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Baker Mayfield gets his second chance, plus the Yankees are barely hanging on in our Power Rankings

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It’s Wajih AlBaroudi filling in for Zach Pereles once again. 

Without further ado, let’s roll. 

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

BAKER MAYFIELD

After an offseason quarterback battle between trade acquisition Baker Mayfield and the incumbent Sam Darnold, the Panthers named Mayfield their starter for the 2022 season. The positive news had to have relieved Mayfield, who’s endured anything but following his rocky 2021 campaign (17 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and 3,010 yards over 14 games). 

For context, here’s a look at how Mayfield’s offseason played out prior to him winning the job in Carolina

Even Progressive didn’t want Mayfield, as the insurance company declined to make more At Home With Baker Mayfield commercials after the Browns dealt him away. Mayfield, who shared Progressive’s decision in his first press conference with the Panthers, said it was a “missed opportunity.” 

Mayfield will have an opportunity to resurrect his NFL career in Carolina, where he’ll play with two of the best weapons he’s ever had in receiver DJ Moore and running back Christian McCaffrey. His first test: the Panthers’ home-opener against Cleveland on Sept. 11, a revenge game he has to be salivating over. 

And not such a good morning for… 

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Giants


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THE NEW YORK GIANTS

Edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who the Giants took fifth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, suffered an MCL sprain during the G-Men’s preseason game against the Bengals. The injury could keep the former Oregon star out of New York’s season-opener against the Titans on Sept. 11, a bad omen for a team coming off an injury-ravaged season. 

While the injury doesn’t seem to be Earth-shattering, it would’ve been ideal for Thibodeaux to get as many training camp reps as possible in Don “Wink” Martindale’s notoriously blitz-happy scheme. He won’t get that chance now. 

The Giants had awful injury luck in 2021. They had the third-highest adjusted games lost on offense. Key contributors such as quarterback Daniel Jones, left tackle Andrew Thomas, running back Saquon Barkley and receivers Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Kenny Golladay were among those who missed at least three games. 

Beginning the very next season with a top defensive player on the shelf definitely isn’t how New York wants to start the Brian Daboll era. 

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees narrowly remain in top five ⚾

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees


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After a terrific 61-23 start to the season, the Yankees have completely flatlined by going 14-25 and 6-14 in August. The Yankees’ prolonged nosedive left our MLB scribe Matt Snyder conflicted over how he should rank them in his most recent MLB Power Rankings.

Here’s how he settled his internal debate: 

  • Snyder: “If we only looked at the overall record and run differential, it’s a no-doubt top-five team. But as I’ve gone to great lengths to point out over the years in doing this, the rankings are my subjective intersection of season-long body of work and ‘what have you done lately?’ If I back myself into a virtual ‘tie’ in my head, the tiebreaker is who I think would win a seven-game series between the two tied teams. How many teams would we actually pick the Yankees to beat in a seven-gamer at this exact moment? The list isn’t nearly as long as it should be, right?”

In the end, Snyder settled on fifth for the Bronx Bombers. He has the Dodgers, Mets, Astros and Braves ahead, in that order. 

The following teams were Snyder’s biggest movers, and the biggest of them all moved in the wrong direction despite trading for the one of the MLB’s best players in Juan Soto earlier this month. That’s right: the Padres fell four spots, from eighth to 12th, after dropping a combined four games against the lowly Marlins and Nationals.

The latest on Kevin Durant: Grizzlies get involved 🏀

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The Kevin Durant sweepstakes are still going strong almost two months since the Nets star requested a trade, and his list of suitors has only grown as Brooklyn demands a return it deems worthy of the former league MVP. After initially listing the Suns and Heat as his preferred destinations, Durant has reportedly been sought out by the Celtics, Raptors and 76ers. 

A new team has jumped into the mix, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, and it’s an exciting one: the Grizzlies. Fresh off their breakthrough 2021-22 campaign spearheaded by Ja Morant and ascending role players such as Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks, Memphis is apparently ready to make an even bigger splash this season. 

However, it is going to take a lot of work to get done. Our NBA expert Jasmyn Wimbish explains further

  • Wimbish: “Brooklyn has maintained that it wants to be competitive this season, and the asking price for Durant has been All-Star talent, quality role players and draft picks, per Charania. If that’s the barometer for the Nets, then it sounds as though Memphis would have to include Jackson Jr. to move the needle at all, and that’s assuming Brooklyn values Jackson Jr. that highly to be OK with him being the centerpiece of a trade.”

While Durant still has eyes elsewhere, it seems his superstar teammate is staying put. The Nets have reportedly informed teams they intend to keep Kyrie Irving, whose name swirled in trade talks all summer, this season. 

What we’re watching Tuesday 📺

Mets at Yankees, 7: 05 p.m., TBS

Twins at Astros, 8: 10 p.m., MLB Network

🏀 Sky at Liberty, 9 p.m., ESPN

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