Guess who's back, back again, Tebow's back, tell a friend. Guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back.
I'll be honest, I don't usually use Eminem lyrics in the newsletter, but I also don't usually write about washed up NFL players who are trying to make a comeback after six years completely away from football -- and yet, I'm doing both of those things today.
Although I'm happy for Tebow, I wish this news could have waited until next week. As I wrote yesterday, the NFL schedule release is my favorite holiday of the offseason, and now, Tebow is trying to overshadow it. I am beside myself. STOP IT, TIM.
Although I'm not happy with Tim right now, we'll be covering him in full today. We'll also have every team's strength of schedule for 2021 plus we'll pick the team the Buccaneers should play in their home opener.
Alright, let's get to the rundown. 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: Ranking instant impact rookies
There were 259 players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft and most of them will be practicing with their new teams for the first time this weekend when 29 of the league's 31 teams host their rookie minicamps. With rookies set to make their first appearance ever with their new team, Will Brinson thought today would be a good time to rank instant impact rookies, but since he's bad at ranking things, he brought on CBSSports.com draft guru Chris Trapasso to help him.
In today's episode, not only did they cover several rookies who should make an instant impact -- Trapasso thinks Kyle Pitts is going to be a game-changer for the Falcons -- but they also talked about which players have the best chance to win the rookie of the year awards.
Trapasso thinks the dark horse to win the defensive rookie of the year is Washington linebacker Jamin Davis, who was the 19th overall pick and the sixth defensive player taken overall.
"He lands in such a good scenario with the Washington Football Team, playing with four first-round defensive linemen, who have all played pretty well," Trapasso said. "Jamin Davis is going to be well, well above 125 tackles and if the Washington Football Team is a fun team again and they win the NFC East or make the playoffs, Jamin Davis is going to be in the spotlight a lot."
Trapasso made such a good case for Davis to win DPOY that Brinson literally stopped the podcast so that he could bet some money on the Washington linebacker to win the award. Davis currently has 16-to-1 odds (bet $100 to win $1,600).
If you want to know who they like for offensive rookie of the year, be sure to to listen to today's show -- and follow the podcast -- by clicking here.
2. Tim Tebow is back
It's Tebow time in Jacksonville.
Apparently, Jaguars coach Urban Meyer has decided that he's going to sign Tim Tebow to a one-year deal and the twist is that Tebow is going to play tight end. I'm not going to say I saw this coming, but when Meyer and Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke both decided to move next door to Tebow, that was the first sign that this was going to happen. You don't move in next to someone and not give them a job.
I'm not sure if Tebow is going to be able to make the roster, but the Jaguars are definitely leaving the door wide open for it to happen. Let's take a look at the situation in Jacksonville.
- Jaguars have almost zero tight end depth. The reason Tebow could end up making the roster is because the Jaguars currently only have three tight ends on their depth chart: Chris Manhertz, Luke Farrell, and Tyler Davis. Farrell is a rookie, Manhertz only has 12 career receptions over seven seasons and Davis has never caught an NFL pass in his life. Basically, Tebow has just as much NFL experience as the other three guys.
- Tebow hasn't played in the NFL in nearly a decade. The one thing working against Tebow is that he hasn't played in an NFL game since 2012 when he was with the Jets. The last time he was in the mix for a roster spot came in 2015 when he went to training camp with the Eagles before getting cut prior to the start of the season.
- Tebow could join a rare list of NFL players. If Tebow does play in a game this year, that means he would have gone eight full seasons between games. If you're wondering if that's ever been done, the answer is yes. Tebow would become the sixth player to pull it off with the most recent being Doug Flutie.
If you're dying to read more about Tebow, you can click here for the top five plays of his NFL career. We also put together a list of other quarterbacks who have successfully made a position switch in the NFL and you can check that out by clicking here. Finally, we put together a timeline of Tebow's sports career, starting with his time at Florida with Meyer, and you can check that out by clicking here.
By the way, if Tebow makes the roster, he'll be getting a free trip to London and that's because the Jaguars will be hosting a game in the U.K. in 2021. The NFL is only playing two London games this year and they'll be hosted by Jacksonville and Atlanta. According to the Athletic, the league has decided to scrap the Mexico City game for the 2021 season.
3. 2021 NFL strength of schedule for all 32 teams
For the first time in NFL history, the league is going to be playing a 17-game schedule this year and if you're wondering who is going to benefit the least from the newly expanded regular season, the answer is the Pittsburgh Steelers and that's because they're going to be facing the most difficult strength of schedule this year.
Based on the final standings from 2020, the Steelers will be going into 2021 with a strength of schedule of .574, which not only gives them the most difficult schedule for the upcoming season, but it makes them one of only two teams in the NFL -- along with the Ravens -- that will have a strength of schedule above .550.
Of the Steelers' 17 games, 10 of them will be coming against teams that made the playoffs last year, which is tied with the Packers for the most in the NFL. On the other hand, the Eagles only have to play five games against teams that went to the playoffs last year. Also, the Eagles only play THREE teams all season that finished 2020 with a winning record. In news that probably won't shock you, the Eagles have the easiest strength of schedule for the upcoming season.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the two teams with the highest grades and the four teams with the lowest grades.
1. Steelers: 155-115-2 (.574)
2. Ravens: 152-118-2 (.563)
3. Bears: 149-122-1 (.550)
4. Packers: 147-124-1 (.542)
5. Vikings: 144-127-1 (.531)
T-6. Bengals: 144-128 (.529)
T-6. Lions: 143-127-2 (.529)
8. Raiders: 142-128-2 (.526)
9. Browns: 140-130-2 (.518)
10. Rams: 140-132 (.515)
1. Eagles: 117-155 (.430)
2. Cowboys: 122-148-2 (.452)
3. Falcons: 123-148-1 (.454)
4. Buccaneers: 126-145-1 (.465)
T-5. Dolphins: 128-144 (.471)
T-5. Broncos: 127-143-2 (.471)
7. Panthers: 128-143-1 (.472)
8. Giants: 128-142-2 (.472)
T-9. Colts: 130-142 (.478)
T-9. Bills: 130-142 (.478)
To check out the strength of schedule ranking for all 32 teams, be sure to click here.
4. Buccaneers set to host NFL opener
When the NFL schedule gets released on Wednesday, you're going to notice some major changes and the biggest one is the expanding regular season. However, one thing that won't be changing is the annual tradition that calls for the defending Super Bowl champion to play host for the first game of the season.
This year, that means the 2021 NFL season is going to open in Tampa Bay with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers serving as the home team in the Thursday night opener.
So who will the Buccaneers be playing in the opener? Great question. Glad you asked.
Since we already know who the Buccaneers will be playing at home this year -- Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Bears, Dolphins, Cowboys Giants and Bills -- I'm going to rank all eight teams in order of what would make the worst game to what would make the best game.
8. Panthers: Carolina went 0-2 against Tampa last year and lost those games by an average of 18.5 points. No one wants to see a blowout in the opener.
7. Falcons: Atlanta went 4-12 last season and no one wants to watch a team coming off a 4-12 season play in the opener.
6. Giants: The Giants almost beat the Bucs last season and Joe Judge apparently thinks that Tom Brady's skills are deteriorating, so this would definitely be an interesting game.
5. Dolphins: Miami head coach Brian Flores spent 11 seasons in New England with Tom Brady -- I'm guessing he would love to embarrass Brady in the opener.
4. Bears: The Bears have two things going for them: They made the playoffs last year and they beat the Buccaneers in the regular season.
3. Cowboys: Dallas might be America's team, but if I'm Jerry Jones, I don't want Dak Prescott going up against Tampa Bay's defense in Week 1.
2. Saints: I will start tailgating right now if we get a Jameis Winston revenge game. The only problem is that we don't know if Winston is actually going to win the starting QB job in New Orleans.
1. Bills: On paper, the Bills are the best team on Tampa Bay's home schedule this year and the NFL likes when things look nice on paper.
For a full explanation on why I ranked things the way I did, be sure to click here.
5. Your daily Aaron Rodgers update
We are now on Day 742 of Aaron Rodgers watch. Actually, I don't think we're that many days in, but it's starting to feel that way. Over the past 24 hours, we didn't really learn anything new about Rodgers, but we did learn a few things about the Packers' side of the situation.
If Rodgers wants out, the easiest thing for the Packers to do would be to grant his wishes and trade him, but if that happens, that will put Green Bay in a tough spot. There are a few things that the team has to take into consideration and here are two big ones.
- Jordan Love might not be ready to play. In an interview that took place after the first-round of the draft, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst basically admitted that Love doesn't seem ready to play. "He's got a long way to go," Gutekunst said, per The Athletic. "Obviously we think the world of Jordan and where he's going to grow and develop. I think it's pretty early to be able to tell you that because obviously with no preseason games last year and just kind of the no-spring, but we have a lot of confidence in his talents, in his work ethic and where he's going to go." If Love isn't ready to play, that would help explain why the Packers have refused to even entertain the notion of trading their star quarterback.
- Davante Adams would consider leaving Green Bay if Rodgers is out. The Packers' other problem on the Rodgers front is that there could be a mass exodus from Green Bay if they decide to trade their star QB. In an interview this week, Davante Adams said he would think about leaving if Rodgers isn't his quarterback anymore. "It would change a lot, man," Adams told Colin Cowherd. "Doesn't mean potentially I'd be gone, but I'd definitely have to do some extra thinking if my guy wasn't here."
If Adams feels that way, there's a good chance that at least a few other players feel the same way, which means that trading Rodgers could destroy the team for years to come -- one of many reasons why the Packers are doing their best to hold on to him.
6. NFL veterans who were hurt by the draft
For an NFL player, there's no worse feeling than watching the draft and seeing that your team just selected a player to replace you. It happens all the time and because it happens all the time, our Jeff Kerr decided to put a list together of the five NFL veterans who were hurt the most by the 2021 NFL Draft.
With that in mind, let's check out Kerr's list.
- Patriots QB Cam Newton. "Newton was already on thin ice in New England after the Patriots had their first losing season since 2000. The Patriots decided to bring Newton back on a one-year deal, but didn't hand him the starting job for the 2021 season and that's because he'll be competing with Mac Jones, who was taken with the 15th overall pick."
- Bears QB Andy Dalton. "The Bears traded up nine spots in the draft to select Justin Fields, arguably one of the top three quarterbacks on the board. ... There will be a competition for the starting quarterback job, even though this one is Fields' to lose."
- Jaguars RB James Robinson. "Robinson was the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to average at least 100 scrimmage yards a game in a season and his 1,414 scrimmage yards were the most ever for an undrafted rookie. How do the Jaguars reward him for his efforts? Drafting Travis Etienne with their second first-round pick."
- Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch. "The Cowboys had the writing on the wall for Vander Esch the moment they selected Micah Parsons at No. 12 overall, making him the next linebacker in a revamped defense under Dan Quinn. To add insult to injury, the Cowboys passed on Vander Esch's fifth-year option on his rookie contract -- the beginning of the end of his tenure in Dallas."
- Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. "The Vikings have gotten a lot out of Cousins since they signed him in 2018, but drafted his apparent successor in Kellen Mond."
Kerr also put together a list of the five veterans who benefited the most from the draft and you can check that out by clicking here.
7. The Kicker: Player who wanted his salary in Bitcoin gets cut by Chiefs
If you're into cryptocurrency, then converting your NFL salary to Bitcoin probably sounds like a good idea, but the plan only works if you're actually getting an NFL salary and that's where things are now falling apart for former Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin.
Earlier this offseason, Culkin made some headlines by announcing that he would be converting his entire 2021 salary into Bitcoin. The only problem for Culkin is that, as of right now, he's not going to be getting an NFL salary this year and that's because the Chiefs cut him on Monday. Culkin was in line to make $920,000 with the Chiefs this year and although I'm not sure how much Bitcoin that is, I do know that zero dollars will get you zero Bitcoin and that's how much Culkin is going to be getting from the Chiefs.
Speaking of zero, I'll be writing zero words for tomorrow's newsletter and that's because Cody Benjamin is going to be in charge. Although I won't be around, I will be running our live blog for the schedule release, so if you get bored at any point tomorrow, please come join.