Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It’s officially vacation time in the NFL. All 32 teams are done practicing, and they won’t be starting again until training camp kicks off in late July, which means this is the one time of year where NFL players are free to go on vacation. For most players this is probably a good thing, but not for Justin Herbert, who apparently hates vacations.
“I feel like I just get bored sometimes without football,” Herbert said last week. “Saturdays and Sundays are nice, but at the same time, I’d rather be playing and having something to do because I hate hanging around my house and not doing anything or accomplishing anything.”
Justin Herbert is officially the only person in America who doesn’t like vacations, which means I’m guessing he’d like this newsletter since we don’t ever take any days off.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter, especially if one of those friends is Justin Herbert. 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, today’s mailbag even includes a question about which movie we would erase from history if we could erase just one. If we’ll answer that, trust me when I say we’ll answer almost anything. (By the way, I voted for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which was so bad that it somehow made other Indiana Jones movies worse by association.)
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 Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I answered in today’s mailbag.
Q: Of the top quarterbacks currently in the NFL, whose legacy would stand to get the biggest boost from a Super Bowl win and whose would stand to get the biggest boost from an MVP?
A: The listeners of the Pick Six Podcast have definitely brought their ‘A’ game over the past few weeks with some awesome questions.
We actually had a spirited conversation about the answer to this question. I would call it a debate, but we didn’t actually have a debate because we all agreed on the top guy: Matt Ryan, who would get a huge legacy boost from a Super Bowl win.
The Colts quarterback already has an MVP and Super Bowl appearance under his belt (both in 2016), and if he were to add a Super Bowl win, it feels like he would instantly become a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A Super Bowl win would also be nice for Ryan because then people might stop talking about the time his team blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. You can’t really blame that loss on Ryan, though. He led his team to 28 points, which is the fourth-most points a team has ever scored in a Super Bowl loss.
As for other quarterbacks who could benefit from a Super Bowl win, we mentioned Aaron Rodgers. It seems that Rodgers has recently gained a reputation for failing in the playoffs, and a quick way to shed that would be to earn his second Super Bowl ring.
As for players who could get a legacy boost from an MVP, Russell Wilson feels like the answer there. Not only has Wilson never won an MVP award, but he’s never even gotten a SINGLE MVP VOTE. To put that in perspective, Carson Wentz, Todd Gurley, Carson Palmer, J.J. Watt and Bobby Wagner have all received more MVP votes over the past 10 years than Wilson.
We also mentioned one quarterback who could receive a legacy boost from either a Super Bowl win or an MVP and that guy was Derek Carr. The Raiders QB isn’t quite viewed as an upper-echelon quarterback, but that would likely change with a Super Bowl win or an MVP award.
Anyway, to listen to the rest of the mailbag (and to the quirks), be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. NFL wants to hit Deshaun Watson with ‘significant’ suspension
After spending more than 15 months investigating Deshaun Watson, it appears the NFL is getting closer to doling out a possible punishment to the Browns quarterback. And it could be a big one.
Here’s the latest on Watson’s situation, which includes a report from The Washington Post about how long the quarterback’s suspension might be.
- NFL wants to hit Watson with lengthy suspension. According to the Post, the NFL is going to argue that Watson deserves a “significant” suspension. So what exactly does significant mean? A person in Watson’s camp told the Post that the NFL will likely argue that Watson deserves to be suspended for at least one full season. If Watson’s own camp is bracing for that type of suspension, it feels like something that could absolutely happen.
- NFL isn’t directly in control of the length of the suspension. The reason the NFL has to argue for a “significant” suspension is because the league isn’t in charge of handing out the punishment. Under the old collective bargaining agreement, Roger Goodell was given the power to hand out suspensions, but under the new CBA, that power belongs to a disciplinary officer, who is jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. In Watson’s case, that officer is former U.S. district judge Judge Sue L. Robinson. After Robinson makes a decision on the case, either side will be free to appeal it. If Robinson rules that Watson didn’t violate the CBA, then the case is essentially over from a league standpoint and the QB won’t be punished.
- The NFL is hoping to have this wrapped up by the end of July. Although it’s still not clear when a decision might come, the Post reported that the NFL would like to have the entire process completed, including any potential appeals, by the start of training camp. With the Browns set to kick off training camp on July 27, Watson will likely know if he’ll be suspended at some point in the next six weeks.
The NFL has a history of dumping suspensions and other bad news on the Friday before the Fourth of July, so it won’t be surprising at all if the league were to make an announcement about the Watson case on July 1. That timeline also makes sense for another reason: If that were to happen, that would give everyone involved plenty of time to appeal the decision before the Browns start training camp.
3. Ranking the top 10 wide receivers heading into the 2022 season
As you may or may not have noticed, we love to rank things here at CBSSports.com and because of that, we thought we would spend the next few weeks ranking every position group heading into the 2022 season.
After ranking the NFL’s top 10 running backs on Friday, we’re going to move on to wide receivers today. The top 10 list below was put together by Cody Benjamin, and if you’d like to tell him how perfect it is, you can do that by clicking here. That link will take you to his Twitter profile, where you can also argue with him if you don’t like his list.
Top 10 wide receivers for 2022
1. Davante Adams, Raiders
2. Justin Jefferson, Vikings
3. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals
4. Cooper Kupp, Rams
5. Stefon Diggs, Bills
6. Tyreek Hill, Dolphins
7. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
8. Deebo Samuel, 49ers
9. Keenan Allen, Chargers
10. A.J. Brown, Eagles
We’ve seen five of the 10 players on this list land a new contract over the past three months, and that number could jump to six if the 49ers get a deal done with Deebo Samuel before the start of the 2022 season. I think what I’m trying to say here is that good receivers don’t come cheap.
If you want a detailed explanation of Cody’s ranking, then be sure to click here so you can check out his entire story.
4. NFL comeback players: Veterans who could experience a resurgence in 2022
There are a lot of reasons that a star player can have a down year in the NFL. It’s easy to have a down year if you’re injured or if you’re playing on a bad team. With that in mind, CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso decided to take a look at few veterans who could have a big comeback year in 2022 after falling off the radar last season.
Here’s a look at Trapasso’s list:
- Rams WR Allen Robinson. Robinson went over 100 catches and 1,200 yards with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles throwing to him in 2020. Imagine what he’ll be able to do in the Rams offense.
- Eagles DT Fletcher Cox. “Despite it feeling like Cox has drastically faded from the borderline superstar pedestal, he can still bring it. Rather quietly, Cox registered a respectable 44 pressures in 2021. Now, beyond the loose-hipped, explosive Javon Hargrave and the lengthy athleticism specimen Josh Sweat, Cox will play next to 6-7 and 340 pounds of grown man in first-round pick Jordan Davis.”
- Broncos WR Courtland Sutton. He now has Russell Wilson throwing him the ball, which feels about 45 steps up from Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater.
- Saints WR Jarvis Landry. With defenses potentially focusing on Alvin Kamara or Michael Thomas or Chris Olave, that should open the door for Landry to have a bigger than expected season.
- Raiders TE Darren Waller. “He’ll see more advantageous one-on-one matchups than ever given Davante Adams’ presence. And Hunter Renfrow will attract plenty of attention underneath. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Waller will reemerge as one of the game’s most dangerous receiving weapons at the tight end position in 2022.”
For a full explanation for why each one of these guys made the list, be sure to read Trapasso’s entire story, which you can do by clicking here.
5. The Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning debate might be starting back up again
When Peyton Manning retired back in March 2016, there was still a lot of debate going on about who the better quarterback was between him and Tom Brady. However, in the six seasons after Manning’s retirement, Brady seemingly put that argument to rest with THREE SUPER BOWL WINS in six years. To put that in perspective, Manning only won two Super Bowls during his entire career.
Although Brady seems to have the upper-hand in the “best quarterback of all-time” argument, that’s not necessarily the case when you ask former players to debate the topic. As a matter of fact, there have been two players over the past two weeks who said they think Manning is the better overall QB.
- Former NFL All-Pro linebacker Bart Scott says Manning was much scarier to face than Brady. During a recent interview on ESPN radio, here’s what Scott had to say about facing the two quarterbacks. “I’d much rather go against Tom Brady every day of the week than to go against Peyton Manning,” Scott said. “I believe that’s how everybody feels. In the heyday, you’d never have (players thinking), ‘I’m so afraid of Tom Brady.’ … Peyton Manning gives you a total sense, a different level of anxiety. Like, you sleep at night, like, ‘Damn.’ … With Tom Brady it was more about Bill Belichick, the entire team, the execution, them having a game plan.” Scott also added that “Peyton Manning … made my head hurt. You feel like you gotta go take an SAT test (to prepare for him).”
- Ryan Fitzpatrick thinks Manning is the greatest QB in NFL history. Not only is it interesting to hear the perspective of a former defensive player on this issue, it’s also interesting to hear the perspective of a former NFL QB and Fitzpatrick gave us that in early June. “My favorite quarterback I got to play against was Peyton Manning,” Fitzpatrick said. “Peyton had the laser focus and everything else. I think Peyton is the greatest quarterback to ever live.”
- Fitzpatrick explains his Manning over Brady take. So what makes Peyton so impressive? “Everything that dude did, he did everything with so much intent,” Fitzpatrick said. “He changed the game with how he approached it from the mental side with all the things they were doing in Indy. … To have control and command in every aspect of the game like he did, he was the most impressive I ever saw.”
Fitzpatrick did note that Brady is “the greatest champion,” but he made it clear he thinks “Peyton is the greatest quarterback to ever live.”
Manning played the game at an intellectual level that will likely never be matched, but Brady has more Super Bowl rings than anyone ever. Basically, if you’re trying to figure out who the best QB of all-time is, it’s probably going to depend on what criteria you’re using is.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Kareem Hunt looking for extension with Browns
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.
- Kareem Hunt hoping to get an extension from Browns. The running back’s contract expires following the 2022 season, but he’s hoping to get an extension done before that. “I’m going to see what they want to do with me and I’m just taking it day by day,” Hunt said over the weekend. “Hopefully I can be here long term.”
- Browns reportedly exploring new stadium sites. In other Browns news, it appears the team might have started the process of looking for a new stadium. The Browns lease at their current stadium runs through 2028, which means if they want to have a new stadium ready for the 2029 season, they need to get things figured out in the next year or two. For more details on this story, be sure to click here.
- House Oversight Committee calls out Dan Snyder. It’s never a good look when you get called out by a congressional committee, but that’s exactly what happened to Snyder today. The oversight committee condemned the Commanders owner after he refused to testify in a hearing this week, “His refusal to testify sends an unmistakable signal that Mr. Snyder has something to hide and is afraid of coming clean to the American public and addressing major worker protection concerns facing the NFL.”
- Only two first-round picks remain unsigned. There were 32 first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and only two of them are still unsigned: Steelers QB Kenny Pickett and Patriots offensive lineman Cole Strange. Quarterback contracts generally take a little longer to get done, so it’s no surprise Pickett is still unsigned. As for Strange, it is a little strange (ha ha) that he’s not signed, but I think it has mostly to do with the Patriots’ current salary cap situation. New England is just $1.76 million under the cap, which means they might not have the room to sign Strange just yet. Basically, the Patriots will need to make a few moves to clear up cap space before the start of training camp so they can get Strange under contract.
- Giants linebacker suspended for two games. Justin Hilliard has been suspended two games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. According to ESPN, Hilliard had been getting some first-team reps this spring with Blake Martinez recovering from an ACL injury.