Another day, another Aaron Rodgers news cycle. But this time we've got some blunt assessments from insider Jason La Canfora, as well as a whole lot of other happenings around the NFL. John Breech may be taking the day off, but you've got me -- Cody Benjamin -- to take you through it all.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
- Today's show: Aaron Rodgers is totally done with Packers (for now)
Julio Jones just got traded, but now everyone's attention is back on Aaron Rodgers, who's steering clear of Packers minicamp. What's the latest on the Rodgers situation? And is the QB actually dead set on leaving Green Bay? Insider Jason La Canfora joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's Pick Six NFL Podcast to break it all down.
- There was "no chance in hell" Rodgers was ever going to attend minicamp, La Canfora says, reporting that the QB has told the Packers "to their face he's done with them." As it stands, Rodgers is "over it and done with" the Packers, he says.
- Could things change? La Canfora says Rodgers himself probably isn't sure how 2021 will play out, even if he wants out: "Will he take his foot off their neck in August? We'll find out in August. But he wasn't taking his foot off their neck for some arbitrary Tuesday in freaking June because they're having their three-day minicamp."
- In the end, JLC thinks this situation will end how Rodgers wants it to end. "I don't think (the Packers) can fix it. They've tried the money. Could they throw more money? I guess ... You (almost) gotta try to find a third party to mediate this. (GM Brian Gutekunst) and (president Mark) Murphy, this is not a Rubik's Cube they can solve."
- La Canfora guesses Rodgers has spoken to others like Brett Favre and Tom Brady about his situation and predicts his future won't be resolved until much closer to the season.
Catch the full discussion (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Insider notes: Packers had planned to trade Rodgers in 2022?
Want more on the Rodgers situation? Good. Because Jason La Canfora is all over it. Not only did he join Brinson to break down the saga on the podcast, but he's also unpacked additional info in his latest insider notes: Most notably, that Green Bay was long planning to move on from the star QB after the 2021 season. Some have suggested Green Bay should entice Rodgers to return this year by agreeing to deal him elsewhere in 2022, but La Canfora says that'd be a nonstarter in efforts to lure A-Rod back to Lambeau:
Perhaps there is a solution and a way to get Rodgers to reinvest in the only franchise he has ever known. But simply promising to trade him in 2022 ain't even in the ballpark. That was the front office's plan all along; or at least the way the rest of the league, and Rodgers himself, was reading it when they moved up to draft (Jordan) Love. That's not even a compromise. And money alone ain't the answer, either ... By late July, maybe things will have cooled down. Maybe he'll wake up one morning and decide to go back to work for these guys. In the meantime, I continue to believe he is very content to watch them squirm.
In other words, buckle up. Because this thing, as La Canfora makes very clear, is far from over.
3. Predicting the Jets' final record, every game on 2021 schedule
We're running through game-by-game predictions for all 32 teams, and lately we've been traversing the AFC East, where our writers have already predicted how the Dolphins and Patriots -- two clubs who missed the postseason a year ago -- will fare in 2021. Now we turn to Jordan Dajani for a 17-game forecast of the New York Jets:
- Week 7 at Patriots: The Jets are coming off their bye week, but haven't defeated the Patriots in Foxborough since 2011 ... Bill Belichick is on a mission this season, no matter if it's Cam Newton or Mac Jones at quarterback. Jets lose 28-21.
- Week 11 vs. Dolphins: This could be a trap game for Tua Tagovailoa and Co. The Dolphins dominated the Jets last season, as they outscored New York 44-3 in their two meetings, but this is a new Jets team with a new quarterback who could get better as the season goes on. The Jets score a feel-good win in late November. Jets win 29-27.
- Week 16 vs. Jaguars: Zach Wilson vs. Trevor Lawrence will be a game everyone should have some interest in. This is a chance for Wilson to prove that he could potentially be the best quarterback in the class, but the Jaguars might have more talent on their roster than the Jets do. Urban Meyer prevails. Jets lose 31-28.
Final record prediction: 5-12
4. Lamar Jackson scouting report: What he can do better, 2021 projection
NFL draft expert Chris Trapasso's specialty is player evaluation, and like many others, he saw Michael Vick-esque athleticism in Ravens star Lamar Jackson when the QB was just coming out of college. Now, with Jackson entering year four in the NFL, Trapasso has updated his scouting report on the dual threat, identifying what he's improved upon as a player, where he can be better moving forward, and what to expect from the former MVP in 2021. Here's how Trapasso sees Jackson faring this season:
Jackson will bounce back in 2021. Not to MVP form. But there'll be more MVP-like instances this season than a season ago, and most of that will be due to a strengthened receiver group. I'm slightly concerned about the state of the Ravens offensive line, yet the return of monster left tackle Ronnie Stanley will boost the overall play of the unit. If (Alejandro) Villanueva can come close to the ultra-steady production (Orlando) Brown demonstrated in 2019, Jackson could exceed my expectations. Jackson's running will be ... Jackson's running. Electric. And for his sake, let's hope (Greg) Roman was humbled by what transpired in 2020 and doesn't shy away from leaning more on the pass this season. By the end of the year, I expect Jackson to be widely viewed as a top-eight to top-10 quarterback.
5. Inside Jalen Hurts' rise as Eagles QB: What powers the new starter
Few expected Philadelphia to draft Hurts in 2020. Even fewer expected Hurts to be the Eagles' new QB by 2021. But is he here to stay? And why do so many of his peers -- both past and present -- believe in him on and off the field? I spoke with a handful of them to unpack what drives Hurts as a person and QB, hopefully painting a fuller picture of the guy who'll be replacing Carson Wentz on a team that's just a few years removed from winning it all. Here's one of many tidbits from Hurts' journey:
From the beginning, former Crimson Tide QB Josh Palet says, Hurts had a confidence to him that was unique.
"He acted like he owned the building when he walked in. It rubbed some people the wrong way and he didn't care. He wasn't really concerned about making friends, he was concerned about doing his job and winning."
On the surface, it sounds like the ideal description of any Alabama QB recruit. Do your job; that's all that matters. But this manifested in every exchange Hurts had, both on and off the field. Once, according to a source, teammates whispered about a young Hurts taking the seat of another QB during meetings, much to the other QB's chagrin: "(And he) was not prepared to surrender that seat back to its original occupant ... I took that to mean, 'I'm here to stay.'"
6. Rapid-fire roundup: More Rodgers rumors, a Cardinals trade candidate?
Hungry for more NFL news? We've got a whole platter of it just for you:
- Aaron Rodgers could lose more than $35M if he sits out 2021: But he's also got the leverage at the moment
- Davante Adams says he'll defend Rodgers: The Packers' No. 1 receiver is adamant he's got A-Rod's back
- Julio Jones to wear No. 2 with Titans: Gone is No. 11, which will stay with A.J. Brown in Tennessee
- Chandler Jones skipping Cardinals camp: And his contract may make him a trade candidate
- Alvin Kamara endorses both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill: The star RB talks to Jordan Dajani
- Giants have no timetable for Saquon Barkley return: New York is being cautious with the RB