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Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I hope you're ready for a boatload of NFL news, because it's going to be coming at you nonstop over the next 30 hours. Between now and 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, there will be a total of 45 coaches and general managers being interviewed at the combine, and they almost always drop some interesting nuggets. 

For instance, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta revealed today that the team will be using the franchise tag on defensive tackle Justin Madubuike if the two sides don't get a deal done before the tag deadline. 

Speaking of interesting nuggets, we'll be dropping some in the newsletter today: We'll be making some bold predictions for the combine, plus we'll be taking a look at which teams will benefit the most from the unexpectedly high salary cap that the NFL set over the weekend. 

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: NFL Combine preview

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The NFL Combine is officially underway, so for today's episode of the podcast we thought now would be the perfect time to bring you a full preview. NFL Draft analyst Josh Edwards joined me and Will Brinson, and the three of us spent a solid hour talking about what you can expect to see at the combine this year. 

To help preview the combine, Edwards put together a list of players who could be potential sleepers this week. 

  • OT Nathan Thomas (Lousiana). "He moves really well for his size. He played for a run-heavy team and having someone who moves as well as he does is going to translate well to the next level. ... I think Thomas is someone who I think a lot of people are sleeping on."
  • LB Trevin Wallace (Kentucky). "I think Wallace is someone who could rise up the boards because he has that great size you're looking for at the linebacker position. ... He's expected to test really well -- run fast, jump high -- and when you look at the athletic profile to go along with his size, that's a player who could move up the board."
  • DL Myles Murphy (North Carolina). "I think there's a lot to like when you look at how he plays the game. Someone who has some untapped potential and at a position of need where teams are looking for big bodies who are able to get up field and move the pocket a little bit. Murphy is someone who could be a very big steal for a team on Day 3."

You can listen to our full preview of the combine by clicking here. You can also watch today's show on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Burning questions for the combine

Not only are there more than 300 NFL prospects headed to Indianapolis this week for the combine, but we're also sending our entire draft crew to Indy, a group that includes Ryan Wilson, Josh Edwards and Chris Trapasso. 

Although those three guys are very busy this week, they took some time to answer some key questions about the combine. 

Q1: Which QB will have the best combine? 

  • Wilson: Spencer Rattler, South Carolina. "Rattler will build on a solid Senior Bowl, where he was the top quarterback all week, and parlay that into a good combine, too. He's matured, which was a big concern early in his career, and despite standing only at 6-foot, he has one of the best arms in this class, and showed incredible toughness last season behind a suspect offensive line."
  • Trapasso: Bo Nix, Oregon. "While it's a challenge for a quarterback to really differentiate himself at the combine, C.J. Stroud did a year ago with his surgical accuracy. This year, I won't be surprised if Bo Nix tests very well across the board and demonstrates plus accuracy during the throwing portion."
  • Edwards: Joe Milton III, Tennessee. "Milton was not the most accurate nor the most consistent quarterback during his collegiate career, but this type of a setting is where he can excel. The one-time Michigan transfer is a well-built quarterback with a cannon for an arm. He should be motivated to get teams buzzing about what he could become best-case scenario."

Note: Several quarterbacks will not be doing drills at the combine, including Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels, so they weren't included in the answers above. Drake Maye also won't be throwing or doing drills, so you can add him to the list with Williams and Daniels. 

Q2: Which prospect will erupt at the combine? 

  • Wilson: EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State. "We haven't talked a lot about Chop Robinson when discussing the edge rushers, but even if he's slightly undersized, he has the highest motor in this class. He'll also test through the roof and solidify himself as a top-20 pick."
  • Trapasso: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon. "At well over 6-foot and probably around 190 pounds -- or maybe less -- Franklin has the build to absolutely scorch the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, and he looks like a rocket on film."
  • Edwards: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama. "At 21 years old, Turner is one of the youngest prospects in this draft class. He has the physical traits that will allow him to run fast and jump out of the gym. Although not a finished product in college, I think his best football is still ahead of him, and his performance at the NFL Combine will only cement that belief."

If you want to see to how our three guys answered every key question about the combine, be sure to check out our entire story here

3. Bold predictions for the NFL Combine

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During the NFL regular season, we make bold predictions every week, so we thought we would do the same thing for the combine. So what qualifies as a bold prediction for the combine? Chris Trapasso has the answer to that. 

Trapasso came up with several bold predictions, and we're going to check out three of them below. 

1. Oregon's Anthony Gould runs the fastest 40 for receivers. "When attempting to pinpoint the fastest prospects at the combine, always look for the attendees with a track background ... and he was also a decorated sprinter at the Oregon high school ranks. Gould has serious runaway speed. Short slants turn into 50-yard touchdowns in a flash. He averaged over 16 yards per catch in each of his last two years at Oregon. Running somewhere in the low 4.3s seems like it'll be a walk in the park."

2. LB Payton Wilson has a better workout than some receivers. "Wilson has a unique frame for a linebacker today, when the position is getting smaller and smaller by the year, Wilson measured in at 6-4 and 234 pounds at the Senior Bowl. ... Despite a build uncharacteristic from most off-ball linebackers in the modern NFL, Wilson is a scintillating athlete on film. Burst, change-of-direction quicks, heat-seeking range at the second level. I will not be surprised if he runs somewhere in the 4.5s, has a vertical over 35 inches and crushes the agility drills."

3. Tennessee QB Joe Milton throws the ball 80 yards in the air. "Milton may have the strongest arm in the NFL next season. At an even 6-5 and 235 pounds, Milton sends the ball into orbit down the field. He was put on this Earth to send rockets to receivers at the intermediate level at unfathomable speeds. At the combine, Milton not concerned about oncoming defenders, will load up and launch a football 80 yards during the throwing session." 

You can check out all of Trapasso's bold predictions here.

4. Salary cap shoots up: Five ways the bigger cap will benefit teams and/or players

The NFL's 32 teams all got a big surprise over the weekend when the league announced that the salary cap for 2024 would be set at $255.4 million, which was $10 million to $15 million more than most projections had it landing at for the upcoming season. This year's cap is more than $30 million higher than last year's cap of $224.8 million. 

The higher cap number is good news for every team, but it's especially good news for some teams, and our resident cap guru, Joel Corry, decided to take a look at a few teams that should benefit from the higher cap number. 

  • Cowboys. "The Cowboys are caught between a rock and a hard place with Dak Prescott. The Cowboys are currently $8.38 million over the $255.4 million salary cap and Prescott's $59.455 million is the NFL's second-highest salary cap hit for 2024 (behind Deshaun Watson's $63.977 million), Restructuring Prescott's contract is a more viable option, thanks to the elevated salary cap. ... The automatic conversion rights in Prescott's contract allow the Cowboys to create up to $21.86 million of cap space by converting salary into signing bonus before the March 17 date of the roster bonus."
  • Chiefs. "Putting a franchise tag on Chris Jones would have been extremely difficult if the salary cap had been set in accordance with the initial projections, but with the new higher number, the Chiefs are within striking distance of having enough cap space to accommodate a Jones franchise tag should the sides remain far apart in those combine talks."
  • Saints. "The expectation was the Saints would need to clear over $80 million of cap space to be cap compliant when the 2024 league year starts on March 13. There's now less work for the Saints to do with a $255.4 million salary cap. The Saints have already started making a dent in the $67.5 million overage as $23.032 million of cap room was gained by restructuring quarterback Derek Carr's contract."

If you want to check out Corry's full story on the increase salary cap, you can read it here.  

5. Franchise tag surprise: Zero running backs expected to be tagged


Last year, we saw a total of three running backs get hit with the franchise tag, but this year, it looks like that number could be zero. According to, some of the most notable running backs in the NFL are likely going to hit free agency because they're not expected to be tagged. 

Here's a quick look at the list of running backs who are NOT expected to be tagged (the tag number for a running back this year is $11.95 million). 

  • Saquon Barkley. The Giants running back got tagged last year, which means if the Giants want to tag him again, it would cost $12.12 million. It seems the Giants have decided they don't want to pay that. That being said, general manager Joe Schoen did say at the combine on Tuesday that he hasn't ruled out using the tag on Barkley. 
  • Tony Pollard. Like Barkley, Pollard also got tagged last year, which means the Cowboys would have to pay $12.12 million if they want to keep him for 2024 and it seems they're not interested in keeping him at that number. 
  • Josh Jacobs. Since the tag calls for a 120% raise over your 2023 salary, Jacobs' tag number for 2024 would be about $14.14 million, and the Raiders clearly have no interest in paying that. 
  • Derrick Henry. The Titans were never going to tag him, especially since it would cost more than $19 million
  • Austin Ekeler. The Chargers running back wanted out of Los Angeles last year and although he stayed for the 2023 season, it looks like he's finally going to get his wish to leave the team. 

You can check out our full story on the lack of running back tags here. If you want to see where these guys might end up, we covered some possible landing spots last week and you can see those here

6. Extra points: Seahawks starting QB job up in the air

It's been a busy 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. 

  • New Seahawks coach won't commit to a QB. New coach Mike Macdonald was asked this week if Geno Smith or Drew Lock would be involved with the future of the organization and he was very non-committal. "That's a tough question, and it's one that I probably can't answer right now," Macdonald said. That sounds like a guy who's in the market for a QB. You can read his full comments here
  • Buccaneers to cut two-time Pro Bowler. The Bucs have decided to release Shaq Barrett in a cost-cutting move that will save the team nearly $5 million in cap space. Barrett had just 4.5 sacks with the Bucs last year during a season where he was coming off an Achilles injury in 2022.  
  • Bucs want to keep Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans. Although the Bucs are moving on from Barrett, coach Todd Bowles would like to see the team keep Mayfield and Evans. "It's an extremely high priority, obviously," Bowles said of Mayfield, via PFT. "We love Baker. Baker had a heck of a year. He fit right in with us all the way around." Bowles also said the team is putting all its "resources" into re-signing Evans. 
  • Kyle Shanahan not attending the combine. You can add the 49ers coach to the list of head coaches who won't be attending the combine. Of course, Shanahan actually has a good excuse: He's still trying to hire a defensive coordinator. According to NBC Bay Area, the 49ers have already interviewed former Chargers coach Brandon Staley and Nick Sorensen for the job. Sorensen, who is the 49ers defensive passing game coordinator, just finished his second season with the team. 
  • Bill Belichick could be headed for media job. Although Belichick has been laying low over the past month, his son, Steve, recently told the "Green Light with Chris Long" podcast that his dad will likely be pursuing a TV job for the 2024 NFL season. You can read more about the situation here