Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
The apocalypse isn't quite upon us just yet, but it probably feels that way if you live in New York City. The northeast has been engulfed by smoke from the wild fires that are burning in Canada. If you're wondering why I'm bringing this up in an NFL newsletter, it's because the situation has actually had an impact on the NFL. The Jets, Commanders and Eagles aredue to the air quality while the Giants just said "Screw it, we're not dealing with the smoke. We're just going to cancel practice."
In other apocalyptic news, the Vikings are finally about to part ways with Dalvin Cook. I thought for sure that the world would end before we saw that happen and it turns out I was half right. We'll be looking at some landing spots for Cook today, so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Vikings cutting Cook: Ranking possible landing spots for the RB
After spending the entire offseason trying to trade Dalvin Cook, it appears that the Vikings have officially given up. According to multiple reports, the Vikings plan on releasing Cook. However, the move won't become official until tomorrow, which means a team could swoop in and try to make a trade for him. That being said, no one has really shown much interest in trading for Cook over the past three months so it seems unlikely that we see a last-minute deal get made.
Once the release becomes official, Cook will become a free agent for the first time in his career. The running back had been with Minnesota since 2017 when the Vikings selected him with the 41st overall pick in the NFL Draft.
So where could he end up going next? Jordan Dajani broke down a few possible landing spots for the Pro Bowl running back (You).
- Dolphins. "The Dolphins have long been viewed as one of the top landing spots for Cook. He's a Florida native who played his high school ball at Miami Central. The Miami Herald recently reported that the Dolphins could be 'a real possibility' if Cook were to be released, and you have to imagine heading home would be appealing to him."
- Bills. "The Bills have a few options at running back with James Cook, Damien Harris, Nyheim Hines and Latavius Murray on the roster, but Cook would provide an immediate upgrade at this position.
- Bears. "For starters, the Bears have the cap space to acquire Cook, who has given Chicago plenty of headaches during his time in Minnesota. Cook would be an upgrade over the Bears' current group of backs that includes D'Onta Foreman, Khalil Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson."
One other team that would make a lot of sense is the Broncos. Denver's top two running backs are Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine, who both come with question marks. Williams is coming off an ACL injury while Perine has never really had to carry a full load at the position.
Although the Vikings are moving on to Alexander Mattison, Cook seems like he still has something left in the tank. The four-time Pro Bowl has had four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, including last year when he rushed for 1,173 yards. One big reason the Vikings are dumping Cook is because the move will save them $9 million in salary cap space, according to Over the Cap. Cook will be leaving the Vikings as the third-leading rusher in franchise history with 5,993 yards, which trails only Adrian Peterson (11,747) and Robert Smith (6,818).
2. NFL can't seem to find a 'Hard Knocks' team
With "Hard Knocks" set to start filming in less than seven weeks, you'd think the NFL would have already picked out a team to be on the HBO show, but that hasn't happened. One thing that could be stalling the process is the fact that none of the eligible teams want to be on the show.
Under the NFL's "Hard Knocks" formula, which, there are four teams that the league can force to be on the show this year:
All four teams have had at least one person in the organization come out against being on the show. The latest instance came this week when Saints coach Dennis Allen was asked how he would feel about his team being selected.
"I wouldn't like it because I just want to focus on our football team and getting better, and any distractions are exactly that, distractions that keep you, ultimately, from reaching your goal," Allen said, via ProFootballTalk.
On the Jets' end, the coach Robert Saleh and owner Woody Johnson. As for the Bears, team chairman George McCaskey said he would prefer to see one of the other 31 teams on the show.
That leaves us with the Commanders. Even if they don't want to do the show, the NFL could simply say, "Hey, we all had to deal with Dan Snyder for 20 years, so the least you could do to pay everyone back is to volunteer for the show."
That being said, the four teams eligible to be on "Hard Knocks" this season could be off the hook if another team volunteers to be on the show. The show generally starts filming at the start of training camp, so the NFL will likely pick someone soon.
3. Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world
Although the Cowboys haven't been to a Super Bowl in more than 25 years, that doesn't seem to be hurting their ability to make a profit. According to the latest numbers from Forbes, the Cowboys have basically been printing money for Jerry Jones.
Over the past three years, the Cowboys have raked in a profit of $1.17 billion, which is the most of any sports franchise in the world over that span.
Here's a look at the top 11 most profitable teams in the world over the past three years, according to Forbes (I included 11 because an NFL team is in the 11th spot).
1. Dallas Cowboys: $1.171 billion
2. New England Patriots: $623 million
3. Tottenham Hotspur: $414 million
4. New York Knicks: $404 million
5. Manchester United: $403 million
6. Houston Texans: $356 million
7. Golden State Warriors: $348 million
8. New York Giants: $333 million
9. Los Angeles Lakers: $333 million
10. Manchester City: $329 million
11. Los Angeles Rams: $318 million
I'm not an accountant, so don't ask me how the Texans made the list. Of the 25 most profitable teams, 13 of them are in the NFL.
If you want to.
4. Looking at 25 years of the 'Madden' curse: Should Bills be worried?
I don't want to say that Josh Allen just threw away the Bills' season by agreeing to be on the "Madden" cover this year, but Josh Allen might have just thrown away the Bills' season. The problem with being on the cover of "Madden" is that it possibly comes with a curse.
As our official curse correspondent here at CBS Sports, Cody Benjamin wanted to find out if the "Madden" curse is real, so he decided to see what happened to the last 25 players who appeared on the cover (Josh Allen might not want to read this).
Here's a short breakdown of what happened to a few players who appeared on the cover (When reading this, remember that "Madden" is always one year ahead. For instance, this year's game is "Madden 24" but it's being created for the 2023 season)
- "Madden 2002" (2001 season): Daunte Culpepper. "After throwing 33 touchdowns and going 11-5 as a first-time starter in 2000, Culpepper took a nosedive during his cover season. Injuries cost him six games, he fumbled 16 times, threw just 14 TDs compared to 13 picks and went 4-7 in his starts."
- "Madden 2008" (2007 season): Vince Young. "He was Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. For his cover year, though, Young threw just nine touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions, missed a game and earned a seat on the bench for 2008, never fully regaining Jeff Fisher's trust."
- "Madden 2017" (2016 season): Rob Gronkowski. "The five-time Pro Bowler was coming off a double-digit touchdown season in 2015, but he missed virtually all of the Patriots' first four games with a hamstring injury, then finished with just six starts due to a herniated disk and other injury issues."
- "Madden 2019" (2018 season): Antonio Brown. "One of the game's most gifted route-runners, Brown scored a career-high 15 TDs during his cover year, but it proved to be a tumultuous one in the Steelers' locker room, resulting in his trade to the Raiders after the season. He only played another 16 games in the NFL, bouncing between three different teams amid a flurry of on- and off-field controversies."
Overall, 14.5 of the past 24 cover stars have fallen victim to the curse. If you want to know how each player fared during their cover season, you.
5. Under-the-radar NFC players who could be stars in 2023
Earlier this week, we took a look at one under-the-radar player from each AFC team, and now, because we like to keep things even around here, we're going to do the same thing with the NFC.
CBSSports.com's Jeff Kerr went through all 16 teams in the NFC to come up with one under-the-radar player. Here's a look at four of those players.
- Panthers: RB Miles Sanders. "Crazy to consider Sanders an 'under-the-radar' player when he was the No. 1 running back on the league's top-ranked rushing attack over the last two seasons, but Sanders is still one of the more underappreciated backs in the league. Over the past four seasons, Sanders has 3,708 rushing yards -- good for ninth most in the NFL during that span."
- Packers: WR Christian Watson. "One of the maligned rookie receivers on the Packers roster last season, Watson ended up becoming one of the top deep-ball wideouts in the league. Even with a new quarterback in Jordan Love, there's no denying Watson's talent. As the No. 1 wideout in Green Bay, a 1,000-yard season may be on the horizon."
- Cowboys: OT Tyler Smith. "Smith was thrust into action on the Cowboys' offensive line last season, thanks to an injury that kept Tyron Smith out for the first 13 games of the season. He started every game for the Cowboys in his rookie season, playing 1,022 snaps at left tackle and 121 snaps at guard -- becoming a valuable piece toward Dallas winning 12 games last year."
- Vikings: RB Alexander Mattison. "With Dalvin Cook done in Minnesota, Mattison will get the opportunity to prove he's the No. 1 running back for the Vikings. Mattison had 100 carries for 462 yards and a touchdown last season (averaging 4.6 yards per carry)."
If you want to see the full list of under-the-radar players in the NFC,.
6. Extra points: DeAndre Hopkins set to visit Titans
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.
- Hopkins set to make his first visit of free agency. The DeAndre Hopkins free agency tour will officially be starting this weekend with . I that I thought the Titans made the most sense for Hopkins and I still feel the same way. No team needs a receiver more than Tennessee, and if the Titans land Hopkins, they could become a legitimate threat to win the AFC South.
- NFL tabs Tom Brady to warn players about gambling. When it comes to gambling, it's been a rough year for the NFL. Five players have already been suspended and two more are being investigated. To help fix the gambling problem, the NFL is turning to Brady for help. The retired QB filmed a promotional video that warns players about the perils of gambling. If you want to know more, .
- Vikings getting calls about Danielle Hunter. Dalvin Cook might not be the only long-time Vikings player who has played his final down with the team. The Vikings pass rusher, who has been with the team since 2015, is garnering some serious trade interest and there's a chance that he could be moved. We put together a few possible landing spots for Hunter and .
- Seahawks to wear throwback uniforms in Week 8. The Seahawks will be wearing a throwback uniform for one game this year and that will come on Oct. 29 against the Browns. Although the team has announced when they will be wearing the throwbacks, the Seahawks haven't released any images of the uniforms. The team isn't expected to unveil its throwbacks until this summer.
- "Inside the NFL" finds a new home. The iconic NFL show will be heading to a broadcast network for the first time ever. For the 2023 season, the show will be airing on The CW. The show, which has been on since 1977, had previously aired on HBO, Showtime and Paramount+.