The Pulse: A franchise QB on the move? Plus, NBA rundown and Commanders’ tough call

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good morning! Too much QB news, too little time. Let’s get into it”


While You Were Sleeping

Everything everywhere all at once

It was a packed night of NBA action. A quick recap so you’re up to speed:

trends: Malice at Little Caesars Arena. Punches thrown! Tensions flared between the Magic and Pistons as Moe Wagner, Killian Hayes and Hamidou Diallo were all ejected for an on-court altercation.

streaking: The Nets became the first team it’s win 10 straight games this season. The once-wacky Nets are now second in the East after beating the Hawks. The Warriors, meanwhile, won their third straight game (all at home, of course).

ascending: Zion Williamson’s bounce-back year kept rolling with a career-high 43 pointsincluding the last 14 of the fourth quarter, in a comeback win over the Timberwolves.

Deflating: LeBron James, who was asked after the Lakers’ loss to the Heat how long he wants to keep playing. “Playing basketball just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore.” Big eyes emoji.


Pulse Explainers

What’s going on in Las Vegas?

Cue the Brian Windhorst meme, because the Raiders are Raider-ing again. But it’s not very hard to figure out what’s going on here.

Las Vegas is benching Derek Carr. He’s left the team to avoid being a distractionJeff Howe reports.

  • Sunday’s matchup against the 49ers will mark only the fourth game Carr has missed in nine seasons and the first not due to injury. What a way for the franchise QB to go out.
  • Backup Jarrett Stidham will make his first start ever this week. Practice squad QB Chase Garbers (shoutout Cal) will back him up.

Reminder: Las Vegas isn’t yet eliminated from the playoffs, technically.

So, why the move? If Carr were to get injured, the team would be on the hook for $40.4 million due to him over the next two years. The decision to bench him — which seems to have come from owner Mark Davis — appears to be a clear sign that the team plans to move on from Carr in the offseasonVic Tafur writes.

Sure, they could outright cut him, but why would they let him walk for nothing in return? We’ve got some ideas on landing spots via The Athletic‘s NFL staff:

Carr has all the leverage, though, thanks to his no-trade clause. The Raiders will hope to get at least one first-round pick in a deal, but if they drag things out too long they’ll also risk the money automatically becoming guaranteed on Feb. 15. A collection of Day 2 and 3 picks could be incoming


Things You Need to See

Oregon capped off coach Dan Lanning’s strong first season with a game-winning doinked extra point against North Carolina last night in the Holiday Bowl. the drama!


Tough Calls

In a decision with no obvious right choice, the Commanders are rolling with Carson Wentz over Taylor Heinicke against the Browns.

“They made a decision, and I’m trying to be the best backup I can be to Carson,” Heinicke said. Always the bridesmaid …

Washington needs a win over Cleveland and a series of other games to go its way to clinch this Sunday. Next up will be the Cowboys in Week 18.


Briefs

Booker out at least a month


(Photo: Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today)

Suns star guard Devin Booker is out with a left groin strain and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. Booker exited Sunday’s game versus the Nuggets in the first quarter after re-aggravating a groin injury. Losing the three-time All-Star, in the midst of the best season of his career, significantly hurts Phoenix’s hopes of securing the top seed in the West. The Suns are currently fifth in the conference.

Red Sox add an arm, and uncertainty

Boston signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year, $10 million deal with a club option for 2024 yesterday. He’ll join a rotation that looks either deep and experienced enough to contribute to playoff contention, or mysterious and uncertain enough to implode by July, Chad Jennings writes. fun!

Bridgewater is the start for Dolphins

Miami will start Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback against the Patriots on Sunday. Coach Mike McDaniel said yesterday that Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and should “worry about this health.” Bridgewater started a game for the Dolphins earlier this season but exited early after being placed in concussion protocol. Tagovailoa must go through the five-step return-to-play protocol before receiving clearance to play.


Pulse Picks

(Top photo: Ron Chenoy/USA Today))

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