Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
Look, I'm going to cut right to the chase: It's National Donut Day and I have 17 donut shops to visit before the day is over, so in the interest of time, I'm going to have to keep this intro short today. That being said, we still have a jam-packed newsletter, so let's get to the rundown.
As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here.
1. Today's podcast: 12 NFL futures bets that you can make right now
With the start of the NFL season roughly 100 days away, we decided to mark the occasion on today's episode of the podcast by having our producer Billy give all of us $100 so we could place four bets on the 2023 season. Just kidding, Billy would never give any money to anyone, but Will Brinson, Katie Mox and I did each make four bets for today's show and those bets had a total budget of $100.
Here's a look at each of our bets:
- Bills win AFC East (+135): $25 (Bet pays out $33.75 in profit)
- Falcons win NFC South (+260): $25 (Bet pays out $65 in profit)
- Texans win AFC South (+950): $25 (Bet pays out $237.50 in profit)
- Aaron Donald wins Defensive Player of the Year (+2500): $25 (Bet pays out $625 in profit)
Quick take: Brinson is driving the Falcons' bandwagon this year and for his sake, I hope it doesn't go straight off a cliff. Also, Brinson and I both seem pretty convinced that the Jaguars won't be repeating as AFC South champs. He put his money on the Texans while I took the Titans.
- Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing (+800): $20 (Bet pays out $160 in profit)
- 49ers finish with NFL's best record (+800): $20 (Bet pays out $160 in profit)
- Titans win AFC South (+380): $45 (Bet pays out $171 in profit)
- Deshaun Watson leads NFL in passing yards (+3000): $15 (Bet pays out $450 in profit)
Quick take: I think the bet I love the most here is Derrick Henry leading the NFL in rushing. The man finished second in the league last year even though his starting QB was out for one-third of the season and even though the Titans had zero receivers, which meant every defense was 112% focused on Henry. He's also led the NFL in rushing in two of the past four seasons.
- Lions/Chiefs under 54 points in week 1 (-110): $33 (Bet pays out $30 in profit)
- Bengals to win Super Bowl (+1000): $20 (Bet pays out $200 in profit)
- AFC North team wins the Super Bowl (+450): $20 (Bet pays out $90 in profit)
- Cardinals finish with under five wins (-135): $27 (Bet pays out $20 in profit)
Quick Take: After watching the Bengals make to two straight AFC title games, Katie thinks they are finally going to barge through the door and get a Lombardi Trophy this year. As the resident Bengals homer here at CBS Sports, I have to say I approve of her bet.
If you want to hear our full explanation for each bet, make sure to listen to today's episode by clicking here. You can listen to today's episode here. You can also watch today's show on YouTube by clicking here.
2. DeAndre Hopkins rumors: Browns and Patriots both possibly interested, but receiver is eyeing Houston
For the first time in his career, DeAndre Hopkins is a free agent, which means he'll be able to sign almost wherever he wants before the season starts and it's starting to look like he might want to head back to where his NFL career started.
Here's the latest on Hopkins:
- Hopkins visited with the Texans. According to USA Today, Hopkins actually visited with the Texans at some point over the past week. Hopkins spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career in Houston and put up some big numbers. During his time with the Texans, Hopkins was voted to four Pro Bowls while also being named a first-team All-Pro a total of three times. The receiver's time with the team came to an end in 2020 when the Texans decided to trade him away to the Cardinals in a one-sided deal that was shocking at the time.
- Patriots possibly interested in Hopkins. One dark-horse landing spot for Hopkins could be New England. ESPN's Dianna Russini reported on Thursday that the Patriots have shown some interest in the 30-year-old receiver. If Hopkins were to sign in New England, that would reunite him with former Bill O'Brien, but it's not clear if that's a good thing. Hopkins said in 2020 that he had "no relationship" with his former head coach.
- Reunion with Deshaun Watson possibly on the table. Although Hopkins might not reunite with Bill O'Brien, there's a chance he could end up playing with his old QB. According to longtime NFL writer Aaron Wilson, Hopkins signing with the Browns is "regarded as a strong possibility."
- Others teams potentially interested in Hopkins right now. The Bills and Chiefs showed interest in trading for Hopkins while he was still with the Cardinals, so those are two potential landing spots, plus we have the Patriots and maybe the Texans (we know Hopkins is interested in them, but we don't know if the interest is mutual). According to Wilson, the Texans likely won't make a play for Hopkins.
- Hopkins' asking price isn't going to be cheap. According to Russini, Hopkins will be looking to get a contract that's similar to what Odell Beckham was given by the Ravens (OBJ got a one-year $15 million deal that can reach $18 million if he hits certain incentives).
Hopkins' asking price is likely going to play a big part in where he ends up. According to the Athletic, the Bills are considered a "long shot" to land Hopkins unless he's willing to lower his asking price. Of the five teams that might be interested right now -- Houston, New England, Cleveland Buffalo and Kansas City -- the Texans currently have the most cap room with $16.8 million while the Browns and Patriots both have roughly $14 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap. The Bills and Chiefs both have under $1.5 million in cap space, so they'd definitely have to create some salary cap room before being able to sign Hopkins.
3. Players in a contract year who are primed for a breakout
If there's one thing that happens almost every year in the NFL, it's that a player has a breakout season during a contract year and then uses that breakout season to cash in during free agency.
With that in mind, Chris Trapasso decided to take a look at five players who could be primed to have a breakout season as they head into the final year of their contract.
Let's take a look at his list:
- 1. Panthers WR Laviska Shenault Jr. "Shenault has a legitimate case as the NFL's best yards-after-the-catch receiver. I'm serious. In 2021, he forced 20 missed tackles on just 63 receptions as a member of the Jaguars. Then, in 2022, he forced 15 missed tackles on a mere 27 grabs. Preposterous. He simply needs more opportunity and steady quarterback play."
- 2. Titans DE Teair Tart. "After seeing the field for just under 500 total snaps in his first two seasons combined in Tennessee, Tart received 520 in 2022 and gave the Titans ample return on investment with 26 pressures on 305 pass-rushing snaps, which featured nine contests with at least two pressures. Tart and Jeffery Simmons are a load on the inside of Tennessee's defensive front. Simmons got a well-deserved extension a few months ago. Tart will be next -- and the deal could come during the season."
- 3. Jets DE Bryce Huff. "Last year -- his third season in the NFL -- Huff registered 36 pressures on 173 pass-rush snaps, equivalent to a 20.8% pressure-generate rate, which extrapolated out is in the Micah Parsons range. He's primed for a dynamic season thanks to his burst, bend, and tenacious hand work. He has the goods to beat tackles in a multitude of ways, which will spark his breakout campaign."
- 4. Falcons LB Mykal Walker. "Walker is the best linebacker in football you've likely never heard of. A former fourth-round pick from Fresno State, Walker's production has swelled in each of his first three seasons in Atlanta, culminating with a 107-tackle, six pass-breakup, four tackle-for-loss, two-interception campaign without much defensive line help -- outside of Grady Jarrett -- in front of him in 2022."
- 5. Saints WR Bryan Edward. "The Saints receiver spent the first two seasons of his career catching passes from Derek Carr with the Raiders, and now, he'll be catching passes from Carr again in New Orleans. Yes, there's Chris Olave and Michael Thomas in the Saints wideout room. But not much else. I expect Edwards to finally get the chance to play like the pass-catcher he was in college in 2023 and earn a lucrative albeit not super-expensive contract next offseason."
If you want to read Trapasso's full explanation for why he put each player on his list,.
4. Free agency matchmaker: DeAndre Hopkins makes sense with Chiefs, Carson Wentz to Green Bay
As everyone knows, 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 "Blind Date" or if it's because the only show he used to watch as a kid was "The Newlywed Game," 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 11 free agents and we're going to list five of those below.
- Match: DeAndre Hopkins and the Chiefs. "Kansas City doesn't have as much money to offer as, say, the Panthers or Patriots. But if Hopkins is serious about lining up with a star QB for a title run, well, this is the place to be. It helps that the Chiefs could use a proven outside target to plug in alongside gadget types like Kadarius Toney"
- Match: Ezekiel Elliott and the Chargers. "Los Angeles isn't in dire need of a running back as long as Austin Ekeler is in tow, but Ekeler is at his best as a passing outlet for Justin Herbert, and despite a relatively inefficient closing chapter with the Cowboys, Elliott still has the wherewithal to hold a rotational role."
- Match: Carson Wentz and the Packers. "Lost in Green Bay's transition from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love is the fact the Packers have yet to add a single experienced backup for their new quarterback."
- Match: Jarvis Landry and the Vikings. "The Vikings already addressed wide receiver by spending a first-rounder on Jordan Addison, whose route-running skills should pair perfectly with the explosive Justin Jefferson. But Landry shouldn't cost much. If healthy, he'd profile as solid competition for K.J. Osborn in the slot"
- Match: Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals. "With Kyler Murray possibly not being ready to start the 2023 season, Bridgewater would be a proven stopgap with ties to Jonathan Gannon and offensive coordinator Drew Petzing."
To check out where Cody has
5. One burning question for every team in the AFC East
With all the roster changes that have happened around the league this offseason, there are plenty of questions that each team will need to answer before we know if they'll actually be good in 2023.
With that in mind, we've been going through each division to look at the biggest questions for each team, and today, we're going to cover the AFC East.
Here's one burning question Tyler Sullivan has come up with for each team.
- Bills: Can Dalton Kincaid contribute immediately? "The Bills identified Kincaid as the missing piece to their offense and decided to trade up to the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft to take the Utah tight end. The question surrounding this addition is whether or not Kincaid can buck the trend of first-round tight ends having so-so rookie seasons. There have been eight tight ends taken in the first round since 2014 and only two have recorded at least 45 receptions (Evan Engram and Kyle Pitts)."
- Dolphins: Will Tua Tagovailoa stay healthy? "If Tua Tagovailoa can stay healthy after a scary concussion-filled season in 2022, Miami has the ability to crash the division race in the AFC East and the overall AFC playoff picture.The Dolphins were 8-5 when Tagovialoa started last season and he enjoyed the best season of his career in his first year under McDaniel. ... If he can remain healthy, he has the ability and weaponry to go toe to toe with Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen in the division."
- Patriots: Can Bill O'Brien get Mac Jones back on track? "After decades of dominance within this division, the Patriots find themselves at the bottom of the AFC East power rankings. However, the team did make a significant move by hiring Bill O'Brien to be its offensive coordinator after the debacle of Matt Patricia running the unit in 2022. The former Alabama OC should provide some stability for this unit, which gives Mac Jones a shot at getting his career back on track."
- Jets: Will Aaron Rodgers live up to the hype? "The Jets have one of the hardest schedules in the NFL next season based on their opponents' projected win total, so the path will be a difficult one for Aaron Rodgers. He'll need to overcome that as he looks to live up to the championship aspirations his arrival has brought to New York."
To read Sullivan's full answer to each of these burning questions,.
6. Extra points: Raiders don't seem worried about Jimmy Garoppolo's injury
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.
- Raiders seem confident that Jimmy Garoppolo will be able to play in 2023. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels is NOT concerned at all about Jimmy Garoppolo missing any time this season. "You guys may have anxiety. I have no anxiety," McDaniels said Thursday. "I have very good information that would tell me we're going to be fine." Garoppolo underwent foot surgery in March and the Raiders took all the guaranteed money out of his contract, but it seems that McDaniels is confident that his QB will be ready to go this fall. You can read .
- NFL sets official date for 2024 draft. If you're someone who likes to plan ahead, then you're going to like this news: The NFL has released the date for next year's draft. The event will be held April 25-27 in Detroit. You .
- Antonio Brown is offering Cam Newton $150,000 to play arena football. It seems like there's a new headline involving Brown every week and this week's headline is that Brown is . Cam, if you take the offer, please make sure to get the money in advance and please only take cash.
- Dolphins dump four OTAs from offseason practice schedule. Each NFL team is allowed to hold 10 offseason training activities (OTAs) every year, but the Dolphins will only be utilizing six of those. Mike McDaniel said dumping four the OTAs was a way to reward his team. "They are afforded the less practices because they've earned it because of the way they've approached the whole offseason," the coach said this week via PFT. Nothing will make you more popular with players than canceling offseason practices.
- Tony Pollard says he'll be cleared for training camp. The last time we saw Pollard on the field came back in January when he suffered a broken leg in a playoff loss to the 49ers. Despite the injury, Pollard said he'll definitely be ready for training camp, and to be honest, he sounds kind of like he would like to be practicing RIGHT NOW. "I would say I'm not really limited at this point," Pollard said Thursday, via ESPN. "It's just being smart with it, just trying to work my way back in slowly and make sure I'm in tip-top shape when I get out there so it's not a fall off." You can .