Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
Guys, I hate to say this, but I’m starting to think that the NFL is going to have to cancel the 2022 season and that’s because I’m pretty sure every player in the league retired yesterday. Sure, I’m slightly exaggerating, but it definitely felt that way after we got hit with three big retirements from players who had all been in the league for 13 years or more.
We’ll be going over reach retirement today, plus we’ll take a look at the latest details from Deshaun Watson’s legal situation.
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.
1. Today’s show: NFC South win totals
We’ve spent most of the past two weeks going over regular-season win totals on the podcast and that theme will continue today with a run through the NFC South. When you look at this division, it’s basically the Buccaneers and everyone else, so in news that probably won’t surprise you, we spent a lot of time talking about the Buccaneers.
Will Brinson and I got together for today’s episode of the pod, and we spent roughly 30 minutes debating whether each team would go over or under their win total (Spoiler alert: Brinson thinks every team in the NFC South is going under).
Buccaneers Over/Under: 11.5
Breech’s prediction: UNDER
Brinson’s prediction: STAYING AWAY
Saints Over/Under: 8
Breech’s prediction: UNDER
Brinson’s prediction: UNDER
Panthers Over/Under: 6
Breech’s prediction: STAYING AWAY
Brinson’s prediction: UNDER
Falcons Over/Under: 5.5
Breech’s prediction: OVER
Brinson’s prediction: UNDER
The most spirited debate we had came with the Buccaneers and Panthers. On Tampa Bay’s end, I think the Bucs have a brutal schedule. Their first four games are against the Cowboys, Saints, Packers and Chiefs and I don’t think it would be completely crazy to see them go 1-3 or 2-2 in that span. If that happens, hitting the over becomes incredibly difficult. Although I was willing to take the under, Brinson wanted no part of it and I think that was mainly due to the fact that he hates betting against Tom Brady.
Crap, why am I betting against Tom Brady.
As for the Panthers, I almost talked Brinson into taking the over. They have a totally revamped offensive line and I think they’re slightly better than last year’s team, which won five games. That being said, I will never bet on a team that has Sam Darnold at quarterback so I decided to stay away from Carolina’s win total.
Anyway, to see what we had to say about the rest of the NFC South win totals, be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Deshaun Watson allegedly offered to settle each lawsuit for $100,000
Earlier this week, there was another sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against Deshaun Watson and when that lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, it included an interesting piece of information: Apparently, Watson offered $100,000 to each plaintiff in an effort to settle each of the 22 lawsuits that he was facing (That number is now up to 23).
Here’s a look at the information from his latest lawsuit:
- Watson made a $100,000 offer to settle each case. As first noted by Pro Football Talk, there’s a notation in the most recent lawsuit that mentions the settlement offer. Here’s what the notation says, “We now know that Deshaun Watson offered each Plaintiff $100,000 to settle their cases, but not all would accept that amount, due to the aggressive nondisclosure agreement [NDA] that Watson’s team proposed.”
- It appears this offer was made around October. Back in January, one of the women in the case offered a copy of the NDA to the Daily Beast. The woman never signed the NDA, but it did note that Watson would be willing to pay her $100,000 to sign it at some point in October.
- Why did Watson’s team want an NDA? Watson’s attorney recently explained that the only reason he was looking to have the women sign an NDA is because the Dolphins wanted it. The Dolphins were trying to make a trade for Watson back in October and according to multiple reports at the time, they were only going to go through with the deal if Watson reached a settlement with all 22 women who had filed a lawsuit. In the end, only 18 of the 22 women agreed, which blew up the trade and took the settlement off the table since it was an all-or-nothing deal.
- Tony Buzbee says the NDA ruined the settlement talks. After the trade deadline, the attorney for the plaintiffs, Tony Buzbee, said that the aggressive NDAs is what killed the deal, “In what was submitted to us, there were nondisclosure agreements and many of the women pushed back on those,” Buzbee said in November.
It had already been known that settlement talks were going on around the trade deadline last season, but it wasn’t known how much Watson was offering to settle each case. Basically, it seems that Watson’s camp offered the $100,000 settlement to each plaintiff in order to facilitate a trade to the Dolphins, which tells you how close a trade was to happening. If all 22 women had agreed to Watson’s settlement offer, then he’d likely be playing for the Dolphins right now, but four of the women pushed back and refused to sign.
As things currently stand, Watson is now facing 23 civil lawsuits and the NFL is still finishing up its investigation into the Browns quarterback.
3. Big retirement, part I: Frank Gore calls it quits after 16 seasons
If there was one guy in the NFL who I thought might play as long as Tom Brady, it was Frank Gore, but as it turns out, that sadly won’t be the case. The longtime running back officially announced his retirement on Thursday after hinting this offseason that he was likely done with football.
The 39-year-old signed a one-day contract with the 49ers so that he could officially retire with the team that drafted him. Gore spent 10 years with the 49ers after they made him the 65th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
“After 10 years in San Francisco and 16 years in the NFL, I can confidently say that I put all I had into the game of football,” Gore said. “Football was and is everything to me. From meetings and film study to practice and just being in the locker room, all of it meant the world to me.”
Here’s a quick look at Gore’s career, which included five Pro Bowl appearances and one season as a second-team All-Pro:
- Gore ranks top-five all time in three key categories. Not only will Gore retire with the third-highest rushing total in NFL history (16,000 yards), but he also has the fourth-most yards from scrimmage (19,985) and the fifth-most all-purpose yards (19,992). The only two players ahead of Gore on the all-time rushing list — Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton — are both in the Hall of Fame.
- Gore hit 1,200 total yards a total of 12 times. The running back wasn’t just a threat to run the ball, Gore could also catch passes out of the backfield. Over the course of his career, he totaled at least 1,200 yards from scrimmage in TWELVE consecutive seasons, which is an NFL record. To put that in perspective, no other player has even done it 11 times (Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Curtis Martin all did it 10 times).
- Incredibly durable. There were some major questions about Gore’s durability coming out of college considering he suffered two different ACL injuries, but those old injuries never proved to be an issue. In 16 NFL seasons, Gore only missed a total of 15 games.
- Gore came up big in Super Bowl loss. During his lone Super Bowl appearance, Gore rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown for the 49ers in their Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Ravens. During the 2012 postseason, Gore averaged 106.3 yards per game.
Gore played for five different teams over his 16-year career, including the 49ers (2005-14), Colts (2015-17), Dolphins (2018), Bills (2019) and Jets (2020). Gore sat out the 2021 season before deciding that he wasn’t going to be returning at all.
The biggest question now is whether Gore belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and based on the numbers he produced during his career, I have to think that the answer is yes.
4. Big retirement, part II: Ryan Fitzpatrick done with football after 17 seasons
After 17 years, the NFL’s greatest magic show — AKA the FitzMagic show — is finally closing up shop. Longtime NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick announced his retirement on Thursday in the most Ryan Fitzpatrick way possible: He sent out a text to his former teammates that included a wild graphic that I’m pretty sure listed the name of every player he’s ever been teammates with. And just so you don’t think I’m crazy, here’s a link to the graphic. Let me know how many names you see on that thing.
Although Fitzpatrick won’t get anywhere near the Hall of Fame, he’ll definitely be the first inductee if the NFL ever creates a Hall that’s just for journeymen quarterbacks. Over his 17-year career, Fitzpatrick started at least one game for nine different teams, which is an NFL record.
Also, let’s not forget that he attended Harvard and basically put that school on the map. As we all know, no one had ever really heard of Harvard until Fitzpatrick was drafted out of the school in 2005.
Here’s a quick look at Fitzpatrick’s career, which includes a lot of crazy records and milestones:
- Fitzpatrick ends career with passing record he’d probably rather not have. Fitzpatrick threw for 34,990 yards in his career, which is the most passing yards in NFL history by a quarterback who never made it to the postseason. Fitzpatrick also has the most passing yards of any player drafted in the seventh round or later since the merger in 1970.
- Fitzpatrick threw a TD pass to more than 60 players. When you play for 17 years, you’ll end up throwing a TD pass to a lot of different players and that was definitely the case for Fitzpatrick, who threw at least one TD pass to 62 different players. That ranks fourth in NFL history behind only Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Vinny Testaverde.
- Won games with more teams than anyone ever. Not only did he set an NFL record by starting at least one game for nine different teams, but he also won at least one game with seven different teams, which is an NFL record. If you want to stump people with Ryan Fitzpatrick trivia this weekend, just ask them to name the two teams Fitzpatrick played for, but didn’t win a game (Answer: Rams, Washington).
- Touchdown machine. Fitzpatrick is the only player in NFL history to throw four or more touchdown passes in a game with six different teams.
Basically, Fitzpatrick was the ultimate journeymen quarterback and if his picture isn’t next to “journeyman quarterback” in the dictionary next year, then the dictionaries have failed us.
As we already mentioned, Fitzpatrick played for nine different teams during his 17-year career, but since it’s nearly impossible to remember every team he played for, we’ll go ahead and list them all: Rams (2005-06), Bengals (2007-08), Bills (2009-12), Titans (2013), Texans (2014), Jets (2015-16), Buccaneers (2017-18), Dolphins (2019-20) and Washington (2021).
5. Big retirement, part III: Alex Mack is hanging up his cleats for good
Of the three NFL players who have retired over the past 24 hours, only one was still on top of his game and that’s Alex Mack. The 49ers center announced his retirement on Friday, just five months after finishing a Pro Bowl season in San Francisco.
“After 13 years and 204 games for three teams, I have decided to hang up my cleats,” Mack wrote on Twitter. “I am so grateful to the game of football and what it has given me.”
Here’s a quick look at Mack’s career, which included seven Pro Bowl appearances:
- Mack was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team. Mack was so good from 2010 to 2019 that he was one of two centers named to the Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team for the 2010s. During that 10-year period, Mack played for two different teams (Falcons, Browns) and was voted to the Pro Bowl a total of six times.
- Mack didn’t miss a single start in 11 of his 13 seasons. When you’re an offensive lineman in the NFL, it’s not easy to stay healthy, but Mack managed to do that for most of his career. Starting with his rookie year in 2009, Mack only missed a total of 13 games over the course of his career and 11 of those came in 2014 when he was put on injured reserve after breaking his leg. From 2015 to 2021, Mack was on the field for 109 of the 111 regular-season games that his teams played in.
- Kyle Shanahan truly appreciated Mack. The 49ers coach was a big fan of Mack, which is probably why he signed him no matter where he was. Mack played in Shanahan’s offense in Cleveland (2014), Atlanta (2015-16) and San Francisco (2021). “The center position in the NFL is the heartbeat of an offense and Alex’s intellect, consistency, love for the game and professional approach made a lasting impression over the course of his 13 NFL seasons,” Shanahan said in a statement on Friday.
- Mack probably won’t have good memories of his only Super Bowl. During his 13-year career, Mack only got to play in one Super Bowl and that came back in February 2017. In that game, Mack was playing for the Falcons, who blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots, which means Mack will probably never watch the game again as long as he lives.
Mack played for three different teams over his 13-year career, including the Browns (2009-15), Falcons (2016-20) and 49ers (2021). He was the 21st overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and he definitely lived up to the hype that comes with being a first-round pick.
6. Ranking the best alternate uniforms in the NFL
With the Falcons unveiling a new helmet on Thursday that they’ll be wearing with their 1966 throwback uniform this season, that got us thinking about which NFL teams have the best alternate uniforms. The obvious answer to this question USED to be the Chargers‘ power blue uniform, but that doesn’t qualify as an alternate uniform anymore because they made it their primary home uniform in 2019.
That being said, the title for best alternate uniform will be staying in Los Angeles, because according to the rankings created by CBSSports.com’s Jeff Kerr, the Rams’ throwback white uniforms are the best alternates in the NFL.
Kerr ranked the 28 best alternate uniforms in the NFL and we’re going to list his top 10 here (You can click on the link next to each team’s uniform description to see what the uniform looks like):
1. Rams — White Alternate Throwback
2. Ravens — Black Alternate
3. Panthers — Carolina Blue Throwback
4. Broncos — Orange Color Rush Throwback
5. Eagles — Black Alternate
6. Bengals — Orange Alternate
7. Broncos — Navy Blue Alternate
8. Texans — Battle Red Alternate
9. Vikings — Purple Color Rush Alternate
10. Chargers — Royal Blue Color Rush Alternate
If you want to see Kerr’s entire ranking, be sure to click here, unless you’re a Titans fan, then you probably shouldn’t click because you’re not going to like what Kerr has to say.