Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I had to take yesterday off from the newsletter to digest all of the trade news that's been happening in the NFL over the past few weeks and now I have indigestion. At first, I thought the Russell Wilson trade would be the most surprising one of the offseason, then Davante Adams got traded. Then Matt Ryan got traded. Then Tyreek Hill got traded. I don't even want to know who might get traded next. My vote is on Kyler Murray.
Although Cody Benjamin touched on the Hill trade in yesterday's newsletter, we'll be going over it in even more detail today, plus we'll be ranking the five best and five worst signings of free agency so far.
Speaking of free agency, that definitely isn't over yet and we're still keeping track of everything that happens. If you also want to keep track, be sure to click here to check out our free agent tracker that will be updated any time one of the top 100 free agents signs a deal. There are 30 players on the list who are still available, including Rob Gronkowski, Tyrann Mathieu and Bobby Wagner.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Winners and losers of the Tyreek Hill trade
Every time there's a big trade in the NFL, Pick Six host Will Brinson has to round up some co-hosts for an emergency podcast and that's exactly what happened on Wednesday after Tyreek Hill got traded. Brinson brought on CBSSports.com's Tyler Sullivan and Jordan Dajani and the three of them spent nearly an hour talking about the ramifications of the trade.
The guys also came up with a list of winners and losers from the trade and here's a sneak peek at that:
- Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins have set Tua up with an offense that includes: Tyreek Hill, Mike Gesicki, Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds. If Tua can't succeed in this offense, he's likely not going to succeed in the NFL.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster. The former Steelers receiver just signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs that includes more than $7 million incentives. With Hill out the door, it's going to be a lot easier for Smith-Schuster to have a big season, which is going to make it a lot easier for him to hit those incentives.
- Raiders. The Raiders reset the market at receiver when they signed Davante Adams and that deal likely played a part in Hill leaving Kansas City. Hill wanted a bigger contract than Adams and the Chiefs weren't willing to give it to him, which set the stage for one of the biggest trades of the offseason.
- Chiefs. The Chiefs offense still has Patrick Mahomes, but the loss of a dynamic playmaker like Hill could be crippling for Kansas City.
- Jets. Not only did the Jets make a play for Hill, but the Chiefs actually accepted their offer! The Chiefs finalized a trade with both New York and Miami before letting Hill decide where he wanted to go, and as you probably know by now, he definitely didn't choose the Jets.
To listen to today's show on Hill, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Tyreek Hill traded to the Dolphins: Full trade details, plus grading deal for both teams
Before this week, the Dolphins were quietly having one of the best offseasons in the NFL, but it's not so quiet anymore and that's because they made a huge splash on Wednesday when they made a trade for Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill in move that sent shockwaves around the NFL.
Here's a look at the trade details along with some ramifications of the deal:
- Dolphins receive: Tyreek Hill
- Chiefs receive: 2022 first-round pick (No. 29 overall), 2022 second-round pick (No. 50 overall), 2022 fourth-round pick, 2023 fourth-round pick and 2023 sixth-round pick
- Hill gets record-setting deal from Dolphins. As part of the trade, Hill will be signing a four-year, $120 million deal with the Dolphins that includes $72.2 million in total guarantees. Hill's average annual salary of $30 million per year isn't just a new record for receivers, it's a new record any non-quarterback.
- Andy Reid's reaction. After the trade, the Chiefs coach sounded sad to see Hill go, but he seemed more than content with what Kansas City got in return. "Myself, my staff and our organization appreciate all [Tyreek] did for our team," Reid said in a statement. "This move will also benefit the Chiefs, we now have cap space and additional draft picks to grow as a football team. I wish him well as he moves forward."
- Chiefs save some serious salary cap money. When Reid said this move will give the Chiefs some extra salary cap space, he wasn't kidding. By trading Hill, the Chiefs have freed up $20.4 million in cap space for 2022. According to Over the Cap, the Chiefs now $28.6 million in available cap space, which is the MOST in the NFL.
- Chiefs swimming in draft picks. By adding five draft picks, including a first-rounder, the Chiefs now have 12 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, which is the most of any team. Thanks to the trade, the Chiefs now have four of the first 62 picks in this year's draft. If you're wondering what the Chiefs might do with those picks, be sure to click here.
In a span of one week, we've now seen two offensive-minded coaches -- Andy Reid and Matt LaFleur -- both trade away their star receivers instead of giving them huge contracts. With the Green Bay trade, Davante Adams was itching to play for the Raiders, which helped get that deal done, and with all the facts of that deal now out, it's not too surprising in hindsight that Adams got dealt.
As for Hill, I'm still trying wrap my head around this trade, which isn't easy, because I have a big head. The Chiefs just dealt away their most dynamic skill player and I have to think that this means their offense is definitely going to be worse in 2022. Yes, the Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes and they'll be a contender as long as he's on the team, but the loss of Hill feels like one that's going to sting, especially when you consider that the Chiefs are losing key players in a division where every other team has been adding key players all offseason.
As for the Dolphins, with this Hill trade, we're about to find out how well a Ferrari will run when it goes from premium gas (Mahomes) to regular gas (Tua). The one upside for the Dolphins is that Mike McDaniel is their new coach, which likely means Hill is going have a big year whether Tua plays well or not. McDaniel comes from San Francisco and it won't be surprising if the Dolphins decide to turn Hill into a souped up version of Deebo Samuel.
There have been so many trades over the past two weeks that I'm pretty sure you guys know the drill around here by this point: Whenever there's a trade, there's a 100% chance we're going to hand out grades for that deal and that's exactly what we did in this situation.
The Hill deal was graded by CBSSports.com's Bryan DeArdo and here's what he came up with:
- Dolphins grade: A-. "Hill's presence should bring out the best in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is looking for a breakout season after two good but not great campaigns. If there's a negative, it's the fact that, by giving away their first and second-round picks in this year's draft, the Dolphins deprived themselves the chance of filling other roster needs, particularly at linebacker and on their offensive and defensive lines. Hill's salary may also create issues down the line as it relates to building a deep, competitive roster. "
- Chiefs grade: B-. "If the Chiefs can replace Hill with capable players who can help them continue on their current roll, this grade will ultimately be remembered in a more favorable light. But as it currently stands, it's safe to say that parting ways with Hill has put the Chiefs' odds at hosting a fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game in serious jeopardy. The silver lining for the Chiefs is that they picked up five new draft picks thanks to the deal."
You can check out DeArdo's full explanation for each grade by clicking here.
3. Top 10 free agent bargains
When I was in college, one of my favorite things to do every week was to shop the bargain DVD bin at Wal-Mart. Some of the best deals of my life came out of that bin. I mean, I'll never forget the time I only paid one dollar for "Corky Romano." What a steal.
Speaking of steals, those also happen in NFL free agency, and because of that, we decided to have Jared Dubin take a look at which teams got the best bargains with their salary cap money.
Dubin came up with a list of 10 teams that got excellent bargains in free agency and we're going to take a look at the top five below:
- Bengals sign OL Ted Karras and OL Alex Cappa. "Rather than handing a monster-sized deal to one offensive lineman (like, say, the Jaguars and Brandon Scherff), the Bengals split their investment between two players on the interior, locking up probable starters at center (Karras) and guard (Cappa). In signing them to affordable deals (four years, $35 million with $11 million guaranteed for Cappa; three years, $18 million with $five million guaranteed for Karras), the Bengals left over enough money to go out and sign La'el Collins. All of a sudden, one of the worst position groups in the league might just be league average or better next year."
- Chiefs sign WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. "With Tyreek Hill gone, Smith-Schuster looks like a key player in the offense now. He got a one-year, $3.25 million deal that can be worth up to $10.75 million with incentives. That's not a lot of money."
- Ravens sign OL Morgan Moses. After Watson snubbed New Orleans, Winston became the obvious fallback plan for the Saints. Winston has signed a two-year, $28 million deal that includes $21 million in guarantees. Although he tore his ACL in October, the expectation is that he'll be ready for training camp, according to ESPN.com. Winston went 5-2 as a starter last season with wins over both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
- Steelers sign CB Levi Wallace. "Wallace is a solid No. 2 corner that the Steelers got for sub-package player money. He signed for only two years, $8 million, $2.965 million guaranteed. He can fill the slot across from Joe Haden and help Pittsburgh maintain its status as one of the league's best defenses."
- Panthers sign OL Bradley Bozeman. "It was quite surprising to see the Panthers land a quality starting center for just one year, $2.8 million, $1 million guaranteed. Carolina badly needed to overhaul its offensive line, and landing Bozeman, along with Austin Corbett, should help a great deal."
To see Dubin's full list of the best bargains, be sure to click here.
4. Ranking the five best and five worst signings of free agency
We're now eight days into free agency, and in that time, we've seen dozens and dozens of players around the league get signed to new deals. Some teams made good decisions in free agency while plenty of other teams made bad decisions.
To help you decipher between the two, we had CBSSports.com's Jordan Dajani rank the five best signings of free agency and the five worst.
With that in mind, here is Jordan's list of the five best signings:
- 1. Allen Robinson to the Rams. "Robinson was seen as one of the top wideouts in free agency, and someone who could sign a deal that would put him up into the top five of highest-paid receivers. Instead, he shocked everyone by signing a three-year, $46.5 million deal with the reigning Super Bowl champions."
- 2. J.C. Jackson to the Chargers. "The 26-year-old was considered to be the best available cornerback in free agency. In 2021, he recorded eight interceptions and 23 passes defensed for the New England Patriots. Jackson has 25 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2018, which leads the league during that timeframe."
- 3. James Daniels to the Steelers. "The Pittsburgh Steelers signed one of the top offensive guards in free agency, inking James Daniels formerly of the Chicago Bears to a three-year, $26.5 million deal. Daniels is a versatile interior player who has played some center and is just 24."
- 4. Jamison Crowder to the Bills. "The Bills parted ways with slot receiver Cole Beasley, but they found a great replacement in Jamison Crowder. He's probably not a player on the radars of casual NFL fans, but he's led the Jets in receiving in two out of his last three seasons"
- 5. La'el Collins to the Bengals. "Their offensive line allowed Joe Burrow to be sacked 19 times in the playoffs, which is the most a quarterback has been sacked in a single postseason. They quickly claimed Alex Cappa from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ted Karras of the Patriots in free agency, and then found a new right tackle in La'el Collins."
And now for the bottom five:
- 1. Christian Kirk to the Jaguars. "As a team, the Jags weren't losers in free agency: They added the top interior offensive lineman, the NFL's reigning tackling king and a young wide receiver that many teams were intrigued by, but they gave an absurd amount of money -- a four-year deal worth up to $84 million -- to a guy who's never had a 1,000 yard season."
- 2. Deshaun Watson to the Browns. "If I was the general manager of a quarterback-needy team, I would have probably inquired as well. However, I would have dropped out if you told me the asking price was three first-round picks, three other picks and that Watson would sign a new, fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract."
- 3. Zay Jones to the Jaguars. "He showed some flashes last season with 546 yards and one touchdown in 17 games, but that's just an average of 32.1 receiving yards per game, which isn't great for a guy who just signed a three-year, $30 million deal."
- 4. Randy Gregory to the Broncos. "Gregory has never played a full season or recorded more than six sacks in a single campaign. He has also been suspended multiple times, which makes a five-year, $70 million deal seem kind of risky."
- 5. Seahawks re-sign Will Dissly. "Dissly is a talented blocking tight end who hasn't surpassed 262 receiving yards in a single season in four years, but is certainly worth an extension. Yet, giving him $8 million a year -- an AAV higher than Darren Waller and equal to C.J. Uzomah's new deal -- is pretty surprising."
If you want Jordan's full explanation for why he ranked each signing where he did, be sure to click here.
5. USFL unveils rule book that's slightly crazier than the NFL's
The newest football league in the country will be kicking off on April 16 and to get people to watch, the USFL has decided to implement some pretty crazy rules that will definitely differentiate it from the NFL.
The league announced those new rules on Wednesday and here's a small taste of what you'll experience if you tune in to a USFL game.
- Three-point conversion. After scoring a touchdown, a team will have the option of trying an extra point, a two-point conversion or a THREE-POINT conversion. The one-pointer and the two-pointer will have the same rules as the NFL. As for the three-pointer, the play will be run from the 10-yard line and the team will be award three points if it scores.
- Onside kicks with a twist. After scoring a touchdown, there will be two ways for the scoring team to retain possession on a kickoff. They can try a normal onside kick or they can run an actual play. If a team wants to keep the ball, it can try to convert a fourth-and-12 from its own 33 instead of kicking off. If the team fails, the opposing team gets the ball at the 33. If the team gets the first down, then its drive will continue. Based on the way the rule is written, a team could theoretically go an entire game without touching the ball if its opponent continuously converts on the fourth-and-12 play.
- Overtime shootout. The USFL's overtime will be similar to a shootout in soccer. Each team will be given three plays to convert a two-point conversion and whoever converts the most in those three plays will win (For example, if the Team A converts on two out of three plays and Team B only scores on one out of three, then Team A wins).
To me, those are the three most interesting rule changes that the USFL will be implementing. If you'd like to check out a few more of the rules that the new league will be showcasing this year, then be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Malcolm Butler reunited with Patriots
It's been a wild 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.
- Patriots bring back Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler. The hero of Super Bowl XLIX, who gave the Patriots the win when he picked off Russell Wilson in the waning seconds, will be returning to New England after signing a two-year, $9 million deal on Wednesday. This is definitely an interesting deal, if only because the last time we saw Butler in a Patriots uniform came in Super Bowl LII when he got benched in a game-time decision that Bill Belichick still hasn't explained.
- Amazon makes it official with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. With Amazon set to take over "Thursday Night Football" in 2022, they wanted to make a splash when they hired their announcing team and they've definitely done that. The internet company announced on Wednesday that Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit will be the announcing pair. Of note, you'll have to be an Amazon Prime subscriber to watch Thursday night games in 2022.
- Colin Kaepernick has apparently been contacted by at least five NFL teams. According to a private trainer who has been working with Kaepernick, the former NFL QB has been contacted by at least five teams. Kaepernick has regularly been holding workouts over the past few weeks and he's even had a few conversations with the Seahawks, but he hasn't been invited to visit with any teams yet.
- Bobby Wagner visits Rams. The Rams stout defense could get even better this week if they can somehow sign the former Seahawks star, who was visiting with the team on Wednesday. According to NFL.com, the two sides have mutual interest in possibly getting a deal done.