Welcome to the Pick Six newsletter!
Happy Tuesday to everyone, although now that I'm thinking about it, that probably wasn't the best way to start things off today, because it's definitely not going to be a happy Tuesday for everyone due to the fact that it's cut day in the NFL.
The final day of cuts is upon us, and if the past few years are any indication, things are probably going to get pretty crazy over the next few hours. I've already drank an entire six pack of Red Bull in case you're wondering how I handle crazy. I will then probably wash that down with three Pumpkin Spice Lattes as soon as the Red Bull wears off.
With NFL teams trimming their roster from 80 players down to 53 players, that means there are going to be more than 850 players out of a job by the end of the day. Since it's almost impossible to keep track of every name, we went ahead and created a cuts tracker. If you want to keep tabs on every player who gets released, just click here.
Cut day isn't just a big day for cuts; it's also a day where we'll see a lot of trades, so we'll be following all of those as the day unfolds. Also, to break up the monotony of cuts, we'll also be unveiling our All-NFC East team. Oh, and we'll also be talking about Jimmy Garoppolo!
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. Let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Winners and losers for Week 3 of the NFL preseason
At 4 p.m. ET today, we'll be taping a live "Cut Day" episode of the Pick Six podcast on YouTube. But if you can't wait that long to listen, don't worry, we also have a normal Tuesday episode for today, which involves Will Brinson and Tyler Sullivan naming their winners and losers from the final week of the preseason.
The two guys spent nearly 45 minutes dissecting the final week of the preseason and here are the winners they came up with:
- Geno Smith. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Smith basically won the Seahawks starting QB job by default after Drew Lock basically threw away any chance he had of winning the job with three interceptions against the Cowboys.
- Rookie quarterbacks. From Kenny Pickett (10 of 14 for 90 yards) to Malik Willis (131 passing yards, 79 rushing yards) to Desmond Ridder (14 of 21 for 185 yards), it was a wildly successful weekend for most of the quarterbacks from the 2022 rookie class. Even fifth-round pick Sam Howell got in on the fun with 280 yards and a TD during Washington's loss to the Ravens.
- Denzel Mims. In his first game since requesting a trade, Mims did his best to shoot his stock straight up with seven catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. Mims was so good that Jets coach Robert Saleh basically said after the game that there was no way the receiver was going to be traded.
If you want to know who they thought the losers were for Week 3, you'll have to listen to the podcast, which you can do by clicking here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Final cuts are today: NFL teams have to trim their rosters down to 53 players
Between now and 4 p.m. ET, all 32 NFL teams have to cut their rosters down from 80 players to 53 players, which means there are going to be more than 850 players out of a job by the end of the day.
When that many players are being released, there are always going to be a few surprises, and we've already seen a few with the release of Tony Jefferson, Sam Martin, O.J. Howard and Sony Michel. Although there are still a few more hours to go until the deadline, here's a look at some notable players who have already been released:
RB Sony Michel (Dolphins)
WR Mohamed Sanu (Dolphins)
WR Lynn Bowden (Dolphins)
QB Josh Rosen (Browns)
WR Josh Gordon (Chiefs)
RB Duke Johnson (Bills)
TE O.J. Howard (Bills)
RB Phillip Lindsay (Colts)
LB Devon Kennard (Cardinals)
S Tony Jefferson (Ravens)
S Jaquiski Tartt (Eagles)
WR Laquon Treadwell (Jaguars)
RB Tevin Coleman (Jets)
QB Kellen Mond (Vikings)
QB Chris Streveler (Jets)
QB Tim Boyle (Lions)
P Sam Martin (Broncos)
WR Devon Allen (Eagles)
WR Willie Snead (49ers)
Cuts will be coming out fast and furious all day, and it's not going to be easy to keep track of. The good news is that we've made that easy for you with a CUTS TRACKER. If you want to check out the full list of cuts as they happen, just click here. (The list won't be final until after the 4 p.m. ET deadline.)
We've also got a live blog that you can follow along -- where we break down the cuts -- and you can check that out by clicking here.
We've also got a constantly updated list of released players who teams should look to prioritize now that they're available. You can check out that list here.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo is surprisingly staying in San Francisco (for now)
The Jimmy Garoppolo drama is finally over, and in a twist that almost nobody saw coming, Jimmy G will be staying in San Francisco. For most of the offseason, it seemed like a near certainty that the 49ers would eventually trade Garoppolo, but instead they decided to restructure his contract Monday, which will allow him to stick around for the 2022 season.
Here's everything you need to know about the situation:
- Garoppolo take huge pay cut. One reason no one thought Garoppolo would be staying in San Francisco is because no one thought he would agree to a huge pay cut, but that's exactly what happened. The restructured contract will pay Garoppolo a guaranteed $6.5 million in 2022. If he ends up playing this year, he can make a lot of extra money, because he has playing incentives that can make the deal worth as much as $16 million. However, even if he hits every incentive, he still won't make the $24.2 million in base salary he was scheduled to make before the restructuring.
- Deal includes a no-trade and no-tag clause. These two clauses, which both benefit Garoppolo, are likely why he was open to taking a pay cut. For one, since the 49ers can't tag him after the season, that means he'll definitely hit free agency, where he should be able to cash in. As for the no-trade clause, this essentially guarantees that if Garoppolo gets dealt before the trade deadline this year, he'll only be sent to a team that he WANTS to play for. If the 49ers try to trade him somewhere he doesn't want to go, he can simply veto the deal. Also, Garoppolo's new contact makes him much more tradeable. Some teams likely weren't interested in him this offseason due to his high price tag, but now, that's no longer an issue.
- Garoppolo and the 49ers are both winners. If Garoppolo didn't do this deal, he likely would have ended up somewhere else, which might not have been ideal. With a new team, he would have only had 10 days to learn a new offense before potentially starting a game. By staying put, he gets to collect $6.5 million to basically do nothing except cheer on Trey Lance. As for the 49ers, they get a Trey Lance insurance policy for only $6.5 million. The 49ers also picked up some serious salary cap space. Depending on how the deal is structured, they could pick up anywhere between $8 million and $16 million in cap space.
- Trey Lance is the loser in this deal. If I'm Lance, I'm not a big fan of this deal. For one, if Lance struggles at all this year, it's not crazy to think that he's going to start looking over his shoulder. Also, if the 49ers get off to a rough start, it's almost a guarantee that 49ers fans will start clamoring for Garoppolo. It's not too far-fetched to imagine a situation where Lance is being booed in a home game where he's struggling with fans hoping Jimmy takes his place. By keeping Garoppolo around, it also makes it seem like the 49ers aren't completely convinced Lance is going to be good.
There's a reason it's smart to cut all ties when you break up with someone. This is the equivalent of letting your ex live in your house while you start a serious relationship with someone else. You can try and pretend it's not awkward at all, but it's definitely going to be at least slightly awkward.
4. NFL trade parade: Teams are wheeling and dealing heading into final cuts
Final cuts won't be the only thing happening in the NFL today. There will also be quite a few trades, and if you're wondering why that happens, it's pretty simple: If a talented player is on the verge of being released, a team will usually call around to see if anyone wants to make a trade before cutting him. By making a deal, they get something in return for a player they were going to cut anyway.
There have been quite a few trades since yesterday's newsletter, so let's do a quick rundown of every deal that's happened over the 24 hours:
- Eagles get: DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, 2025 seventh-round pick
- Saints get: 2023 fifth-round pick and the worse of Philly's two sixth-round picks in 2024 (via ESPN)
- Panthers get: WR Laviska Shenault Jr.
- Jaguars get: 2023 seventh-round pick, 2024 sixth-round pick
- Titans get: OL Dennis Daley, 2024 seventh-round pick
- Panthers get: 2023 fifth-round pick
- Colts get: LB Grant Stuard, 2023 seventh-round pick
- Buccaneers get: 2023 sixth-round pick
- Steelers get: LB Malik Reed
- Broncos get: TBA Late-round draft pick (via ESPN)
TRADE RUMORS: These guys haven't been traded, but there's speculation that a deal could get done before the end of the day.
- Vikings RB Alexander Mattison. Although Minnesota isn't currently shopping Mattison, he's still drawing some major interest. According to the Pioneer Press, at least 12 teams have called to check on Mattison's availability. Even though the Vikings aren't looking to trade him, the Pioneer Press is reporting that they might unload him for the right offer.
- Steelers QB Mason Rudolph. With Rudolph looking more and more like the odd man out in Pittsburgh, he's now drawing trade interest around the NFL. Steelers general manager Omar Khan said last week that his team would be happy keeping three quarterbacks, and that's likely what's going to happen unless someone comes in and blows the Steelers away with an offer for Rudolph.
- Giants WR Darius Slayton. Teams have been calling the Giants about Slayton, which makes him a player to keep an eye on today, according to ESPN.com. When Laviska Shenault was traded Monday, the Falcons and Packers were also reportedly interested, so those could be two teams to watch out for in any trade involving a receiver.
Basically, it's going to be a busy day, and if you take a nap at any point, you'll probably miss 17 or more moves while you're sleeping.
5. 2022 All-NFC East team: Cowboys dominate with 10 players
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a season where they just won the NFC East title, so it probably won't come as a huge surprise when we tell you that they ended up with the most players on our all-division team for the NFC East.
Jared Dubin went through all four rosters in the division to create one Super Team that consisted of 27 players (12 on offense, 12 on defense plus three special teams). Of the 27 players on the All-NFC East team, TEN OF THEM came from Dallas. On the other hand, the Commanders only produced three players on the all-division team, which was the fewest of the four teams.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the offense for the NFC East's all-division team:
QB: Dak Prescott, Cowboys
RB: Saquon Barkley, Giants
WR: CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys
WR: Terry McLaurin, Commanders
WR: A.J. Brown, Eagles
TE: Dallas Goedert, Eagles
FLEX: Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
OT: Andrew Thomas, Giants
OT: Lane Johnson Eagles
OG: Zack Martin, Cowboys
OG: Landon Dickerson, Eagles
C: Jason Kelce, Eagles
If you want to see the defensive side of the NFC East's All-Division team, plus the special teams representatives, then be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Commanders rookie out of hospital after shooting
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.
- Brian Robinson Jr. released from hospital. The Commanders running back was released Monday, less than 24 hours after being shot, according to ESPN. Also, there are now more details from the attempted robbery. According to The Washington Post, Robinson actually wrestled a firearm away from one his his assailants.
- Ernie Zampese dies at 86. Zampese, who was one of the NFL's first great offensive geniuses, passed away Monday. During his 24 years in the NFL, not only was Zampese the offensive coordinator for the high-flying "Air Coryell" Chargers teams of the early 1980s, but he was also the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys' last Super Bowl winning team back in 1995. Ernie was also the father of Commanders QB coach Ken Zampese.
- Kenyan Drake expected to sign with Ravens. One week after being dumped by the Raiders, it appears Drake has already found a new team. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported that the running back is going to sign with the Ravens today as long as he passes his physical.
- Panthers work out five kickers. With the Panthers in dire need of a kicker after Zane Gonzalez's groin injury, the team brought in a handful of kickers on Monday for a tryout. The list included: Taylor Bertolet, Brian Johnson, Chase McLaughlin, Eddy Pineiro and Matthew Wright. With several kickers likely getting cut today, the Panthers will almost certainly wait to see the names of everyone who's available before making a decision.
- Matt Araiza's family releases statement. Araiza's family is not happy with the way their son is being treated. The family believes he "has been tried and convicted in the media." The family also says they've been getting death threats. You can read the entire statement by clicking here.