Friday, August 19, 2022

Bold training camp predictions, plus how second-year QBs will fare, Kyler Murray’s odd contract clause

Happy training camp, everybody! With our buddy John Breech on vacation, we’re going down the depth chart a bit here at CBS Sports, so you’ll have me, Tyler Sullivan, leading you through this fine Tuesday. As I noted, today is a big day across the NFL, as each team has now opened up training camp, meaning we are one step closer to the 2022 season. 

Of course, this is the Pick Six Newsletter, so let’s not waste any more time and dive right into the news of the day. (Also, be sure you’re all signed up to receive this newsletter every day, and tell all your football-loving friends about it as well. With the regular season right around the corner, this will be your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the NFL.)

Below, you’ll find the latest news surrounding training camp and much more:  

1. Today’s show: Burning training camp questions in the AFC East

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Tua Tagovailoa Getty Images

Yours truly joined Will Brinson on Tuesday’s “Pick Six NFL Podcast” to discuss some of the burning questions that each team has in the AFC East. Of course, there was plenty of focus on the quarterback position along with how some offenses will run after changes made this offseason: 

  • Is Tua Tagovailoa ready to lead this high-speed Dolphins offense? Brinson believes that the reset at head coach going from Brian Flores to Mike McDaniel will benefit Tagovailoa, who should see a bump in his statistical output.
  • How will the change at OC impact the Bills offense? Both Will and I are curious to see how Buffalo’s offense will change going from Brian Daboll to Ken Dorsey, who has never called plays before in the NFL. 

  • Will Joe Judge or Matt Patricia call the offensive plays in New England? While the Patriots have gone without having the offensive and defensive coordinator titles in the past, I explain how this situation is a bit different than in years past.

Catch the full episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.

2. Training camps open across the NFL

By the end of Tuesday, every team will have opened up training camp, so there are plenty of storylines to follow. One of the main ones at this time of the year revolves around who isn’t at camp. This year, there are a couple of those situations worth monitoring:

Meanwhile, our own Cody Benjamin also rolled out some bold predictions for camp, which include some significant change for current 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He predicts that Garoppolo will be cut by San Francisco and will eventually sign with the Seattle Seahawks

“It just makes too much sense,” he writes. “This is the last place the 49ers want to deal him, but at some point they’re gonna have to pay for retaining Garoppolo so long. And sure, Seattle has reportedly been lukewarm about other veteran QBs, but they know Jimmy G, and he also just so happens to be cut from Pete Carroll’s preferred cloth — a point guard at his best when he’s leaning on the run. Maybe he could be Carroll’s Carson Palmer. At the very least, he could make the position more palatable until 2023.”

Another bold prediction by Cody includes a trade between the Patriots and Packers. To read all of his bold predictions, click here

3. Second-year QBs outlook for 2022

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Trevor Lawrence (left) and Trey Lance Getty Images

A big narrative entering a new season is how last year’s rookie quarterbacks will improve after having a season’s worth of experience now under their belt. Given that the 2021 draft class had several first-rounders and possibly a generational talent at the top, that conversation could be even more pronounced this summer. CBS Sports analyst Chris Trapasso recently dove into the high-profile second-year QBs and gave their outlook heading into 2022

  • JaguarsTrevor Lawrence: “I still believe in Lawrence. He was too good of a prospect for me to see one NFL season and be out on him. There’s no quantifiable way to measure how much Urban Meyer sapped from Lawrence and every other Jaguars player last season. But it wasn’t a coincidence Lawrence played better after Meyer was relieved of his duties. The team is better, Lawrence will be better in 2022. I will say, though, I’m less bullish on his future than I was a year ago at this time, simply based on how dismal his rookie season was.”
  • 49ers’ Trey Lance: “I’m pinpointing Lance as the enormous breakout quarterback from the 2021 class. He has the athletic and arm-talent gifts similar to most of the game’s best young passers, an awesome collection of talent around him, and Shanahan calling his plays. The defense is solid. Lance will drift into young star territory during his second season in San Francisco.”
  • Patriots’ Mac Jones: “I’ve been on the record with this take — Jones had one of the more overrated rookie seasons at the quarterback position in quite some time. Probably since Sam Bradford in 2010. Universally lauded as a dazzling debut year in the NFL for the first two-thirds of it, Jones wasn’t making many difficult throws each week, and the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak was buoyed by stingy defensive efforts. Down the stretch, when Jones was needed to make difficult throws either against pressure or tight coverage, he flopped. I do think Jones can be a decently successful precision-based quarterback in a league increasingly loaded with amazing improvisers. But I can’t envision him playing with the likes of the rest of the NFL’s youth movement at the quarterback spot because of his athletic and arm-talent restraints.” 

If you want to read the rest of Trapasso’s analysis, head here.

4. Kyler Murray’s ‘independent study’ clause

The Cardinals and Kyler Murray were the latest to shake the quarterback market to its core, by inking the former No. 1 overall pick to a $230.5 million contract extension. While that number alone — that makes Murray the second-highest paid QB in the league in AAV — is enough to raise eyebrows, there was also an interesting clause placed in his deal. 

According to the NFL Network, there was an addendum put in Murray’s contract that requires four hours of independent study per week from the start of the regular season through the Cardinals’ final game of the 2022 season (including playoffs). The “independent study” is defined as Murray studying material provided by the team to prepare for the upcoming game. This addendum does seem to push Arizona’s desire for Murray to become more of a leader within the locker room. 

5. Packers extend top brass

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Matt LaFleur Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers locked up quarterback Aaron Rodgers with a mammoth extension earlier this offseason and have now solidified their top brass as well. On Monday, ESPN reported that the team has reached extensions with head coach Matt LaFleur, general manager Brian Gutekunst and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball. 

LaFleur was entering the fourth year of his four-year deal, which did include a fifth-year option. Meanwhile, Gutekunst’s contract was set to expire after this season, and Bell, who has been with the organization since 2008, was also on the back end of his deal.

6. Drew Brees teases possible move to Hollywood

Drew Brees’ days in the NFL may be over, but you might see the former Saints quarterback strap on a helmet for the silver screen. In an exclusive interview with CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, Brees, who is starring alongside his three boys in a new ad for Great Clips, was asked if it’s more likely he takes another snap in the NFL or pivot to an acting career. 

“Well I don’t think I’ll be taking a — well, how about this? How about I take a snap under center, but in a movie?” Brees said. “How about that? Then I can accomplish both.”

When asked if there was a movie in the works, he said with a smile: “I don’t know. Maybe so. We’ll see. It’s a teaser here.”

Of course, QBs turning toward the movie scene isn’t foreign. Kurt Warner’s NFL story was turned into a movie with American Underdog, and Tom Brady recently played himself in an upcoming comedy

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