Bank Breakers 

July 26, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

Break out the checkbook… In a day of deals, Jaylen Brown (Celtics) and Justin Herbert (Chargers) set new records for NBA and NFL contracts. Saquon Barkley (Giants) ended his holdout after just one day. Lionel Messi set the world on fire (again). And we analyze the Bronny James incident before tonight’s second match for the U.S. Women’s National Team (9:00 pm ET).

Don’t blink. We’re moving quick.

Letter Rip!


Brown Breaks the Bank

Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Celtics & Jaylen Brown Agree to Record-Setting $304 Million Supermax Extension

Move over, Nikola Jokic. There’s a new largest contract in NBA history. The Celtics and Jaylen Brown reset the NBA market on Tuesday with a five-year, $304 million supermax extension. That’s just over $60 million per year — the largest annual payout in American sports. It wasn’t a surprise that the Celtics decided to keep the two-time all-star, but the bank-breaking dollar amount enters a new stratosphere for NBA contracts to come. It’s the first $300 million contract in NBA history, and that’s for a guy who isn’t even the best player on his own team. Major League Baseball has been dishing out $300 million contracts for years now, but most of those are spread over 10-14 years. Brown’s five-year deal makes this a staggering play for Boston. Get ready for more NBA mega-deals to come.

Richest NBA Contracts

1. Jaylen Brown (BOS): 5 Years, $304 Million

2. Nikola Jokic (DEN): 5 Years, $276 Million

3. Bradley Beal (PHX): 5 Years, $251 Million

4. Devin Booker (PHX): 4 Years, $234 Million

5. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN): 4 Years, $234 Million

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): 5 Years, $228 Million

7. Stephen Curry (GSW): 4 Years, $215 Million

8. Luka Doncic (DAL): 5 Years, $215 Million

Fun Fact: Brown’s teammate, Jayson Tatum, finished top-six in MVP voting each of the last two seasons. He’s currently in the middle of a five-year, $163 million contract — roughly half the cost of Brown’s new salary. Expect Boston to lock Tatum into a similar deal sooner than later. That’s roughly $610 million for Boston allocated to the duo of Tatum and Brown for supermax cash.

Read More

B/R: Celtics & Jaylen Brown Agree to Record-Setting $304 Million Supermax

The Ringer: The Offer Sheet: Jaylen Brown Lands Biggest Contract in NBA History

SI: Jaylen Brown Signed Record-Breaking Deal, And NBA Fans Quickly Brought Up One Big Problem



Barkley Back With Big Blue

Photo: Rich Schultz / Getty Images

Saquon Barkley Signs 1-Year Deal, Chargers Give QB Justin Herbert Record $262.5 Million Deal & More NFL Training Camp News

Pen to paper in the NFL! After just one day in holdout mode, Giants RB Saquon Barkley couldn’t stay away from football. Regardless of the value of the running back position, Barkley signed a 1-year, $11 million deal on Tuesday to play in New York this season. After that, who knows? The Giants initially franchise-tagged Barkley for $10.1 million, but this deal gives him a boosted guarantee and an additional $2 million in possible bonuses. Barkley will be 27 next offseason, so expect the Giants to either pay up or watch one of the game\’s best backs walk in 2024.

Saquon’s deal wasn’t the only news out of NFL training camps on Tuesday. The Chargers gave QB Justin Herbert the highest annual salary for a quarterback with a five-year, $262.5 million extension, surpassing Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson who each held that title in the past few months. The Cowboys also inked CB Trevon Diggs to a top-five cornerback contract.

NFL Contracts & Extensions

RB Saquon Barkley  Giants (1 Year, $11 Million)

QB Justin Herbert → Chargers (5 Years, $262.5 Million)

CB Trevon Diggs  Cowboys (5 Years, $97 Million)

TE Jimmy Graham  Saints

K Brett Maher  Broncos

Other NFL Training Camp News

49ers QB Brock Purdy Cleared to Return

Cowboys RG Zack Martin Doesn\’t Report to Camp

49ers DE Nick Bosa Holding Out for New Contract

Read More

ESPN: Why Saquon Barkley Gave In & Agreed to Giants’ Deal

Sporting News: Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs Lands Top-5 CB Contract



Match 2: The Messi Effect

Photo: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Inter Miami is Officially America\’s Soccer Giant After Lionel Messi (2 Goals, 1 Assist) Sparks 4-0 Rout in 1st Full Game

Fans waited 94 minutes in see Lionel Messi find the net in last Friday\’s debut. The wait wasn’t as long in his second showing, and Inter Miami are officially a force to be reckoned with in North American soccer. In Tuesday’s Leagues Cup match against Atlanta United FC, Messi scored two goals in the first 22 minutes of a masterclass performance. He added an assist early in the second half after a hockey assist late in the first, and Miami cruised to a 4-0 romp where Messi had a touch on every scoring play. Even though this was another Leagues Cup match, and not yet MLS regular season action, Atlanta is an MLS playoff team with a winning record. Inter Miami, the last-placed team in the MLS, just whooped a good club via the Messi effect. The GOAT now has three goals and one assist in two matches. The sky is the limit for Inter Miami.

Watch: Messi Strikes 2 Goals, 1 Assist in Inter Miami’s 4-0 Blowout

With the win, Inter Miami earned their way into the knockout rounds of the Leagues Cup. Messi’s first MLS regular season game will be Aug. 20.

Read More

CBS News: Messi Shines Again in 1st Inter Miami Start, Has 3 Goals in 63 Minutes

Miami Herald: Lionel Messi Changed Everything, Instantly. Nothing is Impossible Now for Inter Miami (Paywall)



The Bronny Scare

Photo: Alex Bierens de Haan / Getty Images

Bronny James (LeBron James’ Son) Suffers Cardiac Arrest at USC Training Facility, Now in Stable Condition

Tuesday’s scariest story came early in the morning after news broke that Bronny James — the son of LeBron James — suffered a cardiac arrest Monday at USC’s basketball practice. The 18-year-old incoming freshman was rushed to the hospital and spent the night in the ICU. He’s since been released and in stable condition. James was a four-star recruit who committed to USC in May. The James family released a statement, and there was plenty of speculation about the future of LeBron’s oldest son.

“Yesterday, while practicing, Bronny James suffered a cardiac arrest. The medical staff was able to treat Bronny and take him to the hospital… LeBron and Savannah wish to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their incredible work and dedication to the safety of their athletes.” — James Family Statement

Sports & Cardiac Arrests

Bronny’s incident was, by all accounts, the first cardiac episode in his sports career. The fact that he is such a high-profile figure brought plenty of media speculation surrounding the increase in cardiac arrests in sports. Damar Hamlin (Bills) and Christian Eriksen (Denmark) were two of the most notable athletes involved in on-field cardiac arrests in the last two years. Time will tell if there are underlying issues that prevent Bronny from continuing to compete, or if he’ll return to basketball in due time.

Read More

The Athletic: Explaining Another Sports Cardiac Arrest After Bronny James Collapse

NBC News: Bronny James’ Sudden Cardiac Arrest: What Is It & How Common Is It?



 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Philippines def. New Zealand (1-0)

Norway draw Switzerland (0-0)


Pete Alonso Hits 2 HRs as Mets Throttle Yankees (9-3)

Braves Lose to Red Sox But Turn 1st Triple-Play of ‘23

Alec Bohm’s Walk-Off Gives Phillies Comeback Win Over O’s (4-3)


Bonner Drops 32 as Sun Top Wings (88-83)

Ionescu Tallies Triple-Double in Liberty’s 3rd Straight Win

Jordan Canada Hits Game-Winning 3, Sparks Beat Fever (79-78)

Plum (27), Wilson (24) & Gray (22) Combine for 73 in Aces’ 6th Straight Win


Katie Ledecky Ties Michael Phelps’ Record With 1500M Title



 USWNT vs. Netherlands Scouting Report

The U.S. women\’s national team will face the Netherlands in each squad\’s second match of the 2023 World Cup on Wednesday night. The contest has huge implications for both teams. So who holds the edge? (FOX Sports)

 Senate Introduces NIL Bill

The U.S. Senate introduced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday that would create a number of changes to the name, image, and likeness rights in college sports, including a national public registry of NCAA deals. (Bleacher Report)

 How Herbert’s Deal Sets Up Burrow’s Bag

Chargers QB Justin Herbert’s $52.5 million annual salary is the highest in the NFL… for now. The record-setting extension sets up a wealth of possibilities for Bengals QB Joe Burrow who will be able to aim for much more. (Sports Illustrated)





The Must-Watch List

FIFA Women’s World Cup

Japan vs. Costa Rica (Wed. 1:00 am ET)*

Spain vs. Zambia (Wed. 3:30 am ET)*

Canada vs. Ireland (Wed. 8:00 am ET)

USWNT vs. Netherlands (Wed. 9:00 pm ET)

Portugal vs. Vietnam (Thurs. 3:30 am ET)

Australia vs. Nigeria (Thurs. 6:00 am ET)

*Overnight Matches (Live Updates)


Reds at Brewers (2:10 pm ET)

Braves at Red Sox (7:00 pm ET)

Mets at Yankees (7:05 pm ET)

Rangers at Astros (8:10 pm ET)

Download The Sportsletter\’s Must-Watch Calendar



Question of the Day

Do you think the U.S. Women’s National Team will beat the Netherlands tonight? (click to vote)


Netherlands Wins


USWNT Wins by Multiple Goals (2+)

The Team’s Predictions

Jeff: USA Wins (3-1)

Matthew: USA Wins (4-2)

Marissa: USA Wins (4-1)

Aaron: Draw (1-1)