team. Brown has more receiving touchdowns (nine) than all of Tennessee's wide receivers combined (four).
- Robinson became Tennessee's GM in 2016. Since then, the Titans have the league's ninth-best record and have made four playoff trips. Only the Chiefs and Patriots have made more.
- Robinson oversaw key moves such as acquiring Ryan Tannehill and drafting Brown, Derrick Henry and Jeffery Simmons.
It's ok to be conflicted about this firing. Robinson entered an awful situation -- Tennessee went 2-14 in 2014 and 3-13 in 2015 -- and turned everything around: The Titans had a winning record in each of his seven seasons and were the AFC No. 1 seed last year. With the Titans preparing for another likely playoff appearance, this move is a bit odd. Why now?
On the other hand, it's worth wondering if Robinson's approach had run its course. After making the 2019 AFC Championship, the Titans lost their playoff opener in both 2020 and 2021. This year's Titans are 0-5 against teams in the current playoff field. Another early playoff exit seems likely, and with a veteran core, the Titans are in the tough spot of having a win-now roster without quite enough to win it all. Robinson's firing shows Tennessee will try a new path forward. Time will tell what that path is.
Not so honorable mentions
- Aaron Judge did not appreciate details of the Yankees' offer getting out.
- Odell Beckham Jr.'s potential return hit a snag.
- Lamar Jackson has a PCL sprain and is likely to miss time.
NFL Power Rankings: A new No. 1, plus don't count out the 49ers 🏈
The Eagles' win over the Titans didn't just lead to Jon Robinson getting fired. It also sent Philadelphia to the top of Pete Prisco's latest NFL Power Rankings. Here's the top five:
- 1. Eagles (prev: 2)
- 2. Bills (prev: 4)
- 3. Cowboys (prev: 5)
- 4. Chiefs (prev: 1)
- 5. Vikings (prev: 6)
The 49ers, meanwhile, received positive news Tuesday: Jimmy Garoppolo could return if San Francisco makes a postseason run. Of course, said run would have to come with Brock Purdy at the helm. Even with the rookie now in a key role, Pete kept the 49ers at seventh in his rankings.
- Prisco: "Purdy displayed a confidence Sunday that allowed him to play winning football. It helps that he has a bevy of talent around him, especially skill-player talent. It also helps that he has a defense on the other side that can dominate games. ... 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in the game, and he made it easy on Purdy, which he will do as long as he's the starter."
The team Purdy beat -- the Dolphins -- were this week's biggest fallers, going from third to eighth.
CBS Sports All-America team: Who gets nod at QB? 🏈
There are four quarterbacks headed to New York as Heisman finalists, but only one could earn the prestigious spot on the CBS Sports All-America first team revealed Tuesday, and that quarterback was Caleb Williams. The USC star is responsible for an FBS-best 47 touchdowns (37 passing, 10 rushing) this season.
Here are some other notes:
- Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. were the only unanimous selections.
- Ohio State had the most selections across the two teams with five: Harrison and OL Dawand Jones (first) and QB C.J. Stroud, OL Paris Johnson Jr. and LB Tommy Eichenberg (second).
- Tennessee's Hendon Hooker also made the second team as quarterback alongside Stroud.
You can see all of the picks from our CBS Sports and 247Sports experts -- which include players from 32 different schools -- here.
World Cup recap: Morocco stuns Spain; Portugal thrashes Switzerland ⚽
For the fourth time ever, an African nation is into the World Cup quarterfinal: Morocco held strong for a 0-0 scoreline through 120 minutes and then shocked Spain, winning in penalty kicks 3-0.
- Yassin Bounou saved penalties from Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets after Pablo Sarabia hit the post.
- Abdelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech converted for Morocco before Badr Benoun had his effort saved. Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi chipped home the match-winner.
- Spain held over 75% of possession and out-shot Morocco 13-6 but could not find the net due to passive play, notes soccer expert Jonathan Jones.
- Morocco joins 1990 Cameroon, 2002 Senegal and 2010 Ghana as the only African nations into the final eight.
As if that wasn't enough drama, Portugal made headlines by not including Cristiano Ronaldo in its starting lineup following his conduct against South Korea. After the initial shock, Portugal dominated, with Ronaldo's replacement, Goncalo Ramos, scoring a hat trick in a 6-1 rout of Switzerland.
Given how good Portugal looked with Ramos in Ronaldo's place, Ramos has officially stolen the spotlight -- and maybe Ronaldo's spot, period -- writes soccer scribe James Benge.
Who will be on the USA's 2026 World Cup squad? 🇺🇸
Even with the sting of defeat still fresh, the U.S. men's national team is looking to turn the page and focus on the future. We discussed that a bit in Monday's newsletter, and now we have a 2026 roster projection from our soccer guru Chuck Booth.
Obviously a lot can and will happen between now and then, but Chuck has 10 roster locks. None of them play striker, though, and the USMNT's answer there could come from two guys who didn't make the 2022 squad.
- Booth: "Folarin Balogun (Forward): The United States' search for a striker is no foreign subject, but a dual national could be the answer. With eight Ligue 1 goals at Reims, Balogun is showing what he can do at only 21. Born in New York City, Balogun is able to represent the United States or England and has played youth games for both nations... Ricardo Pepi (Forward): Pepi's next move after Groningen will be an important one as his time at FC Augsburg has likely come to an end. With the right move, not only will he set himself up for success, but he will also be in a good position to become the starter for the national team."
This was a great look at the large and ever-changing potential pool of players for four years from now.
What we're watching Wednesday 📺
🏀 No. 10 Iowa State at No. 16 Iowa, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Hawks at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏒 Sabres at Blue Jackets, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Celtics at Suns, 10 p.m. on ESPN
🏒 Rangers at Golden Knights, 10 p.m. on TNT