If you have any errands left to run this summer, I hope you got them done over the weekend, because after today, there's not going to be any time for errands. There's going to be so much football that the NFL is going to be hitting us over the head with it.
Of the league's 32 teams, three of them have already reported for training camp and the other 29 will be reporting tomorrow, which means FOOTBALL IS HERE. On a somewhat related note, I hope everyone binged at least two seasons of "The Real Housewives" over the weekend because that's the only way you could've properly prepared yourself for all the drama you're going to get in this newsletter.
You want Deshaun Watson drama? We got it.
You want Aaron Rodgers drama? We got it.
And now, I'm going to stop being dramatic so we can get to the rundown.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.
1. Today's show: Monday Mailbag
During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up each week on the Pick Six Podcast by adding a listener mailbag every Monday.
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, I'm pretty sure there was one time where we spent 10 minutes debating the best ice cream flavor (I will fight people who don't like Mint Chocolate Chip). Anyway, 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 one question that we answered in today's mailbag:
Q: How will the Bengals wide receiver situation work in fantasy? Will they all just get 20 targets a game because the Bengals are constantly passing from behind or will it play out some other way?
A: As the resident Bengals homer on the podcast, I was pleasantly surprised to see this question. I mean, the Bengals have been so bad for the past 30 years that I'm basically shocked we still get any Bengals questions at all. As for this listener's question, I think he hit the nail on the head. I think we'll see the Bengals throwing a ton, which means their top three receivers -- Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase -- should all see plenty of targets this year. As a matter of fact, even if you think the Bengals are going to be horrible, I'd still try to grab at least one of those guys for fantasy purposes. However, do not do what I do every year, which is picking only Bengals players to fill out your roster. That strategy never wins. I might have to change things up this season.
(Note: The Bengals announced on Monday that Burrow is completely cleared for training camp, which means he'll be getting plenty of reps with Boyd, Higgins and Chase, so maybe I will pick only Bengals players this year).
Anyway, to listen to the rest of the mailbag -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. Texans want massive haul for Deshaun Watson
Although Watson has made it clear that he doesn't want to play for the Texans this year, he still showed up for training camp on Sunday (The Texans report to camp on Tuesday, but Watson is there because the quarterbacks reported yesterday). The Texans could have fined Watson $50,000 per day if he didn't show up, which is one big reason why he decided to report on time.
Even though Watson has reported to camp, he still wants to be traded and that's where things get interesting. The upside for Watson is that the Texans are now willing to listen to trade offers. The downside for Watson is that the Texans have made it clear they're not just going to give him away, and right now, they have a huge asking price.
Here's the latest on Watson's situation:
- Texans want a massive haul in any potential Watson trade. According to NFL.com, Houston wants at least three first-round picks in return for their star quarterback. According to ESPN.com, the Texans would also take a combination of five players and draft picks with the catch being that the picks would need to be high.
- Teams that might make a deal. As we mentioned last week, the Eagles, Dolphins and Broncos continue to be the top potential landing spots for Watson. Of those three teams, the Eagles probably make the most sense. For one, they need a quarterback. Also, let's not forget they have the draft capital to pull off a monstrous trade. Not only do they already have two first-round picks in 2022, but they could get a third as part of the Carson Wentz trade if the QB meets playing-time conditions in Indianapolis.
- Why Watson could be traded soon. In a recent interview with Adam Schefter, Watson's QB coach Quincy Avery said he thought the QB would be traded over the weekend. Although that didn't happen, Watson's camp is clearly expecting a trade to go down soon. The good news for Watson is that he wasn't placed on the commissioner's exempt list over the weekend. The NFL does not like bad publicity and if the league thought Watson's presence was going to be an issue, they could have put him on the list until his legal situation was sorted out, but the NFL didn't do that. This could indicate that the league's investigation isn't close to being completed, which could help Watson avoid any punishment this year and make a team more likely to trade for him now.
- Why Watson might have to wait on a trade. If a team is going to give up a major haul for Watson, that team is probably going to want to know how his legal situation is going to play out. With Watson facing 22 separate civil lawsuits that all allege sexual misconduct and/or assault and the QB also facing several criminal complaints, teams might be hesitant to make a deal for him until there's a resolution to each of these cases. Although Watson isn't on the commissioner's list just yet, he could still be put there, which would basically mean he's not allowed to play until further notice. Any team hoping to make a deal would probably want clarification on that before making a trade.
No matter what happens, the Texans would probably like to get rid of Watson sooner rather than later, which is why it seems likely we'll see a trade go down before the start of the season and maybe even before the start of August.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers near agreement that could pave way for 2022 exit
With the Packers set to report to training camp in less than 24 hours, you'd think the team would have at least some idea about what Rodgers is going to do this year -- and apparently they finally do. At the last minute, the reigning league MVP and Green Bay closed in on a deal where Rodgers plays for the Packers this season, and the team agrees to review his situation following the upcoming campaign. The franchise tag may not be used on Rodgers in coming years. Rodgers is expected to show up at training camp once the deal has been finalized.
Here's the latest on Rodgers:
- Randall Cobb returning was apparently a deal-maker for the QB. Our Jonathan Jones confirmed an earlier report from Trey Wingo claiming that Rodgers asked for the team to bring back Cobb, who is currently employed by the Texans. Houston's trade for wide receiver Anthony Miller may have been a precursor to Cobb's eventual trade.
- Packers could reportedly reopen Davante Adams extension talks. Adams, entering the final year of his contract, broke off extension talks last week, but apparently the news of Rodgers' return could make him much happier about the prospect of remaining with the Packers.
- Sportsbooks had fueled retirement speculation. Multiple Sportsbooks in Vegas took the Packers off the board over the weekend -- meaning you couldn't bet on them anymore -- and they did that because they believed there was a strong possibility that Rodgers could retire.
- Rodgers had also fueled retirement speculation. The situation involving the Sportsbooks happened on Friday evening and just hours after that, Rodgers and Davante Adams shared the same cryptic image on Instagram. The image is from "The Last Dance" documentary and shows Michael Jordan fist-bumping Scottie Pippen. Some people took this to mean that Rodgers just had his last dance in Green Bay and that he's going to retire. However, I viewed it as the two guys saying, "We dislike Packers management, but we're going to return for one Last Dance in Green Bay anyway."
- Rodgers finishes his offseason workouts. During the offseason, Rodgers works out at Proactive Sports Performance in Los Angeles and despite the retirement rumors, he still went through his full workout regiment this offseason. Proactive Sports shared a picture of Rodgers working out on Friday with Packers lineman David Bakhtiari and there's no way they would have released that photo unless Rodgers OK'd it (You can see the photo here).
4. Top five QB hotspots as training camp gets set to begin
Since we've already spent 74% of this newsletter talking about all the QB drama going on around the NFL, I figured why not keep riding that train until it crashes, so we're going to keep talking quarterbacks.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora took a look at the five most tenuous QB situations in the NFL today and then made a prediction on how each one will play out.
- Packers: "The Packers still have a mess on their hands. Rodgers has told those he trusts most that he is done with this organization. Could that change once real football is being practiced, or played? Certainly. But Vegas certainly seemed to believe a retirement statement might be coming – which should surprise no one if it does, given how this offseason played out – and Packers brass is still in the dark. The biggest story in the NFL in 2021 rages on."
- Texans: "The NFL is in no hurry to weigh in with any discipline on Watson, and while some execs believe he'll end up on the commissioner's Exempt List until there is more closure about his civil and legal status, there is certainly at least a possibility of a trade if Watson is eligible to play football regularly this season. Regardless, the Texans will have to find their Week 1 starter elsewhere."
- Saints: "My money is on Jameis Winston, but his QB competition with Taysom Hill will play out over the coming weeks and I'm not sure we're going to get any proclamations right away. Hill will see plenty of the field in his hybrid role, as always."
- Eagles: "I am a believer in Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles really like him too, but this is as aggressive of a front office as you will find. They have been watching this Watson thing for months and many execs believe they would be front-runners to land him, should a trade materialize."
- Broncos: "Teddy Bridgewater is the starter, but should this Rodgers situation go sideways to the point that a trade heats up, the Broncos would be in prime position to pounce."
To check out La Canfora's full breakdown of each team's QB situation, be sure to click here.
5. Browns unveil new throwback uniform for 2021
The Cleveland Browns unveiled a new throwback uniform over the weekend, but since the Browns uniform has never undergone any major changes throughout their history, you might be wondering how this throwback is different from their normal uniform, so I'm going to point out all the changes.
The new uniform is a throwback to the team's inaugural 1946 season (It's a 75th anniversary uniform).
Here are the main differences between the old-school uniform and the uniform they usually wear:
- Helmet. The Browns don't usually wear decals on the side of their helmet, but they will this year when they wear the throwbacks. Each player will have their number on the side of their helmet along with a white stripe down the middle. The Browns will also rock gray facemasks instead of black.
- Player numbers. On the modern uniforms, the Browns have a solid number. However, the throwbacks will feature an orange shadowbox around the numbers.
The Browns didn't announce when they'll be wearing their new white throwbacks, but they did say they will be wearing them for multiple games. You can see a picture of the throwback uniforms by clicking here.
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 roundup for you.
- Colts coach Frank Reich to miss start of training camp. Reich tested positive for COVID on Monday, which means he's going to have to spend the first few days of training camp in quarantine. Reich is vaccinated and he's also asymptomatic, so he might not be out long. In other Colts news, Darius Leonard is going to miss the early part of training camp while recovering from "minor" ankle surgery.
- Chandler Jones requests trade. La Canfora reported back in June that Jones was unhappy in Arizona and it seems he now wants out. The pass rusher, who is headed into the final year of his deal, has asked the Cardinals to trade him.
- Bears trade Anthony Miller then sign a tight end. Miller has been on the trading block for most of the offseason and with training camp just days away, the Bears were able to deal him away to Houston. The Texans and Bears swapped late-round picks as part of the deal. In other Bears news, the team added a pass catcher by signing former Steelers tight end Jesse James.
- Sam Hubbard gets huge deal from Bengals. The Bengals wanted to get an extension done with their defensive end before the start of the season and they beat that deadline by a mile when the two sides agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal over the weekend.
- Vikings sign Dede Westbrook. The former Jaguars receiver is headed to Minnesota after signing a one-year deal with the Vikings over the weekend. Westbrook missed 14 games last season after suffering a torn ACL.
- Eagles land Steven Nelson. The Eagles added some serious depth to their secondary over the weekend by signing Nelson to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million. Nelson started 15 games for the Steelers in 2020 and there's a good chance he could end up being a starting corner in Philadelphia opposite Darius Slay.
- Unvaccinated assistants could lose their job. Patriots co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich is no longer with the team and apparently he's out because he refused to get vaccinated. Not being vaccinated puts an assistant coach at a disadvantage because they're not allowed to travel with the team or hold indoor meetings. Vikings offensive line coach Rick Dennison could also soon be out of a job for the same reason.