Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
The day we've all been waiting for is finally here: It's franchise tag deadline day.
If you're wondering what exactly that means, it means that teams have until 4 p.m. ET today to work out a long-term deal with any player who got hit with the franchise tag. In theory, this should be a somewhat exciting day, but I have some bad news: There might not be much excitement today.
Right now, there are only three players still left looking to get a long-term deal and none of them are trending toward getting a deal done. So who are those three players? We'll be covering that below along with all the details in DeAndre Hopkins' new contract with the Titans.
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. Let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Breaking down the Cardinals' offseason and predicting how they'll do in 2023
It's time for another episode of our "All 32" series, and for today's show, we have a timely topic and that's because we'll be talking about DeAndre Hopkins' former team: The Arizona Cardinals.
To talk about how things are going in Arizona, we brought on Johnny Venerable, who might be the coolest guy to ever work the Cardinals beat. If you want to follow Johnny on Twitter, you can do that here. You can also check out his Cardinals podcast here.
Here are two topics that hosts Katie Mox and Will Brinson covered with Venerable:
- What's going to happen with Kyler Murray? After tearing his ACL in December, the biggest question mark in Arizona is whether Kyler Murray will be ready for the start of the 2023 season. Venerable actually threw a twist into this by saying that the Cardinals and Murray might not be on the same page about when the QB should play. Murray wants to get back on the field as soon as possible, but the Cardinals might want to slow play it because they don't want to risk another injury. "If he suffers another [serious] injury, that could be it," Venerable said. It's also possible that Murray doesn't play at all. If he's scheduled to return in Week 4 or 5 and the Cards are 0-4 or 0-5 at that point, it might not be worth the risk to bring him back. "I think you have a finite window to bring him back, which starts in Week 1 and goes through Halloween," Venerable said. "If you don't bring him back before then, then you are purposely trying to [tank for Caleb Williams]."
- How bad are the Cardinals going to be? After watching Arizona go 4-13 last season, the oddsmakers aren't expecting much out out of the Cardinals this year, either. The team's over/under is currently set at 4.5, which is the lowest total in the NFL this year. As bad as everyone thinks the Cardinals will be, Venerable thinks they can hit the Over here, but only if Murray plays a good chunk of the season. "If Kyler Murray plays two-thirds of the season, three-fourths of the seasons, I think they can get to five or six wins," Venerable said. "If Kyler hadn't torn his ACL, they probably would have finished with seven wins... They're very viable with Kyler. But if they're adamant not playing Kyler for the first [month or two], then I'd take the Under."
Venerable spent nearly 25 minutes talking about the Cardinals, and if you want to hear everything he had to say, you can listen to today's show here. You can also watch today's show on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Full details on DeAndre Hopkins' contract with the Titans
The DeAndre Hopkins free agency tour has finally come to an end. After nearly eight weeks of free agency, Hopkins has decided to take his talents to Nashville. If you read this newsletter regularly, then you might not have been surprised by this signing because I wrote back on May 29 that the Titans.
- Hopkins agrees to two-year deal with incentives. The receiver is getting a two-year, $26 million contract that can pay him up to $32 million. According to NFL.com, Hopkins can earn up to $3 million in bonus money each year. He can get $1 million for receptions, $1 million receiving yards and $1 million for touchdowns. If he hits 95 catches, 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns, that will give him the full $3 million. If he hits those numbers in both seasons, he'll get a total of $6 million.
- Money likely played a factor in his decision. Hopkins hasn't explained yet why he chose the Titans, but money was almost certainly a factor. Hopkins was drawing interest from the Chiefs and Bills and if his decision was only about winning a Super Bowl, he likely would have ended up with one of those teams.
- Hopkins is familiar with the coaching staff. Another reason Hopkins likely chose Tennessee is because he already knows several members of the coaching staff. Hopkins is familiar with Titans coach Mike Vrabel after spending four seasons (2014-17) with him in Houston. Also, Titans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly called plays for the Texans in 2019, a year where Hopkins finished with 104 catches and 1,165 yards.
- Hopkins instantly becomes Tennessee's top receiving option. One other reason Hopkins chose the Titans likely has to do with the fact that he'll instantly become the undisputed No. 1 receiver with the Titans. Yes, the Titans love to run the ball, but back when they had A.J. Brown, they proved that they can also throw it. By the way, if you're wondering how inexperienced the Titans receivers were before the signing of Hopkins, just consider this: Mike Vrabel had more career receiving touchdowns than any receiver on the Titans roster. Reminder: Vrabel played defense during his NFL career.
- Titans receiving graveyard. Tennessee has not been a great landing spot for veteran receivers on the back end of their career. Over the past 15 years, we've seen several stars go to Tennessee, including Randy Moss (2010), Andre Johnson (2016) and Julio Jones (2021), but none of them panned out. Hopkins will be looking to end that streak.
I don't think Hopkins makes the Titans a Super Bowl contender, but I do think this puts them back in the conversation to win the AFC South. If Derrick Henry and Hopkins can both stay healthy this year, the Titans offense could be surprisingly good.
If you're wondering how Hopkins will fit in to Tennessee's offense,.
3. Franchise tag deadline primer: Three players still haven't signed their tag
With the franchise tag deadline happening today, things could get pretty crazy between now and 4 p.m. ET, which is the deadline for a team to sign a franchise tagged player to an extension. There were a total of six players hit with the tag this year, and out of that group, three of them are still looking to get an extension before today's deadline hits.
Here's a brief look at each situation along with our prediction about whether an extension gets done. (We've also listed how much each player will make on their one-year franchise tag deal.)
Tagged players who have already gotten extensions (3)
- Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Things got pretty heated between Jackson and the Ravens this offseason with the QB even demanding a trade at one point, but in the end, the two sides were able to work out a long-term deal. If Jackson had played on the tag, he would have made $32.4 million, but instead, he'll be making much more thanks to a .
- Jaguars TE Evan Engram. The Jags were able to hammer out an extension with Engram on Sunday, which means there will be no drama for either side today. Instead of playing under the $11.3 million tight end tag, Engram will be making an average of $13.75 million per year .
- Commanders DT Daron Payne. There was never any drama between these two. Less than two weeks after getting hit with the tag in February, Payne from the Commanders.
Tagged players who have not reached an extension (3).
These three will each make $10.1 million in 2023 if they end up up playing in the franchise tag, and right now, that looks like it's going to be what happens. With just hours until the deadline, it's looking more and more unlikely that any of these three guys land a long-term deal.
One important thing to note about here is that Pollard HAS signed his franchise tag while Jacobs and Barkley have NOT. If a player has NOT signed the tag, this means that they're not under contract with the team, which means they can skip training camp without any penalty. Basically, if Barkley and Jacobs don't each land a new long-term deal today, there's a good chance we'll see them skip all or part of training camp.
As for Pollard, since he has signed his tag, that means he'll be required to show up when the Cowboys report for camp on July 25. Pollard is not expected to sign a long-term deal,.
4. Predicting the last place team in every division
The NFL offseason is usually when hope springs eternal for each fan base, but we're going to throw cold water on that hope today by predicting who the last place teams will be in 2023.
Garrett Podell went through every division to pick a last place team and here's who he has in the AFC:
- AFC East: Patriots. "Having offensive uncertainty in a division with Josh Allen's Bills, Aaron Rodgers' Jets and Tua Tagovailoa's Dolphins is a major liability. The Patriots may very well have a solid team in 2023, but it likely won't be on the level of contention as their three division rivals."
- AFC North: Browns. "The Browns need Deshaun Watson to return to glory, but a Watson return to glory would be almost unprecedented, which is why the Browns are selected here to be the AFC North's last-place team in 2023."
- AFC South: Texans. "The bones of a good roster are there for the Texans, something that couldn't be said the last couple of years, but Houston is also still a few years away from making real noise again."
- AFC West: Raiders. "Entering the upcoming season, the Raiders are one of the easier last-place division picks in the league given their division competition and questions marks on both sides of the ball."
If you want to know who's going to finish in last place in each of the NFC divisions, then be sure to.
5. Tyreek Hill makes two bold predictions for 2023
I think it's officially safe to say that there is no NFL player more confident about the 2023 season than Tyreek Hill. On his most recent podcast, the Dolphins receiver made two VERY BOLD predictions about the upcoming season and he sounded so sure about them that I'm probably going to go bet everything I own on the Dolphins to win it all this year.
Here are Hill's:
- He'll become the first player in NFL history to hit 2,000 receiving yards. No player in NFL history has ever hit 2,000 receiving yards, but Hill thinks he can do it in 2023. Hill finished the 2022 season with 1,710 yards, which ranks as the 11th best single-season total of all-time. The highest single-season total in NFL history belongs to Calvin Johnson, who finished with 1,964 yards in 2012.
- Why Hill thinks he'll top the record this year. After putting up an impressive number last season, Hill thinks he'll get to 2,000 yards this year because he actually knows the playbook. "Last year, I was just out there balling," Hill said. "I was just out there just using all athleticism. Like, 'Here, Tua, I'm going to be here and we're just going to do that.' So this year should be a crazier year."
- Hill's second bold prediction: The Dolphins are going to win the Super Bowl. Not only does Hill think he's going to set the NFL single-season receiving record, but he also thinks the Dolphins are going to win it all. "2,000 yards and a Super Bowl -- we getting that," Hill said. "Believe that."
Look, I don't want to dump cold water on Tyreek's Super Bowl prediction, but I would maybe be more focused on winning just ONE playoff game first. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since 2000, which is the longest drought in the AFC and the second-longest drought in the NFL, trailing only the Lions (who haven't won a playoff game since 1991).
Assuming he doesn't get injured, I could definitely see Tyreek getting to 2,000 yards in 2023, but I don't see the Dolphins winning the Super Bowl, so I'm guessing he'll end up nailing 50% of his predictions.
6. Extra points: Jets on 'Hard Knocks' is official
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.
- Jets announced as 'Hard Knocks' team. It was reported last week that the Jets would be the Hard Knocks team this year, and now, it's official. The show will debut on Tuesday, Aug. 8 (10-11 p.m. ET) and then air every subsequent Tuesday until the final episode on Sept. 5. You can .
- Steelers fans get apology from Le'Veon Bell. Five years ago, Bell decided to sit out the entire season instead of playing on the franchise tag, and now, . "I never apologized to the fans for really sitting out, or leaving the Steelers," Bell said. "I never apologized. So I want to say I apologize for leaving the best damn fans there is in this damn world. I shouldn't have left. I apologize, I should never have left." It's pretty clear that Bell regrets sitting out the 2018 season. His career was derailed after that and due to that reason, it's highly unlikely we'll ever see a running back sit out an entire season ever again (so don't look for Josh Jacobs or Saquon Barkley to miss any time this year).
- DeSean Jackson sounds like he's retiring, but says he's not. Over the weekend, the receiver shared a message that sounded like a retirement announcement, "Did it my way 15 years strong!! Neva anotha like it," Jackson wrote on Instagram. As it turns out, though, it was not a retirement announcement, so April Fool's everyone.
- Andy Dalton is a Hall of Famer, according to Miles Sanders. In what might go down as the hottest hot take of all-time, Miles Sanders seems to . "I have a good feeling about these guys," Sanders said of his new Panthers teammates on WFNZ's Mac & Bone. "These guys work, and that's the main thing I've noticed in OTAs. We got a very, very good young quarterback [2023 first overall draft pick Bryce Young] that's being mentored by a very, very, very good quarterback, a future Hall of Famer, Andy Dalton, who I have a lot of respect for." Look, I'm one of the 10 biggest Andy Dalton fans on the planet and I can unequivocally say that there's a zero percent chance we'll ever see Dalton inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame unless there's a special wing created for red-headed quarterbacks.
- Joe Mixon takes pay cut. The Bengals running back was , but that number has now been reduced to $5.51 million, according to NFL.com. However, Mixon can earn another $2 million in incentives to bring the number up to $7.51 million. There had been speculation all offseason that Mixon would either have to accept a pay cut or be released, and now that he's re-worked his deal, the Bengals can officially put this behind them.