Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It’s the last day of March, which means tomorrow is April 1, and I have to say, I’m already dreading it. Based on the way this NFL offseason has gone, I’m not going to have any idea what’s real or fake. I mean, just look at Bruce Arians’ announcement that he is retiring from coaching. If that had come out tomorrow, I would’ve totally ignored it and assumed it was an April Fool’s Day prank. I might take tomorrow off.
Of course, Arians’ announcement wasn’t an April Fool’s Day prank, which means he is now officially retired from coaching. We’ll be going in-depth on the Buccaneers‘ coaching situation in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll be taking a look at the three teams that voted AGAINST the new overtime rule.
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: Ranking the top QB moves of the offseason by impact
I haven’t been alive for every offseason in NFL history, but I still feel safe saying that this has been the craziest offseason ever, at least when it comes to quarterback moves. From Tom Brady coming out of retirement to the Russell Wilson trade to the Matt Ryan trade to the Deshaun Watson trade — I could keep naming trades, but I think you get the point — the NFL offseason has gone off the rails with quarterback moves.
To break it all down, Will Brinson was joined by Tyler Sullivan on the Pick Six Podcast today and they ranked the top QB moves that have happened so far this offseason (I say, “So far,’ because based on how this offseason has gone, there will probably be at least one more and it will probably involve Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield or MAYBE even Kyler Murray. WHO KNOWS).
Here are Sullivan’s top-five QB moves based on the impact the player will have with their new team:
The most interesting ranking by Sullivan is having Matt Ryan to the Colts behind both Winston and Wentz. I personally think that Ryan makes the Colts a Super Bowl contender, so he’ll have a huge impact, but Sullivan doesn’t necessarily agree.
Here’s his reasoning for ranking the Ryan move so low:
“The reason why I have them at five, they have to figure [their QB situation] out long term,” Sullivan said. “Matt Ryan is no spring chicken. It’s also not Matthew Stafford spending his entire career with Detroit and then going to Los Angeles. Ryan to Indy is totally different. The talent is different. Where they are in the stage of their career is different. Also, this is happening in the AFC, if the Colts were in the NFC, this would be bumped up a little more.
If you want to hear Sullivan explain the rest of his rankings, be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
Although I wasn’t on today’s podcast, I was a part of last night’s EMERGENCY podcast on the retirement of Bruce Arians and you can listen to that by clicking here.
2. Buccaneers have a new coach after Bruce Arians shockingly steps down
We’ve seen plenty of crazy things happen this offseason, but Wednesday night might have given us the craziest one of all when Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians surprisingly announced his retirement from coaching.
The announcement sent shockwaves through the NFL and throughout the Buccaneers’ organization. The decision comes with some major ramifications with the most important one being that the Buccaneers now have a new head coach.
Here’s a look at the details of what the Buccaneers’ coaching staff will look like going forward:
- Todd Bowles takes over as head coach. Bowles has been the defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay since 2019, and now, he’ll get a second crack at being an NFL head coach. Bowles previously was a head coach for four seasons with the Jets (2015-18), but was eventually fired after going 24-40 in those four year (In Bowles’ defense, his quarterbacks were Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sam Darnold during those four seasons).
- Arians wanted to set Bowles up for success. After watching what happened to Bowles in New York, Arians wanted to make sure that Bowles would be set up for success at his next job, which is one reason why he decided to step down now. “I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed,” Arians said in a statement. “So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd.” If you want more details on how Arians has been helping Bowles, then you should click here to read a solid piece by CBSSports.com’s Jonathan Jones.
- Bowles will be the fourth Black head coach in Buccaneers history. Bowles will join Tony Dungy, Raheem Morris and Lovie Smith on the list of Black head coaches in franchise history. The fact that the Buccaneers have had four is notable, because it’s double the amount that any other team in the NFL has ever had.
- Bowles becomes the NFL’s sixth minority head coach for 2022. In an offseason where the NFL was under fire for its minority hiring practices, the league is probably thrilled to see another minority head coach in place. Bowles will join Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Robert Saleh (Jets), Lovie Smith (Texans), Mike McDaniel (Dolphins) and Ron Rivera (Commanders) on the list of minority head coaches currently in the NFL.
- Buccaneers now need to fill Bowles’ old job. With Bowles being promoted to head coach, that means that Tampa Bay now has an opening at defensive coordinator. According to NFL.com, the most likely scenario is that inside linebackers coach Larry Foote and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers will split defensive coordinator duties for the 2022 season.
As for Arians, he’ll be walking away as the most successful coach in Buccaneers history. Not only does his 31-18 record give him the highest winning percentage in franchise history (.633), but he also led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2020. The two-time Coach of the Year (2012, 2014) also won five postseason games with the Buccaneers, which is a borderline miracle when you consider that every other coach in Buccaneers history had only won FIVE combined.
When it comes to retiring, Arians has turned into the Brett Favre of NFL coaches. This is the third time he’s announced his retirement — he also did it after stints with the Steelers and Cardinals — but this one feels permanent. At 69 years old, it’s unlikely we’ll see Arians take another head coaching job in the NFL. For now, he’ll be transitioning to a spot in the Buccaneers’ front office where he’ll hold the title of “Senior Football Consultant.”
3. Bruce Arians denies that friction with Tom Brady had anything to do with coach’s decision to step down
Almost as soon as Bruce Arians made his announcement on Wednesday, there was some speculation that friction with Tom Brady might have played a part in Arians’ decision to step down.
So did Brady play any part in Arians’ decision? Let’s look at the evidence.
- Buccaneers GM Jason Licht admitted there was friction between the two. “There’s always going to be some friction between people on a staff and players and a coach,” Licht said on March 21 when specifically asked if there was friction between Brady and Arians, via ESPN.com. “It’s just normal.”
- Arians’ sudden decision to retire wasn’t so sudden. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Brady was informed of Arians’ decision on either March 13 or March 14, which is extremely notable, because Brady announced his comeback on March 13. If you came out of retirement only to find out that your head coach was stepping down, that could make for an awkward situation unless both sides think they’re now better off with the new setup.
- Brady’s return led to at least one report that he wants Arians replaced. On March 15 — just two days after Brady announced his return — Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported there was enough friction between the two that a coaching change wouldn’t be completely out of the question, but Breer didn’t think a change would ultimately happen because he thought it was too late in the offseason.
- Arians was asked about his retirement possibly being connected to the return of Brady. Here was the coach’s answer when he was asked if Brady’s return played a part in his decision to step down: “No. Tom was very in favor of what I’m doing,” Arians said, via NBC Sports. “I mean, I had conflicts with every player I coached because I cussed them all out, including him. Great relationship off the field.”
It’s a weird answer, because if Brady was in favor of what Arians’ is doing, then it means Brady was in favor of Bowles being his coach and not Arians.
The retiring coach has insisted that he’s only stepping down now so that he can put Bowles in the best position to succeed and although that might very well be the case, it’s going to be hard to convince many NFL fans that Brady didn’t at least play a small role in this decision.
4. Three teams voted against NFL’s new overtime rule
The NFL’s 32 owners voted to make a big change to overtime on Monday, but not every owner was on board with the decision.
Under league protocols, a rule proposal must garner at least 24 votes to pass and although the new OT rule easily cleared that benchmark, it wasn’t approved unanimously. According to NFL.com, the final voting tally for the OT rule was 29-3.
So who were the three teams that voted against it? Glad you asked. Let’s take a look.
- Vikings: As it turns out, the Vikings actually liked the idea of both teams getting a possession in overtime, they just didn’t like how the rule was written. According to The Athletic, the Vikings don’t like the fact that the team getting the ball second in OT will get unlimited time to score a touchdown. For instance, if the first team scores a TD and takes nine minutes off the clock, the second team would get the ball with six minutes left in the overtime period. Under the new rule, if that time runs out, the game isn’t over. If the team is still driving, the game will continue into a second overtime period. Apparently, the Vikings wanted the game to end after one OT period if one team had the lead.
- Bengals: The Bengals were represented at the annual league meetings by executive vice president Katie Blackburn, and this week, she explained why she voted against the rule. “I’m just a fan of the sudden death aspect of it. I think guys have been playing for a long time. You had four quarters to try and win the game. I like the rules being the same for the regular season and the postseason so everyone is playing the same game,” Blackburn said, via Bengals.com.
- Dolphins: The Bengals and Vikings have both been involved in an overtime playoff game over the past three years, so it’s notable that they voted against the new rule, but with the Dolphins, it’s unclear why they voted against it. The old OT rule was in effect from 2010 thru 2021 and during that period the Dolphins only made the playoffs once, so it’s not like they’ve really been impacted by the rule. My theory is that they meant to vote yes, but ended up voting no, because the front office can’t agree on anything, like whether Tua is truly their QB of the future.
A big reason the NFL made the OT change is because the coin toss winner seemed to be getting a huge advantage. In the 12 seasons where the prior rule was in place, teams that won the coin toss went 10-2 in playoff overtime games.
The only two teams over the past 12 seasons to lose after winning the OT coin toss were the 2021 Chiefs (lost to the Bengals) and the 2018 Saints, who lost to the Rams in the NFC Championship thanks in large part to a botched pass interference no-call.
5. Patrick Peterson re-signs with Vikings
It’s not every day that an NFL free agent announces where he’s going to sign on a CBS Sports podcast, but that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday when Patrick Peterson made his announcement on the “All Things Covered” podcast.
If you’re wondering why the three-time All-Pro chose to break his news on the podcast, it’s because HE’S THE HOST. If you’ve never listened to the podcast, now’s a good time to start and you can find it by clicking here. Peterson hosts the show with his cousin Bryant McFadden, a two-time Super Bowl winner who spent most of his NFL career with the Steelers.
As for Peterson, the eight-time Pro Bowler decided to stay in Minnesota because he thinks the Vikings are on the cusp of something great.
“The team is stacked,” Peterson said on Wednesday’s show. “Last year, we just couldn’t put it all together in certain situations, but we got even better I believe this year. … It’s going to be a fun year. It was a fun year last year. It wasn’t the outcome obviously that we wanted, but we got another crack at it. It’s pretty much everybody who was there last year, so it’s going to be fun to get back in the building and kind of see all of this manifest.”
Peterson has been one of the NFL’s best corners over the past decade. The former No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft spent the first 10 seasons of his career in Arizona before moving on to Minnesota in 2021. Peterson’s deal has a base value of $4 million and can be worth up to $5 million with incentives.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Antonio Brown still hasn’t had ankle surgery
It’s been a wild 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.
- Antonio Brown still hasn’t had ankle surgery. The receiver told TMZ that he’s not going to get his injured ankle fixed until a team agrees to sign him, which creates quite possibly the weirdest chicken-and-egg situation of all time. Teams might not be willing to sign him unless he gets his ankle fixed, but he’s not going to get it fixed unless he gets signed, so you can probably see the problem that he’s created for himself.
- NFL still trying to decide who will be paying St. Louis $790 million. After settling a court case with the St. Louis, the NFL had to cut the city a check for nearly $800 million. Although that happened more than four months ago, the league still hasn’t figured out who’s going to foot the bill. The tab was supposed to be paid by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, but he wants all 32 owners to split the bill and he’s threatened legal action over it. According to the Athletic, Roger Goodell has created a five-owner ad hoc committee to try and get this thing figured out.
- Seahawks will likely have QB battle for starting job. It sounds like the Seahawks are going to have an open competition for their starting QB job. “I’m going to look at this thing very much like we did years ago and structure it so everybody gets a great shot at it as best we can,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week, via the Seahawks website. “That’s what competition is all about. I’ve got to give them the opportunity by presenting it.” Although the Seahawks currently have Drew Lock and Jacob Eason, don’t be surprised if they add another QB before this competition actually starts.
- Tyreek Hill wants to return punts. The Dolphins’ newest receiver wants to play another position this year: He wants to return punts. “Tyreek, the first thing he said was I want to make sure I’m back there, getting a couple of returns every game,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said this week. Basically, don’t be surprised if you see Hill returning punts at any point during the 2022 season.
- Bengals might finally be getting an indoor facility. The Bengals are the NFL’s northern most team that doesn’t have an indoor facility, but that might finally be changing. Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn confirmed that the team is looking at the possibility of building one. “We are considering ways to make that happen, so I should be more up to speed,” Blackburn said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “But we are definitely looking to plan for that. … We’re looking actively at some things. It’s something we realize would be good for us to have, so we’re trying to find out ways.” There are high school teams in Ohio that have an indoor facility, so it probably makes sense for the Bengals to get one too.
- Terrell Owens returning to football. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is making a comeback, but not in the NFL. According to Reuters, Owens is going to play in the Fan Controlled Football League, which you might have heard of, if only because we mentioned it last week. It’s the same league that Johnny Manziel will also be playing in this year. I hope they put T.O. and Johnny Football on the same team so we can see Owens yell at Manziel for not throwing him the ball.