CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)The Carolina Panthers are on the clock after trading up to acquire the No. 1 overall pick in the draft from the Chicago Bears in exchange for Carolina’s No. 9 and No. 61 overall picks in 2023, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025 and star wide receiver D.J. Moore, two people familiar with the deal said Friday.

The deal is expected to be announced on Wednesday, when the NFL’s free agency signing period begins.

The move allows the Panthers to acquire a potential franchise quarterback – the sort of player the team has coveted for years – although it remains unclear which QB Carolina prefers. The Bears are committed to Justin Fields at quarterback and that gave them leverage to trade down.

Carolina has its choice of Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson. The Panthers are considering up to three quarterbacks, one of the people familiar with the deal said.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy confirmed that the team granted the New York Jets permission to talk with Aaron Rodgers and would honor a trade request if the four-time MVP quarterback makes one.

Murphy made those comments Friday while speaking during a broadcast of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association girls basketball championships that aired on Green Bay television station WCWF.

Murphy’s comments follow reports that Jets owner Woody Johnson, coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas visited Rodgers’ home in southern California earlier this week.

Rodgers, 39, has said since the end of the season that he’s still deciding whether to return to the Packers, request a trade or retire. Rodgers also has noted the possibility the Packers might want to move on and hand the starting quarterback job to 2020 first-round draft pick Jordan Love.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Adam Thielen grew up in Minnesota as an avid fan of the Vikings, a sports-loving kid who desired to one day catch passes just like Cris Carter and Randy Moss.

His improbable and remarkable run with his home-state team ended with his name right behind them on the career receiving record lists.

The Vikings released Thielen on Friday for salary-cap relief, nearly 10 years after he latched on with them as an undrafted underdog.

Thielen was carrying the second-largest cap hit on the club behind quarterback Kirk Cousins. The move will stick the Vikings with more than $13.5 million in dead money for 2023, but they created $6.4 million in additional space by cutting him.


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Two days after being named the league’s top player, Marcus Sasser scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half as No. 1 Houston overcame its worst-shooting game all season to beat East Carolina 60-46 in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals for its 30th win of the season.

Sasser was a starter on the Cougars’ 2021 Final Four team but missed their run to the NCAA Elite Eight last year because of a broken bone in his left foot before Christmas.

The Cougars (30-2), a sure-bet No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, have back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since their Phi Slama Jama era. Houston made three consecutive Final Four appearances from 1982-84, and were national runner-ups in back-to-back seasons – winning 31 games in 1982-83 and 32 the next season.

Houston plays fourth-seeded Cincinnati in the AAC semifinals Saturday.

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Tyger Campbell scored a career-high 28 points, including all seven during a key second-half run, and No. 2 UCLA beat Oregon 75-56 in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament semifinals.

The Bruins (29-4) will play No. 8 Arizona in Saturday’s title game. UCLA has won 12 straight and 26 of 28, and one more victory likely would secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon (19-14) had won four in a row. The Ducks are on the NCAA bubble.

Campbell’s personal seven-point run gave UCLA a 57-46 lead. The 5-foot-11 point guard capped the spurt by dribbling near the key, backing up, looking at the shot clock and then charging ahead for a pull-up 16-footer over Oregon 7-footer Kel’el Ware.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Joel Embiid made a fade-away jumper from the foul line with 1.1 seconds left to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 120-119 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Embiid scored 39 points, shaking off a double-team from Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard on the winner. The basket gave Philadelphia its first lead of the game they trailed by 21 points late in the first half as Embiid – arms extended toward the sky – basked in the glow of the sellout crowds’ chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!”

Portland’s last-second attempt after a timeout was tipped away on the inbound play, with Lillard’s shot coming after the horn. It marked the third time this season that the 76ers (44-22) were able to rally from 20 points down.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – D’Angelo Russell had 28 points and nine assists in his dynamic return from a six-game injury absence, and Dennis Schröder added 23 points and seven assists in the surging Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Austin Reaves scored 18 points while Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt added 16 apiece as the Lakers won for the seventh time in nine games even with little contribution this time from Anthony Davis.

The superstar big man had only eight points and nine rebounds while struggling against Toronto’s defense, but Russell and the Lakers’ reserves took charge before Davis sealed the win on his only field goal of the second half with 46 seconds to play.

The Lakers moved into ninth place in the Western Conference three days ago with a win over Memphis, and they are excelling despite the lengthy absence of LeBron James. Russell and Schröder led an outstanding effort while the Lakers surged away to their sixth win in eight games since the All-Star break. Los Angeles also went 19 for 19 at the free throw line.


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Chad Ramey became the only player to reach double digits under par at The Players Championship. The TPC Sawgrass, as usual, had the final say.

Ramey put two tee shots in the water on the island-green 17th hole Friday for a quintuple-bogey that cost him a three-shot lead on a day of wild swings and, eventually, wild weather.

The second round was suspended with half the field unable to finish the round because of a storm system expected to dump a half-inch of rain on the Players Stadium Course.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa and Adam Svensson of Canada shared the lead at 8-under par, both doing what it takes to stay in front on this course. They didn’t make a bogey Friday – Bezuidenhout through 14 holes, Svensson through 11 holes – and they have only one for the week.

Ben Griffin was the clubhouse leader. The former mortgage loan officer, who already had one close call in Bermuda late last year, was playing an exquisite round until taking double bogey on his final hole for a 1-under 71.

Griffin was at at 6-under 138. Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa was 6 under through 11 holes, while Min Woo Lee was at 6 under with three holes left in his round.

Players were to return at 7 a.m. Saturday to finish the second round. The third round is schedule for threesomes off both tees and should be able to finish before sundown.