Holy smokes, did you think because we've still got over a week until the Super Bowl that the NFL would stay quiet? The news is bursting at the seams on this fine Wednesday. John Breech is taking his normal midweek rest to prep for the Bengals' big day, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, here to deliver the latest.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
We've got Super Bowl bets, updates on Brian Flores' bombshell lawsuit, news on Washington's new name, and more:
- Today's show: Super Bowl betting preview, Tom Brady retires
If you didn't catch the "Pick Six NFL Podcast" emergency episode on Tom Brady's official retirement, you'll wanna listen up for analysis from Will Brinson and resident Patriots expert Tyler Sullivan. Brinson also recorded an early 30-minute Super Bowl betting preview with SportsLine expert Kenny White, offering picks, predictions and analysis of the spread and MVP odds.
White thinks one of the biggest X-factors in the point spread is the Super Bowl's Los Angeles location, where the Rams are favored by four: "How many Rams fans will be in the stands? Are they gonna be loud? ... That's all home field is, crowd noise. L.A. fans gotta get loud, and if they are, it'll be worth a point, a point and a half to the betting line. I could see this line going up to maybe even five, 5.5 points."
Check out both episodes for more in-depth discussion and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL content right here.
Still an active candidate for open head coaching jobs, former Dolphins coach Brian Flores sent shockwaves through the league Tuesday night by filing a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three franchises -- the Giants, Broncos and his last employer, the Dolphins -- alleging the league is "rife with racism," especially in the hiring process for head coaches.
Flores alleges the Giants gave him a "sham" interview this offseason, citing texts from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that indicate New York had already decided to hire Brian Daboll before hosting him to prove they conducted a diverse search. He also alleges the Broncos were late to their own "sham" interview with him prior to hiring Vic Fangio in 2019, which Denver has since denied. And he says his recent dismissal from the Dolphins stemmed in part from his refusal to purposely lose games in order to better Miami's draft positioning, claiming Dolphins owner Stephen Ross even offered him $100,000 per loss in 2019.
The NFL has responded by positing that diversity is "core to everything we do" but vows to "defend against these claims, which are without merit." Flores, meanwhile, may have more coaches joining his lawsuit soon.
3. Washington unveils new name, uniforms as the Commanders
Washington Football Team is no more. After two years under the temporary identity, the franchise officially rebranded Wednesday morning as the Commanders, ending an 18-month process of forging a new name and look. Chase Young and Terry McLaurin helped model the team's new uniforms as part of the roll-out, teasing a modified "W" logo, two different helmet designs, black alternate jerseys, and a new "Commanders" patch to be featured on apparel.
4. Broncos officially up for sale, ending Bowlen family ownership
After nearly 40 years running the franchise, the Pat Bowlen Trust announced this week they are officially putting the Broncos up for sale. The team, which recently hired former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as its new head coach, has retained financial and legal advisors for the transition of ownership, which is expected to occur before the 2022 season. Last August, Forbes valued the Broncos at $3.75 billion, which means the club may very well sell for north of $4 billion.
5. Jimmy Garoppolo expects to be traded: 13 potential landing spots
The veteran 49ers quarterback, fresh off an NFC Championship loss, acknowledged this week he expects to play elsewhere in 2022. Where could the former Super Bowl starter end up? These three teams are among our projected front-runners:
- Broncos: Aaron Rodgers will be their top target, and there are other, better fall-backs, including potentially Kirk Cousins. But if they can't snag a big name, Garoppolo at least offers playoff experience. Denver's roster could support him, too, with a solid run game and defense. The team has got more than enough cap space to make it work.
- Buccaneers: With Tom Brady retiring as expected, Bruce Arians is left with a playoff-caliber roster that lacks a starting QB. Emphasizing "reloading" rather than rebuilding, he'd surely prefer a proven veteran as a short-term fix. Besides the irony of succeeding his old Patriots counterpart in Tampa, Garoppolo would at least be an upgrade over the middling free agent QBs.
- Commanders: When aren't they taking fliers on veteran QBs? Ron Rivera knows he must get a real, reliable starter under center after dabbling with Alex Smith, Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke. Garoppolo's injury history might scare them off after Ryan Fitzpatrick flopped, but Jimmy G has been a steadier QB1. GM Martin Mayhew, by the way, was in the 49ers' front office when San Francisco acquired Garoppolo from the Patriots in 2017.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Super Bowl pick, Brady's legacy, more
Hungry for more headlines? Good, because we've got more right here:
- Trends that will carry into the 2022 season: Chris Trapasso dives into what's next for the copycat NFL
- Ranking QBs with best chance to match Brady's legacy: Not possible, we know, but who's got the best shot?
- JuJu Smith-Schuster says goodbye to Pittsburgh: A precursor to a move in free agency?
- Examining the Bengals' Super Bowl history: Resident historian Bryan DeArdo dives in
- Hue Jackson hints Browns paid him to tank: In support of Brian Flores' Dolphins claims
- Cody Benjamin's Super Bowl prediction: The Bengals stay aggressive, but who comes out on top?
- Dick Vermeil predicts Super Bowl, talks Sean McVay: The former Rams coach sits down for a Q&A
- New 2022 mock draft: Chris Trapasso has the Panthers and Commanders going big at QB