The NFL offseason never sleeps. John Breech is so overwhelmed by all these blockbuster trades (more on those in a bit) that he had to take the day off, leaving me, Cody Benjamin, to bring you the latest from around the NFL.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let’s get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don’t want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
- Today’s show: Assigning NFC free agency grades
Ryan Wilson and John Breech joined Will Brinson on Wednesday’s “Pick Six NFL Podcast” to assign offseason grades to each team in the NFC, from the resurgent Buccaneers to the rebuilding Falcons. A snippet of their thoughts, from the NFC East:
- Ryan Wilson thinks the Cowboys just escaped free agency with a passing grade, suffering a number of “unforced errors” in their handling of the wide receiver and pass-rushing groups, specifically the losses of Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory
- The guys aren’t sold on the Commanders being an improved team even after their trade for Carson Wentz, with Brinson projecting them as the last-place finishers in the East
- The Eagles got solid marks for their relatively quiet free agency, in part because of the draft capital they still have in tow
Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
As if this offseason wasn’t already overflowing with blockbuster moves, the Chiefs on Tuesday granted All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill permission to seek a trade amid failed contract talks, then dealt him to the Dolphins in return for five different draft picks, including a 2022 first-rounder.
Hill, 28, was set to enter the final year of a three-year extension he signed with Kansas City in 2019. But now, despite a reported lucrative offer from the Chiefs, he is set to become Tua Tagovailoa’s top target opposite Jaylen Waddle in Miami, complete with a record four-year, $120 million extension with $72.2 million guaranteed, per Hill’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
For more on the blockbuster trade, be sure to click here.
3. Insider notes: Matt Ryan trade is latest Falcons embarrassment
Matt Ryan is officially with the Colts, and the Falcons weren’t necessarily wrong to say goodbye to their longtime quarterback, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora. But the way they went about dealing him, he argues, is just the latest proof that Atlanta doesn’t have a reliable plan to return to contention.
Just a few weeks ago … (every) overt signal they sent to inquiring teams, league sources told me, was that they were really inclined to keep the soon-to-be 37 year-old despite his age and their suspect roster … Falcons fans deserve better. Coach Arthur Smith and GM Terry Fontenot deserved better. The lack of foresight and a cogent plan and basic understanding of team building and windows closing — when to buy and when to sell — have been lost on ownership there for years.
Suddenly, after years of clinging to Ryan like a pacifier and refusing to even consider a future without him, an artificial, fungible, late-March roster bonus payment deadline, on the heels of a doomed pursuit of (Deshaun) Watson, meant a deal had to be done by Tuesday, or else? What am I missing? Was dealing from a position of the least leverage possible actually the Falcons’ plan. Nah, that was just the byproduct of not having a sensible plan for how to extricate themselves from Ryan’s contract, or having an owner willing to keep an open mind about a means to winning football games with someone other than Ryan at quarterback.
4. Top 2022 underrated free agent signings
This offseason has been chock-full of big-name headlines, but what about the smart moves lost in the shuffle? We’ve identified nine of the most underrated free agent signings of 2022. Here’s a look at three of them:
- Buccaneers sign WR Russell Gage: Tom Brady gets a young, ascending possession receiver as his new No. 3
- Steelers sign OG James Daniels: Pittsburgh addresses the interior by adding a versatile starter with room to grow
- Raiders sign CB Anthony Averett: Vegas gets a quality cover man who fared well in an emergency in Baltimore
Check out the full rundown of underrated additions right here.
5. New mock draft: Lions shake up first round with QB at No. 2
Free agency isn’t the only place where splashy moves can occur. But don’t take my word for it. Chris Trapasso’s latest 2022 mock draft has the Lions pulling a stunner at No. 2 overall to address their long-term quarterback need. Here’s a peek at his top 10:
- Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson
- Lions: QB Malik Willis
- Texans: DL Travon Walker
- Jets: CB Sauce Gardner
- Giants: OT Evan Neal
- Panthers: OT Charles Cross
- Chargers: OT Ikem Ekwonu
- Falcons: S Kyle Hamilton
- Seahawks: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
- Jets: WR Garrett Wilson
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Ryan says goodbye, Mathieu still available
- Top remaining free agents: Tyrann Mathieu and Stephon Gilmore headline the best available
- Top 100 free agents tracker: No. 1 Terron Armstead is off the board after landing in Miami
- Vikings add ex-Packers star Za’Darius Smith: A new pass rusher arrives in Minnesota
- Rams still want to re-sign Odell Beckham Jr.: Even after signing Allen Robinson
- Panthers not interested in Baker Mayfield: Carolina is reportedly not biting on the embattled Browns QB
- Matt Ryan writes long farewell to Atlanta: The new Colts QB goes out with a thank you