Welcome to the St. Patrick's Day edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It's a good thing the NCAA Tournament started yesterday, because NFL free agency was starting to put me to sleep. During the first week of free agency last year, we saw Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Russell Wilson get traded. This year, it's like NFL teams forgot that trades are legal.
Of course, if free agency is slow today, that's more than fine, because it will give me more time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and to also celebrate the five-year anniversary of the time Rob Gronkowski showed up at my Bachelor Party dressed as a giant leprechaun (Yes, this actually happened. You can see a picture here and read the story here). Speaking of Gronk, here's a fantastic video from yesterday of him finding out that his alma mater, Arizona, lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Princeton.
Alright, I promise no more NCAA Tournament talk. We will be completely focusing on free agency today with some winners and losers, plus we'll be taking a look at some of the most intriguing free agent moves on the offensive side of the ball.
As always, if you're hanging out with family and/or friends this weekend, you should tell them all to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. All right, let's get to the rundown.
1. Winners and losers after the first week of free agency
With the first week of free agency wrapping up today, it's now time to our favorite thing here, which is to name some winners and losers. After poring through every move that was made this week, Cody Benjamin came up with his list of winners and losers and you can see it below.
Here are three of Cody's winners, and three of his losers:
- Daniel Jones. "The Giants are really betting on their medical staff this year with the signing of three offensive weapons who have all battled serious and/or persistent injuries in recent years (the re-signing of Saquon Barkley, plus the additions of Darren Waller, Parris Campbell). ... The young QB has more playmakers at his disposal -- not to mention a big raise courtesy his own $160M extension."
- Sean Payton. "Regardless of what happens with Russell Wilson, the Broncos' new coach has wisely poured lots of money into the team's infrastructure, spending top dollar to bolster the trenches on both sides of the ball. Sure, they may be overpaying a bit for the big-name O-line additions, Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers, but that investment could/should mark a return to the run-first offense that better suits Wilson."
- Jordan Love. "He's finally going to take over the Packers' QB job. Not to mention, A-Rod himself basically deemed Love a worthy successor while addressing his 2023 plans this week. Entering a contract year (with a fifth-year option likely to be tacked on), he's got a chance to earn his own big-money extension by showcasing his live arm in Matt LaFleur's offense."
- Patriots. "Committing $25 million to JuJu Smith-Schuster instead of $33M for incumbent target Jakobi Meyers? It can be forgiven, but it reads like a lateral move for a more injury-prone player. Signing James Robinson for $4M per year (roughly top-16 RB money) is more questionable after his flat 2022 campaign, especially with Rhamondre Stevenson headlining their already-competent backfield. That's saying nothing of their investment in Bengals and Bears castoff Riley Reiff as a likely starting tackle."
- Chiefs. "As long as Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are in Kansas City, we're never actually down on the Chiefs. But the early goings of free agency haven't necessarily been promising. They spent $80 million ($20 million per year) on Jawaan Taylor, who was uneven during his Jaguars tenure and could be changing positions to fill the LT hole. On top of that, they've still got a WR hole to fill with JuJu Smith-Schuster departing for New England."
- Ron Rivera. "From Alex Smith to Ryan Fitzpatrick to Carson Wentz to Taylor Heinicke, Rivera has never fielded a sustainable winner under center, and the trend appears destined to continue with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett as his main options in 2023."
For a more in-depth explanation on each of those choices, be sure to check out Cody's full story by clicking here.
2. NFL free agency: Looking at the most intriguing offensive moves
There were a lot of interesting moves made this week around the NFL, so Jared Dubin decided to take a look at some of the most fascinating ones.
Dubin went through every signing on the offensive side of the ball to come up with a list of the most intriguing additions. Here are three names that made the cut on his list with two of them being signings and one being a trade.
- Jimmy Garoppolo to the Raiders. "Garoppolo and Josh McDaniels are familiar with each other from their days with the Patriots, but Jimmy G made just two starts and threw only 94 passes across three seasons with New England, so we don't really know what he looks like in this offense. Garoppolo thrived in San Francisco, so it's going to be fascinating to see what he looks like outside of the Kyle Shanahan cocoon. There's long been a disagreement among film-watchers and stat nerds about the true level of Garoppolo's talent, and removing him from Shanahan's ecosystem will provide a nice test case."
- Rashaad Penny to the Eagles. "For as long as he's been in the league, Penny has been one of the NFL's most explosive and efficient runners. He's now going to be working behind the league's best offensive line. Ya know, as long as he can stay on the field. I'm excited to see just how many yards per carry he can average in this offense, and whether he can actually remain healthy long enough to be a factor in it."
- D.J. Moore traded to the Bears. "Moore will be Justin Fields' No. 1 target, and acquiring him allows players like Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet to play roles more suited to their talent level. Having a defined first read should hopefully help Fields with his issue of hanging onto the ball for too long, but merely raising the level of talent around him should also do wonders for his efficiency on a down-to-down basis."
If you want to check out every intriguing offensive addition that made Dubin's list, be sure to click here.
3. NFL free agency: Bengals starter requests trade and other notable moves over the past 24 hours
During free agency, it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happens, but the good news for you is that you don't have to because CBS pays me to do it for you. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the biggest moves that have gone down around the league over the past 24 hours.
- Bengals left tackle requests a trade. Jonah Williams isn't a free agent, but he might have just become the top left tackle available on the market. Williams has requested a trade out of Cincinnati, according to NFL.com. Williams had been the Bengals' starting left tackle for the past three seasons, but the team decided to replace him in free agency by adding Orlando Brown Jr. The team's plan was to move Williams to right tackle, but apparently, he didn't like that plan. A trade wouldn't be the worst thing for the Bengals and that's because dealing him away would free up $12.6 million in cap space.
- Patriots add Mike Gesicki. After trading away Jonnu Smith, the Patriots had a hole on their depth chart at tight end and they filled that on Friday by agreeing to terms with Gesicki. The former Dolphins tight end landed a one-year deal that could pay him as much as $9 million.
- Seahawks sign Devin Bush. The 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft is now headed to Seattle. The linebacker was drafted by the Steelers and spent the first four years of his career there, but the team decided to let him walk in free agency. The Seahawks are giving Bush a one-year deal.
- Darius Slay get two-year extension. Not only is Slay returning to Philadelphia, but he's also getting a two-year extension. On Wednesday, it looked like he was going to be cut, but instead, the team signed him to a two-year, $42 million extension that includes $23 million in guarantees.
- Colts sign Gardner Minshew. We don't know who the starting quarterback is going to be in Indianapolis, but we likely now know who the No. 2 guy is going to be after the Colts added Minshew on Thursday. This move means that Minshew and Shane Steichen will be reunited after spending the past two seasons together in Philadelphia.
- Eagles land Marcus Mariota. With Minshew now in Indy, the Eagles were in a need of a backup quarterback and they filled that need on Friday by agreeing to terms with Mariota. The former Falcons starter is getting a one-year deal worth up to $8 million.
- Cowboys re-sign Cooper Rush. Speaking of backup quarterbacks in the NFC East, the Cowboys will be keeping Cooper Rush after signing the QB to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million, according to NFL.com.
- Seahawks re-sign Drew Lock. The Seahawks' QB depth chart will look the exact same as it did last year. Geno Smith will once again be on top and he'll be backed up by Lock, who signed a one-year, $4 million deal.
- Bears sign D'Onta Foreman and Robert Tonyan. With David Montgomery leaving Chicago, the Bears signed an underrated rushing weapon to replace him in D'Onta Foreman, who landed a one-year, $3 million deal. Foreman rushed for 914 yards and five touchdowns last season in Carolina. As for Tonyan, the former Packers tight end will also be headed to Chicago on a one-year deal.
- Dolphins sign Braxton Berrios. The veteran receiver just took one step closer to playing for every team in the AFC East. After stints in New England and New York, Berrios is now headed for South Florida after signing a one-year deal with the Dolphins.
- Giants add Parris Campbell, cut Kenny Golladay. The Giants had a big need at receiver heading into free agency and they added some depth by getting Campbell, who was the Colts' second-leading receiver last year. The Giants also re-signed Darius Slayton. On the other hand, it wasn't such a good day for Golladay, who got dumped after just two seasons in New York.
- Steelers get Elandon Roberts, cut Myles Jack. The Steelers are going to have some new faces among their linebackers next season. The team made a big move by cutting Jack, who started 13 games last season. However, it seems his replacement is already in the building with Roberts landing a two-year deal. The veteran linebacker has spent his past three seasons in Miami where he started 43 games for the Dolphins.
If you're looking for more signings, we're keeping tabs of every deal that's going down in free agency and you can check that out by clicking here.
4. Damar Hamlin could return to the NFL
It's been just over two months since Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in Cincinnati. In the days and weeks after the incident, the only concern was whether he would fully recover, and on that end, we have some good news. Not only is Hamlin quickly recovering, but he's recovering so well that there's already talk that he could return to the NFL in the near future.
- Bills general manager Brandon Beane sounds optimistic. During a press conference on Thursday, Beane sounded hopeful about Hamlin possibly returning to the field, "Everything has checked out to this point, so it's trending in right direction," the GM said, via the Buffalo News.
- Hamlin actually wants to play. After a harrowing experience like the one that Hamlin went through, no one would blame him if he didn't want to return to the field, but as it turns out, Hamlin is determined to make his way back. "He's dialed in, he definitely has every intention to play," Beane said.
- NFLPA doctor thinks Hamlin will play again. Last month, Dr. Thom Mayer, the medical director for the NFLPA, sounded extremely confident when he was asked about the chances of Hamlin playing again. "I guarantee you that Damar Hamlin will play professional football again," Mayer said.
Hamlin was hospitalized on Jan. 2 after going into cardiac arrest in a game against the Bengals. The Bills safety was given CPR and had to be medically revived on the field before being taken to a hospital in Cincinnati. Hamlin was hospitalized for nine days in Ohio before being transferred to a hospital in Buffalo. He was released shortly after that and his recovery went so well that he was able to make an appearance at the Bills-Bengals divisional round game that was played on Jan. 22.
5. Mock Draft: Four quarterbacks go in the top four picks
With the first week of free agency almost in the books, now seems like a good time to see what kind of impact all the signings from this week might have on the NFL Draft. What this means is that we're going off-schedule and sharing a mock draft today even though it's not Mock Draft Monday.
Today's mock comes from CBSSports.com draft guru Josh Edwards and let's just say he got a little crazy at the top of his board. Not only does he have the Panthers making a surprise pick at No. 1 overall, but he also has four quarterbacks going with the top four picks.
Here's a look at his first 15 picks:
1. Panthers: QB Will Levis (Kentucky)
2. Texans: QB Bryce Young (Alabama)
3. Raiders (via mock trade with Cardinals): QB C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)
4. Colts: QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)
5. Seahawks: EDGE Will Anderson (Alabama)
6. Lions: EDGE Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)
7. Cardinals (via mock trade with Raiders): CB Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
8. Falcons: EDGE Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)
9. Bears: DL Jalen Carter (Georgia)
10. Eagles: DL Myles Murphy (Clemson)
11. Titans: OT Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)
12. Texans: DT Bryan Bresee (Clemson)
13. Jets: OT Broderick Jones (Georgia)
14. Patriots: TE Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
15. Buccaneers (via mock trade with Packers): OT Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State)
If you want to see how the rest of the first round pans out in his mock, then be sure to check out Josh's entire mock draft by clicking here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Chargers safety shockingly retires
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, and that roundup involves a lot of coordinator firings.
- Chargers starting safety retires at age 25. After just four NFL seasons, Nasir Adderley has decided to hang up his cleats for good. The 25-year-old was a second-round pick in 2019 and during his four seasons with the Chargers, he started a total of 44 games, including 15 last season. Adderley officially became a free agent on Wednesday, but instead of signing with someone, he decided to retire. For a closer look at his surprising decision, be sure to click here.
- Joe Mixon not charged in shooting incident at his home. The Bengals running back is in the clear after a shooting incident took place outside his home last week. Although Mixon was at his house when the incident happened, authorities determined that he didn't break any laws. However, his sister, Shalonda, has been charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of obstructing justice, according to WLWT in Cincinnati.
- Jalen Carter won't be serving any jail time. The former Georgia star, who's expected to be a top pick in the NFL Draft, won't face any jail time after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving and racing. The incident revolves around a fatal single-car accident on Jan. 15 that killed Georgia football player Devin Willock, 20, and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, 24. Carter will receive 12 months of probation, pay a $1,000 fine and have to perform 80 hours of community service.
- Dan Snyder moved his stuff out of Commanders facility in December. We still don't know if Dan Snyder is actually going to sell the Commanders, but based on his actions, it does seem like a sale is going to happen in the near future. Not only did Snyder hire Bank of America to explore a sale back in November, but he's also moved his offices out of the team facility, according to Pro Football Talk. Apparently, Snyder cleared his stuff out of the team facility in December, so either he's soon going to be selling the team or he's planning to permanently work from home.