Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It's Memorial Day, and if you have the day off, I hope you're enjoying yourself. Well, unless you're a Raiders fan, because if that's the case, there's no way you're enjoying yourself right now thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo.
The end of May is usually a quiet part of the NFL calendar, but it's not this year because of Garoppolo and his injured left foot. We'll be going over all the Jimmy drama today, plus we'll be taking a look at some possible landing spots for DeAndre Hopkins.
As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. All right, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Offseason mailbag
During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up every once in awhile by adding a listener mailbag. Our mailbag episodes are pretty simple: We read listener questions during the show and then answer as many of those questions as possible.
Here are two of the questions that we answered for today's show:
Q: Which rookie wide receiver will have the best season?
A: When I'm trying to predict whether a rookie wide receiver is going to have a successful season, I basically ask myself two questions: How much playing time will the receiver get and will they be playing in a pass-happy offense?
Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the first receiver taken this year at 20th overall to the Seahawks, but since he'll be playing in Seattle's offense, I don't see him putting up eye-popping numbers. I feel the same way about Zay Flowers, who will be playing in a Ravens offense that loves to run the ball. (I know Baltimore has a new offensive coordinator and I do think they'll pass more, but I don't think Todd Monken will stray too far away from their bread-and-butter, which is running.)
For me, I think the answer to this question ends up being Quentin Johnston, who was selected with the 21st overall pick by the Chargers. Not only is he on a team that loves to throw the ball, but defenses just aren't going to be focusing on him this year because they have other Chargers receivers to worry about like Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. I think Johnston could put up huge numbers playing in an offense that averaged 269.6 passing yards per game last season, which was the third-most in the NFL.
Speaking of the Chargers, someone wants to know what their expectations should be this year, so let's get to our next question. (Guys, I promise today's show was NOT an all-Chargers mailbag.)
Q: What are the expectations for the Chargers this year?
A: The last time we saw the Chargers on the field, they were blowing a 27-0 lead to the Jaguars in the wild-card round of the playoffs. For the 2023 season, I think winning at least one postseason game is a fair expectation for the Chargers. This is a loaded team, and if they can't win at least one playoff game this year, I think you'd have to consider the season a failure. Also, if they somehow don't make the playoffs, that would put Brandon Staley on the hot seat heading into the 2024 offseason.
If you want to hear the rest of the mailbag, you can listen to today's show by clicking here.
2. Raiders might need a new starting QB: There's Jimmy Garoppolo drama in Las Vegas
The Raiders might want to start looking around for other quarterbacks because it appears there's definitely a chance Jimmy Garoppolo will never play a down for them. When Garoppolo signed with the team in March, he technically failed his physical due to an injured left foot, but the Raiders.
After adding the injury waiver, the two sides had to add an addendum to Garoppolo's contract. Here's a look at what changed in the three-year, $72 million deal (via Pro Football Talk):
- Garoppolo was supposed to get an $11.25 million signing bonus and an $11.25 million base salary, but now the signing bonus is gone. Instead, he'll get a $22.5 million base salary for 2023.
- The new structure of the contract means the Raiders haven't paid Garoppolo a dime yet, and they might not have to pay him at all. The team is allowed to cut him at NO COST until he passes a physical. Once he passes a physical, Garoppolo will still need to play in at least one game without re-injuring his foot before the rest of his money becomes guaranteed.
If you're scoring at home, this means the Raiders dumped Derek Carr, only to replace him with an injured quarterback who might not even play for them. Garoppolo, who underwent surgery in March, originally in Week 15 (Dec. 4) last season. Almost six months later, the foot is still an issue.
If there's been one knock on Garoppolo during his career, it's that he can't stay healthy, but the Raiders signed him anyway.
Garoppolo's injury isn't a huge issue for the Raiders right now, but if we get to late July or early August and he's still not on the field, then it becomes a problem. If the Raiders have to look into adding another QB, there aren't many options in free agency, but there is ONE GUY. Here's a short list of quarterbacks they could call:
- Tom Brady. Brady is in the process of buying a piece of the Raiders, and once that gets approved, that will actually make it harder for him to play. If Brady becomes an owner, he'd need the other owners to unanimously approve him as a player before he could suit up. Also, there in Brady's purchase that would forbid him from playing as long as he owned a stake in the the team.
- Carson Wentz. If Wentz plays in 2023, he'll be on his fourth team in four years. Wentz hasn't been great over the past few years, but if you're in the month of August with no quarterback, he becomes an enticing option.
- Matt Ryan. The former NFL MVP is , and although he's not retired, the Raiders would probably have to make a generous contract offer to lure him back to the NFL.
- Teddy Bridgewater. The former first-round pick has already spent one season in the AFC West (2021 with Denver), and he'd likely jump at the chance to do it again if the Raiders came calling.
The Raiders probably wouldn't start calling around for a quarterback until July, and that's only if Garoppolo's foot isn't healing as fast as it should. This will definitely be something to keep an eye on.
3. DeAndre Hopkins landing spots
I don't want to say that the Arizona Cardinals have already given up on the 2023 season, but it's starting to feel like they've already given up on the 2023 season. The Cardinals made a surprising move Friday when they . Although the two sides were expected to part ways, the surprising thing about the move was the timing.
If the Cardinals had waited until Thursday (June 1) to cut Hopkins, they could have split up his dead cap hit over the next two seasons (2023 and 2024). But since they made the move before June 1, the Cards will have to take on the entire dead cap hit of $22.6 million this year.
If you're wondering where Hopkins might end up,, so let's take a look at those now:
Let's not forget that Hopkins also mentioned earlier this month that there are five quarterbacks who he would love to play with at some point: Josh Allen (Bills), Jalen Hurts (Eagles), Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Lamar Jackson (Ravens) and Justin Herbert (Chargers). when it comes to landing the All-Pro receiver.
CBSSports.com's Jordan Dajani also:
One team that could be a total dark horse here is Tennessee. The Titans play in a weak division, and the addition of Hopkins would give them a much better chance of winning the AFC South. Also, they have arguably the worst receiving group in the NFL right now, but adding Hopkins would give them some instant credibility at the position. Also, let's not forget that Hopkins and Mike Vrabel are familiar with each other. Vrabel was a defensive coach in Houston for four seasons (2014-17), and Hopkins was on the team for each of those seasons.
4. Divisional power rankings
The NFC East finished the 2022 season as the best division in football. Not only was it the only division in the NFL that produced three playoff teams, but it also produced the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
So will the NFC East stay on top as the best division in the NFL in 2023? Glad you asked.
Now that the draft is over and free agency is mostly behind us, CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr decided to go through and rank all eight NFL divisions. Here's what he came up with:
1. NFC East
2. AFC East
3. AFC North
4. AFC West
5. NFC West
6. NFC North
7. AFC South
8. NFC South
If this ranking tells you one thing, it's that the two southern divisions should get one playoff berth at most between the eight teams. If you want to see Kerr's full explanation for his rankings, be can let him know on Twitter by clicking here.. If you want to tell him that his rankings are right or wrong, you
5. One burning question for every team in the NFC South
With all the roster changes that have happened around the league this offseason, there are plenty of questions that each team will need to answer before we know if they'll actually be good in 2023.
With that in mind, we've been going through each division to look at the biggest question for each team heading into the upcoming season. Today, we're going to cover the NFC South.
Here's one burning question that Tyler Sullivan has come up with for each team.
- Buccaneers: Will the starting QB job go to Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask? "One would imagine that Trask is the preferred choice here given his age and upside, but these quarterbacks will likely duke it out all throughout training camp."
- Falcons: Is Desmond Ridder a franchise QB? "With explosive weapons all across the offense, Ridder has the opportunity to put up numbers in Arthur Smith's offense. If he can prove he can be a franchise QB worth building around, the Falcons will have an extremely budget-friendly player for the next few years. If he doesn't live up to those hopes, the franchise will certainly be back in the market next offseason."
- Panthers: What is the wide receiver pecking order? "The Panthers have turned their wide receiver room upside down this offseason as they usher in a new head coach and rookie quarterback. The Panthers have newcomers like veterans Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark along with rookie Jonathan Mingo entering the fray, along with 2022 carryovers Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault and Shi Smith."
- Saints: What will the backfield look like? "The club signed Jamaal Williams in free agency and used a third-round pick on TCU running back Kendre Miller. Those moves come in the backdrop of Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara possibly facing a suspension from the NFL after he was indicted on two criminal charges stemming from an alleged incident in Las Vegas in 2022. If Kamara is sidelined for any amount of time, Williams and Miller would be asked to carry the load."
To read Sullivan's full answer for each question,.
6. Extra points: Will Ferrell might play John Madden in a movie
It was a busy weekend 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.
- John Madden movie in the works. Amazon and MGM are teaming up to make a movie about John Madden with the focus being on Madden's creation of his iconic video game, according to Deadline. The role of Madden is apparently going to be played by WILL FERRELL, .
- Antonio Brown's return to football was a dud. The controversial ex-NFL star was supposed to return to football on Saturday, but instead, there was only more controversy. Brown said he was going to suit up for an arena game, but he didn't end up suiting up because he couldn't get "cleared" to play even though he owns the team. You .
- Kenny Pickett's car was stolen for 30 minutes. The Steelers QB . Fortunately for Pickett, police were able to solve the crime in under 30 minutes because the guy who stole the car left his own car near the scene, so police simply ran his plates to figure out the identity of the man. This is why you never steal from a Steeler.
- Jon Gruden works with Saints. The former Raiders coach made a brief return to the NFL last week. Gruden was in New Orleans on behalf of the Saints so he could help Derek Carr make the transition to the offense the Saints will be running this year. If you want to know why it actually made some sense for the Saints to reach out, you .
- Le'Veon Bell says he smoked marijuana before games. The former Steelers running back admitted this week that he had a very interesting pregame ritual while he played: He smoked marijuana. "When I was playing football, I smoked. Even before the games, I'd smoke and I'd go out there and run for 150, two (touchdowns)," Bell said on the "Steel Here" podcast. Bell also explained why he turned down the Steelers' final contract offer in 2018, which led to him sitting out the entire season. You .