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FILE — Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. A person familiar with the move says the Titans will be releasing Jones, a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, in a move to clear salary cap space. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

Big money

So did you win the MegaMillions? If so, can I borrow a college tuition or two?

According to reports, there was not a big winner, so the pot continues to grow and could reach $1 billion by the time the next drawing happens Friday.

I guess the apropos question is: Did you play the MegaMillions?

And beyond that, because I fall in this group too, why do so many of us play the outrageously long odds only when it gets north of, say, $400 million or so?

Are we truly suggesting that winning a humdrum $6 million on a $2 ticket is not worth our time?

Now, I understand the 'group think' of ticket buying, if you know what I mean.

There is no bigger FOMO — fear of missing out — than your office crew or your poker buddies all pitching in $10 and group-buying tickets. Because it's worth that $10 for the peace of mind that comes with silencing the "Oh my, if they win $800 million and I'm not in on it, I become the Pete Best of MegaMillions."

So there's that. And good luck.

Braves' big move

No, there has not been one yet. In fact I can make an argument that the best move the franchise has made in this generation was the move it declined.

A few years ago, when the Marlins were shopping JT Realmuto, the asking price was prospects and Austin Riley had to be part of the equation.

The Braves said "Nyet" and Realmuto went to Philly.

Hey, Realmuto is a fine catcher and a good player. But Riley is right there with Paul Goldschmidt as the NL MVP frontrunners right now in my eyes.Riding a torrid 18-game hitting streak — he's 32-for-72 in those games (.444) with nine doubles, eight homers and 16 RBIs — Riley's in the top 10 in average (ninth at .297), homers (second with 28), RBIs (sixth with 64), doubles (fifth with 27) and OPS (second at .955).

And I love this modern day metric even though it feels a little rhetorical, but considering Riley has 106 Ks, when he puts the ball in play, he's hitting an incredible .412.

But that's the past. The present, and the immediate future of the trading deadline which is Aug. 2 at 6 p.m., which is dinner time next Tuesday. And there are some complicating factors in play for a Braves team that a) has more holes this morning than they did before the All-Star break, and b) should not be content with being a postseason participant.

Plus, there are mitigating factors in play here.

First, the Braves are in a slugfest with the Mets, which in years past would have been no big deal approaching the deadline because the Mets were always broke. Well, about that.

See, the Mets are owned by hedge fund magnate Steve Cohen, who is ranked as the seventh richest owner across all of sports with a net worth of $17-plus billion. Yes billion with a 'B.'

There are even talks of the Mets making inquiries about the availability of Shohei Ohtani, who will land the game's richest contract in the coming year or two. A Mets rotation of Ohtani, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom (if he gets healthy) is staggeringly good. (Side question: We talk about whether Max Fried is a 1, and I am leaning toward being OK calling him a 1, but the Mets would be holding three aces at that point, no?)

Side note: According to this, John C. Malone is the owner of the Braves and he's the third-richest owner in the MLB with a net worth of $6.6 billion. And with the best stadium deal in the game, money should not be an issue for a Braves franchise that far too often appears to claim to be cash-strapped.

There also is the presence of a generational hitter on the block, and he happens to be in a position the Braves could use. Of course we are speaking of Juan Soto, the National slugger who has declined Washington's extension offers and has to be on the block or  the last-place Nats will lose him in free agency.

That price may be too steep for any team — Braves included — unless you are going to pony up the half-a-billion Soto is looking for in his next deal.

But the Braves need an outfielder. They also need another starting pitcher — who doesn't — because Ian Anderson ain't getting it done. And now it sure looks like the Braves could use someone not named Will Smith at the back end of the bullpen.

Interesting times indeed.

Go route

Julio Jones has agreed to a deal with the Bucs.

So it goes. And at least he didn't sign with the Saints. (Side question: Speaking of the Saints, is there a bigger swing player in the fantasy football realm than Michael Thomas this year? Dude was a machine in 2018 and '19 — 274 catches, 3,130 yards, 18 TDs combined — before getting hurt and playing five total games in 2020 and '21.)

The common thread there is money. Money is fine, and NFL owners have a bona fide ATM machine before them. The TV deals more than cover all salaries and expenses, so whatever they bring in is gravy. That's how the Denver Broncos are worth several billion dollars.

But the NFL is more about value than price, and the Saints paid Thomas nine-figures and the return has been cataclysmically bad.So, it makes you have to believe that the Falcons made the right choice in dealing Julio to Tennessee when he was demanding to be in the nine-figure club.

Will it hurt to see the best receiver in franchise history lining up opposite Mike Evans and catch balls from Tom Brady for a team with legit Super Bowl aspirations.

Sure it will. But in a pass-happy league loaded with able pass-catchers available for affordable numbers — heck Cooper Kupp put up a year for the ages last year with the Rams — it simply does not make sense to break the bank and wreck your cap for a receiver these days.

Asked another way: In the modern era — since 1990 — who is the best WR to be on a Super Bowl champion? Discuss.

This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with a look at Florida QB Anthony Richardson, who has the skill set to be a dude.

— Speaking of college football, fun read this morning from Weeds on UT QB Hendon Hooker, who spoke to multiple church gatherings in Hamilton County on Sunday.   

— Please quit the socialism nonsense about student loan debt. Here's arguably the champion of that flawed and egregious line of thinking, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), wanting the rest of us to pick up the billions owed in college loans. Egad.  Expect this nonsense to gain more steam as the grace period of student loan payments from the pandemic ends Aug. 31. And as many stupid decisions as some of the far right have made on the social agenda lately, a large number of Americans vote with their wallet before their hearts, and if Rep. Pressley and her radical left colleagues push these economic agendas, the 2022 election cycle weill be quite red if I had to guess.

— BetMGM has the NFL MVP odds posted. Josh Allen is the favorite at plus-700 (bet $100, win $700), followed by Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes at plus-800 and Justin Herbert and Aaron Rodgers at plus-900. As far as longer shots, I'd put a sprinkle on Vader's fav Joe Burrow at plus-1200 and even a dabble on Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, who could go for 2,000-plus in that offense, at plus-5000.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which are you, a) regular lottery player, b) occasional lottery player, c) lottery hater who also kicks puppies and cusses old women at the Food City?

Which player has a better Hall of Fame case, Matt Ryan on Julio Jones?

Which position — outfield, starting pitcher, reliever — do the Braves need to address most between now and Tuesday at 6 p.m.?

Which term are you more likely to use for the evening meal, dinner or supper?

Which player would you bet on for NFL MVP?

You know the drill, answer some which ways, ask some which ways, whichever.As for today, July 27, let's review.

Bugs Bunny is 82 today. He debuted in "Wild Hare" on this day in 1940.

Jordan Spieth is 29 today. Does he make the Rushmore of 'Jordan' because MJ may have more than one spot. Go, and remember the mailbag.

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