Thursday, May 26, 2022

Tom Brady reveals his post-NFL plans, plus 2022 strength of schedule rankings for all 32 teams

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

Actually, today is not Tuesday, it is technically Tomsday, and that’s because Tom Brady decided to make himself the biggest story of the day by announcing that he’s going to be taking an announcing job with Fox Sports whenever he decides to retire. Of course, the joke here is on Fox Sports because Brady is never going to retire. 

Brady has been down on his luck for so long that I’m glad to see he’ll be landing on his feet in retirement. That being said, it would have been nice if you could’ve waited until next week to announce this news, Tom. As I wrote yesterday, the NFL schedule release is my favorite event of the offseason, and now, Brady is trying to overshadow it. STOP TRYING TO OVERSHADOW THE SCHEDULE RELEASE, TOM. 

Although I’m not happy with Brady right now, we’ll be covering his new job in full today, plus we’ll also have every team’s strength of schedule for 2022. 

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: Will the Seahawks make a play for Baker Mayfield?


For today’s episode of the Pick Six podcast, I joined Will Brinson for 30 minutes of fun where we talked about the latest NFL news. The topic we spent the most time on was Pete Carroll and whether we believe his recent comments that the Seahawks have no plans to trade for a veteran quarterback. 

During a recent interview, Carroll said the Seahawks probably wouldn’t make a trade for a QB. 

“We’re looking, (but) I don’t see us making a trade for anybody at all,” Carroll said. “I don’t see that happening.”

So does this rule out Baker Mayfield?

Despite those comments, Brinson and I still both think there’s a simple way Mayfield could end up in Seattle. Carroll doesn’t want to trade for a QB, but he didn’t rule out signing one and that could happen if Mayfield gets cut by the Browns. When it comes to trading partners, the Browns don’t have a lot of options right now, and at some point down the road, they might eventually feel that releasing Mayfield is the best way to go. If that happens, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Seahawks try to land him. 

The same thing could happen with Jimmy Garoppolo. If the 49ers end up releasing him because they can’t find a trade partner, the Seahawks would almost certainly give him a call. 

For this episode of the pod, we also talked about where several free agent receivers — like Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and Jarvis Landry — might end up. If you want to know where they could be headed, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today’s podcast. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Tom Brady set to join Fox Sports once he retires

Tom Brady hasn’t even retired yet, but he already has a post-NFL job lined up for whenever that happens. In a surprising announcement, the Buccaneers quarterback revealed Tuesday that he’ll be joining Fox Sports once his football career is over. The deal is for 10 years and is worth a whopping $375 million, according to the New York Post, making it by far the largest deal in sportscasting history. (For context, both CBS’ Tony Romo and ESPN’s Troy Aikman make about $18 million per season. Brady is set to make more than double that at $37.5 million.)

Here’s what we know so far about Brady’s new job: 

  • He won’t be starting with Fox anytime soon. One thing both sides made clear is that Brady won’t be joining Fox until after he retires. Basically, this means we might not see Brady in the announcing booth for two or three years. Assuming he retires after this season, his first year with Fox would be in 2023. If Brady plays two more years, then we wouldn’t be calling his first game until 2024. And let’s be honest, by the time Brady retires, football might not even exist anymore, which means there would be no job to take. 
  • Brady will join the No. 1 announcing team. For the past 20 years, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman made up the No. 1 announcing team at Fox, but with both guys now at ESPN, the network had a gaping hole to fill. Kevin Burkhardt will now take Buck’s place while Brady will eventually slide in next to him (Fox hasn’t announced who will be filling Aikman’s spot in 2022). Fox is airing two of the next three Super Bowls (2022, 2024) so if Brady does retire after this season, he would get to announce a Super Bowl following the 2024 season. 
  • Fox will be using Brady in multiple roles. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch basically expects Brady to become the face of Fox Sports, “Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt, but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives,” Murdoch said.

If you’re wondering how this all came together, it seems that Fox reached out to Brady during his short retirement and although Brady ended up returning to football, Fox was clearly able to give him a deal he couldn’t turn down. 

3. 2021 NFL strength of schedule for all 32 teams


Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay walks off the field after Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL schedule being released this week, now seems like a good time to take a look at the strength of schedule for each team heading into 2022, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Based on the final standings from 2021, the Los Angeles Rams will be going into the upcoming season with toughest strength of schedule. 

It’s been nearly 20 years since the NFL has seen a team win back-to-back Super Bowls, and based on this year’s strength of schedule, that’s a drought that likely isn’t going to end this season. The Rams have an SOS of .567, which not only gives them the most difficult schedule in 2022, but it makes them one of only two teams in the NFL — along with the Cardinals — that will have a strength of schedule above .540. 

The Rams’ rough schedule includes 10 games against playoff teams from last season, which is the most in the NFL. The Rams’ road schedule is especially brutal with seven of the eight games against teams that finished 2021 with a winning record. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the easiest strength of schedule belongs to the Cowboys and Commanders, who are tied at .462. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 most difficult schedules in 2022 and the 10 easiest: 

Hardest schedules

1. Rams: 164-125-0 (.567)

2. Cardinals: 157-132-0 (.543)

3. Bengals: 154-133-2 (.536)

4. Buccaneers: 154-134-1 (.535)

T-5. 49ers: 154-135-0 (.533)

T-5. Chiefs: 154-135-0 (.533)

T-7. Raiders152-136-1 (.528)

T-7. Saints152-136-1 (.528)

9. Falcons151-137-1 (.524)

10. Chargers: 150-139-0 (.519)

Easiest schedules 

T-1. Commanders: 133-155-1 (.462)

T-1. Cowboys: 133-155-1 (.462)

3. Eagles: 133-154-2 (.464)

4. Giants: 134-154-1 (.465)

5. Lions135-154-0 (.467)

T-6. Colts: 135-153-1(.469)

T-6. Jaguars135-153-1 (.469)

T-8. Titans136-153-0 (.471)

T-8. Bears: 135-152-2(.471)

10. Ravens: 136-151-2 (.474)

To check out the strength of schedule ranking for all 32 teams, be sure to click here

4. NFL schedule: CBS reveals one of its biggest games

With the schedule being released Thursday, the NFL decided to add a twist to things this year by letting each network reveal one of its biggest games throughout the week. Yesterday, we saw ESPN announce its Monday doubleheader, and today, CBS took center stage with its announcement. We definitely got a good one. 

Bill Cowher and Nate Burleson went on “CBS Mornings” to reveal the Christmas Day game that will be airing on CBS this year and that game is: 

Week 16

Broncos at Rams, 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

Not only will the game be airing on CBS, but Nickelodeon will also be showing the game, which means if you want to see someone get slimed on Christmas, then you’re probably going to want to watch the Nickelodeon version of the game. 

The Broncos-Rams showdown will be the middle game of the NFL’s first-ever Christmas tripleheader. The first game will air at 1 p.m. on Fox while the third game will air at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC. The teams playing in those two games haven’t been announced yet. 

Before we get to Thursday’s schedule release, we’ll be getting two more scheduling announcements. On Wednesday, Fox will reveal one of its biggest games on “Fox and Friends.” One day later, NBC will reveal a game on the “Today Show.”

With two days to go until the 2022 schedule is released, the NFL has already officially announced the times and dates of nine games. Besides the Christmas game, we know when the five international games will be played (click here to check out) and we also know that the Chargers will be playing at Kansas City on Thursday night in Week 2 in what will be the first game of Amazon’s new Thursday night package. 

The NFL also announced that there will be a Monday night doubleheader in Week 2 (Titans at Bills, Vikings at Eagles). 

5. Five NFL reunions that need to happen in 2022


Getty Images

Everyone loves a good reunion, especially Cody Benjamin, who decided to take a look around the NFL this week to try to come up with some reunions that need to happen. 

So what reunions are we talking about here? Let’s find out. 

  • Nick Foles needs to reunite with the Jaguars. “Even after spending like crazy this offseason, the Jaguars can afford to upgrade the backup spot behind Trevor Lawrence, especially considering Foles’ ties to new coach Doug Pederson, his boss during their famous Eagles title run.”
  • Julio Jones needs to reunite with Matt Ryan. “This one makes too much sense. Jones, 33, is no longer the imposing All-Pro he once was. But he’d be a proven model for the Colts’ other big boys out wide, Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce, while adding depth to a team otherwise built to contend now. Oh, and he spent literally a decade catching passes from Ryan, Indy’s new man under center.”
  • Cole Beasley needs to reunite with the Cowboys. “No, he’s not the most electrifying name at his position, but the scrappy Beasley, replaced with younger, cheaper options in Buffalo, made a name for himself in Dallas. More than that, he’d provide Dak Prescott a familiar safety valve after an offseason that saw the Cowboys say goodbye to both Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr.”
  • Justin Houston needs to reunite with the Chiefs. “At 33, Houston is no longer a top-tier starter off the edge — a far cry from the 22-sack machine that once dominated from K.C.’s front. But he’s still a savvy plug-and-play rotational rusher, which is precisely what the Chiefs could use at defensive end.”
  • Jerry Hughes needs to reunite with the Colts. “The 33-year-old Hughes is coming off a nine-year run with the Bills, which followed an underwhelming three-year start with Indy. The last time he wore white and blue, he was a first-round disappointment; now, Hughes is one of the most underrated vets at the position.”

For a full explanation on why these reunions need to happen, be sure to check out Cody’s entire piece by clicking here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: James Bradberry gets cut, Sony Michel signs with new team

It’s been a wild 24 hour 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. 

  • Giants release James Bradberry. The Giants dumped their starting corner Monday in a cost-cutting move that will save them more than $10 million in salary cap space. If you’re wondering where the Pro Bowl corner might end up, you can check out our list of potential landing spots by clicking here
  • Dolphins sign Sony Michel. The former Patriots running back is headed back to the AFC East. Michel, who won a Super Bowl with the Rams last season, has agreed to terms on a one-year deal that will pay him up to $2.1 million, according to ESPN

  • Brett Favre being sued by the state of Mississippi. This lawsuit is over squandered welfare money. Former Mississippi Department of Human Services executive director John Davis misspent millions in welfare money and $1.1 million of that ended up in Favre’s pocket. Although Favre eventually paid the money back, the state says he still owes them $228,000 in interest, and that unpaid money is why this lawsuit was filed. The interest will kill you. 
  • Jerry Jones not at fault in car crash. Police in Dallas have determined that the Cowboys owner wasn’t at fault in his recent car crash. Jones t-boned the other car, but the driver had tried to make a left turn from the far right lane and there was no way Jones could have known that was going to happen. For more details on the police report, be sure to click here.  
  • Broncos sale could reach the $5 billion mark. Two weeks ago, it looked like the Broncos were going to be sold for just north of $4 billion, but now, it’s starting to look like the final selling price might be more than $5 million, according to Pro Football Talk. I think what this means is that inflation is going to get us all. 

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