Welcome to the March 3 edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
This is a big day for people who cover the NFL and that’s mainly because it’s the one day per year where we get to talk about hand sizes and not sound weird while doing it. Every quarterback will have their hands measured at the NFL combine today and those measurements started with Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, who had a size of just 8.5 inches. I had like five jokes ready for that measurement, but I’m not going to use any of them. Instead, I’m going to tell you why this is bad news for Pickett: No current NFL QB has hands that small and only one QB this century (Michael Vick) has been successful with hands that small.
The good news for Pickett is that if he becomes a sports writer, 8.5 inches is more than big enough to hit every button on your laptop’s keyboard. Anyway, we’ll be covering the combine in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll be looking at Tom Brady’s latest cryptic comments. That guy has made a lot of cryptic comments since retiring.
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. Alright, let’s get to the rundown.
Wait, before we get to the rundown, happy birthday to my wife! She’ll be thrilled to know that I’ll be watching guys getting their hands measured at the combine today instead of celebrating with her.
1. Today’s show: Live from the NFL Scouting Combine
With the combine in full swing, we decided that today would be the perfect day to check in with CBSSports.com’s senior draft analyst Ryan Wilson, so that’s exactly what we did for today’s episode (and no, we didn’t measure his hands, but we should have).
Wilson has been in Indianapolis since Tuesday mingling with players, agents and NFL coaches, which makes him the perfect person to give us the current vibe in Indy.
Not only did Wilson talk about what it’s like to be in Indianapolis, but he also talked about the impact that not working out at the combine will have for some of the draft’s top prospects (One of the notable players who won’t be working out is former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, who is one of multiple players who could end up going to the Jaguars with the first overall pick).
During the podcast, Wilson was joined by Will Brinson and draft guru Josh Edwards, and besides talking about the actual players at the combine, the three of them also tried to interpret what’s being said this week by the many coaches and general managers who are in attendance.
If you can’t attend this year’s combine, listening to today’s episode will almost make you feel like you’re there, so you don’t want to miss it. To listen to today’s episode, be sure to click here. It will also be available later today on YouTube and you’ll be able to watch it there by going to the Pick Six Podcast YouTube channel by clicking here.
If you’re looking for even more combine content, you can click here to check out our top-five prospects at each offensive position. If you want to see a list of sleeper prospects who will be at the combine, be sure to click here.
2. Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury both get contract extensions and what that could mean for Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray wasn’t the only person in the Cardinals organization dealing with contract drama this offseason. Going into this week, Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury were both in awkward situations and that’s because both guys were only under contract through the 2022 season, which means both guys only had one year left on their current deal.
The problem with that is it’s hard to plan for the future when you’re not sure if you’re going to be around for the future. The Cardinals finally fixed that problem on Wednesday by giving a contract extension to both Keim and Kingsbury.
- Keim signs five-year extension. The Cardinals general manager, who has been with the organization in some capacity since 1999, just got five years added to his deal, which means he’s now under contract through 2027.
- Kingsbury also gets a new deal. Although the Cardinals experienced another late-season collapse under Kingsbury, that didn’t stop the team from giving him a new deal. Like Keim, the Cards coach was also given a five-year extension, which means the two guys are now both tied together through the 2027 season.
- Why these two extensions could be good news for Murray. Keim is the general manager who drafted Murray and Kingsbury is the coach who designed his offense for Murray, so the fact that Arizona is keeping both guys around would seem to indicate that the team also plans to keep Murray around. Murray and Kingsbury also share the same agent (Erik Burkhardt) and since the coach got a new deal, Burkhardt probably feels pretty good about Murray’s chances of getting one.
- Why these two extensions could be bad news for Murray. If Murray doesn’t get an extension this offseason, that could make things especially awkward in Arizona. The quarterback might start wondering why Kingsbury and Keim both got new deals, but he didn’t. According to a report from ESPN, Murray already feels like he was made the “scapegoat” for the Cardinals’ late-season slide (and playoff loss) and if he’s the only one without an extension, he becomes the only expendable one and if that happens, he’s probably not going to be happy with Keim or Kingsbury. Basically, the extensions are a good thing, but if Murray doesn’t get an extension this offseason, they could turn into a bad thing as far as Kyler’s relationship with the Cardinals goes.
I think what I’m trying to say here is that the Cardinals’ offseason drama definitely isn’t over, so this is a situation you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on.
Both Keim and Kingsbury were asked about Murray’s contract situation on Wednesday and you can see what they had to say by clicking here.
3. Tom Brady continues to fuel speculation that he might come out of retirement
Although Bruce Arians has spent the week trying to tell everyone who will listen that there’s no way Tom Brady will be coming out of retirement, the “retired” quarterback continues to paint a different picture (And I’m using the word retired in quotation marks because I’m not fully convinced that Brady is fully retired).
During a golf outing, Brady was asked what his future holds and he definitely didn’t rule out a possible return to football.
- He’s already had a lot of family time. One reason Brady retired is because he wanted more hang-out time with his family and it sounds like he’s gotten that. “I tell you, I wish I had a clear vision of what the future holds,” Brady said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “I think for me, there’s a lot of great things and a lot of great opportunities that I know I said right after football season. I was looking forward to spending time with my family. And I’ve done that the last five weeks.”
- Brady admitted that he’s not sure what’s next. The quarterback said that he has a surprise visit to his parents’ house lined up and then it’s unclear what his future holds after that visit. “So looking forward to that,” Brady said of the visit. “Looking forward to some golf in the next few days and some more family time, and then we’ll figure out where we go from there.”
This is all comes after Brady told Jim Gray that “you never say never” when he was asked about a possible NFL return shortly after his retirement. Honestly, it sounds like Brady was talked into retirement by his family, but isn’t really sure he wants to be retired so he’s trying to keep the door open as wide as possible when it comes to to the idea of making an NFL return. If had to bet on it right now, I’d say he returns in 2022, but if he doesn’t, I’ll be sure to mock my horrible prediction in August.
Over the course of this week, we’ll be covering the offseason needs for each team by going through each division. Today we’re going to be going over the AFC West.
With that in mind, Bryan DeArdo went through every team in the division and made a list of their biggest needs to fill this offseason.
Top needs (in no particular order): CB, WR, EDGE, LB, S
DeArdo’s take: If they want to make it back to the Super Bowl for the second time in third time in four years, the Chiefs will have to bolster their pass rush after recording just 31 sacks last offseason. To help fill this void, two of our draft experts have the Chiefs using the 30th overall pick to select Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis, who tallied 14 sacks and 29 tackles for loss as a Boilermaker.
Top needs: WR, OG, C, LB, DT
DeArdo’s take: The Raiders surely want to supply Derek Carr with a stronger receiving corps. Sans Hunter Renfrow, no other Las Vegas receiver had 50 receptions last season, as Carr relied heavily on Renfrow, tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs in the passing game. Two of our draft experts have the Raiders using the 22nd overall pick to select Alabama receiver Jameson Williams, who caught 15 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide last season.
Top needs: DT, OT, WR, EDGE, TE
DeArdo’s take: The Chargers finished 29th in the NFL in scoring defense and 30th in run defense in 2021. The Chargers also struggled to consistently apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, a major issue given who plays quarterback within their division, so one thing they need to do is beef up the defensive side of the ball.
Top needs: QB, LB, EDGE, OG, OT
DeArdo’s take: The need at QB is obvious, so let’s look on the other side of the ball. Look for the Broncos to address their defense with the ninth overall pick in the draft. Two of our draft experts have the Broncos selecting a pass rusher in the first round. Ryan Wilson has the Broncos selecting Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson III, while Kyle Stackpole has Denver selecting Michigan’s David Ojabo.
If you want to see the full explanation for each team’s needs, then be sure to click here.
5. Free agency matchmaker: Projecting the landing spot for the NFL’s top free agents
When it comes to playing matchmaker, there’s no one better than Cody Benjamin. I’m not sure if it’s because he spends half his week watching old episodes of “The Bachelor” or if it’s because the only show he used to watch as a kid was the “The Love Connection,” but Cody is the king of matchmaking.
Due to that fact, we asked him to match up several free agents with the team that would be the best fit for them. Cody decided to play matchmaker for 25 free agents and we’re going to list five of those below.
- Colts sign OT Terron Armstead (Projected deal: Three years, $61.5 million). “Regardless of whether the Colts replace QB Carson Wentz, they need better pass protection. Armstead is a major upgrade on Eric Fisher when healthy, not to mention a proven locker-room leader.”
- Commanders sign S Tyrann Mathieu (Projected deal: Three years, $48.75 million). “Sticking with the Chiefs would be ideal, but Mathieu gets a pay raise and a chance to play under Ron Rivera here, while Washington gets a huge upgrade at the back end of a leaky secondary.”
- Saints sign QB Teddy Bridgewater (Projected deal: One year, $10 million). “Jameis Winston offers more upside but figures to get some looks elsewhere. Teddy, meanwhile, is the perfect stopgap for them: he knows the system, plays it safe, and can easily slide into a backup role if/when they land a successor.”
- Ravens sign OLB Von Miller (Projected deal: One year, $17 million). “A key piece of the Rams‘ Super Bowl rotation, he has the flexibility to be picky at 33, and a big one-year payday allows him a chance to latch onto another contender before re-evaluating in 2023.”
- Titans sign TE Rob Gronkowski (Projected deal: One year, $8 million). “Mike Vrabel likes the tough guys, and Gronk’s personality fits right in. He brings pop as both a blocker and pass catcher, giving Tennessee a quick fix at a position of need.”
To check out where Cody has other 20 free agents landing, be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Dolphins out on Deshaun Watson
It’s been a busy 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.
- Dolphins out on Deshaun Watson. If the Texans QB gets traded, don’t look for him to be sent to Miami. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said on Wednesday that the “the door is shut on Deshaun,” which means you should probably go ahead and assume that Tua will be Miami’s starting QB in 2022.
- Cardinals receiver wants to be traded. Kyler Murray isn’t the only one causing drama in Arizona, so is Andy Isabella. The Cardinals’ 2019 second-round pick has requested a trade and the team has granted him permission to look for takers. The receiver caught just one pass for 13 yards during a disappointing 2021 season.
- Melvin Gordon wants to stay in Denver. The free agent running back made it clear this week that he wants to stay in Denver, “I have been wanting to come back. I would love to win championship in Denver,” Gordon recently told DenverChannel.com. “I made a lot of great relationships with the guys. I feel like we have a really good team.” This definitely won’t help him get more money at the negotiating table, but it might earn him some goodwill from the Broncos’ front office.
- Giants release Kyle Rudolph. The Giants made several big moves on Wednesday. Not only did they release Rudolph in a move that will free up $5.2 million in salary cap space, but they also cut running back Devontae Booker.
- Seahawks have no plans to trade Russell Wilson. It doesn’t sound like the Seahawks are planning to deal their star QB this offseason. Pete Carroll gave a pretty clear answer when asked about the possibility on Wednesday, “We have no intention of making any move there.” I guess this means we can stop speculating about Russell Wilson trade scenarios, but also, maybe we shouldn’t stop because it’s smokescreen season and as everyone knows, you can’t trust anything a coach says during smokescreen season.
- Bills proposing their own overtime alternative. NFL overtime could be undergoing a big change this year and although we’ve already seen one proposal from the Colts, the Bills would like everyone to know that they also will be proposing a change. Under the Bills’ proposal, the extra quarter will be a to-be-determined amount of time and whoever’s winning after that time is up will be the winner (Bills GM Brandon Beane compared it to the five-minute extra period in basketball where you play a normal five minutes and the team leading after the time is up is the winner of the game). For more details on the proposal, be sure to click here.