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Why Tom Brady’s injury could lead to a punishment for Buccaneers, plus most underrated players in the NFC

If I sound extra excited today, it’s not just because I had waffles for breakfast and it’s not just because today is Friday, but it’s also because WE MADE IT. 

This week was the FINAL week of the offseason without football!

Starting next week, there will actually be NFL teams on the field playing football and that’s because the Cowboys and Steelers will be reporting for training camp on Wednesday, July 21. The Buccaneers will then follow that up by reporting on July 24 while the other 29 teams will be reporting on July 27 (The Steelers and Cowboys get to report early because they’re playing in the Hall of Fame game. The Bucs also get to report early because they’re playing in the NFL opener against the Cowboys). 

Speaking of the Buccaneers, they could be facing some trouble from the NFL after news of Tom Brady’s MCL injury leaked on Thursday. If you’re wondering why they could be in hot water, we’ll be covering that — and much more — in today’s newsletter, so let’s get to the rundown. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share the link. PLEASE SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Sharing is caring. 

1. Today’s show: Reaction to the franchise tag deadline 


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The franchise tag deadline was full of action on Thursday so that’s what we talked about for Friday’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast. OK, we both know that’s not true. Although we did talk about the deadline, there was barely any action at all. 

Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton was the only one of the seven remaining tagged players who landed a long-term deal before the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Thursday. Moton’s new contract gave him a huge raise over what the franchise tag would have paid ($13.75 million). Under the new deal, Moton will make $85 million over the next five years, which makes him the third-highest paid right tackle in football. It’s a great deal for Moton and the Panthers. 

As for everyone else, since we didn’t get any other deals, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I decided to play a game: We each picked a tagged player who we DO NOT think will be returning to their team in 2022. 

Wilson: Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers will want to keep Godwin, but they’re going to have a lot of things to figure out cap-wise after the 2021 season. 
Brinson: Allen Robinson. Tagging Robinson in 2022 will cost nearly $21.6 million and the Bears are unlikely to pay that, which means there’s a good chance Robinson hits free agency. 
Breech: Brandon Scherff. The Pro Bowl guard is following the Kirk Cousins plan out of Washington: Get tagged twice and then leave in free agency. 

To listen to today’s entire conversation — and to follow the podcast — be sure to click here

2. Tom Brady played the entire season with a torn MCL and why that could be a problem for the Buccaneers

I once sat out a kickball game because my ankle was sore and I have to say, I now feel like a total wimp because it seems that Brady played the entire 2020 season with a TORN MCL. It’s not easy to upstage yourself after six Super Bowl wins, but Brady definitely managed to do that by winning a Lombardi Trophy on one leg. 

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Brady actually suffered the injury during his final season in New England, which means he was dealing with it when he hit free agency last year. The injury got worse as the season went on in 2020, which is why Brady ended up getting surgery right after the Super Bowl. 

Brady was actually asked about the injury during minicamp in June and although he answered the question, he never admitted how serious it was. 

“It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May,” Brady said. “I knew I’d have to do something at the end of the year, and happy I did it. It was probably something that certainly needed to be done and there was a great outcome, so I’m very happy about that. I feel I’ll be able to do some different things this year than I was able to do last year.”

The small problem for the Buccaneers is that if Brady played the entire season with an MCL tear, then he probably should have been on the team’s injury report. The NFL’s rule covering this situation is pretty clear. 

From the league’s handbook: “If any player has a significant or noteworthy injury, it must be listed on the practice report, even if he fully participates in practice and the team expects that he will play in the team’s next game. This is especially important for key players whose injuries may be covered extensively by the media.”

Call me crazy, but I think this definitely applies to the Brady situation. When asked if the Buccaneers would be punished, the NFL gave a “no comment” to Pro Football Talk

The NFL has proven it will punish teams that hide injuries, especially in high-profile situations. After hiding a Brett Favre injury during the 2008 season, the Jets were hit with a $125,000 fine, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Tampa Bay gets hit with something similar. Of course, the Buccaneers could argue that Brady didn’t need to be on the injury report because the knee never caused him to miss any practices or any games. 

3. Richard Sherman released from jail, could face up to four charges 


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After spending more than 24 hours in jail, Richard Sherman was finally released on Thursday after a court hearing in Seattle. 

Here are the latest details on the case

  • Sherman facing four possible charges. During Sherman’s court hearing on Thursday, the judge found probable cause for four charges: Criminal trespass with a domestic violence designation, malicious mischief, DUI and resisting arrest. The former Pro Bowl corner hasn’t officially been charged with anything and likely won’t be charged until Friday at the earliest (He has a court hearing today). The good news for Sherman is that he won’t be facing any felony charges. All four charges would be misdemeanors, which means he’ll likely be able to avoid jail time if he gets convicted. 
  • Sherman was released with no bail. The judge in the case decided that since it was Sherman’s first criminal offense and because he’s a “pillar in the community” that bail wouldn’t be necessary. However, his release did come with several conditions: He can’t drink alcohol, he can’t possess any weapons and he can’t contact his father-in-law.
  • Video emerges of Sherman trying to break into his in-law’s house. At one point during the chaos early Wednesday morning, Sherman was trying to break into his in-law’s house. The security footage from the front door shows a belligerent Sherman yelling at people in the house and trying to knock down the front door. If you want to see the video, you can check it out on TMZ by clicking here
  • Sherman had a legal issue in February. According to the Associated Press, Sherman had an “extreme risk protection order” taken out against him by King County prosecutors and the Sheriff back in February. The order barred Sherman from possessing a gun as he was deemed to pose a possible danger to himself and others. 

As  NFL.com noted yesterday, Sherman “has been battling personal issues for a few months” and it’s now clear that these issues go back to at least the beginning of the year. 

4. Best offensive players age 30 and over

Last week in these parts we covered the top players in the NFL under the age of 25 and since I don’t want anyone to accuse me of being an ageist, I’ve decided we’re now going to also put together a list of the top players age 30 and over.

This ranking was put together by Jordan Dajani, who I think is also over 30.  

Top offensive players age 30 and over

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
RB: Adrian Peterson, free agent
WR: Julio Jones, Titans
WR: Adam Thielen, Vikings
WR: Marvin Jones, Jaguars
TE: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
LT: Trent Williams, 49ers
LG: Denzelle Good, Raiders
C: Jason Kelce, Eagles
RG: Zack Martin, Cowboys
RT: Lane Johnson, Eagles

The Eagles were the only team that had multiple players on the list, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, because that means they have some aging veterans they’re going to have to replace soon. 

Dajani also made a second team, which was led by Brady and you can check out the players who made that list by clicking here. Coming next week, we’ll take a look at the top defensive players age 30 and over.

5. Underrated NFC players on the verge of a big payday

Earlier this week, we covered the top underrated players in the AFC, but we didn’t include a list of NFC players and that’s because we’re going to go over that list right now. 

Cody Benjamin, AKA the guy who writes the Wednesday newsletter, decided to go through EVERY team in the NFC and list their most underrated player with the catch that the player also has to be on the verge of landing a huge contract. 

With that in mind, let’s check out a few players from Cody’s list: 

Cardinals: RB Chase Edmonds
Cowboys: OG Connor Williams
Saints: WR Tre’Quan Smith
Vikings: TE Irv Smith Jr. 
Buccaneers: CB Carlton Davis
Washington: RB J.D. McKissic

If you want to see the full list of underrated players or if you want an explanation for why Cody picked those six guys, be sure to click here so you can check out his entire story

6. Rapid-fire roundup


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It’s been a busy 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. 

  • Saints defensive star suspended. Saints defensive lineman David Onyemata announced on Friday that he’s been hit with an NFL suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. Although it’s unclear how long the suspension is, the Saints will miss him no matter what the length ends up being. Onyemata racked up 6.5 sacks last season, which is the second-most of any returning player in New Orleans. 
  • Russell Wilson on good terms with Pete Carroll. After a tumultuous offseason, it seems that Wilson has fixed things with Seahawks Coach Carroll. “I would say it’s stronger,” Wilson said of their relationship via Yahoo! Sports. “Me and Pete have gotten even closer. We’ve always been super close. Pete and I, we’ve always had a great bond. I think we got to have a great heart to heart. He’s got goals. I’ve got goals. We want to do great things.”
  • Two teams under 50% vaccine threshold. The NFL is going to make things really easy this year for teams with more than 85% of their players vaccinated. With that in mind, it seems there are at least two teams that are nowhere close to that number. According to NFL.com, there are two teams under the 50% threshold. The Chargers, Colts, Cardinals and Washington currently have the four lowest vaccination rates in the league, so it’s two of those four teams. 
  • Jalen Ramsey blames Tom Coughlin for Jaguars implosion. Following the 2017 season, the Jaguars looked like they might be a Super Bowl contender for years to come, but then things completely fell apart. If you’re wondering why that happened, Ramsey blames most of it on Coughlin, who apparently was universally disliked by players in the locker room, “To be honest, we didn’t like Tom Coughlin. That’s what it came down to,” Ramsey said. “We went from having a relaxed coaching staff that let us be adults, but we were too young for that at the time. We were too young a team to know how to really treat that…. When they brought in Coughlin, he went compete opposite. It felt like…even worse than college at times. We felt like half the stuff he was trying to implement wasn’t even about football.” The Jags went from an AFC title game appearance in 2017 to the worst record in the NFL in 2020, which is arguably impressive, but not in a good way. 




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