We're barely two days into August and the NFL has already hit us over the head with some big news: The Wentz Wagon has a flat tire.
Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter where we will be talking about Carson Wentz and the fact that he's going to have to have surgery on his injured foot. We'll also be talking about how I now have to go back to the drawing board because the Colts were my dark horse team to get to the Super Bowl this year out of the AFC. You can't be my dark horse team if you have broken hoof and that's what Wentz is dealing with.
We'll take a look at Wentz's recovery timeline today, plus we'll also go over those wild rumors about the Bills possibly moving to Austin, Texas. We've got a lot to cover, so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Monday mailbag!
During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up each week on the Pick Six Podcast by adding a listener mailbag every Monday.
Our mailbag episodes are pretty simple: We read listener questions during the show and then answer as many of those questions as possible. Questions can be about literally anything. I mean, I'm pretty sure there was one time where we spent 10 minutes debating the best national restaurant chain and all I'm going to say about that is that I live roughly two miles away from an O'Charleys and I eat there way more than I probably should. Anyway, if you want to submit a question, all you have to do is go to Apple Podcasts (click here) and leave a five-star review.
Here's one question that we answered in today's mailbag:
Q: When it's all said and done for both of them, who will have had the better NFL career: Carson Wentz or Andy Dalton?
A: Our listener definitely gets some bonus points here for asking such a timely question (This was sent to the mailbag before news of Wentz's foot injury came out). Since neither player has ever won a playoff game, you have to look at their regular-season accomplishments and right now, I think Dalton has had the better overall career. However, I think we'll eventually see Wentz win a few postseason games with the Colts, and for me, that will put him over the top, which has me leaning toward Wentz. However, since Wentz can't stay healthy, I should be leaning toward Dalton. You know what? I think I've just talked myself into Dalton. However, I'd like to take a second stab at this question once i know how long Wentz is going to be out. Is it FIVE weeks or is it TWELVE weeks? Just tell us, Colts.
Anyway, to listen to the rest of the mailbag -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. Carson Wentz could miss more than 40% of the season
The Colts were hit with some bad news on Friday and three days later, the news just got worse: Carson Wentz is going to have to undergo surgery to fixed his injured foot. Colts coach Frank Reich revealed the information during a press conference on Monday.
Here's what Reich had to say about the injury.
- The surgery is happening today. Wentz will be going under the knife at 4 p.m. today. No one is sure how the injury happened, but according to Reich, doctors believe the new injury was caused by an old injury. The theory is that he suffered an injury earlier in his career -- possibly even in high school -- and the bone fragment finally came loose.
- Recovery timeline. With Wentz now undergoing surgery, the Colts will now be wondering how quickly he'll be able to get back on the field. Right now, it's all a guessing game. According to Reich, Wentz will be out between five and 12 weeks, which is a huge difference. If Wentz is only out five weeks, there's a small chance that he could play in the opener. However, if he's out the full 12 weeks, that means he'd miss at least seven games and he wouldn't be back on the field until almost November. It's a brutal recovery timeline to say the least. According to Fox Sports, the Colts should know in about two weeks whether Wentz's rehab will be on the shorter end of this timeline or the longer end.
- Colts make a move at QB. With Wentz currently out, the Colts brought in a new quarterback over the weekend in the form of Brett Hundley. Hundley won't be competing for the starting spot, though. The current No. 2 guy in Indy is Jacob Eason and right now, the Colts plan to give him the first-team reps.
With Wentz possibly out for 12 weeks, though, the Colts might now be in a position where they feel like they have to trade for ANOTHER quarterback. If they do look to make a deal, there aren't a ton of starting-caliber veterans out there, but there are definitely some guys they could try to make a play for, including: Mitchell Trubisky, Gardner Minshew, Marcus Mariota, Nick Foles or Jimmy Garoppolo.
Here's a look at the Colts early-season schedule
Week 1 (Sept. 12): vs. Seahawks
Week 2 (Sept. 19): vs. Rams
Week 3 (Sept. 26): at Titans
Week 4 (Oct. 3): at Dolphins
Week 5 (Oct. 11): at Ravens
Week 6 (Oct. 17): vs. Texans
Week 7 (Oct. 24): at 49ers
Week 8 (Oct. 31): vs. Titans (Potential return game if he's out the full 12 weeks)
Not only are the first two weeks brutal, but they follow that up with four road games in five weeks, which means things could get ugly for the Colts this year if they can't get their quarterback situation figured out.
3. Bills could [maybe] end up in Texas if they don't get a new stadium in Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills have been located in western New York more than 60 years, but that's something that could change in the near future if the team can't get a new stadium in Buffalo.
According to the Buffalo News, the team has had preliminary talks with the state of New York and Erie County about getting a new stadium built.
Here's what we know about the situation so far:
- Bills make monstrous stadium proposal and they want taxpayers to foot the bill. The Bills are owned by Terry and Kim Pegula and their ownership group has proposed a $1.5 million project that would be completely paid for by the public. Of that total, $1.1 billion would be used for a new Bills stadium while the other $400 million would be used to renovate the arena that the Buffalo Sabres play in. Also, they want the public to pay for all $1.5 billion of this project.
- Bills issue odd denial. A spokesman for the Pegulas said that the $1.1 billion being requested for a new stadium was incorrect. However, the spokesman didn't note if the figure was too high or too low. The spokesman also didn't say if the team would possibly look at relocation if the Bills didn't get what they want.
- Bills want a quick resolution to this. Although negotiations have just started, the Bills want to get things figured out quickly and that's mostly because their lease at Highmark Stadium expires following the 2023 season. After that, the Bills are free to move if there's no stadium project in place.
- Possible relocation destination. So where would the Bills move? How about Austin, Texas. Although the team has not made a threat to leave just yet, they did make it clear that there are "other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it." According to ESPN.com, an ownership source said that Austin is a possible destination.
- Austin is unaware that it could get the Bills. According to the the Austin American-Statesman, no one on the Austin city council has talked with the Bills about a possible relocation. This doesn't mean the Bills didn't talk with anyone, but it does mean that their threat to leave might not be much of a threat just yet.
The fact of that matter is that plenty of NFL teams have shown that they'll move if they don't get a new stadium. In the past five years alone, the Chargers, Rams and Raiders have all moved to new cities, which means the idea of the Bills moving to Austin is at least plausible if they can't get a new stadium in Buffalo.
I don't own a folding table company in Texas, but I might start one if negotiations start to get ugly between the Bills and the state of New York. I mean, let's be real, Bills fans are going to need flaming tables to jump through if the team moves to Austin and I'm going to be there to provide them.
By the way, if you'd prefer some non-relocation news, you can click here to check out Jason La Canfora's piece on the Bills. JLC was in Buffalo over the weekend and in his story, he explains why the team could be Super Bowl bound this year.
4. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer calls out unvaccinated players after COVID leaves him with one QB for practice
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sounded slightly upset on Saturday after he was forced to go through practice with just one healthy quarterback: Jake Browning.
The other three quarterbacks on the roster -- Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley -- all had to sit out due to COVID protocols. Mond tested positive for COVID while Cousins and Stanley were on the sideline because they were in close contact with Mond.
Under NFL rules this year, any player who isn't vaccinated has to sit out at least five days if they're in close contact with someone who has COVID. Basically, this means that Cousins either isn't vaccinated or he isn't fully vaccinated (If he got his first shot at the start of camp on July 27, he wouldn't be considered fully vaccinated until Aug. 24).
"I am disappointed that this happened," Zimmer said of losing his players to COVID protocol. "I'm frustrated, not just with my football players who didn't get vaccinated, but I'm frustrated with everybody [who didn't]. We'll just do the best we can. It's just disappointing."
No matter how you feel about the vaccine, the bottom line here is simple for NFL players: if you don't get vaccinated, your team is put at a competitive disadvantage and that's clearly how the league wants it. If this had happened the Friday before a regular-season game, the Vikings would have had to play with one QB.
Zimmer pointed out that this could happen at any point during the season and he wants his players vaccinated so he doesn't have to worry about losing them before a pivotal game.
"Something like this happens a day before a game that has a chance to get you to the playoffs or something like that ... this Delta variant is rough," Zimmer said. "You can see the cases going up every single day now. That's why, for the sake of everybody's health, I think [getting vaccinated is] important. But some people don't understand, I guess."
Cousins and Lamar Jackson are two starting quarterbacks who have missed training camp time this year due to COVID.
5. Wild weekend for Olympic athletes with NFL ties
Robert Quinn has never won a Super Bowl, but his sister has won a gold medal after pulling off one of the most impressive performances of this year's Olympic games. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn was one of three athletes who raced over the weekend who just happen to have some ties to the NFL. The other two were Anna Cockrell (sister of Buccaneers cornerback Ross Cockrell) and Melissa Gonzales (wife of Lions backup quarterback David Blough).
Here's a look at how each lady did over the weekend:
- Camacho-Quinn takes home the gold in 100m hurdles. Camacho-Quinn was one of the unexpected stars of the weekend. In her semifinal race, she ran a 12.26, which SET AN OLYMPIC RECORD (You can see the race by clicking here). On Sunday night, she followed up that performance by taking home the gold with a time of 12.36. Camacho-Quinn was representing Puerto Rico and the gold medal she won was just the second ever won by the Caribbean Island. Camacho-Quinn's 100m hurdles time is the fourth-fastest EVER in women's track and it was just .06 seconds off the world record. And in case you're wondering, Camacho-Quinn was eligible to represent Puerto Rico because her mom was born there.
- Anna Cockrell qualifies for 400m hurdles finals. The 400m semifinals went down on Monday morning and Cockrell advanced to the finals by running a 54.17, which was second in her heat. She's now one of eight runners who will be going for the gold in Tuesday's final, which will take place at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can see Ross Cockrell and other Buccaneers players react to Anna's race by clicking here.
- Melissa Gonzalez makes it to 400m hurdles semifinals. Gonzalez actually raced in the same heat as Cockrell, but she didn't make it to the finals. Gonzalez, who was representing Colombia, finished just 2.3 seconds behind Cockrell, which was good for sixth place. Despite the loss, you should definitely still click here to see how Blough reacted over the weekend to the fact that his wife qualified for the semifinals.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
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.
- Eagles rookie receiver DeVonta Smith dealing with sprained MCL. The first-round pick is likely going to be sidelined for two-to-three weeks after suffering a sprained MCL. The biggest downside for the Eagles is that Smith won't have much time to build chemistry with Jalen Hurts before the start of the season.
- Nick Chubb lands monstrous extension. The Browns running back is now under contract through the 2024 season after signing a three-year, $36.6 million extension over the weekend that includes $20 million in guaranteed money. Chubb is now just one of six running backs in the NFL making $12.2 million per year or more.
- Ravens sign Justin Houston. After losing some key defensive players this offseason, the Ravens were in serious need of some pass-rushing help and they got it on Saturday by signing Houston. The veteran landed a one-year deal that's worth up to $4 million.
- Devonta Freeman lands with Saints. After spending most of his career with the Falcons, Freeman is now headed to play for Atlanta's biggest rival. The running back signed a one-year deal over the weekend. The Saints are also expected to sign cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and KeiVarae Russell.
- Giants land Joe Looney. Jason Garrett coached Looney for four years in Dallas and now, he'll get to coach the offensive lineman once again in New York. The ex-Cowboys starter adds some serious depth to the Giants offensive line and that's mostly because he can play multiple positions.
- Seahawks add another quarterback. The Seahawks already have four quarterbacks on their roster, but they went ahead and added one more over the weekend by signing Sean Mannion, who spent the last two seasons in Minnesota. The former Rams backup spent two seasons in L.A. with new Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, which might give him a leg up when it comes to earning a roster spot.
- Troy Polamalu tests positive for COVID. If Polamalu isn't at the Hall of Fame ceremony this weekend, it's because he's still battling COVID. The Steelers legend is hoping to attend his induction, but admitted it might not be possible.
- Cam Newton is currently the Patriots starting QB. Bill Belichick was asked about the Patriots' QB competition over the weekend and apparently, there's no competition to talk about because Newton is the starter, "I mean, Cam's our starting quarterback, I think I've said that." It's impossible to say if Belichick is being honest or if this is a classic Belichick smokescreen to throw us all off his plan of starting Mac Jones in Week 1.