Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
If I learned one thing over the weekend, it’s that I’m never going outside again. I mean, half the country is in a heat wave and the half that’s not in a heat wave feels like it’s in a heat wave, so we’re basically all in a heat wave.
I was in Memphis over the weekend where it was 100 degrees, and I’m pretty sure part of my face melted off. However, my fingers DID NOT melt off, which means I am still able to put together today’s newsletter.
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. 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 includes a question about what the worst mainstream pizza topping is of all-time. If we’ll answer that, trust me when I say we’ll answer almost anything. (By the way, the answer is olives. If there are olives anywhere near a pizza, I will not eat that pizza.)
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 and I answered in today’s mailbag.
A: Even if another team wanted to trade for Love, I’m not sure the Packers would do it. For Green Bay, it just doesn’t make much sense to trade him away right now and that’s because his contract is so cheap. Thanks to his rookie deal, Love is under contract for just $1.74 million in 2022 and $2.3 million in 2023, which is an extremely low price to pay for a backup QB.
If I’m the Packers, the only way I’m trading Love is if someone blows me away with an offer, but if you’re another NFL team, blowing the Packers away with an offer would be risky because you have no idea if Love is any good. For instance, if you need a QB this year, why offer a first- or second-round pick for Love when you have no idea if he’ll even be an upgrade over what you have.
Basically, the Packers have no reason to give him up, and it would be risky for another team to make a huge offer, which is probably why we won’t see him dealt anytime soon.
Anyway, to listen to the rest of the mailbag, be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Deshaun Watson’s NFL hearing is set to begin Tuesday, and the NFL is looking to drop the hammer on him
The NFL has been investigating Deshaun Watson for more than a year now, and that investigation will be taking center stage this week at a hearing for the quarterback where a former federal judge will determine whether Watson deserves to be suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Starting on Tuesday, the NFL and NFLPA will each lay out their cases in front of the league’s jointly appointed disciplinary officer, Sue L. Robinson. It’s not clear how long the hearing will take, but once it’s complete, Robinson will then decide whether Watson deserves to be suspended.
Here’s the latest on Watson’s situation:
- Why Robinson is in charge of handing out the suspension. 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 Robinson.
- What happens after Robinson renders her decision? If Watson gets hit with a suspension, that doesn’t mean this case is over. After Robinson makes a decision, either side will be free to appeal it. If there is an appeal, that will he handled by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates. 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 can’t appeal the decision if Robinson rules there was no violation.) If Robinson were to suspend Watson for less than a full season — say, for eight games — the NFL could appeal the suspension and try to get it pushed to an entire year.
- NFL wants to drop the hammer on Watson. We heard last week that the NFL wants to hit Watson with a one-year suspension, but apparently, the league might be looking for even more than that. According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL is going to propose an INDEFINITE suspension that would last for at least one year. The reason the league wants to make it an infinite ban is so that the NFL is protected in the event that more lawsuits are filed against Watson. If that happens, the league can simply add to his suspension by prolonging his ban.
- The Watson suspension could be announced as soon as this week. According to the WSJ, the NFL is anticipating that an announcement about a possible suspension will come during the week of July 4 “although there remains a chance of it coming sooner.” Under that timeline, that means a decision should be rendered at some point between June 29 and July 8. The NFL wants to have the entire process finalized, including appeals, before the Browns report to training camp on July 26, and it’s looking like that’s on track to happen.
One other possibility here is that the NFL and NFLPA agree to a settlement in Watson’s case before Robinson gives out her decision. However, settlement talks fell apart last week, which makes this option grow more and more unlikely by the day.
If Watson does get suspended for one year, then his contract would toll, which means the Browns would have him under contract for five seasons starting in 2023 rather than 2022.
In other Watson news, Tony Buzbee has filed a civil lawsuit against the Houston Texans on behalf of a massage therapist. Buzbee had previously announced that he was going to do this and now, the lawsuit is official. According to the lawsuit, which was obtained by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, the suit alleges that the Texans “turned a blind eye” and “enabled Watson’s egregious behavior.”
3. Ranking the top 10 safeties heading into the 2022 season
As you may or may not have noticed, we’ve been ranking every position group in the NFL over the past two weeks and I think we’re finally going to be wrapping that up this week.
After ranking the NFL’s top 10 corners on Friday, we’re moving on to another part of the secondary today: Safeties. The top 10 list below was put together by Tyler Sullivan, 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 safeties for 2022
1. Kevin Byard, Titans
2. Derwin James Jr., Chargers
3. Jessie Bates II, Bengals
4. Justin Simmons, Broncos
5. Marcus Williams, Ravens
6. Budda Baker, Cardinals
7. Antoine Winfield Jr., Buccaneers
8. Tyrann Mathieu, Saints
9. Jordan Poyer, Bills
10. Adrian Amos, Packers
When I look at this list, I see two interesting things right off the bat. The first one is that one player on the list isn’t even under contract and that’s Jessie Bates. He was hit with the franchise tag in March, but he apparently wants no part of that — he hasn’t signed it — and he’s insisted that he won’t play this year on the tag. If Bates stands his ground, that means he won’t be on the field this year unless he gets a long-term deal done with the Bengals. The two sides haven’t been close in negotiations over the past few months and they’re running out of time: The deadline for negotiating a long-term deal is July 15.
Also, it’s worth noting that the Saints made a slight downgrade at safety, according to our rankings. They let Marcus Williams walk in free agency and replaced him with the No. 8 guy on this list in Tyrann Mathieu.
If you want a detailed explanation of Tyler’s rankings, then be sure to click here so you can check out his entire story.
4. Colin Kaepernick’s agent disputes Warren Sapp’s claim that the QB’s workout with the Raiders was a ‘disaster’
I didn’t think this week would start off with a Hall of Famer making some wild claims about Colin Kaepernick, but that’s exactly where we are right now after Warren Sapp’s recent comments regarding Kaepernick’s workout last month with the Raiders.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the budding feud between Kaepernick and Sapp.
- Sapp says Kaepernick’s workout with the Raiders was a ‘disaster.’ During an interview with Vlad TV last week, Sapp claimed that he heard that Kaepernick’s May 25 workout was embarrassingly bad. “I heard it was a disaster,” Sapp said. “I heard it was one of the worst workouts ever.”
- Kaepernick’s agent fires back. Kaepernick’s agent, Jeff Nalley, quickly disputed everything Sapp had to say with a text to Pro Football Talk on Sunday. According to Nalley, Kaepernick was so good during the workout that he impressed both Raiders head coach Josh McDaniel and general manager Dave Ziegler. “I guess Warren didn’t talk to the general manager or the head coach,” Nalley said. “I spoke to the GM several times and he said they all thought Kap was in great shape and threw the ball really well and encouraged any team to call him about the workout and he would tell them the same. I’m surprised Warren would say that, because it’s not true and you would think he would want Kap on a team.”
- So what’s the truth? The evidence in this case seems to favor Kaepernick. For one, there were multiple reports following his workout that the Raiders were actually impressed with him. Also, one other thing to keep in mind about Kaepernick is that the Raiders weren’t the only ones who walked away impressed by him this offseason. The quarterback held multiple throwing sessions over the past few months, and he seemed to impress everyone he crossed paths with, including Tyler Lockett and Justin Fields.
It’s now been more than a month since Kaepernick’s workout, and he still hasn’t been invited to another one, but that could have more to do with his politics than how he performed with the Raiders. After all, he was basically shunned by the league for five years, so it’s no surprise that he’s not being fully embraced by the NFL’s 32 teams. Also, if Kaepernick’s workout was truly disastrous, you’d think something like that would have leaked shortly after the workout, not one month later by a guy who has no history of leaking news.
5. Chargers QB Justin Herbert talks to CBSSports.com
As we learned last week, Justin Herbert hates taking vacations because he hates taking time away from football, which means that CBSSports.com’s Jeff Kerr might be a miracle worker. Somehow, Kerr got Herbert to take a few minutes away from football last week for a one-on-one interview.
Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest things they touched on in the conversation:
- Herbert’s thoughts on the AFC West adding so much talent this offseason. With the addition of players like Russell Wilson in Denver and Davante Adams in Las Vegas, the AFC West has gotten better this year and Herbert is looking forward to the challenge of trying to win what might be the NFL’s most difficult division “The Chiefs have gotten better, the Raiders have gotten better, and the Denver Broncos have gotten better — and that’s exactly what you want,” Herbert said. “We believe we can play really good football and it’s up to us to go out and execute. … At the end of the day, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Those guys have certainly proved that over the past couple years. This is going to be a fun division to be a part of.”
- Herbert says extension talks haven’t started yet. Since Herbert was drafted in 2020, that means he’ll be eligible for an extension as soon as the Chargers’ 2022 season ends. “We haven’t discussed anything but I’ve been so fortunate to play for the Chargers,” Herbert said. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m just so excited to be here and play football. This has been a great opportunity and I don’t wish it went any other way.”
- Herbert doesn’t read the criticism. Although Herbert has put up huge numbers in each of his first two seasons, he still hasn’t taken the Chargers to the playoffs. Even though he’s received some criticism for that, he’s definitely not paying attention to the negative stuff, “The great thing for me is that I don’t spend too much time on social media, so I don’t get to see all that stuff,” Herbert said. “It’s always a challenge of being better and we haven’t won a playoff game in the past two years. That’s obviously a tough challenge, but I believe in our team and the coaching staff.”
If you want to read the full interview with Herbert, then be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Rams owner Stan Kroenke wins another title
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.
- Stan Kroenke gets to add another trophy to his collection. Kroenke already won a Lombardi Trophy this year when his Rams won the Super Bowl, and now he’s adding a Stanley Cup to his collection after the NHL teams he owns — the Denver Avalanche — topped the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night to win the Stanley Cup Final.
- NFL not holding a supplemental draft. For the third straight year, the NFL won’t be holding a supplement draft. The NFL canceled the draft in 2020 due to COVID and still hasn’t brought it back. For more details on this, be sure to click here.
- Eagles receiver qualifies for track world championships. Two weeks after running the third-fastest 110m hurdle time in human history, Eagles receiver Devon Allen was once again impressive on the track. With a time of 13.09, Allen placed third in the 110m hurdles at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, which was good enough to qualify him for the 2022 World Championships. The good news for Allen is that he won’t have to travel far for the World Championships because this year’s event is being held in Eugene, Oregon, which just happens to be where he attended college.
- O.J. Simpson allegedly owes nearly $100 million to the estate of Ron Goldman. Back in 1997, Simpson lost a civil verdict related to the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. At the time, the Hall of Famer was ordered to pay the Goldman estate $33.5 million. According to court documents (via TMZ), that number has now ballooned to $96 million due to interest and the fact that Simpson hasn’t really paid anything toward the judgement yet.
- Saints prepared for ‘anything’ when it comes to Alvin Kamara discipline. After reports surfaced last week that Kamara could be facing a six-game suspension to start the 2022 season, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis acknowledged that possibility and even pointed out that his team will be ready in case it’s worse than that. “For me, I always try to [determine] what’s the worst-case scenario and what’s the best-case scenario,” Loomis said, via NOLA.com. “We have to be prepared for anything. That’s really the way we approach anything and everything, is be prepared for anything that can happen.”
- Disney, Apple and Amazon bid for Sunday ticket. The upcoming season will be the final year that DirecTV has Sunday Ticket. After that, the package will be up for grabs and it appears the bidding is already down to three finalists. According to CNBC, the three favorites right now seem to be Disney, Apple and Amazon. The three companies all submitted their bids “weeks ago,” but the NFL appears to be in no hurry to make a decision.