Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter, and let me start things off here by saying that I hope you enjoyed the quiet part of the NFL offseason, because it’s officially over.
Starting in March, the NFL offseason will be ramping up into high gear and that will be starting with the NFL combine next week. After the combine, we’ll be heading straight into free agency and after that, we’ll be heading straight into the draft. The offseason is almost crazier than the actual season. Maybe the offseason should be called the season and the season should be the offseason. I’ll call Roger Goodell to see what he thinks about that change.
Anyway, with the combine starting next week, we’ll be previewing it on today’s podcast. Plus, we’ll be taking a look at the situation in Arizona, where Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have apparently put all of their drama behind them. To be honest, though, that situation feels like an episode of “The Bachelor” where one side doesn’t want to give the other side a rose, but then they realize there are no other options out there, so they begrudgingly hand over the rose.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Alright, let’s get to the rundown.
1. Today’s show: NFL combine preview
The NFL combine will be unofficially kicking off on Monday when quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers all start showing up in Indianapolis. You won’t see any workouts on television until March 3, but many players will be showing up in the days before that (If you’ve ever wondered how the combine works, the players arrival date is based on their position group. Quarterbacks show up first on Monday with the first wave of players, then special teams players and defensive backs show up on Thursday with the final wave of players).
With all of that in mind, we did a preview of the combine for today’s podcast, which featured Will Brinson getting the lowdown on this year’s event from CBSSports.com draft analyst Josh Edwards.
- QB hand size is going to be a hot topic. The combine is the one week per year where a person’s hand size is talked about nonstop and there’s actually a good reason for it. Quarterbacks get the size of their hand measured and this year you’re likely going to hear a lot about Kenny Pickett’s small hands and here’s why: Quarterbacks with small hands almost never succeed in the NFL. “Kenny Pickett’s hand size is going to be a talking point as much as I hate it. His hand size will be south of 9 inches and there is no history of quarterbacks having success at that size,” Edwards said.
- Edwards is excited to watch EDGE rushers do the 3-cone drill. “I want to see 3-cone drills from the edge rushers, specifically Aidan Hutchinson and George Karlaftis. I think 4.57 seconds is the fastest time by an edge rusher taken in the first round. Kayvon Thibodeaux could top that this year.”
- Trade rumors will likely be hot and heavy next week. If you love NFL rumors, then you’re going to love next week. With every NFL GM in the same city along with hundreds of agents, the NFL combine is a breeding ground for trade talks, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of rumors and speculation about current players coming out of the combine.
2. One free agent every NFL team should prioritize signing
With NFL free agency right around the corner, CBSSports.com’s Jordan Dajani decided to make a list of one free agent that each NFL team should prioritize signing this offseason. If teams are smart, they’ll listen to Dajani’s recommendation.
Dajani made a free agent recommendation for each of the NFL’s 32 teams, but we’re only going to cover five of them here:
- Bengals: Brandon Scherff. “The Bengals have a need for one of the best offensive guards in the game and the money to pay him.”
- Broncos: Chandler Jones. “With Von Miller gone, Denver could choose to throw money at a new star pass-rusher to pair opposite of Bradley Chubb, and Jones is one of the best in the business.”
- Raiders: Davante Adams. “Adams and Derek Carr dominated at Fresno State, and if there’s a quarterback he would want to play with that’s not Rodgers, it has to be the guy quarterbacking for the Silver and Black. Adams is one of the best receivers in the NFL and the Raiders need a new No. 1 outside threat.”
- Patriots: Chris Godwin. “Remember last year when Bill Belichick dominated free agency from the jump? Those moves certainly worked out. The one position where he underwhelmed a bit was wide receiver. If the Patriots want to be Super Bowl contenders, Mac Jones needs a true No. 1 wide receiver.”
- 49ers: Stephon Gilmore. “Gilmore played just eight games for the Panthers in 2021, but recorded two interceptions, two passes defensed and was named a Pro Bowl alternate. He’s obviously a top player in this ‘class’ and will get paid, but the 49ers should prioritize him.”
If you want to to check out Dajani’s recommendation for each team, be sure to click here.
3. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals appear to have made amends; not so much for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks
There is no division in the NFL that does social media drama quite like the NFC West. They are the Real Housewives of the NFL. The offseason started with drama between Kyler Murray and the Cardinals and although it appears they’ve now patched things up, there now might be some drama between Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
- Murray and the Cardinals appear to have made amends. Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that he actually talked to Murray LAST NIGHT, “I spoke to him last night. We’ve had good conversations nonstop” Bidwill said. “I think there was a lot of interpretation around [the social media scrubbing] that’s inconsistent with the conversations.” The fact that Murray is answering the owner’s phone calls seems like a good thing for the Cardinals.
- Two sides now working on a new contract. According to NFL.com, both Murray and the Cardinals are comfortable making a future together and they’re now working on a contract. What this means is that the Cardinals will likely exercise Murray’s fifth-year option before the deadline in May and than the two sides will work on a contract extension.
- Murray and the Cardinals appeared to be on the rocks earlier this month. After Murray scrubbed his Instagram account of all Cardinals photos, some took that to mean that he didn’t want to be in Arizona, but apparently, we all interpreted that incorrectly.
As for Wilson, his situation doesn’t seems as serious. However, he did scrub his Twitter profile and it now no longer mentions the Seahawks. That being said, his profile never really mentioned the Seahawks in the first place. There was only one picture and it was his profile picture. Wilson’s profile used to feature him in a Seahawks uniform, but he changed it to a high school picture that features him posing with his dad, so that doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but who knows. Also, it’s probably worth pointing out that Wilson did go to high school near Washington, D.C., which means Commanders fans are probably now going to be convinced that Wilson wants to play for them.
4. AFC East team needs: Dolphins should seek offensive line help
Over the next week, we’ll be covering the offseason needs for each NFL division and today, we’re going to be going over the AFC East.
With that in mind, Tyler Sullivan went through every team in the division and made a list of their biggest needs that they need to fill this offseason.
Top-five needs (in no particular order): CB, WR, OL, DT, RB
Tyler’s take: One of the more notable situations worth following in Buffalo this offseason is the recovery of Tre’Davious White, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in late November. Some insurance in the secondary as he works his way back could prove to be a difference-maker for Buffalo in the early goings of the season. Along the front seven, the Bills should look to add some bodies that can stop the run, as they were ranked as the 13th-best unit at stopping the ground game last season.
Top-five needs: CB, WR, LB, OL, NT
Tyler’s take: While the team did add wide receiver talent like Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor last year, the offense is still lacking a clear No. 1 option along with a true slot receiver, especially with Jakobi Meyers set to hit restricted free agency. Given how New England’s offense has operated over the years, that need for a slot receiver could be a more important position to fill.
Top-five needs: OL, RB, TE, WR, QB
Tyler’s take: Miami has rolled out one of the worst offensive lines in the league for the past few years and now enters an offseason where it has the capital to fix that problem. It has the cap space to attack this need at the highest level, targeting the likes of tackle Terron Armstead and/or center Ryan Jensen if they hit the open market. The Dolphins also need to bring aboard a legit running back.
Top-five needs: CB, WR, OL, TE, S
Tyler’s take: As New York continues to set its foundation, it should look to add top-tier talent at the wide receiver and cornerback positions, specifically. The Jets ranked dead last in the NFL in DOVA against the pass and gave up roughly 260 passing yards per game, which was the third-most of any team in the NFL in 2021.
If you want to see the full explanation for each team’s needs, then be sure to click here.
5. Ranking every QB in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
After the Rams won the Super Bowl, one of the hottest debates in the days after the game was whether Matthew Stafford had done enough to be a Hall of Famer, which then led to a debate about whether he had a better resume than any other QB in the Hall of Fame, which then led to Bryan DeArdo’s decision to rank every QB in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
So if you’re wondering why you’re reading a ranking about Hall of Fame quarterbacks in February, that’s why. Without further ado, here’s DeArdo’s ranking. However, since we only have so much space, we’re only including the top 10:
1. Joe Montana
2. Peyton Manning
3. Johnny Unitas
4. Brett Favre
5. Dan Marino
6. John Elway
7. Otto Graham
8. Sammy Baugh
9. Terry Bradshaw
10. Roger Staubach
Also, if you’re wondering who’s on the bottom of the list, the answer is Bob Waterfield, who just happens to be a former Rams quarterback.
Anyway, if you want to see DeArdo’s full list of Hall of Fame quarterbacks, then be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Eric Bieniemy is returning to Kansas City
It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Eric Bieniemy expected to return to Chiefs. Bieniemy’s contract expired at the end of the 2021 season and for the past three weeks, he’s basically been unemployed. However, that changed on Thursday when he agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Chiefs. Bieniemy has been working on a series of one-year deals in Kansas City because both sides assumed he’d eventually be leaving for a head coaching job, but that simply hasn’t happened yet.
- Sean Payton in negotiations with Fox. With Troy Aikman on his way out at Fox, the network needs someone to replace him and it looks like they’re going after the former Saints coach. According to Front Office Sports, Fox is working on a deal with Payton that would team him up with Joe Buck on Fox’s No. 1 NFL announcing team.
- Panthers sign tight end to three-year deal. Although free agency hasn’t started, teams are free to re-sign their own players and that’s exactly what the Panthers did today when they inked Ian Thomas to a three-year contract worth up to $16.5 million. According to NFL.com, the deal includes $8 million in guaranteed money.
- Ravens re-sign Tony Jefferson. The veteran safety will be returning to Baltimore for at least one more year after re-signing with the Ravens. The 30-year-old only played in four games with the Ravens last year, but one of those came in Week 16 when he led the team in tackles in a loss to the Bengals.
- Fired Bears GM lands with Falcons. After getting fired in Chicago, Ryan Pace wasn’t out of a job for long. The former Bears general manager has been hired by the Falcons as a senior personnel executive on the team’s scouting staff.
- Former Oilers receiver Ken Burroughs dies at 73. During an era when receivers weren’t putting up huge numbers, Burroughs was a star for the Oilers. During his career, Burroughs finished with a top-four receiving total three times, including a 1975 season where he led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,063. The receiver spent 12 seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Saints with the 10th overall pick in 1970. After one year with the Saints, Burroughs would play his final 11 seasons with the Oilers. Here’s a fun fact about Burroughs: He was the last player in the NFL to wear No. 00. For more details on his career, be sure to click here.