Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter.
Over the past day alone, we’ve seen:
1. Deshaun Watson reaching a settlement in 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits that were filed against him.
2. Ndamukong Suh publicly announcing that he likely won’t be returning to the Buccaneers in 2022.
3. Chase Claypool trying to convince the world that he’s one of the top-three receivers in the NFL.
We’ll be covering all of that today and more, which means I should probably stop yapping now so we can get to the rundown.
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: Ranking the 10 best running back seasons of all time
The Pick Six podcast is usually hosted by Will Brinson, but he’s on vacation this week so we had to bring in a special guest host, and surprise, surprise, that guest host was me. That’s right, I’m pulling double-duty this week: I’m writing this newsletter and hosting the podcast. I’m a true renaissance man… if writing a newsletter and hosting a podcast count as being a renaissance man.
For Tuesday’s show, I was joined by Bryan DeArdo and we discussed the top 10 running back seasons in NFL history. During the podcast, DeArdo revealed his top 10 and then I did my best to make him justify each one of his picks.
Here’s a look at the full list:
1. Barry Sanders, Lions (1997)
2. Eric Dickerson, Rams (1984)
3. Terrell Davis, Broncos (1998)
4. O.J. Simpson, Bills (1973)
5. Jim Brown, Browns (1963)
6. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (2006)
7. Walter Payton, Bears (1977)
8. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (2012)
9. Earl Campbell, Oilers (1979)
10. Chris Johnson, Titans (2009)
So why was Barry Sanders’ 1997 season so impressive?
“Barry runs for just 53 yards in the Lions’ first two games combined because the new coach (Bobby Ross) put a fullback in front of him, which Barry hated. They get rid of the fullback and Barry runs for 2,000 yards in his final 14 games,” DeArdo explained. “He finished the year with 14 100-yard games, which is still the record for most 100-yard games in a season. He also had an average of 6.1 yards per carry, plus he had 2,358 yards from scrimmage, which is the sixth-most all-time.”
Sanders had such a prolific season that he ended up winning MVP even though the Lions finished just 9-7 that year.
Anyway, if you want to hear DeArdo and I go through each of the top 10 seasons on the list, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today’s show. On the other hand, if you want to see how handsome I looked in the host’s chair, you can watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
If you don’t feel like listening or watching the podcast today, you can also read DeArdo’s entire story on the subject by clicking here.
2. Deshaun Watson settles 20 of 24 civil lawsuits
With Deshaun Watson potentially staring at a long suspension, the Browns quarterback made a major move to put his legal troubles behind him Tuesday by settling 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits that were filed against him.
Here’s the latest information on the Watson cases:
- Tony Buzbee announces the settlements. Buzbee, the lawyer for all 24 women, made the surprising announcement Tuesday that 20 of the cases have now been settled. “Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled,” Buzbee said in a statement. “We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed.” Buzbee noted that all 20 settlements are confidential, so we’ll likely never know what Watson had to pay to settle. Back in October, it was reported that he offered $100,000 to settle the 22 cases that he was facing at the time. The settlement didn’t happen because only 18 of the women agreed to it and at the time, it was an all-or-nothing proposition.
- The woman who filed the original lawsuit is NOT settling her case. The first lawsuit was filed by Ashley Solis and Buzbee made sure to note that she is one of the four who will not be settling her case. “Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story,” Buzbee said. “Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”
- Settlements come at an interesting time. The settlements were announced just four days after The Washington Post reported that the NFL was going to argue that Watson deserves a “significant” suspension, with some in Watson’s camp expecting at least a one-year ban. It’s not clear if the settlements will have any impact on whether Watson will eventually be suspended, but putting 20 of the cases behind him is something the NFL will likely view as a positive thing.
- The NFL is hoping to have this wrapped up by the end of July. As the Post reported Friday, the NFL would like to have the entire process completed, including any potential appeals, by the start of training camp. The fact that Watson has now settled 20 of these cases would seem to make that deadline much more realistic. With the Browns set to kick off training camp July 27, Watson will likely know if he’ll be suspended at some point in the next five weeks.
Like we mentioned yesterday, the NFL has a long history of dumping suspensions and other bad news on the Friday before the Fourth of July, so it won’t be surprising at all if the league were to make an announcement about the Watson case on July 1. For now, I’d say that’s the next date to keep an eye on.
3. Ranking the top 10 tight ends heading into the 2022 season
As you may or may not have noticed, we love to rank things here at CBSSports.com and because of that, we thought we would spend the next few weeks ranking every position group heading into the 2022 season.
After ranking the NFL’s top 10 wide receivers Monday, we’re going to move on to tight ends today. The top 10 list below was put together by Jordan Dajani, and if you’d like to tell him how perfect it is, you can do that by clicking here. That link will take you to his Twitter profile, where you can also argue with him if you don’t like his list.
Top 10 tight ends for 2022
1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2. George Kittle, 49ers
3. Mark Andrews, Ravens
4. Darren Waller, Raiders
5. Kyle Pitts, Falcons
6. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
7. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
8. T.J. Hockenson, Lions
9. Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
10. Zach Ertz, Cardinals
One noticeable absence from this list is Rob Gronkowski. This list is meant to rank the top 10 tight ends going into the 2022 season, and since we don’t know whether Gronk will be playing in 2022, he was left off the list.
If you want a detailed explanation of Jordan’s rankings, then be sure to click here so you can check out his entire story.
4. Biggest remaining priority for each AFC team
Between the draft and free agency, nearly every team in the NFL has made a quite a few moves this offseason, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve managed to fill every hole on their roster. As a matter of fact, most teams could still stand to make at least one more move.
With that in mind, we decided to make a list of the one remaining offseason priority for each AFC team.
Here’s a look at four of the teams from the list, along with a breakdown from CBSSports.com’s Josh Edwards on why the listed need is still a big one.
- Browns: Defensive tackle. “Defensive tackle is Cleveland’s biggest need and it is not particularly close. … The team signed Taven Bryan to give them a bit of experience, but a lot of pressure is going to be placed on the shoulders of young draft picks like Tommy Togiai, Jordan Elliott and Perrion Winfrey.”
- Patriots: Cornerback. “There is a case to be made that wide receiver or linebacker are the most concerning aspects of Bill Belichick’s roster, but the choice has to be cornerback given the importance of man coverage play to his system’s success. Over the past year, the Patriots have lost Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson. They signed Malcolm Butler and drafted Jack Jones and Marcus Jones to mask the deficiencies at the position.”
- Raiders: Offensive line. “Dylan Parham was added through the draft this year and is expected to compete for a starting position this summer. His emergence would be a welcomed surprise given the overwhelming concern for that unit.”
- Ravens: Wide receiver. “The future is now for Baltimore’s young receivers. Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace need to elevate their play this season in the absence of Hollywood Brown. Devin Duvernay and James Proche are two wide receivers from the 2020 class who will be asked to fill larger roles out of necessity.”
If you want to see the full list of all 16 AFC teams, then be sure to click here.
5. Chase Claypool is making some bold statements and predictions for 2022
With the dead part of the NFL calendar officially upon us, the NFL news cycle can sometime screech to a halt, but that’s not going to happen this week thanks to Chase Claypool, who had some very interesting things to say during a recent appearance on the I am Athlete podcast.
Let’s go over a few of those things:
- Claypool says he’s a top-three receiver in the NFL. “I know for a fact, I’m not like the rest of the guys in the NFL. I know I’m a top-five receiver. I know I’m a top-three receiver.” Claypool is definitely a solid receiver, but I’m not sure he’s even a top-three receiver in his own division. We actually ranked the top-10 receivers in the NFL on Monday, and I have some bad news for Claypool: he wasn’t on the list. But I like his confidence.
- Claypool predicts his stats for 2022. The Steelers receiver was asked to predict his numbers for the upcoming season, and he said he’d top 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but Claypool has never even topped 900 yards in his two-year career, so he’ll have to take a huge leap going into 2022.
- He’s not so sure Ben Roethlisberger should have played in 2021. One of the most interesting parts of the podcast came when Claypool was asked if he thought Roethlisberger played longer than he should have. “I think at the end of my first year [in 2020], no one would’ve said that. But I feel like everyone’s saying that as the year went on. ‘Oh, he should’ve retired.’ It’s easy to say that after the fact,” Claypool said, via SI.com. “It’s tough to say. I mean, he was banged up for sure. He was fighting through a lot of stuff and he’s a vet quarterback that brings a lot of intangibles to the game that no one ever will.” Basically, it sounds like Big Ben was pretty beaten up over the second half of the 2021 season.
- Claypool seems like a big fan of Kenny Pickett. Claypool has been impressed with what he’s seen from the Steelers’ first-round pick. “[Pickett] looks good. He’s mobile, he’s faster than people think, so that’s going to be new for us and I think it’s going to create plays,” Claypool said, via PFT. Pickett is competing with Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph for the starting QB job in Pittsburgh.
If you want to see the entire interview with Claypool, you can check it out on YouTube by clicking here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Ndamukong Suh likely won’t be returning to Tampa Bay, could be eying the Raiders
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.
- If Ndamukong Sug plays in 2021, it won’t be for the Buccaneers. During an appearance on ESPN on Monday, Suh revealed that he almost certainly won’t be returning to the Buccaneers if he plays in 2022. However, there is one interesting team he seems to have his eye on, and that team is the Raiders.
- Marcedes Lewis aiming to break NFL tight end record for longest career. Lewis has been playing for so long that he’s inching closer to breaking the NFL record for longest career ever by a tight end. Lewis is headed into his 17th season, which would tie Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten for the longest ever. The Packers tight end revealed this week that he wants to play through at least the 2023 season so he can break the record. Lewis has been in the NFL since 2006 when the Jaguars made him the 28th overall pick in the NFL Draft. To put that in perspective, Lewis is the only player from the 2006 draft who’s expected to play in 2022.
- Odell Beckham Jr. might not be fully healthy until October. The Super Bowl winning receiver is still a free agent, and one reason his free agency might be going so slow is because teams don’t know when he’ll be healthy. According to ESPN, Beckham might not be 100% recovered from his torn ACL until October.
- Trae Waynes sounds like he’s retired. The former Vikings and Bengals corner hasn’t officially retired, but it sounds like he’s done with football. “Could I easily keep playing several more years? Yes. But I got a family, I want to be around with my kids more,” Waynes said. “Multiple teams have actually called, but in my head I’m done. I’m not officially doing it, I’d say, just because I don’t do that sh-t. I’m retired, but it’s not like I announced it or anything.”
- Browns might renovate their stadium instead of building a new one. The Browns have cleared up a report that came out over the weekend claiming that the team was looking to build a new stadium. According to the Browns, they’re actually looking to renovate their current stadium, which opened in 1999. For more details on Cleveland’s stadium situation, be sure to click here.