Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Rams’ wild offseason continues with Cooper Kupp extension, plus where Rob Walton ranks on richest owners list

Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

Since everyone loves to read about breaking news, we’re going to start with some today and that news is that there’s a new NFL Insider here at CBS Sports. Senior NFL reporter Jonathan Jones has been elevated to lead insider across all CBS platforms. Thanks to his promotion, I’m pretty sure the only NFL-related thing he’s not in charge of at this point is this newsletter. 

If you’re not familiar with Jones, don’t worry, you’ll get to know him during the upcoming NFL season and that’s because he’ll be appearing every Sunday on CBS’ NFL pregame show, “The NFL Today.”

JJ, please remember the little people as you shoot up the ladder here at CBS Sports. Anyway, that’s enough sucking up to Jonathan, let’s get to the rundown. 

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: Breaking down the latest NFL news

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Even though we’re inching toward the slow part of the NFL offseason, things definitely haven’t been slow this week. From the sale of the Broncos to Aaron Rodgers promising to finish his career in Green Bay, there’s been a lot of news. Ryan Wilson got together with Will Brinson to break down that news for Thursday’s episode of the Pick Six podcast. 

During the episode, the two guys debated which NFL team might be sold next following Rob Walton’s purchase of the Broncos. 

“I could see Gayle Benson selling the Saints,” Brinson said. 

Benson actually revealed her succession plan for the franchise back in September 2021. She made it clear that the team will be sold after she passes away and that all the proceeds of the sale will go to various local charities, which means the Saints will definitely be sold at some point, it’s just a matter of when. 

Brinson also pointed out that Jody Allen could end up selling the Seahawks. Allen is the sister of former Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who passed away in October 2018. As things currently stand, the Paul Allen Trust owns the team and Jody is in charge of the trust. There’s been speculation that the Seahawks could be sold, but there’s been no definite indication that it’s going to happen. 

One other team to watch for is the Bears. Team owner Virginia McCaskey is 99 years old and it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the team after she passes away. There was some strong speculation last summer that the Bears might go on the auction block after McCaskey passes away, but that talk has somewhat slowed down over the past few months. 

Before the sale of the Broncos, only one team had changed owners since 2015 (Panthers), but looking at the current landscape, it’s possible that over the next five years, we could see multiple teams change hands. 

If you want to listen to today’s episode, then be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Cooper Kupp lands huge extension from Rams

After becoming just the second player in NFL history — along with Jerry Rice — to win AP Offensive Player of the Year, the receiving triple crown and Super Bowl MVP in the same season, it was pretty clear Cooper Kupp deserved a raise, and he actually got one Wednesday. 

Here’s a look at Kupp’s new deal: 

  • Kupp gets $80 million in new money. Before the extension, Kupp had just two years and $30 million left on his old contract. The Rams decided to add three years and $80 million to his deal, which means Kupp is now under contract for the next five years for a total of $110 million. The crazy part about the new money is that most of it is guaranteed. Kupp was given $75 million in guaranteed money, which is the most in NFL history for a non-QB. Kupp’s new deal means he’s now under contract through the 2026 season. 
  • Why Kupp isn’t the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Kupp could have made a strong argument to be the highest-paid receiver, but he made it clear in April that he didn’t want that. “I don’t think that’s the approach that I take,” Kupp said just before the draft about resetting the receiver market. “There’s a place you want to be. There’s a place that I think is fair. … I’m not trying to beat anybody. I’m not trying to compare myself to anyone else.” With an average of $22 million per year, Kupp is now the sixth-highest paid receiver in the league and he seems just fine with that. 
  • Rams’ crazy offseason continues. I’m starting to think the salary cap doesn’t apply to the Rams. Over the past three months, we’ve seem them hand out several huge contracts. Kupp joins Matthew Stafford (four-year, $160 million deal), Aaron Donald (three-year, $95 million), Bobby Wagner (five-year $50 million) and Allen Robinson (three-year, $46.5 million) as players who all received at least $46.5 million from the Rams. 
  • Kupp’s contract continues crazy offseason for receivers. If there’s one position group that’s been getting PAID this offseason, it’s definitely receivers. We’ve now seen multiple players land big contracts, including Tyreek HIll, Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Mike Williams and now Kupp. 

Kupp led the NFL last season in catches (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16), which allowed him to become just the fourth player since 1990 to win the receiving triple crown.

3. NFL’s richest owners: Rob Walton tops the list by A LOT

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For most of the past three years, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has held the title as the richest owner in the NFL, but that’s going to change as soon as Rob Walton’s purchase of the Denver Broncos is finalized. 

Walton’s purchase still needs to be approved by 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners, but once that happens, he will immediately become the richest owner in the NFL.

Walton, who is the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is worth an estimated $58.2 billion. Not only does that make him the 21st richest person in the WORLD, but it also means that he has more money than the NFL’s five richest owners COMBINED. 

Jerry Jones, Stan Kroenke, Robert Kraft, Stephen Ross and Tepper have a combined value of $56.7 billion, which is still $1.5 billion lower than Walton. 

Here’s what the top-10 list of richest owners will look like once Walton’s purchase of the Broncos is finalized (via Forbes data as of June 8). 

1. Rob Walton, Broncos: $58.2 billion 

2. David Tepper, Panthers: 
$16.7 billion 

3. Jerry Jones, Cowboys$12.8 billion

4. Stan Kroenke, Rams: $10.7 billion

5. Robert Kraft, Patriots: $8.3 billion

6. Stephen Ross, Dolphins $8.2 billion

7. Shahid Khan, Jaguars$7.7 billion 

8. Arthur Blank, Falcons$6.9 billion 

T-9. Stephen Bisciotti, Ravens$5.8 billion

T-9. Terry Pegula, Bills$5.8 billion

The owners listed above are the only ones in the NFL worth $5 billion or more. It’s also probably worth noting that the fourth-richest owner on this list (Kroenke) is married to Ann Walton, who happens to be Rob Walton’s cousin. 

4. Ranking every starting quarterback in the NFC

After ranking all 16 starting quarterbacks in the AFC yesterday, we thought it only made sense to follow that up by ranking all 16 quarterbacks in the NFC today. As you may have noticed yesterday, the AFC is stacked. I mean, the 10th best quarterback in the conference is a former MVP (Matt Ryan). On the other hand, the 10th best QB in the NFC has only started two career games (Trey Lance). 

In the NFC, you have the top-three quarterbacks and then everyone else. With that in mind, let’s check out Cody Benjamin’s ranking for of the best quarterbacks in the NFC. 

1. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)

2. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)

3. Matthew Stafford (Rams)

4. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)

5. Kyler Murray (Cardinals

6. Kirk Cousins (Vikings)

7. Jalen Hurts (Eagles)

8. Carson Wentz (Commanders)

9. Jameis Winston (Saints)

10. Trey Lance (49ers)

This is only the first 10 quarterbacks on the list. If you want to see the full ranking of all 16 starters in the NFC, then be sure to click here

5. Deshaun Watson update: Texans added as defendant in lawsuit, QB refuses to answer questions about NYT story

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Three weeks ago, Roger Goodell said the NFL was wrapping up its investigation into Deshaun Watson, but that might not be the case anymore and that’s mostly because new details seem to be coming out every day. This week alone The New York Times published a story that alleges that Watson contacted at least 66 different women for a massage in a 17-month span.

Here’s the latest on the Watson situation: 

  • Texans added as defendant in lawsuit. One key part of the NYT story is that it alleges that the Texans were enabling Watson’s behavior by renting out a hotel suite for him. The team also provided an NDA that he had each woman sign before he would get a massage. After hearing that information, the attorney for the 24 women, Tony Buzbee, thought it made sense to add the Texans to the lawsuit. “What has become clear is that the Houston Texans organization and their contracting ‘massage therapy company’ facilitated Deshaun Watson’s conduct,” Buzbee said Wednesday. “In many of these cases, the Texans provided the opportunity for this conduct to occur. We believe the Texans organization was well aware of Watson’s issues, but failed to act.”
  • Watson ducks question about New York Times story. A reporter actually tried to ask Watson about the NYT story on Wednesday, but the QB refused to answer. Instead, Watson simply said that he preferred that any statements come from his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, or agent, David Mulugheta. Watson hasn’t been made available to the media since his introductory press conference with the Browns in March. 
  • Kevin Stefanski refused to comment on Watson’s case. The Browns coach also had the chance to comment about the latest details on the Watson case, but he also refused. “We’re here making sure we get good practice in. The guys did a nice job out there today, I’m not going to comment past that,” Stefanski said Wednesday. “I’m going to be respectful of the process, be respectful of the legal proceedings.”
  • Baker Mayfield excused from minicamp. Even though next week’s minicamp is mandatory, Mayfield won’t be attendance and that’s because the Browns have excused him from being there. With an NFL suspension hanging over Watson’s head, you’d think the Browns would try to mend things with Mayfield so he could possibly open the season as their starting QB, but at this point, it seems pretty clear that’s not going to happen. 

At the end of May, Watson’s lawyer was hopeful that he’d hear something from the NFL at some point in June, but with all the new wrinkles in the case, it now feels impossible to predict a timeline for when the league might make a decision on Watson. 

The NFL is famous for releasing bad news on the Friday before July 4, so that still feels like the safest bet for when we might hear something from the league about the Watson case. Of course, it could also drag on if the league has to interview anyone else as part of its investigation, which is completely possible since two new lawsuits have been filed against Watson over the past two weeks. 

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Cam Newton still thinks he’s a starting-caliber QB

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. 

  • Cam Newton still thinks he’s capable of being an NFL starter. During a recent interview on The Pivot Podcast, Newton made it clear that he thinks he still has the talent to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. “There’s not 32 guys better than me,” Newton said, via PFT. “On my soul. On my soul. On my soul.” Newton is currently a free agent and he hasn’t been drawing very much interest from anyone this offseason. 
  • Mitchell Trubisky also thinks he’s a starter. Even though the Steelers used a first-round pick on a quarterback, Trubisky still thinks the job is his to lose. The former Bears and Bills QB said Wednesday that he’s “preparing to be the starter” in Pittsburgh. 
  • Drew Brees out at NBC after just one season. Brees’ time at NBC is over after just one season. NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua announced that the former Saints QB won’t be returning to the network for the upcoming NFL season. Brees took the NBC job after retiring from football following the 2020 season. The belief is that Brees wanted to be in the announcer’s booth for more NFL games, which NBC couldn’t really offer. At this point, his best chance of announcing games in 2022 would probably be at Fox. 
  • Ravens expect Lamar Jackson to be at mandatory minicamp. The Ravens QB hasn’t attended a single voluntary practice this spring, but the team does expect Jackson to show up for mandatory minicamp, which starts June 14. The fact that Jackson has been staying away is somewhat interesting and that’s because he’s headed into the final year of his rookie deal. The Ravens have been looking to give him an extension, but so far, nothing has come close to getting done.  
  • Packers expect Sammy Watkins to be a big part of their offense. If you’re looking for an under-the-radar fantasy player to grab this year, you might want to think about Sammy Watkins. Packers coach Matt LaFleur said on Wednesday that Watkins is going to be a big part of Green Bay’s offense in 2022. “I don’t think his game has fallen off at all since we were together in 2017,” LaFleur said, via PFT. “A little of it has been maybe a little bit lack of opportunity. But I think he’s a guy that’s out there working hard. And he’s going to be a big part of our offense.”
  • Jack Del Rio apologizes for controversial comments. The Commanders defensive coordinator raised some eyebrows this week when he referred to the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington DC as a “dust-up” while comparing the event to the protests that took place following the death of George Floyd. For more on Del Rio’s comments and eventual apology, you can click here

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