Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
When you think of June, you don't usually think of football, but there's actually going to be a lot of football this week and that's because 12 different teams will be kicking off their mandatory minicamp TODAY. There are so many teams practicing this week that I'm starting to wonder why the NFL doesn't have a RedZone channel for minicamp practices.
YOU'RE SITTING ON A GOLD MINE, GOODELL. A channel that only airs minicamp practices would pull in millions. I would never NOT watch it. While I go pitch this idea to the NFL, let's get to the rundown.
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.
1. Today's show: Ranking the best quarterbacks of each decade
If you read the newsletter yesterday, you may have noticed that we ranked the best NFL quarterbacks of each decade. Whenever you rank anything, the internet loves to tell you why your ranking is completely wrong, which is why we decided to bring Bryan DeArdo on the show for today's episode of the Pick Six podcast. DeArdo was the author of our QB rankings, and he came on the show to courageously defend his rankings.
During the one hour episode, DeArdo and Will Brinson went through seven of the 11 decades featured in the story and DeArdo explained why he ranked each quarterback where he did.
One of the most interesting parts of DeArdo's ranking came with his top quarterback for the 2000s (2000-09). Although Tom Brady won three Super Bowls during that period, DeArdo has Peyton Manning ranked as the top QB of that decade and during the podcast, he explained why. What it boils down to is that Manning was at the top of his game for nearly the entire decade. Not only did he lead the Colts to two Super Bowl appearances (and one win), but he also won FOUR MVP awards (2003-04, 2008-09) while Brady only won one.
If you want to hear DeArdo explain his rankings for each decade, then be sure to click here so you can listen. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Aaron Donald lands record-setting contract from Rams
If one of your star players is thinking about retiring, one way to steer them away from retirement is to give them a $40 million raise. That's exactly what the Los Angeles Rams did with Aaron Donald on Monday.
After the Rams' Super Bowl win in February, it was revealed that Donald was actually thinking about retiring. However, that won't be happening anytime soon after the Rams' star signed a restructured contract that will make him the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history.
- Donald gets biggest contract ever for a non-QB. Going into this offseason, Donald had three years left on his deal worth a total of $55 million. Thanks to the restructure, that number is now going to shoot up to $95 million, which means Donald will make an average of $31.67 million over the next three seasons. The deal means that Donald is now the first non-QB in NFL history to crack the $30 million per year mark. As noted by Pro Football Talk, the deal is actually set up so that Donald could retire after the 2023 season without any penalty. At that point, he'll have made $65 million off of his new deal. If Donald chooses to play in 2024, then he'll make $30 million that year.
- Why Donald was worth the money. Since entering the NFL in 2014, Donald has basically been unstoppable. In eight seasons, he's earned eight Pro Bowl appearances, seven All-Pro nods and THREE NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. Not to mention, he was also named Rookie of the Year in 2014, and let's not forget, he also made the game-winning play for the Rams in their Super Bowl win over the Bengals. There aren't many defensive players worth $30 million per year in the NFL, but Donald is definitely one of the few who are. The eight Pro Bowls in his first eight seasons makes Donald just the third player in NFL history to accomplish that feat, joining Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas, who are both Hall of Famers.
- Donald has been totally dominant. If you include the playoffs, Donald has racked up a total of 104 sacks, 160 tackles for a loss, 242 QB hits and 468 QB pressures over the past eight seasons, which is the highest number for any defensive player in the NFL in each category during that span. Basically, Donald has been the most dominant defensive player in the NFL, and he doesn't seem to be slowing down.
- Donald had seriously been contemplating retirement. As recently as last week, Donald was still thinking about retirement. "I don't need to play football to be fine. I'm fine," Donald said on the "I Am Athlete" podcast. "I was blessed to play this game, to make the money I made, the accomplishments I made in eight years is, like, I'm complete. If I can win another one, that's great. But if not, I'm at peace."
If Donald had retired, that would have been a devastating loss for the Rams. Instead, they now feel like a viable threat to become the NFL's first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs since 2004.
3. NFC rookies not taken in the first round who could shine in 2022
If there's one thing that happens in the NFL every year, it's that we see a rookie have a huge year after slipping through the cracks in the NFL draft. Although first-round picks generally get all the hype, the ability to find successful players after Day 1 is what separates the good teams from the great teams.
With that in mind, CBSSports.com draft guru Chris Trapasso went through each NFC team's roster to find one rookie -- who was taken after the first round -- who could have some major success this year. Here's a look at a few of the rookies who made the cut on Trapasso's list.
- Eagles LB Nakobe Dean (Third round, 83rd overall pick). "From suddenness, to laser-quick, play-recognition skills, to comfortability in coverage, Dean is ready to really go as a rookie. Don't be concerned about his size or lack thereof. He has the ideal size to float around the field today, sniffing out screens, flying to outside runs, and being a flat-out nuisance for the opposition's middle-of-the-field passing game."
- Vikings CB Andrew Booth Jr. (Second round, 42nd overall pick). "Booth was a first-round talent all day. The vaunted injury red flag precipitated his plummet to the second round. What I kept going back to with Booth during the pre-draft process was this -- he has the feet and suddenness of a slot corner and the disruptive length and acrobatic ball skills of a tall outside corner."
- 49ers WR Danny Gray (Third round, 105th overall pick). "Kyle Shanahan got productive seasons out of Taylor Gabriel, Marquise Goodwin, and Travis Benjamin -- all of whom profile almost identically to the nearly 6-0, 186-pound Gray with 4.33 speed. With Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Co., I'm not envisioning a monster rookie season from Gray. Just a fun collection of home runs from rocket-armed quarterback Trey Lance."
If you want to see the full list of every rookie who made Trapasso's list,.
4. Best bets to make on NFC East win totals
If you've been reading this newsletter regularly over the past two weeks, you may have noticed that we've spent a lot of time covering the over/under win totals for the 2022 season, so you're probably not going to be too surprised when I tell you we have even more win totals today.
Since win totals are one of the most popular NFL bets you can make right now, Jordan Dajani decided to reveal his best bets for every team in the NFC East.
Cowboys over/under: 10.5.
Jordan's pick: OVER (+110). "In looking at the Cowboys' schedule, I'm leaning towards an 11-6 final record. It's true that the NFC East should be better in 2022, but the Cowboys still should be the top dog. Dallas won 12 games last year, and I don't think the team is set up for some kind of major regression."
Eagles over/under: 9.
Jordan's pick: OVER (-145). "The Eagles won nine games last year, and this team clearly improved in the offseason. Adding star wide receiver A.J. Brown is huge, but I'm more excited about the defensive additions Howie Roseman made. Kyzir White, Haason Reddick and James Bradberry are all going to be immediate impact players, and then Philly crushed the draft by taking Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. ... The roster is talented enough to win nine or 10 games in 2022."
Commanders over/under: 7.5.
Jordan's pick: UNDER (-105). "The Commanders will go as far as Carson Wentz can take them, but there's a reason why he's playing on his third team in as many years. ... The NFC East as a whole is improved, which has me leaning to the under for Washington."
Giants over/under: 7.
Jordan's pick: UNDER (-125). "Even if Brian Daboll has this offense looking much better in 2022, I don't think the Giants are ready to compete just yet. They had a great draft, but how big of a step forward will this team take? The lean is to the under."
To check out the rest of Dajani's story, can do that by clicking here. (The episode features me, so let's be honest, there's no reason not to watch.). We also covered this topic on the Pick Six podcast last week, and if you want to check it out, you
5. Vikings WR Justin Jefferson talks to CBSSports.com
Justin Jefferson is going to be pretty busy this week, and that's mainly due to the fact that the Vikings will be kicking off their three-day mandatory minicamp today. Before the start of minicamp, Jefferson took some time to talk with CBSSports.com's Jordan Dajani, and here are a few key items from that conversation:
- Jefferson is a big fan of new Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell. "He's great," Jefferson said when asked about Minnesota's new coach. "Everybody in the building loves his attitude, and just him connecting with the players all around the building. Everybody seems to have fun and get the job done all at the same time. It wasn't like that the first two years that I was there. And really just everybody connecting as a team and responding."
- Jefferson is excited about the new offense that's being installed. For the past two years, the Vikings have had a defensive-minded coach in Mike Zimmer, but now they have an offensive-minded coach in O'Connell. The new coach has been busy installing his new offense, and Jefferson is already a fan of it. "Definitely gives us a lot more ability to get the ball to different people in different positions," Jefferson said. "We love the offense, it seems to be working very well, us going against the defenses in seven on seven. But it's great, we love it. Hopefully it's the change we need."
- Jefferson knows he's going to be getting a huge contract soon. The Vikings receiver will be eligible for a contract extension following the 2022 season, and from the sound of it, he won't be giving Minnesota any sort of discount. Jefferson said he's hoping to land the "next big deal." "Yeah it's definitely going up every single year," Jefferson said when asked about receiver salaries. "Seeing different guys getting these big numbers for their deals. So definitely looking at that and hopefully I can get the next big deal."
If you want to read the full interview with Jefferson,.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Deebo Samuel expected to show up for 49ers minicamp
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.
- Deebo Samuel in, Jimmy Garoppolo out for 49ers minicamp. Although there's been a lot of drama involving Deebo Samuel this offseason -- he made a trade demand in April, then skipped every 49ers' voluntary workout this offseason -- it appears he for the team's mandatory minicamp this week. One 49ers player who won't be there is Jimmy Garoppolo, who . Garoppolo is still recovering from shoulder surgery that he underwent earlier this offseason.
- Patriots might let Matt Patricia call plays. With former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now in Las Vegas, there's still some question about who's going to call plays for the team this year. According to The Athletic, it's starting to look like the job could end up going to Matt Patricia. The former Lions coach is close with Bill Belichick. Patricia was with the Patriots from 2004 to 2017 before taking the Lions job in 2018. After being fired by Detroit in 2020, Patricia returned to New England.
- Buccaneers confident Gronk will sign before training camp. Although it's possible Gronk could end up retiring this year, the Buccaneers aren't expecting that to happen. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs are confident that Gronk is going to re-sign with the team at some point before training camp.
- Bears forced to cancel an OTA. The Bears were scheduled to hold an OTA today, but that has now been canceled. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears were forced to cancel the practice as punishment for violating the offseason rules of the collective bargaining agreement. During OTAs, there's not supposed to be any live contact, but apparently the Bears violated that rule in May.
- Danny Woodhead fails to qualify for US Open. Former NFL running back Danny Woodhead won't be playing in the US Open this year after coming up short in a qualifier. The top-eight finishers qualified for the US Open, but Woodhead didn't make the cut, finishing in a tie for 56th overall. Woodhead had to make it through a local qualifier last month before competing in the main qualifier over the weekend.