Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It's Groundhog Day and we all know what that means: if the groundhog sees his shadow, Tom Brady will be coming out of retirement in six weeks. That's what happened last year, so I'm just going to assume that's how things are also going to play out this year.
Speaking of Brady, we'll have more coverage of him today. I mean, the man played in the NFL for 23 years, so the least we can do is give his retirement announcement two full days of coverage. Besides Brady, we'll also be taking a look at a 56-year QB curse that Patrick Mahomes might break this year and going over the details for the first night of the Pro Bowl skills competition since that will be kicking off tonight.
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: Brady Quinn breaks down latest NFL news
If you're going to listen to just one episode of the Pick Six podcast every week, then you should definitely make sure that you're listening every Thursday, because that's when Brady Quinn joins the show. For today's episode, the former first-round pick chatted with Will Brinson about multiple topics.
With Brady now retired, Brinson and Quinn broke Brady's career down into three different segments and debated which one was the most impressive and which one Brady probably enjoyed the most.
Segment 1: 2001-07
- Super Bowl record: 3-0 (If he retired in 2007, he would have had the third most Super Bowl wins in NFL history)
- Total wins: 86
- TD passes: 197
- Passing yards: 26,364
Segment 2: 2008-14
- Super Bowl record: 1-2
- Total wins: 74
- TD passes: 195
- Passing yards: 26,812
Segment 3: 2015-22
- Super Bowl record: 3-1
- Total wins: 91 (This number would be tied for 32nd on the all-time wins list)
- TD passes: 257 (This number would rank 21st on the all-time TD pass list)
- Passing yards: 35,956 (This number would rank 30th on the all-time passing yards list)
Quinn said the first segment of Brady's career was probably the most impressive, just because he came out of nowhere to win those Super Bowls. Quinn also mentioned that Brady probably was able to enjoy the early title runs a little more since he wasn't one of the most famous athletes in the world just yet.
"I think I'd go with the early one, in part, because he probably had more fun," Quinn said. "The photos of Tom Brady back then, he was not eating avocado ice cream. He was younger. At that time in your life, you can really reap the benefits of your success. I'm not saying you can't as you get older on the backend, which I'm sure is incredibly gratifying, but winning in your mid-to-late 20s, that's the perfect time."
If you want to hear Quinn's full thoughts on Brady's career -- and everything else the two guys talked about on today's podcast -- then be sure to click here. You can also watch today's show on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Winners and losers from Tom Brady's retirement
It has now been 24 hours since Tom Brady's retirement, and after taking some time to digest everything that happened, the NFL team here pumped out even more Tom Brady content because you can never have enough Tom Brady content.
Bryan DeArdo took a look at the winners and losers of Brady's retirement and here's the list he came up with:
- Tom Brady. "Brady, who fought back tears in his retirement video, obviously didn't want his fabled career to end. But the fact that he was able to retire on his own terms should serve as a consolation prize considering many careers don't end that way."
- Pro Football Hall of Fame. "Brady will undoubtedly be voted in during his first year of eligibility. The same can be said of J.J. Watt, who also recently announced his retirement. With Brady and Watt as the headliners, this will likely be one of the most-anticipated Hall of Fame weekends in history."
- Every team in the NFC besides Tampa Bay. "Brady's departure makes things easier for the entire NFC. The division mostly impacted by Brady's decision is the NFC South, which is now wide open following the quarterback's retirement."
- Buccaneers. "The Buccaneers have plenty of needs (specifically on the offensive line), but quarterback will now enter the forefront following Brady's announcement."
- Raiders. "Las Vegas was reportedly the front-runner to land Brady should he have played outside of Tampa in 2023. With Brady retired, and with Derek Carr prepared to leave the team this offseason, the Raiders have major quarterback questions heading into the offseason."
- NFL fans. "Whether you cheered for him or his team or not, fans who watched the NFL for the past 20-plus years were given a front row seat to watching the greatest player in NFL history, and now, we won't have that anymore."
If you want to check out the full list of winners and losers, be sure to click here. Even if you don't click over, you're still a winner in my book, and one of the reasons you're a winner is because you get more Brady content here.
- Cody Benjamin took a look at the ripple effects of Brady's retirement. (You can read that here.)
- DeArdo listed the Buccaneers as a loser and then came up with this list of what they should do next at QB.
- If you're wondering what Brady's record is against each NFL team, we have that information here.
- If you want to know what Brady's favorite Super Bowl win was, he actually answered that question once and you can see the answer here. (Spoiler alert: It was NOT the 28-3 comeback against the Falcons.)
Finally, don't be surprised if Brady officially retires with the Patriots. Owner Robert Kraft made it clear Thursday that he wants to see Brady sign a one-day contract with the Patriots.
3. Patrick Mahomes looking to end 56-year QB curse in Super Bowl
Patrick Mahomes has a chance to do something this year that no other quarterback in NFL history has ever pulled off. If the Chiefs beat the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, Mahomes will end a 56-year QB curse, and the curse is pretty simple: No quarterback has ever led the league in passing yards AND won the Super Bowl in the same year.
Mahomes finished the 2022 season with 5,250 passing yards, which not only led the NFL, but was more than 500 yards higher than his next closest competitor (Justin Herbert threw for 4,739).
With prolific passers like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees dominating the NFL over the past 20 years, it seems almost impossible that none of them have led the league in passing yards in the the same year where they also won a Super Bowl, but that's exactly how things have played out.
Over the past 56 years, only six quarterbacks have even MADE it to the Super Bowl in a season where they led the league in passing yards, and those quarterbacks have gone 0-6 in the big game. Here's a look at the list:
1984: Dan Marino (Lost Super Bowl XIX to 49ers)
2001: Kurt Warner (Lost Super Bowl XXXVI to Patriots)
2002: Rich Gannon (Lost Super Bowl XXXVII to Buccaneers)
2007: Tom Brady (Lost Super Bowl XLII to Giants)
2013: Peyton Manning (Lost Super Bowl XLVIII to Seahawks)
2017: Tom Brady (Lost Super Bowl LII to Eagles)
When the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers, Mahomes missed two games during the regular season, so he didn't come close to leading the league in passing. This year, though, Mahomes has a chance to do something that's never been done.
If you want to read more on Mahomes, you can go here, where Doug Clawson explains why a Super Bowl win over the Eagles could give Mahomes the most impressive five-year streak of any QB in NFL history.
4. One free agent each team should look to sign this offseason
Between now and the start of free agency on March 15, we're going to be talking a lot about what each team should do in free agency. Jordan Dajani started that today by going through all 32 teams and coming up with one free agent that they should look to sign this offseason.
Here's a look at Dajani's suggestion for five different teams, and we're going to start off with a move that would shake up the NFL:
- Falcons: Lamar Jackson. "I think it's more likely Jackson is franchise-tagged and remains in Baltimore, but if you haven't noticed, it's impossible to predict what will happen in the NFL. If Jackson is allowed to talk with other teams, the Falcons should be in on him. Why? Well, he's a legitimate franchise quarterback who plays like Michael Vick, the Falcons are in the opposing conference, which could help things if the Ravens agree to move him, and the Falcons are projected to have the second-most cap space in the NFL this offseason."
- Buccaneers: Jimmy Garoppolo. "With Tom Brady opting to retire, the Buccaneers need a new quarterback. I think they should eye a veteran to come in and serve as the distributor for an offense that still has plenty of pieces to be relatively successful. Could Brady's former backup finally replace him under center? Time is a flat circle."
- Patriots: Odell Beckham Jr. "Beckham said he almost signed with the Patriots just over a year ago. Bill Belichick should inquire again. The Patriots are looking to bolster the offensive side of the ball this offseason, and they need to do more than just bring Bill O'Brien back."
- Bengals: Dalton Schultz. "Hayden Hurst is a free agent, and he certainly had his moments in 2022. However, Schultz would be an upgrade and add to this explosive Bengals offensive attack. The Cowboy didn't have as impressive of a season as he did in 2021, and it has me wondering what his value will be on the open market. Still, Schultz could be the most popular tight end this offseason."
- Bills: Saquon Barkley. "After spending the majority of the year as the Super Bowl favorites, the front office now faces the sobering reality that maybe this team isn't there just yet. The Bills are still one of the best teams in the NFL, and they may just be one piece away. That one piece could be a star running back."
If you want to see Dajani's recommendation for all 32 teams, be sure to click here.
5. Pro Bowl skills challenge kicks off
The revamped Pro Bowl is being held over two days this year, and the action will be kicking off Thursday with several skill competitions in what the NFL is calling the Pro Bowl Games.
Here's what you need to know if you plan on watching:
Time: 7-8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
If you do check things out, you're going to be watching several fascinating competitions. Here's a quick look at those:
- Dodgeball. The AFC will have a team of six offensive players going up against an offensive team from the NFC. The two conferences will also each have a team made up of only defensive players that will face off. The AFC's offensive team is pretty loaded with their six players being Tyreek Hill, Ja'Marr Chase, Josh Jacobs, Mark Andrews, Dawson Knox and Nick Chubb. The NFC will counter that with Christian McCaffrey, Ceedee Lamb, George Kittle, Kyle Juszczyk, Saquon Barkley and Dalvin Cook. You can go here if you want to see the full dodgeball rosters.
- Longest drive. This one is pretty simple: The AFC will have five players going up against five players from the NFC, and the team that drives a golf ball the farthest will win. Justin Tucker and Matthew Judon headline the AFC team while the NFC team will include T.J. Hockenson and Washington's Jonathan Allen.
- Precision passing. With this event, we're going to find out who the best QB at the Pro Bowl is. The AFC quarterbacks -- Trevor Lawrence, Tyler Huntley and Derek Carr -- will be going up against the NFC quarterbacks, a group that includes Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff and Geno Smith.
- First round of the best catch competition. This is like the slam dunk contest, except for catching the ball. Everyone in this competition will be encouraged to show off their creativity, inventiveness and talent as they try to make the best catch.
I will watch almost anything that involves football, so there's a 99% chance that I will at least check out some of this.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Jimmy Garoppolo definitely not returning to 49ers, Vic Fangio drama finally over
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.
- 49ers to move on from Garoppolo. It looks like Jimmy Garoppolo is definitely done in San Francisco. During a press conference Wednesday, Kyle Shanahan was asked if there was a chance Garoppolo might return and slammed the door shut on that idea. "No, I don't see any scenario of that," Shanahan said. If you're wondering where Garoppolo might land, we came up with some landing spots here.
- Vic Fangio taking his talents to South Beach. It was reported over the weekend that Fangio was going to be the Dolphins' new defensive coordinator, but after going several days without signing a contract -- and with Fangio reportedly eyeing other teams -- no one was sure what was going to happen. However, the drama is now over. According to ESPN.com, Fangio has let the Dolphins know that he plans to join their coaching staff as the defensive coordinator after the Super Bowl. (Fangio is currently working as a consultant for the Eagles, which is why he'll be waiting until after the Super Bowl.)
- Eagles player placed on Commissioner Exempt List. Eagles offensive lineman Josh Sills has been indicted on one count of rape and one count of kidnapping for an incident that took place in 2019. With Sills in legal limbo, the NFL has placed him on the Commissioner Exempt List, which essentially means he can't participate in anything football-related until his legal situation is cleared up. Sills only saw action in one game this year, and the move by the NFL means that he almost certainly won't be playing in the Super Bowl.
- Matt Rhule battling with Panthers over buyout. When Rhule got fired by the Panthers in October, that put the team on the hook to pay him the rest of his remaining contract, which was $34 million. The contract did include an offset, though, so that the Panthers didn't have to pay him if he got hired somewhere else. Well, Rhule got hired by Nebraska and because of that, the Panthers are saying they don't owe him anything else. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones broke the news Wednesday that Rhule is taking the team to arbitration because he believes the franchise still owes him $5 million. It's an interesting story, and if you want to know more, be sure to go here.
- Arena League returning in 2024. This isn't NFL-related, but it is football-related. The AFL will return in 2024 after taking a five-year hiatus. The AFL's comeback season will feature 16 teams that will play a 10-game regular season during the summer in 2024. For more details on the AFL's return, be sure to click here.
- Bengals defensive coordinator interviews with Cardinals. When the NFL offseason started, there were five open jobs, but now, we're down to the final two (Cardinals and Colts). While the Colts are busy holding second interviews with many candidates, the Cards are still interviewing candidates for the first time. One of those came Wednesday when they interviewed Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. Besides Anarumo, the other candidates seem to be Brian Flores, Vance Joseph, Ejiro Evero and Aaron Glenn. The Cards are also planning to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. If I had to guess now, I'd say Flores is the favorite for the job due to his ties with new general manager Monti Ossenfort.
If you want the latest updates on every coaching and GM interview being held this offseason, then be sure to click here so you can follow along in our tracker.