As a resident of Nashville, I would like to start the newsletter off today by formally welcoming Julio Jones to the city. I think my neighbors are moving out soon, so if you want to move in next door, just let me know.
I take that back, you can't move in next door, because I don't think anyone actually sells houses in this city anymore. Instead, they turn the house into an AirBNB that can only be rented out by bachelorette parties. If you've never been to Nashville, it is the bachelorette party capital of the world. You can't walk three feet without seeing a bachelorette party. There are so many bachelorette parties that Will Brinson and I once embedded ourselves with a party to see if we could survive (click here to find out the answer).
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: Bonus mailbag plus Julio Jones emergency podcast
During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up each week by adding a listener mailbag every Friday and since we didn't actually do one this past Friday, we're going to do one right now instead.
Our mailbag episodes are pretty simple: We read listener questions during the show and then answer as many of those questions as possible. Questions can be about literally anything. I mean, today alone, someone asked us to compare NFL teams to beers. If you want to submit a question, all you have to do is go to Apple Podcasts (click here) and leave a five-star review.
Here's a sample of the questions that we answered in today's mailbag:
Q: If NFL teams were beers which ones would they be?
A: This question was a lot harder to answer than I thought it would be, but I answered it anyway, because it combines my two favorite things: Football and beer. The Seahawks are an IPA because no one liked them before 2012. The Cowboys are Zima because neither of them have been relevant since the 90s. The Browns are PBR because both have existed forever but have never been the best and the Bengals are Natty Light because nothing makes more sense than the Bengals being Natty Light.
Q: What are your favorite alternate jerseys?
A: The Buccaneers Creamsicle uniform is one of my favorites, but they haven't worn it since 2012 due to an NFL rule that requires teams to only wear one helmet per season. CHANGE THE RULE NFL, I WANT TO SEE THE CREAMSICLE JERSEYS. I also like the red Patriots uniforms and I think I might be the only person alive who is a fan of Seattle's radioactive green uniforms. Also, I left the Chargers powder blues off this list because they've recently been wearing them as their primary jersey, which means it doesn't qualify as an alternate.
To listen to the rest of the mailbag -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here. If you do click there, you'll also notice that we have a bonus episode in the form of our Julio Jones emergency podcast that was recorded on Sunday.
2. Winners and losers from the Julio Jones trade
During the April 27 edition of the Pick Six Podcast, I predicted that Julio Jones would end up in Tennessee and the Titans made me look like a genius on Sunday after pulling off a deal with the Falcons. I feel so smart right now that I'm probably going to apply for Mensa tonight. I'll let you guys know how that goes.
The details of the trade are pretty simple, the Titans will be getting Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick while the Falcons will be getting a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. There are winners and losers in every NFL trade, so let's take a look at who fell where after yesterday's deal.
- Derrick Henry: Adding Jones to the Titans' roster could create bigger running lanes for Henry. The Titans star faced an eight-man box more often than any other running back in the NFL last year, but with Jones now on the team, putting eight in the box will be a dangerous decision. If defenses keep doing that, it would mean Jones and A.J. Brown will likely be facing single-coverage. If teams don't put eight in the box, then Henry should be able to run over any defense he faces. Either way, the Titans offense should be fun to watch in 2021.
- Ryan Tannehill: This one goes without saying. Any time a team adds one of the best receivers in NFL history to its roster, the quarterback definitely comes away as a winner.
- Julio Jones: Julio wanted out of Atlanta and he got his wish. Now, he just needs to prove that he can stay healthy after missing seven games last season.
- Falcons: They can now afford to pay their 2021 draft picks. This is not a joke: The Falcons didn't have enough cap room to pay their rookies before the Jones trade went down, which is one reason they had to make the deal. This kind of cap mismanagement should probably also qualify them for the loser's list.
- Colts: The Colts added Carson Wentz this offseason, but the Titans might have just one-upped them. The Titans won the division last year and their offense should be even better in 2021.
- Packers, 49ers and Seahawks: The Packers probably could have helped the Aaron Rodgers situation if they had been able to make a deal for Jones. As for Seattle, Russell Wilson wanted Jones so badly that he actually called the receiver and had conversations with him about playing for the Seahawks. Adding Jones would have made both Wilson or Rodgers happy, but now neither player will be getting him. On the 49ers end, Jones put up huge numbers with Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and the 49ers coach probably would have loved to have him in San Francisco.
You can read more winners and losers from Cody Benjamin by clicking here. We also graded both teams in the trade and the Titans did slightly better. Here's a look at the grades from our resident professor, Bryan DeArdo.
Titans grade: A. "Tennessee would have scored an A+ had it had been able to acquire Jones for just a second-round pick. Still, the Titans receive an A for giving up a second and a fourth, while getting back a sixth-rounder."
Falcons grade: B. "As great as Jones has been, his age and recent injury history likely made it virtually impossible to fetch a first-round pick. Maybe, had Atlanta shopped Jones prior to April's draft, there would have been a team (Seattle?) willing to trade a first-round pick in order to acquire the 2010s NFL All-Decade Team performer. But Jones' recent public comments, along with the fact that the training camps open next month, considerably diminished the Falcons' bargaining power."
One person who probably would have given the Falcons a lower grade is Jason La Canfora. The CBS Sports NFL insider thinks the Falcons should have also traded MATT RYAN. The Falcons seem confused about whether or not they're in a rebuild and the answer is that they're in a rebuild.
"So the Falcons have no QB of the future identified. They are still carrying eye-gouging contracts like Dante Fowler ($6M of his $23M guaranteed at signing is still due in 2021), and without a young core to build around, with holes all over a leaky roster and hardly the type of competition you would like for a team that is in the process of being rebuilt, whether it wants to admit it or not.
When you give away Julio Jones so you have cap space to sign rookies (and don't get me started on the Falcons' draft record the last five years or so), yeah, you are rebuilding. But doing it half-assed, backwards, the wrong way."
You can read the rest of La Canfora's column by clicking here.
3. Packers president says Aaron Rodgers situation is dividing the team's fan base
The next big date on the calendar for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will come on Tuesday when Green Bay kicks off its mandatory minicamp. During the spring portion of the offseason, it's the only event Rodgers is required to attend. If Rodgers is a no-show, he could be fined more than $93,000, although the Packers could let him out of the fine by labeling his no-show as an excused absence.
According to NFL.com, Rodgers' status is "in doubt" for this week's minicamp.
If Rodgers doesn't show, that leaves the Packers in a difficult situation going forward, because if he skips minicamp, he might be willing to skip training camp and at that point, the Packers would have to give some serious thought to trading him. As you can imagine, the Rodgers situation isn't going over so well with fans in Green Bay. It's gotten so bad that team president and CEO Mark Murphy believes the fan base is now divided into two sides: People who support Rodgers and people who don't.
Murphy writes one column per month for the team's website and here's what he had to say in his June column:
"The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base," Murphy wrote. "The emails and letters that I've received reflect this fact. As I wrote here last month, we remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond. We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better."
The irony here is that Murphy isn't even taking his own advice. He's talking about the situation publicly and it's probably not going to sit well with Rodgers that the team's CEO is calling his actions divisive.
So is there a solution here that might work well for both sides?
Peter King proposed one on Monday. King thinks the best way to solve this is for the Packers to make a deal with Rodgers by basically saying, "If you promise to play for us in 2021, we'll promise to trade you after the season." The weird part of that deal would potentially come in February if the Packers were to end up winning the Super Bowl. It would be absolutely nuts for a Super Bowl-winning team to trade its starting quarterback.
You can read more about King's proposal by clicking here.
4. Predicting every game on the Cardinals' 2021 schedule
Now that the month of June is here, that means the dead part of the NFL offseason is almost upon us and although things can get kind of boring during that period, we're going to keep things spicy around here by going through and predicting every game on each team's 2021 schedule.
There are 32 teams and we'll be doing one team per day until we make it through every team. Today, we're taking a closer look at the Cardinals.
Our Bryan DeArdo went through the Cardinals' entire schedule and picked out all the games they're going to win and all the games they're going to lose. The Cardinals haven't finished a season with a winning record since 2015, which also happens to be the last time they made the playoffs, so all of this begs one question: Can they end both of those droughts this year?
Here's a look at how he sees the Cardinals doing in three key games:
- Week 1: Cardinals at Titans. "Kyler Murray should have success against the Titans' suspect pass defense. It's a close call, but I'm taking the Titans in what will be Julio Jones' first game with his new team." Prediction: Titans 31-27 over Cardinals.
- Week 8: Packers at Cardinals. "Green Bay will likely be favored when it faces the Cardinals -- assuming that Aaron Rodgers is still at quarterback -- regardless, I'm taking the Cardinals at home on a short week in front of a national TV audience." Prediction: Cardinals 28-24 over Packers.
- Week 17: Cardinals at Cowboys. "Kyler Murray and the Cardinals' offense has enough firepower to keep pace with the Cowboys, but something tells me that Dak Prescott is going to have one of those games." Prediction: Cowboys 34-28 over Cardinals.
Overall, DeArdo is predicting that the Cardinals will end the season with a 10-7 record and if that happens, they'll be headed to the postseason for the first time in six years. As things currently stand, the Cards have the longest playoff drought in the NFC and they're also tied with the Bengals for the second-longest playoff drought in the NFL.
If you want to see DeArdo's prediction for each game, click here to check out his entire story.
5. Tom Brady collectibles are worth a lot of money
If you're not busy this afternoon, you might want to go through your house and see if you own anything with Tom Brady's name on it, because with the way Brady things are selling right now, there's a 50% chance you could be a millionaire by the end of the week if you find anything Brady-related.
There were two big sales over the weekend involving things related to Brady:
- Brady rookie card sells for $3.1 million. Two months ago, a Brady rookie card set a record when it was sold for $2.25 million, which was the highest price ever paid for a football card. Well, that record has now been broken thanks to an auction where a different Brady rookie card sold for $3.1 million. (Both cards are 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket cards and there are only 100 in existence.) If you've ever wondered what a $3.1 million card looks like, you can check it out by clicking here.
- Football from Brady's first TD pass sells for $425,000. You'd think that Brady kept the ball after throwing his first career TD pass, but that's not what happened back in 2001. After throwing a 21-yard touchdown to Terry Glenn in an October game against the Chargers, Glenn decided to throw the ball into the stands and it ended up in the hands of a huge Patriots fan. After holding onto the ball for 20 years, the anonymous Patriots fan finally decided to sell it and it ended up fetching $428,841 at auction.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I'd rather have the football over the card and that's if they were selling for the same price. Compared to the $3.1 million paid for the card, the football is a steal at $425,000 and just for the record, that will be the first and last time I ever refer to something that costs $425,000 as a steal.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
It was a busy weekend in the NFL and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a small roundup for you.
- Gus Edwards signs two-year deal with Ravens. The upcoming season was going to be the final year on Edwards' contract, but that won't be the case anymore after he agreed to a two-year, $10 million extension with the Ravens. Edwards isn't necessarily a star, but he's played a key role in the team's offense over the past three years.
- Ja'Wuan James files grievance against Broncos, signs with new team. James is trying to get back the $15 million he lost in pay after the Broncos cut him in May. The offensive lineman tore his Achilles while practicing away from the team's facility and when you get injured while working out on your own, the team is under no obligation to pay you. However, James is going to try to make the case that the Broncos still owe him the money because he was only away from the facility due to COVID-19 and that he was injured while doing a workout that was provided by the team. Even if he doesn't win the grievance, he'll still be making some money in 2021 and that's because he has signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Ravens that includes $500,000 in guaranteed money for the upcoming season, even though James won't be able to play.
- Titans sign wrestler. Trading for Julio Jones might have been the most surprising move the Titans made over the weekend, but it wasn't the craziest. The Titans also added a three-time All-American wrestler to their roster in the form of Adam Coon, who will try to make the team as an offensive lineman. For more details on that situation, be sure to click here.
- Cam Newton's hand seems to be fine. The Patriots got a scare on Friday when Cam Newton hit his hand on a teammate's helmet. The good news for the Patriots is that Newton didn't break his hand. Instead, the quarterback suffered a bone bruise, so don't be surprised if the Patriots decide to keep him sidelined until the start of training camp.
- Vikings sign Bashaud Breeland. The Vikings secondary is going to have a completely new look this year. The team has already added Patrick Peterson and now, they've also signed Breeland, who started 26 games for the Chiefs over the past two years.
- Ezekiel Elliott facing lawsuit. For the second time in 14 months, Elliott is being sued over a dog attack. Back in March, one of Elliott's dogs allegedly attacked an employee at a doggy spa. For more details on that incident, be sure to click here.