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This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.


💰 Good morning to everyone but especially ...

ZACK WHEELER AND THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The top of the Phillies' rotation isn't going anywhere. Zack Wheeler agreed to a three-year, $126-million extension that begins next season, after his current contract expires.

  • At $42 million per year, it's the largest extension in MLB history in average annual value. Overall, it's the fourth-highest AAV of any contract, only behind Shohei Ohtani ($46M) and Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander ($43.3M).
  • Wheeler, 33, is 43-25 with a 3.06 ERA in four years with Philadelphia. He has received Cy Young votes in three of those four seasons -- including a second-place finish in 2021 -- one All-Star nod and one Gold Glove.
  • Over the last three seasons, Wheeler ranks top-five MLB-wide in wins (39), quality starts (57) and innings pitched (558 1/3). He's also sixth in strikeouts (622).
  • Right ahead of him in strikeouts is teammate Aaron Nola, who signed a seven-year, $172-million deal with the Phillies in November.

Wheeler's extension has ripple effects on the 2025 free agent class. R.J. Anderson had him listed as the fourth-best player (and second-best pitcher) set to become available, behind Juan Soto, Alex Bregman and Corbin Burnes. Now R.J. says the second-best pitcher in the class is ...

  • Anderson: "Max Fried, LHP, Braves -- He has a chance to be a polarizing free agent based on his workloads. He's averaged more than six frames per pop just once, giving him a single season with more than 170 innings to his name. Still, there's no denying Fried's effectiveness -- and besides, that's where the game is headed anyway, so is it fair to penalize a pitcher for serving as the blueprint? Based on Blake Snell's winter, we suppose fairness isn't part of the equation with matters of money."

👍 Honorable mentions

😕 And not such a good morning for ...

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RUSSELL WILSON AND THE DENVER BRONCOS

Broncos Country, let's sigh.

Russell Wilson will be released after the 2024 league year begins March 13, a stunning downfall just a year and a half after he signed a five-year, $245-million extension before playing a down in the Mile High City.

The move comes with a record $85 million dead cap hit. It's more than the previous two highest numbers (Matt Ryan's $40.5 million and Aaron Rodgers' $40.3 million) combined. The Broncos will likely split that $85 million over two seasons by designating Wilson as a post-June 1 cut, but it's still not pretty.

"Not pretty" is also the nicest way to describe Wilson's time in Denver. The trade itself -- which sent the Seahawks two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick and three players -- turned out poorly, but that was the going rate for a perceived franchise quarterback. We gave Denver high marks in our trade grades way, way back -- in 2022.

But the haphazard, unnecessary extension makes it look much worse, and the ensuing 18 months were an abject disaster, though it wasn't all Wilson's fault. A quick rundown:

So ... yeah. Not great! Wilson was better under Payton -- the surface-level numbers were solid -- but not exactly good. He ranked 25th in expected points added per dropback, a measure of overall effectiveness. He's no longer the scrambler he once was (he ranked 27th in sack rate), and he's no longer a big-play maker (24th in explosive plays per dropback).

But Wilson, 35, will have a market, and Jordan Dajani has potential landing spots for a fascinating free agent.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 Jason Kelce retires: Greatest moments and where he ranks all-time

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For a man who has brought so much joy to so many people -- and to football as a whole -- Jason Kelce's Monday was full of tears. And for good reason. The legendary Eagles center retired after 13 seasons, all with Philadelphia.

Kelce, a 2011 sixth-round pick, made seven Pro Bowls and six All-Pro first teams and was part of the franchise's only Super Bowl triumph. Before that, he walked on at Cincinnati as a linebacker and moved to center thanks to a coaching change. It's a truly remarkable journey.

It's so difficult to quantify center play, which is first and foremost starting every play but requires so, so much more than that. Kelce did it as well as anyone, stacking up strongly against other all-time greats, Jeff Kerr writes.

But it's the joy Kelce exuded on and off the field that set him apart to me: the iconic Super Bowl parade speech in a Mummers suit, the shirtless celebration of his brother Travis ... the list goes on and on.

He was always, always himself, and in an era where that's increasingly rare, the NFL will miss him dearly. The social media tributes poured in accordingly.

No one will miss him more than the Eagles, though, and Jeff details the voids left on the field, in the locker room and everywhere else.

⚽ UEFA Champions League round-of-16 second legs begin

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The UEFA Champions League is back, and by the end of the day, we'll have two teams into the quarterfinals. Here's today's slate, on CBS and Paramount+:

  • Bayern Munich vs. Lazio (Lazio leads 1-0) (preview)
  • Real Sociedad vs. PSG (PSG leads 2-0) (preview)

It may sound dramatic, but Bayern Munich are in shambles with one win over their last five matches, including the 1-0 first-leg loss to Lazio. Francesco Porzio explains why the Italians can repeat that result.

  • Porzio: "Lazio get Mattia Zaccagni back in the squad ... The former Verona winger can become a big factor, especially for the counterattacks, and Lazio desperately need him after two disappointing Serie A defeats against Fiorentina and AC Milan. Zaccagni is that kind of player who can bring quality to this team."

Here's more:

📺 What we're watching Tuesday

⚽ Bayern Munich vs. Lazio, 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+
Real Sociedad-PSG, 3 p.m. on Paramount+
🏀 No. 3 Purdue at No. 12 Illinois (M), 7 p.m. on Peacock
🏀 No. 16 Alabama at Florida (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Celtics at Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Kansas State at No. 14 Kansas (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Suns at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 21 San Diego State at UNLV (M), 11 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 Nevada at Boise State (M), 11 p.m. on FS1