Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
After being out for the past week, I am finally back, and I have to say, it was very nice of Sue Robinson to wait for me to return from vacation before dropping the Deshaun Watson decision. If you somehow missed it this morning, Watson has been suspended for the first six games of the NFL season. However, there’s also still a chance that six games might not end up being the length of his suspension.
How is that possible? We’ll be covering that and more in today’s newsletter.
By the way, before we get to the rundown, I’d like to thank Cody Benjamin and Tyler Sullivan for holding the fort together while I was gone last week. If you’re wondering what I did on vacation, I spent half of it watching replays of Evan McPherson’s 65-yard field goal from Bengals training camp. If you would also like to spend hours upon hours watching that kick, you can see it by clicking here.
With that in mind, let’s get to the first 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: 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. We’ll be rolling these out every week until the season starts.
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, in today’s mailbag alone, there was a question about who the starters would be for the United States team if the NFL ever created a football World Cup. If we’ll answer that, trust me when I say that we’ll answer almost anything.
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 that Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson answered today (I was not part of today’s mailbag because it was recorded before I got back from vacation. Wilson and Brinson REFUSED to wait for me, just in case you’re wondering what it’s like to work with them).
Brinson: “I think it’s going to be Geno. Drew Lock is not the guy you want to trust to manage the game…. I think they trust Geno enough to not make massive mistakes, to be cautious, to check down when they need to, to be a very boring quarterback and to steal some wins.”
I should probably also note here that Brinson is somewhat high on the Seahawks this year. He’s one of about seven people in America who believes that the Seahawks can win at least seven games this season, “I know it’s crazy and it probably won’t happen, but everyone is burying them.”
If you want 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 hit with six-game suspension: Here’s everything you need to know
After more than a month of waiting, Deshaun Watson finally found out his fate on Monday. The Browns quarterback has been hit with a six-game suspension, which was handed down by former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinary officer who was jointly appointed by both the NFL and NFLPA.
Robinson spent just over one month going over the details of the case before rendering her decision. The NFL and NFLPA spent three days arguing Watson’s case in front of Robinson back in late June (June 28-30) with the league arguing that the QB should be suspended for at least a year and the NFLPA arguing that Watson shouldn’t serve any suspension at all.
Just because we now know the length of the punishment doesn’t mean this situation is necessarily over and that’s because the NFL can still appeal.
Let’s take a look at everything we know so far:
- The NFL can still appeal the decision. This is the key part to keep in mind here. Although Sue Robinson rendered the decision on the punishment, there’s still a chance that Roger Goodell will ultimately have the final say in this case. If the NFL does appeal, Goodell (or someone he designates) would get to oversee the appeal process, which doesn’t sound like something that would work out in Watson’s favor. The NFL has three days to appeal the decision so we’ll know by Thursday whether the league plans to pull the trigger on that.
- No appeal means Watson would definitely be out for the first six games. If the NFL doesn’t appeal, that means that means the suspension is set in stone and that Watson will miss the first six games of the season. The Browns face the Panthers, Jets, Steelers, Falcons, Chargers and Patriots over those first six weeks. Watson’s first two games back would be against the Ravens and Bengals before a Week 9 bye (The game against the Bengals would be his first home game as a Browns player). Watson is allowed to practice with the Browns until the Monday before Week 1. He’s also allowed to participate in preseason games.
- Settlement talks went nowhere. It appears that the NFL did have some settlement talks with Watson over the past few days, but apparently, those didn’t go anywhere. According to ESPN.com, the NFL wanted at least a 12-game suspension, but Watson’s camp wasn’t willing to accept anything over eight and once it became clear that neither side was going to budge, the talks broke down.
- Watson ordered to change his ways. The Browns quarterback has been told to change his habits when it comes to getting massages. According to NFL.com, Watson has been told that he “must get all his massage therapy from club therapists.” This means he’s no longer allowed to solicit massages through Instagram or other forms of social media. Part of the reason Robinson suspended Watson is because she thought his “pattern of behavior was egregious.”
- Watson will only lose $345,000 in salary. Watson will be making $230 million over his next five years with the Browns and thanks to the way his contract is structured, he won’t lose very much of that during his suspension. The Browns gave him a base salary of $1.035 million in 2022, which means he’ll only lose $57,500 for every game he’s suspended. For the final four years of his contract, he’ll be getting a base salary of $46 million. If that had been the case in 2022, he would be scheduled to lose out on $15.3 million, but instead, he’ll only lose out on $345,000.
- Watson settles three more cases. At the beginning of June, Watson was facing 24 civil lawsuits that accused him of sexual misconduct, but that number is now down to just one. The Browns quarterback settled 20 of the 24 cases in June and then followed that up by settling three of the remaining four cases on Monday morning.
Watson is expected to be at Browns training camp today.
3. Deebo Samuel finally gets a contract extension
After more than two months of drama, the standoff between Deebo Samuel and the 49ers is finally over. The two sides agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him in San Francisco through the 2025 season.
Back in April, it looked like Samuel might be on his way out of San Francisco after he made a trade demand, but now, he won’t be going anywhere.
Here’s a look at Samuel’s new deal.
- 49ers receiver gets nearly $60 million in guaranteed money. The three-year extension is could be worth as much as $73.5 million. Of that total, $58.1 million is guaranteed, which means Samuel will be getting a substantial raise. The receiver was scheduled to make just $3.94 million in 2022.
- The 2019 draft class got paid. There were four wide receivers from the 2019 NFL Draft who were looking for big contracts this offseason and they all got paid. Samuel was the last domino to fall, joining DK Metcalf (three years, $72 million), Terry McLaurin (three years, $71 million) and A.J. Brown (four years, $100 million).
- Samuel’s contract continues crazy offseason for receivers. If there’s one position group that’s been getting PAID this offseason, it’s definitely receivers. Besides the guys we just mentioned above, we’ve also seen multiple other receivers land big contracts, including Tyreek HIll, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Mike Williams and Cooper Kupp. Overall, we’ve seen 11 receivers sign a new deal this offseason worth at least $20 million per year.
The new contract doesn’t answer one key question: How will the 49ers use Samuel going forward? There had been a report earlier this year that he wants to cut down on his snaps at running back, but it’s not clear if that was taken into consideration when the contract was negotiated. Samuel rushed for eight touchdowns last season, which is the NFL record for a wide receiver. He also led the NFL with 18.2 yards per reception on 77 catches.
4. Key player finally shows up at training camp for Chiefs
Brown was hit with the franchise tag back in March and after he was unable to reach a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline, there were reports that he was contemplating skipping training camp.
Here’s what you need to know about Brown’s situation.
- Why it would have been easy for him to skip training camp. If a player is under contract, they face huge fines if they skip camp, but Brown had NOT signed his franchise tag yet, which means that he wasn’t under contract with Chiefs. Since he hadn’t signed his tag, he was free to sit out as long as he wanted without facing any punishment or fines.
- Why Brown decided to show up for training camp. According to ESPN.com, Brown decided to show up because the first five days of padded practices are important for him (The Chiefs have their first practice in full pads today). The fact that Brown is now in training camp means he’ll officially be playing on the franchise tag, which will pay him $16.66 million in 2022.
- Bengals now in the most awkward situation. With Brown now in training camp, the Bengals are the only team that still hasn’t been able to their franchise tagged player into camp. Jessie Bates was hit with the tag in March and there have been multiple reports that he doesn’t want to play on the tag this year. So far, things aren’t looking great. Bates hasn’t showed up for camp and he hasn’t given any indication that he plans to show up at any point in the near future.
A total of eight players were hit with the franchise tag this year and before this week started, Brown and Bates were the only two who weren’t in training camp.
5. Making a roster of the best non-Hall of Fame players in NFL history
With the Hall of Fame game just three days away — that’s right, there’s going to be actual football in just three days — we decided to honor players who aren’t in the Hall of Fame by making an all-time team of the best players who haven’t been enshrined in Canton.
CBSSports.com’s Bryan DeArdo created the team and although there are no Hall of Famers, the roster is still insanely loaded.
Here’s a look at the offensive skill players on our “best all-time roster you can make without using any Hall of Fame players.”
QB: Michael Vick
RB: Bo Jackson
RB: Mike Alstott
WR: Reggie Wayne
WR: Torry Holt
WR: Andre Johnson
TE: Mark Bavaro
If you want to see the entire roster, including defensive players, be sure to click here. If you do click over, you’ll notice that Jim Breech is not the kicker on this team, which makes me incredibly sad.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Steelers QB battle might already be over
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.
- Mitchell Trubisky might have already won the Steelers QB job. Although there was supposed to be a QB battle in Pittsburgh this year, it doesn’t look like that’s currently happening. During an interview with NBC’s Peter King, Trubisky revealed that he’s taken all the first-team reps so far, which would seem to indicate that the job is his to lose. It’s also possible that Mike Tomlin has decided to give each QB some first-team reps every other week, but that seems highly unlikely.
- Jake Bailey gets extension with Patriots. Everyone loves punter news, which means everyone is going to love this next nugget: Jake Bailey has agreed to terms on a four-year, $13.5 million extension with New England, according to ESPN.com. I ranked the NFL’s best punters back in June and Bailey checked in at seventh overall (You can see the full list here).
- Van Jefferson might need knee surgery. The Rams receiver is dealing with a mysterious knee ailment that kept him out of practice on Saturday. According to NFL.com, Jefferson is going to visit a specialist this week and there’s a possibility he could miss a few weeks, especially if the specialist decides that Jefferson needs surgery.
- Bengals not putting a timeline on possible Joe Burrow return. The Bengals are in no rush to bring back Joe Burrow, who recently underwent an appendectomy. Bengals coach Zac Taylor said that the team is not going to put a timetable on his return and that the QB will be back when he’s ready. Burrow could start throwing in the next week or two, but he almost certainly won’t be playing in any preseason games this year.
- Aaron Donald reveals what would get him to retire. It appears the Rams star has decided to tie his future to Sean McVay’s. Donald said over the weekend that he’ll likely retire under one of two conditions: He can’t play anymore or if McVay calls it quits.
- Josh Allen got into a fight at training camp. You don’t usually see a QB get into a fight at training camp, but that’s exactly what happened over the weekend with Josh Allen. The Bills QB wasn’t happy with how close the defensive line was getting to the quarterbacks and he reacted accordingly. You can check out video of the fight by clicking here.