Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
After spending half my morning on the internet, I think I can say for a fact that the only thing anyone is talking right now about is what happened at the Academy Awards last night between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
In somewhat related news, one thing I learned over the past 24 hours is that way more NFL players watch the Oscars than I would have ever thought, and a lot of those players jumped on Twitter to react to the incident. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes were among the dozens of players who tweeted about the Smith slap and you can read their reactions by clicking here.
OK, now that we’re past that, I promise this will be the only time I mention the Oscars this week, unless Dan Marino wins a retroactive Academy Award for his role in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” Then, I will probably devote an entire newsletter to it.
Anyway, we are now in the final week of March, which is a notable time in the NFL because it’s when the owners get together for the NFL’s annual league meetings. We’ll be talking about that meeting today, plus we’ll take a look at Mike McDaniel’s comments about all those crazy Tom Brady rumors you may or may not have heard.
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: Monday Mailbag!
During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up each week on the Pick Six Podcast by adding a listener mailbag every Monday.
Our mailbag episodes are pretty simple: We read listener questions during the show and then answer as many of those questions as possible. Questions can be about literally anything. I mean, I’m pretty sure there was one time when someone asked me which NFL team is my favorite one to use in Tecmo Bowl, so if we’ll answer that question, trust me when I say we’ll answer almost anything. (By the way, the answer is the Houston Oilers. Their run-and-shoot offense was unstoppable in that game.)
Anyway, if you want to submit a question, all you have to do is go to Apple Podcasts (click here) and leave a five-star review that includes your question.
Here’s one question that Will Brinson and I answered in today’s mailbag:
Q: If Matt Ryan wins a Super Bowl in Indianapolis, and they retire the same year, who gets into the Hall of Fame first: Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford? For this question, let’s assume Stafford doesn’t get any more rings.
A: I’m not on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, but if I did have a vote and this exact situation occurred, then my vote would 1000% go to Matt Ryan. Not only does Ryan have an MVP that Stafford doesn’t have, but he’s had a better career in nearly every measurable aspect. Ryan has more total passing yards (59,735 to 49,995), more touchdown passes (3677 to 323) and more playoff appearances. Although Stafford got stuck playing for the Lions, you could also argue that Ryan was put in a bad situation because he had to take over as the Falcons‘ quarterback the year after Michael Vick got suspended for the role he played in a dog fighting ring.
If they both retire with one Super Bowl and one has to go in the Hall of Fame first, I think it’s Ryan.
Anyway, to listen to the rest of the mailbag, be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. NFL’s annual league meetings start today: Possible overtime changes will be the big thing to watch
For the next two days, the NFL’s 32 owners will be in Palm Beach, Florida, for the NFL’s annual league meetings. Based on the location of the meetings, you’d think the owners were taking a group vacation, but as it turns out, that’s not the case. The annual league meetings are where most of the NFL’s offseason work gets done. Any time you see any major changes made in the NFL — from new rules to expanding the schedule to 17 games — those are things that are usually voted on at the annual league meetings.
This year’s meeting might be quieter than most years and that’s because there aren’t a lot of new rules being proposed. The biggest thing that the owners will be voting on will be a possible new rule for overtime.
Here’s a quick look at the three options on the table:
- Option 1: Both teams get a possession in overtime. If this proposal passes, it would guarantee that each team gets at least one offensive possession in overtime. If Team A were to get the ball first in OT and score a touchdown, it would win under the current rule. However, under the proposed rule, Team A would have to kick off after a touchdown and Team B would then get a chance to score. If the game is tied after each team has had one possession, then the game would move to sudden death.
- Option 2: A touchdown ends the game, but only if a team also makes a two-point conversion. The Titans proposed this rule. Under this proposal, if Team A were to get the ball first in OT and score a touchdown, it would win the game IF it also made a two-point conversion. However, if Team A decided to kick an extra point OR if it missed the two-point conversion, then it would have to kick off to Team B. At that point, Team B could win if it outscored Team A on their first possession of OT. If the game is tied after each team has had one possession, then the game would move to sudden death.
- Option 3: Keep the current rule as it is. Under the current rule, the team that gets the ball first wins the game if it scores a TD in overtime.
Right now, it’s not clear if a change is going to be made. For a rule to pass, it has to get approved by 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners, and there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that Option 2 is almost definitely a no-go, which means either Option 1 is going to pass or the old rule will be sticking around for at least another season.
3. NFL insider notes: Deshaun Watson’s new contract is the hottest topic at the league meetings
For the next few days, we’ll have multiple reporters in Florida for the annual league meetings, and one of those reporters is Jason La Canfora, who has been in Palm Beach since Sunday. After hanging out at the league meetings for nearly 24 hours, JLC has noticed one big thing so far: Nearly every owner hates the contract that the Browns just gave Deshaun Watson.
After making a trade for the QB, the Browns handed Watson a FULLY guaranteed five-year deal that will pay him $230 million.
“The entire league (team presidents, owners, general managers) is still buzzing about the unprecedented contract, and all of the angst, turmoil and tumult it will cause for other organizations moving forward. Dee and Jimmy Haslem, with one negotiation, created a bold new horizon in terms of player compensation that may transform the way NFL players are paid to an extent that nothing previously has. It is a complete and utter game-changer. And the rest of the league, by and large, is not happy about it.”
Owners for other teams don’t like the deal for multiple reasons. Here’s a few of them:
- It’s a big contract to give to someone who is still dealing with major legal issues, including 22 civil lawsuits.
- More players will likely now be asking for fully guaranteed contracts.
- Owners have to put a percentage of money into escrow to cover the fully guaranteed portion of the deal.
That last tidbit doesn’t seem like a huge issue, but it could be for smaller market teams. According to JLC, Haslam is immediately going to have to put nearly $185 million in escrow for Watson’s contract, which is a number that smaller market teams like the Cardinals and Bengals will have a tough time paying out up front. The Browns have changed the game and it’s a change that most owners don’t like.
For more on all the changes, you can check out JLC’s full story by clicking here.
4. Dolphins coach shoots down Tom Brady speculation
Every offseason, we see some shocking rumors floating around the NFL, and one of the craziest rumors came last week when a reporter in Boston insinuated that Tom Brady might try to force a trade to the Dolphins.
It appears we can now put that rumor to rest. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel was asked about the possibility of Brady heading to South Beach, and he definitely didn’t seem like someone who was expecting to answer any questions about Tom Brady.
Here’s a closer look at the situation:
- McDaniel calls the Tom Brady rumor ‘fake news.’ Here’s how the Dolphins coach responded when asked about Brady, “Tom Brady? On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? That has not been in the conversation [about him coming to Miami],” McDaniel said. “I think that’s what you call fake news.”
- Why Brady’s name has been linked to the Dolphins this offseason. The link between Brady and the Dolphins started in January with the lawsuit filed by Brian Flores. In the suit, Flores mentioned that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to get him to meet with an unnamed QB on the owner’s private yacht back in February 2020. According to The Palm Beach Post, that unnamed QB was Tom Brady. Brady was actually on the yacht, according to the lawsuit, but Flores refused to take the meeting. Basically, Ross has apparently been trying to land Brady for more than two years.
- Dolphins tried again to land Brady this offseason. According to Pro Football Talk, the Dolphins were looking this offseason to bring in Brady as a minority owner. If that had happened, you can bet that Ross would have tried to talk him into playing. This plan ended up falling apart due to the Flores lawsuit, and now it’s looking more and more like Ross will never land the one QB he’s always wanted.
5. Lions tabbed for HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’
With only three possible options on the table for this year’s version of “Hard Knocks” — the Lions, Jets and Panthers — HBO and the NFL were forced to pick someone and they made that pick Monday by tabbing Detroit as the next team that will be featured on the show.
The rules for picking a “Hard Knocks” team are pretty simple: If a team has been on the show in the past 10 years or if they’ve made the playoffs in the past two years or if they have a first-year head coach, then they can’t be picked, so that’s how the NFL got left with the three options above.
Not only will this mark the first time the Lions have been on the show, but it will mark the first time ANY NFC North team has been on the show.
Here’s what you can watch when the show debuts in August:
- Jared Goff is now a series regular. HBO should probably start paying Goff as a regular cast member because this will mark the third time in six years that he’s been on the show. Goff made an appearance as a rookie when the Rams were featured in 2016. Four years later, the show returned to Los Angeles for another run with Goff and the Rams in 2020. If any Lions players have any questions about how to handle “Hard Knocks,” I’m guessing they’ll just ask Goff.
- We get a front row seat to Dan Campbell’s coaching style. The Lions don’t sound like an exciting team for “Hard Knocks” until you consider that DAN CAMPBELL is their coach. This man once said he wanted his players biting knee caps off and that’s the kind of spirit I want to see in a “Hard Knocks” coach. Five straight weeks of watching Campbell lead the Lions through training camp should be exciting.
The first episode of “Hard Knocks” will air Aug. 9 and then the show will air every Tuesday after that until the finale Sept. 6.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Bills appear to have deal in place for $1.4 billion stadium
It was a wild weekend 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.
- Bills reach deal for new stadium. The Bills have reportedly reached a deal to build a new stadium in Buffalo, according to The Buffalo News. Under the terms of the deal, there will be four entities splitting the cost of the $1.4 billion stadium. The state of New York will pay $600 million, Erie County will pay $250 million, the NFL will pay $200 million while the Bills owners — the Pegula family — will chip in the rest. The number being contributed by the Pegulas could top $350 million. The only remaining hurdle in the deal is that the state of New York has to approve it as part of its budget. The state vote, which will go down this week, is expected to pass.
- Peyton Manning sent Tom Brady some retirement gifts and now he wants it back. After Brady retired, Manning decided to send him a bottle of wine and a handwritten letter. Well, now that Brady is unretired, Manning would like those gifts back. You can see Manning’s hilarious comment by clicking here.
- Patriots won’t have coordinators in 2022. With Josh McDaniels now in Las Vegas, Bill Belichick has decided that no one in New England will be getting the title of offensive coordinator this year. We already knew that the team wasn’t going to use the defensive coordinator title this year, which means no one will be holding the title of coordinator on the Patriots coaching staff this year.
- Jaguars center retires. After eight seasons in the NFL, Brandon Linder has decided to retire. Linder entered the league in 2014 after the Jags made him a third-round pick in the draft. During his time in Jacksonville, he started in all 88 games that he played in. However, his career was marred by injuries as he missed 22 games over the past four seasons.
- Chiefs add Ronald Jones. Tom Brady’s old offensive weapon in Tampa Bay will now be Patrick Mahomes’ weapon in Kansas City. The running back has agreed to a one-year deal that will pay him up to $5 million. The former second-round pick had been in Tampa since his rookie year in 2018.