Sure, 93% of NFL fans don't care about the Bengals, but I do and that's because they nominated my dad (Jim Breech) for their first-ever Ring of Honor, so shout out to my dad for getting nominated. The Bengals went 53 years without having a Ring of Honor, but then decided this year that they wanted to start one, so this will be the team's inaugural class.
Not only is my dad still the team's all-time leading scorer, but he also holds the NFL record for most overtime field goal attempts without a miss. He also had a career field goal percentage of 81.8% in the postseason, which is higher than Adam Vinatieri, Justin Tucker and Hall of Famer Morten Andersen.
There are a total of 17 nominees for the Bengals' inaugural Ring of Honor class and only two of them will get in. (You can see the entire list here.)
Alright, now that I'm done bragging about my dad, let's get to the rundown. As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share the link.
1. Today's show: Talking with the guy who had the best mock draft of 2021
Before we say goodbye to the 2021 NFL Draft, we thought we'd squeeze in one more show about it this week -- only this show comes with a twist: We welcomed Josh Norris to the podcast. If you don't know who Norris is, that's OK, he's not exactly a household name. However, he might soon become one in the draft world and that's because he put together the most accurate mock draft of 2021 and possibly the most accurate mock draft in the history of mock drafts.
Every year, The Huddle Report goes through all the mock drafts on the internet and gives them a score. The scoring system is pretty simple: Your mock draft gets two points if you correctly project a player to the correct team and you get one point if you correctly project that a player will go in the first round. Overall, Norris scored 59 points, which was the highest of 2021 and the highest score ever given by the Huddle Report.
Norris, who works for Underdog Fantasy, joined Will Brinson to talk about -- what else -- the draft. One of Norris' best picks was having Trey Lance go the 49ers in a move that most people didn't see coming. Lance ended up being a hot topic of conversation on today's show with Norris and Brinson examining what the 49ers could look like in 2021 and how quickly the rookie could end up replacing Jimmy Garoppolo.
The two also discussed several other draft topics like why Terrace Marshall Jr. will be a perfect fit for the Panthers, why Asante Samuel Jr. fell so far in the draft and why the Raiders continue to draft guys in the first round who no one thought would go in the first round.
To listen to the rest of today's show -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. Aaron Rodgers drama gets messier
At some point, all of this Aaron Rodgers drama is going to come to an end, but unfortunately for the Packers, it doesn't seem like things are going to be coming to an end anytime soon. It's now been seven days since it became known that Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, and I have to say, it seems like I learn 17 new things about the situation every day.
Over the past 24 hours alone, here's what has come out about the Rodgers drama in Green Bay:
- Rodgers has an interesting nickname for Brian Gutekunst. According to The Athletic, Rodgers has been referring to the Packers general manager as "Jerry Krause" in texts with friends, which isn't exactly a compliment. If you don't know who Krause is, he's the Bulls GM who was loathed by Michael Jordan during Chicago's run of success in the 1990s.
- Rodgers told free agents he was leaving Green Bay after the 2021 season. Apparently, Rodgers has wanted out of Green Bay for a few months. Before the free agency period started this offseason, Rodgers went out of his way to let other free agents know that he wouldn't be returning to Green Bay in 2021, according to NFL.com. If this is true, Rodgers basically undermined the Packers and it would mean there's likely no path to reconciliation.
- Packers think other teams might have been tampering. The Packers think at least two teams -- the 49ers and Broncos -- might have been tampering with Rodgers. Since the QB is under contract with Green Bay, no other team is allowed to contact him, so it seems the Packers want to know how the 49ers knew to call about Rodgers the night before the draft. Did Rodgers or someone in his camp tip them off? If the Packers decide to file tampering chargers, things could get interesting.
- Favre doesn't think Rodgers will be returning to Green Bay. No one knows more about quarterback drama in Green Bay than Brett Favre. Not only did Favre go through a similar situation back in 2008, but he's also friends with Rodgers. Favre's prediction is that this all likely ends with Rodgers leaving the Packers.
- John Kuhn thinks things could still work out between Rodgers and the Packers. The only bit of good news for the Packers this week came from John Kuhn. The former Packers fullback, who has spoken with Rodgers, says he believes that the QB wants to play in Green Bay and that Rodgers might return it if he gets a contract that will guarantee he's the team's quarterback past the 2021 season. For more on what Kuhn had to say, be sure to click here.
- Packers are looking to add quarterbacks for training camp. It appears that the reality of the Rodgers situation has finally hit the Packers, because they've decided to start looking for quarterbacks to add before training camp. If Rodgers truly is done in Green Bay, that would leave Jordan Love as the only QB on the roster. If the Packers end up signing one QB, that's not a big deal, because that could be viewed as a camp arm, but if they sign two or more quarterbacks, that would seem to indicate that they're losing hope of a possible Rodgers return.
- Packers apparently offered to make Aaron Rodgers the NFL's highest-paid QB. One interesting nugget that came out on Wednesday is that the Packers apparently offered to make Rodgers the NFL's highest-paid QB, but "those overtures were turned aside," according to The Athletic. What's not clear is the length of the deal that Rodgers was offered. If he was offered a contract that would have made him the highest-paid QB in 2021, but offered no security after that, then Rodgers likely said no because he's made it clear he's not going to sign a deal like that. If it was a multi-year offer and Rodgers turned it down, then you can go ahead and assume he won't be returning to Green Bay.
Again, all this Rodgers stuff is from JUST the past 24 hours. Based on everything that's happened, I won't be surprised if my bosses ask me to start a newsletter that only covers Aaron Rodgers.
3. Ranking the 10 rookies with the best chance to have an instant impact
For every team in the NFL, the whole point of the draft is to get better and the only way to get better from the draft is if the players you selected end up panning out. With that in mind, CBSSports.com NFL Draft writer Chris Trapasso put together a list of 10 rookies who could make an instant impact in 2021.
Before we get to the list, I should mention that there's one major rule here: Trapasso didn't include any quarterbacks on the list and I agree with his decision. Everyone already knows that Trevor Lawrence is going to make an instant impact for the Jaguars so it doesn't really do us any good to include him on the list. What I'm trying to say here is that all quarterbacks were excluded from the list.
Also, this list doesn't just include first-round picks. There are four players who were chosen in the second round, along with two players who were selected in the third round.
Alright, let's get to the list:
- Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons (fourth overall pick)
- Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Bengals (fifth overall pick)
- Jamin Davis, LB, Washington Football Team (19th overall pick)
- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Dolphins (18th overall pick)
- Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Chargers (47th overall pick)
- Brady Christensen, OT, Panthers (70th overall pick)
- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Giants (50th overall pick)
- Andre Cisco, S, Jaguars (65th overall pick)
- Elijah Moore, WR, Jets (34th overall pick)
- Richie Grant, S, Falcons (40th overall pick)
For a full explanation on why Trapasso ranked each player where he did, you're going to want to click here so you can read his full story.
4. Lions center lands record-setting contract
Being a center might be the most thankless job in football. Not only do you have to get the ball to the quarterback on EVERY SINGLE PLAY, but after that happens, you also have to block -- and if you mess up at either one of those things, you're not going to have a job for very long.
One of the best centers in the NFL is Frank Ragnow and the Lions showed him how much he's appreciated on Thursday when they gave him a contract extension that makes him the highest-paid center in the NFL.
Here's a quick look at the deal:
- Ragnow gets four-year extension. The 2018 first-round pick had two years left on this prior contract and with four years added on, that means his new deal will run through the 2026 season.
- Big money. The four-year deal is worth a total of $54 million, which includes a total of $42 million in total guarantees and $25.5 million that's guaranteed at signing.
- New record for centers. At $54 million over four years, Ragnow is getting an average of $13.5 million per season, which tops the old record of $12.5 million that was held by both Corey Linsley (Chargers) and Ryan Kelly (Colts). No other center in the NFL even has a contract that pays more than $11.5 million per year.
This move was a no-brainer for the Lions. Ragnow has been a full-time starter since his rookie year in 2018 when he was selected with the 20th overall pick. The 24-year-old, who turns 25 on May 17, seems to only be getting better with age. In 2020, Ragnow arguably had his best season yet and was rewarded by being voted to the Pro Bowl and being named second-team All-Pro.
5. One thing each team got right in the draft and one thing each got wrong
Even though everyone seems to think that their team had a perfect draft, I have some bad news for you: Your favorite team didn't have a perfect draft. For the rest of the week, we'll be running a series that covers one thing each team got right in the draft and one thing each team got wrong, so yes, this means every team got at least one thing wrong. It's really kind of depressing if you think about it.
Today, we're going to focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The last time we saw the Steelers, they were getting pummeled by the Browns in the playoffs. So what did they do to fix all of their problems? Glad you asked, let's check out one thing they got right and one thing they got wrong in the draft.
- One thing the Steelers got right: Revamped the running game. "As promised, the Steelers invested heavily in their running game during the draft. For the first time since 2008, the Steelers spent a first-round pick on a running back. With the 24th pick, they took former Alabama back Najee Harris, the reigning Doak Walker Award winner. To help open up holes for Harris, the Steelers used two draft picks on the offensive line."
- One thing the Steelers got wrong: Didn't add any depth at corner. "To the surprise of everyone, the Steelers did not draft a cornerback despite losing Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton this offseason."
To check out a more in-depth explanation from Bryan DeArdo on how the Steelers did in the draft, be sure to click here. If you want to read about one thing the Buccaneers did right in the draft, then you're definitely going to want to click here. You can also check out our takes on the Saints (click here), Chiefs (click here), Seahawks (click here), Panthers (Click here) and Titans (click here).
6. Rapid-fire roundup
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 cut team captain. The Dolphins made a surprise move on Thursday when they decided to cut Bobby McCain, according to ESPN. Not only was McCain a team captain, but he also started 15 games for the Dolphins last season. The move will created $5.65 million in cap space for the Dolphins. The Dolphins drafted McCain's likely replacement, Jevon Holland, in the second round last week, which made him expendable.
- Buccaneers re-sign Tom Brady's backup. It's not like Tom Brady ever misses any games, but just in case he does, the Buccaneers have re-signed Blaine Gabbert. The former-first-round pick played in four games last year in mop-up duty for Brady. Gabbert's first season with the Bucs came in 2020 and he liked things so much that he decided to return.
- Cowboys cut a starter. After starting seven games for the Cowboys last season, nose tackle Antwaun Woods won't be returning. The team decided to cut him this week. Woods became expendable after the Cowboys selected two defensive tackles in the first three rounds of the draft this year.
- Raiders revamp their secondary. The Raiders raided a division rival on Wednesday when they decided to sign former Chargers corner Casey Hayward. The 31-year-old made it to two Pro Bowls in four seasons with the Chargers. In other Raiders news, the team decided to cut ties with Jeff Heath, who started five games at safety last year for Las Vegas.
7. The Kicker: Tim Tebow is now neighbors with Urban Meyer and the Jaguars GM
If the Jaguars don't end up signing Tim Tebow, things could get kind of awkward over the next few months in Tebow's neighborhood and that's because he's now neighbors with both Urban Meyer AND Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke.
Meyer bought a house in April that's exactly three doors down from Tebow. Baalke followed things up this week by purchasing a house in the same neighborhood and that house is located less than one mile from Meyer's property.
Look, I'm not saying Tebow is going to make the Jaguars roster, but if an NFL coach and general manager basically move in next door to you, I think that means you're going to make the team. Also, the Jags' chief football strategy officer, Tony Khan, made it sound like Tebow actually has a good shot of making the team.
"Urban knows Tim really well and Tim has got a great history of winning," Khan said this week. "Urban really believes he can help us, and I think it makes a lot of sense. And it's a position where we need to get better."
Does Khan also live in Tebow's neighborhood? I have no idea, but that sounds like a guy who's about to sign the former Florida quarterback. If Tebow doesn't get signed, the good news it that he can get revenge on the Jaguars by toilet papering Meyer's house.