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The Sports Report: Chargers make a big splash in free agency

New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson runs for a touchdown after an interception.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jeff Miller: In the often unpredictable world of NFL free agency, the Chargers on Monday made three moves that were very foreseeable.

They agreed to terms with cornerback J.C. Jackson and interior linemen Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson, bolstering a defense that sagged at times in 2021.

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Before Monday, when the free-agent negotiating period opened, coach Brandon Staley had publicly identified his secondary and defensive front as the two primary areas of concern.

The headlining move was adding Jackson, who agreed to a five-year contract that includes $40 million in guaranteed money and is worth up to $82.5 million.

Joseph-Day will be reuniting with Staley, who served as his defensive coordinator with the Rams in 2020. Joseph-Day agreed to a three-year deal with $15 million guaranteed and a potential value of $24 million.

Johnson is set to sign a two-year contract after emerging last season with the New York Giants. His deal is believed to be worth up to $14 million.

The moves can’t become official until the NFL’s new league year begins Wednesday.

Jackson will represent a significant upgrade for a secondary that struggled because of injuries and lacked depth. He will play outside and give the Chargers the option of moving Asante Samuel Jr. into the slot in nickel and dime packages.

Chris Harris Jr. had served as the team’s primary slot corner the last two seasons. He is now a free agent.

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NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT

Schedule

First Four
at Dayton, Ohio
Today
Midwest Region: No. 16 Texas A&M-CC vs. No. 16 Texas Southern, 3:30 p.m., truTV
East: No. 12 Indiana vs. No. 12 Wyoming, 6 p.m., truTV

Wednesday
South: No. 16 Bryant vs. No. 16 Wright State, 3:30 p.m., truTV
West: No. 11 Notre Dame vs. No. 11 Rutgers, 6 p.m., truTV

First Round
Thursday

West
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Georgia State, 1:15 p.m., TNT
No. 4 Arkansas vs. No. 13 Vermont. 6:20 p.m., TNT
No. 5 Connecticut vs. No. 12 New Mexico State, 3:50 p.m., TNT
No. 8 Boise State vs. No. 9 Memphis, 10:45 a.m., TNT

East
No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 16 Norfolk State, 11 a.m., TBS
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Saint Peter’s, 4:10 p.m., CBS
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Akron, 6:50 p.m., TBS
No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 12 Indiana/Wyoming winner. 4:20 p.m., TBS
No. 7 Murray State vs. No. 10 San Francisco, 6:40 p.m., CBS
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Marquette, 1:30 p.m., TBS

Midwest
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Texas A&M-CC/Texas Southern winner, 6:57 p.m., truTV
No. 4 Providence vs. No. 13 South Dakota State, 9:40 a.m., truTV
No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 12 Richmond, 12:10 p.m., truTV
No. 8 San Diego State vs. No. 9 Creighton, 4:27 p.m., truTV

South
No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 14 Longwood, 11:45 a.m., CBS
No. 6 Colorado State vs. No. 11 Michigan, 9:15 a.m., CBS

Friday

West
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 CS Fullerton, 4:10 p.m., CBS
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Montana State, 10:45 a.m., TNT
No. 6 Alabama vs. No. 11 Notre Dame/Rutgers winner, 1:15 p.m., TNT
No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Davidson, 6:40 p.m., CBS

East
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Yale, 11 a.m., TBS
No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Virginia Tech, 1:30 p.m., TBS

Midwest
No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State, 9:40 a.m., truTV
No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 14 Colgate, 6:50 p.m., TBS
No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Miami, 12:10 p.m., truTV
No. 6 LSU vs. No. 11 Iowa State. 4:20 p.m., TBS

South
No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 16 Bryant/Wright State winner, 4:27 p.m., truTV
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 Delaware, 11:45 a.m., CBS
No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 13 Chattanooga, 3:50 p.m., TNT
No. 5 Houston vs. No. 12 Alabama Birmingham, 6:20 p.m., TNT
No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 Texas Christian, 6:57 p.m., truTV
No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Loyola of Chicago, 9:15 a.m., CBS

NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Before Lindsay Gottlieb can rebuild USC, the roster is getting stripped down to its studs.

Three veteran players have entered the transfer portal since the Trojans finished 12-16 in Gottlieb’s first year, including leading scorer Jordyn Jenkins and 2020 Pac-12 freshman of the year Alissa Pili, a source confirmed to The Times on Monday. Reserve center Angel Jackson posted on Twitter on Sunday that she will be transferring to Jackson State after three years with the Trojans.

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Jenkins was the Pac-12’s co-most improved player last year, leading the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game. The sophomore from Kent, Wash., also pulled down 6.7 rebounds per game, which ranked second on the team, and was USC’s lone All-Pac-12 honoree.

Jenkins posted a series of photos from her two seasons at USC on Instagram on Sunday with the caption “forever grateful. Cheers to new beginnings.”

Schedule

First Four
Wednesday
No. 16 Incarnate Word vs. No. 16 Howard, 4 p.m. ESPNU
No. 11 DePaul vs. No. 11 Dayton, 6 p.m. ESPNU

Thursday
No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s vs. No. 16 Longwood, 4 p.m., ESPN2
No. 11 Florida State vs. No. 11 Missouri State, 6 p.m., ESPN2

First round
Friday

Spokane Region
No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast, 11:30 a.m. ESPNU
No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 13 Delaware, 2 p.m., ESPNU
No. 7 Utah vs. No. 10 Arkansas, 2:30 p.m., ESPNews
No. 8 Kansas vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech, 4:30 p.m., ESPNU
No. 2 Texas vs. No. 15 Fairfield, 5 p.m., ESPN2
No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 16 Montana State, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Wichita Region
No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 South Dakota. 10:30 a.m., ESPN2
No. 8 Nebraska vs. No. 9 Gonzaga, 12:30 p.m., ESPNews
No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 15 Hawaii, 1 p.m., ESPN2
No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 Albany, 3 p.m., ESPN2

Greensboro Region
No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 South Florida, 8:30 a.m., ESPN2
No. 7 Colorado vs. No. 10 Creighton, 10:30 a.m. ESPNews
No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 16 Incarnate Word/Howard winner, 11 a.m., ESPN
No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 15 Illinois State, 1 p.m., ESPN
No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 11 DePaul/Dayton winner, 4:30 p.m., ESPNews
No. 3 Iowa State vs. UT Arlington, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Saturday

Spokane Region
No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Florida State/Missouri State winner, 11:30 a.m., ESPNU
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Jackson State, 2 p.m., ESPNU

Wichita Region
No. 6 BYU vs. No. 11 Villanova, 10 a.m., ESPNews
No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Buffalo, Noon, ABC
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 American, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 Belmont, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2

Greensboro Region
No. 5 North Carolina vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin, 4:30 p.m., ESPNews
No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 UNLV, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Bridgeport Region
No. 8 Washington State vs. No. 9 Kansas State, 8:30 a.m., ESPN2
No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 15 Mercer, 10 a.m., ABC
No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 14 Charlotte, 10:30 a.m., ESPN2
No. 1 North Carolina State vs. No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s/Longwood winner, 11 a.m., ESPN
No. 7 Central Florida vs. No. 10 Florida, 12:30 p.m., ESPNews
No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Princeton, 1 p.m., ESPN
No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Massachusetts, 4:30 p.m., ESPN2
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 13 IUPUI, 7 p.m., ESPNU

RAMS

From Gary Klein: The Rams continue making moves to keep their offensive line mostly intact.

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On Monday, shortly after agreeing to terms with Joseph Noteboom, the Rams announced that they also agreed to terms with center Brian Allen on a three-year deal.

Terms of the contracts were not revealed, but NFL.com reported that Noteboom’s is worth as much as $47.5 million, with $25 million guaranteed. Allen’s deal is worth $24 million, according to ESPN.

The Rams also announced that they had re-signed reserve offensive lineman Coleman Shelton, who can play guard and center.

————

Was it hypocritical for the NFL to suspend Calvin Ridley for gambling? Maybe not.

CLIPPERS

From Andrew Greif: Clippers coach Tyronn Lue returned Monday to the city he once toured amid a championship parade wanting a win, not a tribute video of past memories. He got the latter, not the former.

Since his firing in 2018, a fall day when Lue and his friends holed up at a lakeshore house and processed the news, he had never been fully feted for his role coaching the 2016 NBA champions, because his returns had come as an assistant and, last year, in front of a pandemic-restricted crowd. His potential reception Monday, finally, in front of a nearly full Rocket Mortgage Field House had not been on his mind, Lue said before tipoff. Most likely he was consumed with how exactly the Clippers would score with two starters resting on the second night of back-to-back games.

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But when his moment arrived between the first and second quarters and the Cavaliers played a long video extolling the championship team, the coach didn’t ignore it. Lue waved when the jumbotron showed his face before Cavaliers forward Kevin Love wrapped him in a hug.

Then it was back to business, the coach doing again what prompted such warm cheers from Cavaliers fans — using any means necessary to try to manufacture a win.

Despite forward Marcus Morris Sr. and point guard Reggie Jackson resting one night after combining for 46 points in Detroit, and Robert Covington missing his fifth consecutive game because of personal reasons, the Clippers trailed just one with 2:26 left in overtime after a three-pointer by Nicolas Batum, only for the fatigue to set in and the floor to fall out from beneath them in a 120-111 loss to end this three-game trip.

LAKERS

From Broderick Turner: Thirty minutes before the Lakers tipped off against the Toronto Raptors at Crypto.com Arena, LeBron James’ “game-tine decision” became a go for the otherworldly forward.

James’ status had him listed as questionable because of left knee soreness and because the Lakers had played at Phoenix on Sunday night. Before the game against the Raptors, Lakers coach Frank Vogel had told the media that James would work on his body in preparation to play.

“He’s been sore, and in a pattern of being sore the day after games,” Vogel said. “So, we had thought there was a chance with the back-to-backs, he would sit out the second night. But he wants to get on the floor, see how it feels.”

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Obviously, James felt physically that he could play, but the 114-103 loss the Lakers took against the Raptors had to leave him and the Lakers mentally and emotionally drained.

James had a solid game with 30 points and nine rebounds.

The Lakers have lost eight of their last 10 games, and it doesn’t get any easier for them, as they embark on a four-game trip that starts in Minnesota on Wednesday, facing three teams with winning records. The Lakers have lost 10 consecutive games on the road.

DODGERS

From Jack Harris: The Dodgers announced significant changes to their staff of game broadcasters Monday, adding five new analysts to their television and radio coverage teams.

Eric Karros, Jessica Mendoza and Dontrelle Willis will call select games on SportsNet LA alongside play-by-play voice Joe Davis. Adrián González will become an analyst on the network’s pregame and postgame shows. José Mota will join the club’s English and Spanish radio broadcasts.

Karros, a former 14-year big leaguer and longtime Dodger, and Mendoza, a former Olympic softball player who previously worked on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasts, will call both home and road games. Willis, a two-time All-Star pitcher who spent most of his career with the Florida Marlins, will only work road games.

Current game analyst Orel Hershiser remains the team’s primary color commentator on SNLA’s broadcast package but will now only work home games. According to Lon Rosen, the Dodgers’ executive vice president and chief marketing officer, that decision was made by Hershiser, who told the club he wanted to cut back on his schedule.

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Dodgers begin spring training as Freddie Freeman speculation continues to swirl

ANGELS

From Mike DiGiovanna: So, about that Mike Trout switch from center field to left field?

Never mind.

One day after manager Angels manager Joe Maddon floated the possibility of moving Trout off center field to ease the stress on the three-time American League most valuable player’s body, the idea was scrapped during a lengthy Monday morning meeting between Trout, Maddon and general manager Perry Minasian.

“We’re gonna put him in center field,” Maddon said before the team’s first spring training workout. “He feels really good about it, very strongly about it. He feels like he’s in great shape, he’s lost weight. Everything is in order, so he’s going to play center field.”

And that’s that?

“That’s that,” Maddon said.

TENNIS

From Helene Elliott: Daniil Medvedev’s tenure as the No. 1 player in men’s tennis will be brief, destined to last merely two weeks because of his loss Monday to a smart and energized Gael Monfils in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Under a ranking system based on defending previously earned points, Medvedev will drop to No. 2 behind Novak Djokovic next week, even though Djokovic didn’t compete here because he’s unvaccinated and wasn’t allowed to enter the United States. But this surely won’t be the only time the 6-foot-6 Russian with the enormous reach and odd form on his groundstrokes holds the top spot in the rankings, and he was philosophical about its imminent end.

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“Is it better to be No. 1 for, let’s say, one week in your life or never touch it?” he said. “You know, I think it’s still better to at least touch it.”

Rafael Nadal, who spent 209 weeks of his legendary career at No. 1, has said he’s not concerned about sitting atop the rankings or being judged the greatest of all time even though his longevity and versatility elevate him alongside Djokovic and Roger Federer in any GOAT discussion. At 35, his focus is on nursing his chronically injured left foot, which has led him to skip next week’s event in Miami so he can better prepare for the clay court season and possibly extend his own record to win a 14th French Open title.

DUCKS

The Ducks have traded veteran defenseman Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defense prospect Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in the 2023 draft.

The Ducks confirmed the deal Monday to part ways with Manson, an eight-year NHL veteran who has spent his entire career in Anaheim. He is due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1869 — The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first pro baseball team, is organized by George Ellard and Harry Wright.

1940 — Colorado, led by Bob Doll’s 15 points, beats Duquesne 51-40 for the NIT championship.

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1958 — Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson scores a NCAA Midwest region-record 56 points in a 97-62 rout of Arkansas.

1985 — Larry Holmes scores a 10th-round knockout of David Bey in Las Vegas to retain the world heavyweight title.

1997 — North Carolina’s Dean Smith becomes the career victory leader when the Tar Heels beat Colorado 73-56. Smith, with 877 victories, passes Kentucky coaching legend Adolph Rupp.

2001 — The NCAA men’s basketball tournament opens with a series of close calls and upsets, with 15th-seeded Hampton beating second-seeded Iowa State 58-57 in the biggest surprise of the day.

2004 — Alexander Mogilny has three assists in Toronto’s 6-5 overtime victory at Buffalo, becoming the second Russian to reach the NHL’s 1,000-point plateau.

2008 — Georgia Southern sets an NCAA record for all Divisions, hitting 14 home runs in a 26-8 win over Columbia. In all, 12 Eagles hit a home run.

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2009 — Detroit beats Columbus 4-0 to become the first team in NHL history to top 100 points in nine straight seasons. The Stanley Cup champion Red Wings, the NHL leader with 101 points, break a tie with Montreal (1974-75 through 1981-82).

2012 — Syracuse avoids becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 when it rallies for a 72-65 victory over North Carolina-Asheville in the East Regional. The Bulldogs were up 34-30 at halftime — the seventh 16 seed to lead at the break.

2016 — Stephen Curry has 27 points, five rebounds and five assists on his 28th birthday, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-107 for their record 49th straight regular-season home victory. The Warriors (60-6), who are 31-0 at Oracle Arena this season, become the fastest team to 60 wins in NBA history.

2016 — Dallas Seavey wins his third straight Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and his fourth overall title in the last five years. Seavey completes the nearly 1,000-mile race in a record time of 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes, 16 seconds.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

The worst umpire moments of 2021. Watch and listen here.

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Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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