Happy Wednesday, folks! John Breech is taking the day off to celebrate the arrival of midweek, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest from around the NFL.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
- Today's show: Assessing the Raiders' 2023 QB questions
Brady Quinn and Katie Mox joined Will Brinson on the latest edition of the "Pick Six NFL Podcast." Their topic of choice: the Raiders' quarterback situation for 2023. Who will actually be under center in Las Vegas? Some highlights of their talk:
- Brinson is a big believer in "the specter of Tom Brady" in Las Vegas, where Troy Aikman can already envision the retired QB to suit up in the silver and black. It remains to be seen if Brady, 45, will be permitted to play if/when he is approved as an expected minority owner of the Raiders.
- Mox questions the whole direction of the Raiders' front office, moving on from "a capable" QB in Derek Carr to bet on the injury-prone Jimmy Garoppolo. Her concerns are valid, especially since ...
- Quinn believes there's real reason to believe Garoppolo's latest medical hiccup, an offseason foot surgery, will "have a compounding impact" on his ability to operate from the pocket. "It's gonna take a while," he said, "for him to be 100 percent."
Catch the full episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Rodgers sounds off on Gutekunst; QB's agent tried to have GM fired
Aaron Rodgers said goodbye to the Packers more than a month ago. But the new Jets quarterback isn't done for his split from the organization. The former MVP told The Athletic this week that Gutekunst's communication "wasn't anywhere near what I've already enjoyed here with the Jets," and didn't deny that his agent, David Dunn, requested the Packers fire their GM after he traded up to draft Jordan Love, Rodgers' successor, in 2021. Explaining a failure to meet with Gutekunst before his trade this offseason, Rodgers denied he ignored the GM but added, "I talk to the people that I like."
3. Playoff predictions: Seven teams that could fall out of the postseason
This time of year, most fans can talk themselves into their teams making a run. But we can't forget that every season the playoff picture tends to look a little different than expected. With that in mind, Will Brinson decided to forecast seven expected contenders who could miss the postseason entirely. Here's a sneak peek at three of his picks:
- Dolphins: Even the most optimistic Dolphins beat writer can't control the biggest X factor for Miami's season: Tua Tagovailoa's health. The Dolphins' offensive line is a cause for concern in a vacuum; it's a major red flag because of the trickle-down effect it could have on the quarterback's availability.
- Chargers: There's reason to expect Justin Herbert to take a step forward, but yet another change at offensive coordinator isn't exactly healthy for a young quarterback. There's a massive group of talented teams in the AFC and the AFC West could be a real problem with Kansas City and a possibly resurgent Denver team, and the Chargers have the 12th hardest schedule in football as a whole. There's not much room for error.
- Seahawks: They need Geno Smith to be the guy again after an out-of-nowhere Pro Bowl season that saw him morph into a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. Seattle (also) draws the 12th hardest schedule in the NFL in 2023 which features both the AFC North and the NFC East, two potentially deep divisions.
4. Biggest needs for contenders ahead of post-June 1 deadline
Most teams are done making big changes to their rosters. But this week, some big names could be cut or shopped, as post-June 1 moves can often increase team savings. In addition to identifying, we've surveyed some of the best teams to explore top remaining needs. Here's a look at a couple of them:
- Bengals (TE): Irv Smith Jr. is a fine low-risk, high-reward option in place of Hayden Hurst, but the former Vikings starter has missed 13 games the last two seasons, with a career-high receiving total of 365 yards. Cincinnati already boasts an elite receiving corps for Joe Burrow, but the more weapons the merrier.
- Chiefs (WR): In reality, Patrick Mahomes' presence renders the need for star wideouts almost moot. It helps, of course, that Travis Kelce is still in MVP form at tight end. But ideally you'd also rather not bet on Kadarius Toney staying healthy and/or consistent as your new No. 1 if you're trying to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
- Jets (OT): Going all in for Aaron Rodgers should have New York in the mix for an AFC East title, if not more. But they've gotta keep the former MVP upright, and while Duane Brown is a proven name at left tackle, he's also going on 38 and coming off an injury-shortened season. Fellow OT Mekhi Becton has also played just one game the last two years.
5. Ranking top Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates
Draft expert Chris Trapasso isn't done assessing top 2023 prospects. Now that the best names of this year's rookie class have found NFL homes, he's forecasting the. Here's his rundown:
8. Vikings WR Jordan Addison
7. Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs
6. Chargers WR Quentin Johnston
5. Ravens WR Zay Flowers
4. Colts QB Anthony Richardson
3. Texans QB C.J. Stroud
2. Panthers QB Bryce Young
1. Falcons RB Bijan Robinson
Last year, Atlanta led football with 559 rushing attempts and was damn good on the ground, finishing as one of five teams to accomplish a rush EPA above 0.0 -- which is telling for how inefficient running is, but that's for another story. Enter Robinson, a thick, bouncy back with supreme contact balance and scat-back-like cutting capability. He's a fine pass-catcher too and runs with some juice through the second level. ... Robinson is likely to become the center point of the offense instantly. And he has the tackle-breaking goods to be an instant star in the NFL.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Hopkins' FA market, NFC West predictions, more
Hungry for more headlines? You came to the right place:
- : The ex-Cardinals star hasn't necessarily been a hot item
- : The former Raiders coach is helping Derek Carr in New Orleans
- : Garrett Podell makes the case for every team in the division
- : A changing of the guard could be coming at RB
- : Five fast facts about Broadway Joe, the Hall of Fame signal-caller