It's Easter weekend! I'll be honest, though. I didn't even realize Easter was this weekend until my wife came home with 700 plastic eggs that we're apparently going to hide for our 11-month-old daughter who can barely even walk. I have no idea how this hunt is going to work, but I'm already looking forward to it.
Since Easter is this weekend, here's a fun fact: Easter has only been on April 4 two times over the past 90 years. The last time came in 2010 and I have some good news for Packers fans: Green Bay won the Super Bowl that season. Before that, the only other time Easter was on April 4 over the past 90 years came in 1999 when the Rams won the Super Bowl.
I'm not sure why I'm telling you this except that I think both of those teams have a chance to win the Super Bowl this year. Also, the starting quarterback for each team is featured in today's newsletter, so I guess it kind of makes sense. Alright, let's get to the rundown before I start talking about Easters that were held in the 1600s. 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.
1. Today's show: AFC South free agency grades
With the brunt of free agency now in the rearview mirror, that means it's now time to do our favorite thing here at the Pick Six Podcast: Hand out grades. As you may have noticed, we've been handing out grades all week and because we don't want to leave anyone out, we'll be finishing off the week by grading the AFC South for today's show.
For Friday's episode, Will Brinson kicked me to the curb so that he could bring in Jordan Dajani to help him with some grades. The AFC South was an interesting division to watch during free agency and that's because some teams went absolutely crazy (the Texans added nearly 30 players) while other teams didn't really sign anyone (the Colts did pull off a huge trade and re-sign several key players, but they didn't really sign any outsiders).
Here's a sneak peek at the grades:
Notable additions: OT Marcus Cannon (trade), LB Shaq Lawson (trade), RB Mark Ingram, QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Phillip Lindsay, LB Christian Kirksey, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Desmond King, CB Terrance Mitchell
If you want a more in-depth explanation on each grade, you're definitely going to want to listen to today's episode and you can do that by clicking here. You can also check out Jordan's story on AFC South grades by clicking here.
2. Chargers co-owner trying to force sale of team
There's some serious ownership drama brewing in Los Angeles and things have gotten so bad that controlling owner Dean Spanos is being taken to court by his sister, Dea Spanos Berberian, who is trying to force a sale of the team.
The Chargers have one of the most unique ownership setups in the NFL. The Spanos family has owned the team since 1984 when Alex Spanos purchased 60% of it for $70 million. Over the years, Spanos eventually came to control 96% of the team and he passed that on to his family when he died in October 2018.
After his death, his four adult children -- Alexandra Spanos Ruhl, Michael Spanos, Dean Spanos and Berberian -- were each given 15% of the team. The rest of the family's stake in the team (36%) was put into a trust, which is run by Dean Spanos and Berberian.
According to a petition filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, Berberian wants the team to be sold due to the fact that the trust now has mounting debts that total more than $350 million. According to the same documents, the trust is so hard up for money that it might not be able to pay out the more than $22 million that it has pledged to various charities.
Berberian also noted that the trust is losing $11 million per year due to its ownership stake in the team. Although Dean Spanos sounds open to eventually look for a seller -- he promised his family he would look into hiring an investment bank following the 2024 season to gauge a potential sell -- the controlling owner has no plans to part ways with the Chargers anytime soon.
Dean Spanos and his two other siblings released a statement on Thursday saying they'd be willing to buy out Berberian's share of the Chargers if she doesn't want to keep it.
On Berberian's end, not only does she want to see the team sold, but she noted in her court filing that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would be the perfect candidate to buy the team. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported in November that Bezos is interested in buying a team, so this is likely a situation he'll be keeping his eye on. Bezos is worth an estimated $180 billion, so he could probably buy the Chargers in cash. The team is worth an estimated $2.5 billion, according to the latest valuations from Forbes.
3. NFL Insider news: Clock is ticking on Garoppolo's time in San Francisco
When the 49ers decided to trade up to the third spot in the draft, the biggest loser in that deal was probably Jimmy Garoppolo and that's because it almost certainly means that his time in San Francisco is over. However, despite the trade, don't be surprised if he ends up sticking with the team through at least the 2021 season.
In his NFL Insider notes for today, Jason La Canfora explained why one more season of Jimmy G in San Francisco is definitely possible. For one, if you look at Kyle Shanahan's time in San Francisco, he's 17-8 with Garoppolo as his starter, but just 12-27 without him. By keeping Garoppolo for 2021, the 49ers would have another option in case their rookie quarterback isn't ready to start.
That being said, La Canfora did note that there's basically a 100% chance that Garoppolo will be out of the Bay Area at some point between now and February 2022.
If you're wondering where he might land, La Canfora also listed a few potential spots:
- Patriots: No one will be shocked if Garoppolo returns to the team that drafted him.
- Saints: Garoppolo and Sean Payton went to Eastern Illinois and Payton could be looking for a long-term answer at QB if the Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill experiment doesn't work out in 2021.
- Bears: Garoppolo is from Chicago and would probably jump at the chance to return home if it came up.
- Steelers: The Steelers are going to need a QB after Ben Roethlisberger retires and it's looking more and more like that retirement will likely be coming after the 2021 season.
- Texans: If the Texans don't have Deshaun Watson, they're going to need someone to play quarterback.
- Washington: Ryan Fitzpatrick might be the starter this year, but he's definitely not the long-term answer at quarterback for the Football Team.
Although it's not clear yet where Garoppolo will end up, one thing is clear and it's that his time in San Francisco is numbered.
4. Falcons headed to London
After taking a year off from London games in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NFL will be bringing them back this year and one of the teams that will be playing overseas in 2021 is none other than the Atlanta Falcons.
The team announced on Thursday night that they'll be heading abroad to play a game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Although Wembley Stadium has hosted the majority of the games that have been played in England, the Falcons will be playing on at the Tottenham stadium, which opened in 2019 and has only played host to two NFL games.
The Falcons noted that they will be playing a non-divisional opponent, which means one of the following five teams will also be headed to London as the visitor in the game:
The last time the Falcons went to London was in 2014 when they faced the Lions. In that game, they blew a 21-0 halftime lead and lost 22-21 in what was easily the most embarrassing collapse in team history. Just kidding, we all know the most embarrassing collapse in team history came in Super Bowl LI, which is why the NFL should send the Patriots to London to face the Falcons. If the Patriots don't want to go, though, a Lions-Falcons rematch would be fun.
After holding four international games in 2019, the NFL is likely going to ease back into things by only scheduling two this year and it won't be surprising at all if the home team in the other game is Jacksonville.
5. Matthew Stafford undergoes offseason thumb surgery
It's a good thing the Lions didn't make the playoffs in 2020, because I'm not sure Matthew Stafford could have handled playing in any more games. By the end of the season, the former Detroit quarterback had a multitude of injuries and apparently, he got one of those injuries fixed recently.
According to the Athletic, Stafford underwent a minor procedure on his right thumb during the second week of March. Questions about Stafford's throwing hand came up on Thursday when his wife, Kelly, shared an Instagram video of her husband wearing a brace on his right hand.
Stafford, who was traded to the Rams on Jan. 30, is expected to have a quick recovery and should be ready to roll for any on-field workouts the Rams might have this spring. As for those other injuries Stafford suffered last season, he listed them all during an interview with the Detroit Free Press shortly after his trade to L.A.
"I mean, this past year was bad," Stafford told Free Press back in mid-February. "I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy. That's why I started wearing a sleeve on my left arm because I had all sorts of tape underneath it, just to hold it in place. I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay. I also tore something [in the back of] my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain."
My body hurts just from reading that quote.
6. Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh goes offense with first two picks
With less than one month to go until the NFL Draft, it's time to get serious around here and when we get serious, we start producing seven-round mock drafts. Over the next few weeks, we'll be putting together a seven-round mock for each NFL team and today, you're getting the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers are coming off a season where they had the worst rushing attack in football, so not surprisingly, our Bryan DeArdo had the team taking a running back pretty early in the draft. The Steelers are also dealing with some key losses on the offensive line -- Maurkice Pouncey retired, Matt Feiler left in free agency and Alejandro Villanueva might also leave in free agency -- which is why DeArdo had them taking an offensive lineman with their first pick.
With that in mind, here's the full seven-round Steelers mock draft:
- First round (24th overall): OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
- Second (55th): RB Trey Sermon (Ohio State)
- Third (87th): LB Jabril Cox (LSU)
- Fourth (128th): OL Kendrick Green (Illinois)
- Fourth (140th): CB Camryn Bynum (Cal)
- Sixth (216th): EDGE Malcolm Koonce (Buffalo)
- Seventh (245th): DL Khyiris Tonga (BYU)
- Seventh (254th): TE Tony Poljan (Virginia)
You can check out DeArdo's full explanation for each pick by clicking here. If you need even more mock drafts in your life -- and who doesn't -- we also have a full Ravens mock draft (Click here) and a full Browns mock draft (Click here). Although we gave you the full Bengals mock draft earlier this week, if you missed that, you can check it out by clicking here.
Finally, if you want to know who the top five picks of all time are to be selected at No. 27 overall, you're going to want to click here to find out
7. The Kicker: Aaron Rodgers to host 'Jeopardy!'
Way back in January it was announced that Aaron Rodgers would be hosting "Jeopardy!" at some point this year and after three months of waiting, Rodgers is finally going to get to stand behind the lectern that Alex Trebek made famous.
The Packers quarterback will be serving as a guest host starting on April 5, so be sure to set your DVR now. If you're a "Jeopardy!" fan, you're going to be seeing a lot of Rodgers and that's because he's going to be hosting the show for a total of two weeks. Rodgers will take over hosting duties from April 5-9 and then he'll be returning for a second week from April 12-16.
The way things are going in Green Bay -- where Rodgers doesn't seem too happy right now -- I'd say there's a 50% chance that he announces his retirement from football on "Jeopardy!" and announces that he's signing a lifetime contract to host the show.
Alright, I have to go help my wife hide eggs. I'll see you guys Monday.