Sports

Grading every AFC team in free agency, plus Deshaun Watson not indicted, Broncos stadium catches fire


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I wasn’t sure it was going to happen, but it actually happened: We made it 24 hours without seeing a blockbuster trade go down in the NFL. This was especially good news for me and that’s because it finally gave me time to shower for the first time in a week. That’s probably more information than you needed to know about me, but I gave it to you anyway, because this newsletter is about honesty. 

For today, we’ll be taking a look at Deshaun Watson’s legal situation after his case was heard by another grand jury, plus we’ll be handing out free agency grades for every team in the AFC. 

Speaking of free agency, that definitely isn’t over yet and we’re still keeping track of everything that happens. If you also want to keep track, be sure to click here so you can check out our live blog

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. Alright, let’s get to the rundown. 

1. Today’s show: Free agency grades for every AFC team

Earlier this week on the podcast, we handed out free agency grades for each NFC team, so today, we thought it would make sense to hand out a grade for each AFC team, so that’s what Will Brinson, Tyler Sullivan and Jordan Dajani did for Friday’s episode. 

We’re not going to cover every team here, but we’re going to take a look at two teams that were in the ‘A’ range, two teams that were in the ‘B’ range and two teams that were in the ‘C’ range (Unlike the NFC, there were no teams in the ‘D’ range in the AFC). 

If you want the rest of the grades from the AFC, you’ll have to listen to today’s show, which you can do by clicking here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.   

2. Deshaun Watson legal situation: Second grand jury declines to indict Browns quarterback 

For the second time in two weeks, Deshaun Watson had a sexual misconduct case presented in front of a grand jury and for the second time in two weeks, the grand jury declined to indict him. 

Here’s the latest on Watson’s legal situation and what it means for his future: 

  • The second grand jury meeting took place in Brazoria County, which is just south of Houston. According to Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, the prosecution in Brazoria County wanted to let the grand jury deliberations in Harris County finish before they moved forward with their own grand jury, which is why there was a two-week gap between cases. 
  • Unlike the first grand jury, which considered nine counts of sexual misconduct for possible chargers, the grand jury in Brazoria County only looked at one count, and in the end, it decided not to indict. “After a careful and thorough review of the facts and evidence documented in the reports prepared by the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department, as well as hearing testimony from witnesses, the Grand Jury for Brazoria County has declined to charge Deshaun Watson with any crimes,” Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck said in a statement. 
  • Watson’s attorney feels that his client has now been vindicated: “We’ve known all along what people who learn the facts also know — Deshaun committed no crimes. In fact, two separate grand juries have now found that there wasn’t even probable cause to believe he committed a crime.” 
  • With the second grand jury not returning an indictment, this means that Watson likely won’t have to worry about facing any criminal charges for his 22 sexual misconduct cases. However, each case is still very much alive in civil court and the burden of proof is much smaller in that court, so there’s no guarantee he’s going to win each case there. 
  • Despite the fact that he hasn’t been criminally charged, the NFL could still punish Watson. Ben Roethlisberger was hit with a six-game suspension in 2010 after twice being accused of sexual assault, but not charged (The suspension was later cut to four games). 

The Browns likely let out a deep breath on Thursday and that’s because they’ll be holding Watson’s introductory press conference today. The presser is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, so it might be over by the time you read this, but if it’s not, it will probably be worth checking out. It’s the first time Watson has taken part in a public press conference since he was accused of sexual misconduct and you can bet he’s going to be asked quite a few questions about his legal situation. 

3. Kyler Murray claims deleting the Cardinals from his social media had nothing to do with the Cardinals

With Aaron Rodgers now under contract in Green Bay, the award for the NFL quarterback causing the most drama for his current team definitely goes to Kyler Murray. As you may or may not remember, Murray raised some major eyebrows around the league in early February when he decided to completely delete the Cardinals from his social media accounts. 

It’s been more than six weeks since that happened and in that time, Murray hasn’t had to face the media, but that finally changed on Wednesday when the QB did an interview at a charity event

Here’s what Murray had to say about his situation

  • Murray offers vague explanation for deleting the Cards from his social media. “If you are a kid my age, you’re used to people take off (posts),” Murray said, via the Cardinals official website. “That’s just a thing. I took everything off of there besides one picture. It had nothing to do with the Cardinals or anything like that.” My problem with this explanation is this: If you have a spouse or significant other, go delete all their pictures from your Facebook or Instagram and see how they react. They will probably be at least a little upset. Deleting your team from your social media doesn’t feel like something you do unless you’re unhappy about something. 
  • Murray says he’s happy where he’s at. “Obviously, you’ve got the whole social media stuff and then coming out with whatever it is about the future and stuff like that,” Murray said. “Honestly, I’m happy where I’m at. I’m just being where my feet are and keeping football the main thing, like I always have.”
  • The QB isn’t worried about his future as a Cardinal. “I’m an Arizona Cardinal,” Murray said. “I’ve done nothing but give my all to the Cardinals and will continue to do that, so I’m not really too worried about my future as a Cardinal.”

Murray might try to insist that he’s on good terms with the Cardinals, but actions speak louder than words and Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, has spoken plenty with his actions over the past month. Back on February 28, Burkhardt sent out a lengthy statement that called on the Cardinals to give the quarterback an extension. The statement also called on the team to show that they’re serious about winning a Super Bowl.

That statement came more than a month ago and the two sides still haven’t worked out a deal and it’s not clear if they’re even close to hammering out a deal. Also, Murray’s agent called out the Cardinals again after the Raiders made a trade for Davante Adams on March 17. Burkhardt insinuated that maybe the Cardinals weren’t trying to win as much as some other teams in the NFL.   

Basically, it doesn’t sound like the drama between Murray and the Cardinals is quite over yet, even if Murray is insisting that it is. 

4. Ranking every big QB move made in 2022

If you read this newsletter regularly, then you know that we love to rank things here at CBSSports.com. I mean, last night alone, I spent 45 minutes ranking all the teams I’m definitely not going to pick to win in my NCAA tournament bracket next year (Gonzaga is at the top of the list). Of course, you’re not here for my jilted NCAA tourney rankings, so instead, we’re giving you a ranking of all the big quarterback moves that have been made so far this year. 

In a span of less than a month, we’ve seen more than a dozen moves go down at the quarterback position, so Cody Benjamin decided to rank them all. 

Here are the top 10 quarterback moves that have been made in 2022, according to Cody. 

1. Broncos trade for Russell Wilson
2. Colts trade for Matt Ryan
3. Browns trade for Deshaun Watson. 
4. Saints re-sign Jameis Winston
5. Commanders trade for Carson Wentz
6. Steelers sign Mitchell Trubisky. 
7. Bills trade for Case Keenum
8. Dolphins sign Teddy Bridgewater
9. Falcons sign Marcus Mariota
10. Browns sign Jacoby Brissett

To check out the full list and to find out why Cody ranked each move where he did, be sure to click here

5. Top 10 free agents left on the market  

Every Friday, we’ll be closing out the week by taking a look at the biggest names still available in free agency. 

Before free agency started, Pete Prisco made a list of his top 100 free agents for 2022 and as we get ready to enter the THIRD week of wheeling and dealing, seven of his top-30 players are still available. 

The biggest prize left on the market is cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who would be an instant upgrade in the secondary for pretty much any team in the NFL. There’s been some chatter that the Chiefs are interested in Gilmore, but the corner has not given any indication on where he plans to sign. 

With that in mind, let’s check out the 10 highest-ranked players from Prisco’s top 100 list who are still available (they’re listed with the team they played for last season): 

1. CB Stephon Gilmore (Panthers)
2. LB Bobby Wagner (Seahawks)
3. FS Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs)
4. DL Akiem Hicks (Bears)
5. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (Browns)
6. OL Duane Brown (Seahawks)
7. TE Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers)
8. WR Odell Beckham (Rams)
9. EDGE Melvin Ingram (Steelers)
10. CB Patrick Peterson (Vikings)

If you’re going to be way too busy this weekend to keep track of free agency, don’t worry, we’ll do that for you. All you have to do is click here if you want to keep track of where the top free agents will be signing. 

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Broncos stadium catches on fire

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. 

  • Broncos stadium catches fire. If you want to see pictures of what it looks like when an NFL stadium catches on fire, then you’re going to want to click here. The fire began in the suite level of the stadium and then spread to the stands. 
  • Chiefs sign Marquez Valdes-Scantling. It’s been a busy week for the Chiefs at the receiver position. Although they traded away Tyreek Hill, they have now brought in two receivers to help replace him. The first one was JuJu Smith-Schuster and they added another one on Thursday when they signed Valdes-Scantling to a three-year deal worth up to $30 million. The ex-Packers receiver gets to go from catching passes from Aaron Rodgers to catching passes from Patrick Mahomes
  • Johnny Manziel returning to football, but not the NFL. The former Browns quarterback will be playing in something called the FCF this year (The FCF stands for Fan Controlled Football league). Manziel had a brief stint in the league last year, but this one might last a little longer due to the fact that he’s friends with several team owners in the league. 
  • Bears add another quarterback. For some reason, the Bears decided they needed another QB, so they added Trevor Siemian on Thursday night. The former Broncos, Jets and Saints starter has landed a two-year deal in Chicago that will pay him up to $4 million.  
  • Eagles re-sign Derek Barnett. The former first-round pick has been with the Eagles since his rookie year in 2017 and it looks like he’ll be sticking around for a little bit longer after signing a two-year deal with the team. 
  • 2023 NFL Draft date is now set in stone. If you’re planning on attending the 2023 NFL Draft, you can go ahead and mark your calendar. The NFL officially announced on Thursday that the event will be held April 27 thru 29 in Kansas City. 





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