Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
When it comes to shocking things that happened in sports yesterday, I thought for sure that Kentucky losing in the NCAA tournament to a team called the Peacocks would easily rank No. 1, but somehow, the NFL topped that with the Davante Adams news.
In one of the most shocking trades in recent NFL history, the Packers dealt away their star receiver to the Raiders. There are so many shocking layers to this trade that I might need electroshock therapy to understand them all.
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1. Today's show: Winners and losers of free agency
If you love free agency talk, then this is definitely the week you should have been listening to the podcast. After four straight days of breaking down free agency, we decided to make it five in a row by taking another deep dive into free agency for Friday's show.
When we talk free agency, one thing we love to do is hand out winners and losers, so that's exactly what we did for today's show. Here are the winners and losers from Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I.
- Wilson: Steelers. This is a team that definitely got better this week and they did that by filling some big holes. Namely, they added a quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky), an offensive lineman (James Daniels) and a linebacker (Myles Jack) who should all be starters in 2022.
- Brinson: Bills. As if the Von Miller signing wasn't enough, this team also went out and grabbed tight end O.J. Howard, along with veteran guard Rodger Saffold. The AFC West might be the strongest division in the AFC, but it feels like the Bills are the best team in the conference.
- Breech: Dolphins. The Dolphins have quietly put together a solid free agent class. One of their biggest holes last year was at running back and they filled that by signing Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. The Dolphins also brought in a starting offensive guard in Connor Williams and some Tua insurance in the form of Teddy Bridgewater.
- Wilson: Cowboys. It felt like this week was a disaster from start to finish for the Cowboys. They lost Randy Gregory, they had to cut La'el Collins and they barely got any compensation in return when they traded Amari Cooper. It almost feels like this team is tanking. Has a defending division champion ever tanked before?
- Brinson: Washington. They're hitching their wagon to Carson Wentz? Did they not see how that worked out for Indy? Someone needs to tell them how that worked out for Indy.
- Breech: Patriots. I hate putting the Patriots in the losers section because there's a 100% chance this will blow back in my face, but as of right now, it feels like every team in the AFC East got better this week, except for New England. Their offensive line took a hit (Ted Karras left in free agency and Shaq Mason was traded to Tampa) and their best defensive player left in free agency (J.C. Jackson). That's not a great combo.
To listen to today's episode -- and to subscribe to the podcast -- be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Packers shockingly trade Davante Adams to the Raiders: Full trade details, plus grades
If you would have told me one month ago that a Packers star was going to be traded on St. Patrick's Day, I would have bet all my money on Aaron Rodgers and if I would have done that, I would have no money. In one of the biggest shockers ever, the Packers made the decision to trade Davante Adams in a deal that will send the receiver to Las Vegas.
Here's a look at the trade details:
- Raiders receive: Davante Adams
- Packers receive: 2022 first-round pick (22nd overall), 2022 second-round pick (53rd overall)
- Other notable parts of the deal: Raiders sign Adams to a record-setting contract. As part of the trade, Adams will be getting a new contract with the Raiders and that deal will be paying him $142.5 million over the next five years, according to ESPN.com with $67.5 million of that being fully guaranteed. The average annual value of $28.5 million per year makes Adams the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history.
For the Raiders, I mostly love this deal. Adams has said multiple times that he'd love to play for the Raiders at some point because he wanted to play with his college quarterback, Derek Carr (The two guys attended Fresno State together in 2012 and 2013). Adams had been putting up huge numbers in Green Bay and there's no reason to think that he won't be able to do that in Vegas. The only risk the Raiders took here was giving a five-year deal to a receiver who's going to be 30 before the 2022 season ends.
As for the Packers, this trade feels like a total disaster. According to multiple reports, Aaron Rodgers DID know that Adams might be dealt away, but even if that's the case, Rodgers can't be happy that he just lost his favorite target. If you want to stump your friends this weekend, just ask them to name two receivers on the Packers roster. THEY CAN'T, BECAUSE NO ONE CAN (Without looking at the roster, I was able to name one: Allen Lazard. Their other receivers right now are: Juwann Winfree, Malik Taylor and Chris Blair). The Packers are going to have to make a big move or two at receiver to justify letting Adams go.
Whenever there's a trade, there's 100% chance we're going to hand out grades for that deal and that's exactly what we did in this situation.
The Davante Adams deal was graded by CBSSports.com's Tyler Sullivan and here's what he came up with:
- Raiders grade: A. "Yes, a first and second-rounder is a hefty price to pay for a player that you'll also have to give market-setting money to, but this is a no-brainer move for the Raiders. Davante Adams can take this offense to another level and is a much-needed addition, especially as the other teams in the AFC West continue to improve across the board."
- Packers grade: C+. "Getting a first and a second-round pick for a player that no longer wanted to be with your franchise isn't a bad return whatsoever. That said, the Packers shouldn't have allowed things between them and Adams to sour as much as it did, especially when they were willing to pay him the contract he desired in the end."
You can check out Sullivan's full explanation for each grade by clicking here.
3. Baker Mayfield requests a trade out of Cleveland: Looking at potential landing spots for the Browns QB
After failing to make a trade for Deshaun Watson, the Browns were forced to crawl back to Baker Mayfield and it seems that Mayfield is NOT interested in taking them back. The quarterback made a very public trade demand on Thursday, "It's in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on," Mayfield told ESPN.
In a wild twist, the Browns have told Mayfield that they're not going to honor his trade request and that they're going to keep him. This is like breaking up with your girlfriend, but then she tells you that you're not allowed to break up and then you live with her for six more months after that. It's not going to work.
Although there's a chance Mayfield could remain in Cleveland, the most likely scenario is that a trade goes down at some point. With that in mind, Cody Benjamin took a look at the most likely landing spots for Mayfield.
- 1. Colts: "They are the team closest to contention without any clear answer at QB, following the trade of Carson Wentz."
- 2. Seahawks: "After dealing franchise great Russell Wilson, Seattle has a huge hole under center, no matter how much the team props up throw-in acquisition Drew Lock. With close to $40M in cap space, they could easily take a one-year flyer on Mayfield."
- 3. Panthers: "Owner David Tepper is maybe more desperate for a QB than anyone. With over $30 million in cap space, they could view Mayfield as a more proven version of the Sam Darnold gamble and still address QB in the draft."
To check out all of Mayfield's potential landing spots, be sure to click here.
4. Deshaun Watson down to two teams, decision might not come until next week
When free agency started, it seemed like it was almost a guarantee that we would see a Deshaun Watson deal go down this week, but it seems that we now might have to wait until Monday for any action on the Watson front.
Here's the latest on everything involving Watson:
- Watson down to two teams. At the start of the week, there were four teams in the running to land Watson, but that number is now down to just two: The Falcons and the Saints. Watson informed the Browns on Wednesday that they were out. He followed that up on Thursday night by letting the Panthers know that he wouldn't be heading to Carolina.
- Falcons make move that gives Watson more time to decide. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was supposed to receive a $7.5 million roster bonus today, but both sides decided to push the back the due date for the bonus until Tuesday, according to ESPN.com. This is a huge deal, because the Falcons don't want to be paying Ryan that money if he's not going to be on the team. With the bonus now due Tuesday, that means the Falcons can comfortably wait through the weekend for Watson's decision.
- Watson decision not likely coming until next week. With Ryan's roster bonus pushed to Tuesday, that gives Watson some extra time to think about things and apparently, he's going to use every minute of that extra time. According to former Texans beat writer Aaron Wilson (who now works for the Pro Football Network), Watson is going to "take the next few days and contemplate his decision over weekend." This most likely means we'll be getting a Watson decision -- and a trade -- by the end of the day on Monday.
- How Matt Ryan fits into all of this. An NFL team can't force a player to push back the due date of a bonus, which means the QB had to agree to the move. There's no reason for Ryan to agree unless he knows he's going to be taken care of, so it feels like this situation is going to end with Ryan in a good spot if the Falcons end up landing Watson. Unlike Baker Mayfield -- who demanded a trade after the Browns made a play for Watson -- Ryan has stayed quiet in the background as the Falcons figure out their future. The best guess here is that Ryan ends up going to a Super Bowl contender and the one that makes the most sense is the Colts.
What this all means is that we should know where Watson is playing at some point early next week and once we know where he's headed, we'll also likely know where Ryan is headed shortly afterward.
5. Free agency grades for all 32 teams
With most of the top free agents now signed, we thought today would be the perfect time to grade each team based on what they did during the first 48 hours of free agency.
Some teams (like the Chargers) did really well while other teams (like the Commanders), were on the other end of the spectrum. The good news is that no one received an 'F,' however, there were plenty of teams that went home with a 'C.'
Here's a look at the grades for five different teams:
Takeaway: "Somehow, they didn't just get Tom Brady back from retirement, but also found a way to keep the anchor of his line (Ryan Jensen) and their top young cover man (Carlton Davis). Russell Gage, meanwhile, is a sneaky good addition as a new No. 3 wideout who should draw all kinds of targets."
Takeaway: "The Wentz move could certainly blow up in their face, given the QB's polarizing tendencies. But you can't fault them entirely for swinging higher than the free-agent market, even if someone like Mitchell Trubisky would've been a more cost-effective gamble. The issue is, they haven't yet done much to improve the rest of the roster."
Takeaway: "With Andrew Whitworth retiring, they wisely locked up his successor (Joe Notebloom), basically at the price tag of a starting right tackle. Keep Matthew Stafford upright is what matters in this offense."
Takeaway: Their biggest free agent signing won't even be playing for the team in 2022 and that's because the Larry Ogjunobi deal fell through on Friday. The defensive lineman had agreed to a three-year, $40.5 million deal on Monday, but he won't be playing for the Bears because he failed a physical that he was required to pass before being allowed to sign his contract. This deal perfectly sums up the Bears' offseason.
Takeaway: "It's very possible they overpaid for J.C. Jackson, but at the same time, they are absolutely right to go all in on their opening window with Justin Herbert at QB. Their defense already looks much better on paper, and retaining Mike Williams out wide was huge."
If you want to see the individual free agency grade for each team, be sure to click here.
Speaking of grades, we also graded the big signings from Thursday and you can check that out by clicking here.
6. Top 10 free agents left on the market
Before free agency started, Pete Prisco made a list of his top 100 free agents for 2022 and after 48 hours of wheeling and dealing, only two of his top 18 players are still available.
The biggest prize left on the market continues to be Terron Armstead, who will be an instant upgrade at left tackle for pretty much any team in the NFL. There's been some speculation that Armstead won't be signing until he knows what Deshaun Watson is going to do, which is one likely reason why he's still available.
With that in mind, let's check out the 10 highest-ranked players from Prisco's top 100 list who are still available (they're listed with the team they played for last season):
1. OT Terron Armstead (Saints)
2. CB Stephon Gilmore (Panthers)
3. LB Bobby Wagner (Seahawks)
4. FS Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs)
5. OT Trent Brown (Patriots)
6. DL Akiem Hicks (Bears)
7. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (Browns)
8. OL Duane Brown (Seahawks)
9. TE Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers)
10. OL Bradley Bozeman (Ravens)
Day 3 of free agency will be rolling along today and since it won't be easy to keep track of every signing, here's another reminder that we've put together a free agent tracker so that you can stay up to date on what has happened so far. If you'd like to check out the tracker, just click here. We also have a live blog that will cover signings AND trades as they happen and you can check that out by clicking here.
7. Free agent roundup: Allen Robinson lands with Rams
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.
- Rams add Allen Robinson, now taking calls for Robert Woods. The Rams high-powered offense just got even stronger after the team agreed to terms with Robinson on a three-year deal worth up to $46.5 million. With Robinson now in the fold, that could make Robert Woods expendable. Teams have already been calling the Rams about his availability and there's a chance he could get traded, according to ESPN.com.
- Za'Darius Smith backs out of Ravens deal. The biggest lesson that every team has learned in free agency this year is that no deal is done until it's actually signed. For the third time this week, we saw a player back out of a deal and this time, that player was Za'Darius Smith. After agreeing to a four-year, $35 million deal with the Ravens, Smith backed out and it's likely because he saw what kind of money that players like Von Miller and Chandler Jones were getting. Smith joins Randy Gregory and J.D. McKissic as players who have backed out of deals this year.
- Logan Ryan to reunite with Tom Brady. After being cut by the Giants, the former Patriots safety has decided to head to Tampa Bay to reunite with Brady. Ryan will be signing a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.
- Eagles release Fletcher Cox. In a somewhat surprising move, the Eagles cut Cox, who had been with the team for the last 10 seasons. Although Cox has been released, there does seem to be a chance that he could end up re-signing with the Eagles in a move that would ultimately save Philadelphia a few million dollars in salary cap space.
- Bills done with Cole Beasley. Earlier this month, the Bills gave Beasley permission to seek a trade, but apparently, the receiver wasn't able to find any takers because the Bills were forced to cut him on Thursday. Beasley has finished with at least 60 receptions in each of the past four seasons, which means he probably won't be a free agent for long.
- La'el Collins officially released, visiting with Bengals There had been speculation for weeks that the Cowboys would be cutting ties with Collins and that move finally went down on Thursday. Collins is likely going to be a popular free agent target and if you need proof, just consider this: He's already on his first free agent visit. The right tackle flew to Cincinnati on Thursday.
- Jameis Winston has had contract talks with two teams. With all the QB drama going on this offseason, Watson has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle. The free agent quarterback told CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson that he's had talks with two teams: The Saints and Colts. If the Saints don't land Deshaun Watson, don't be surprised if they end up re-signing Winston.