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June 16, 2021
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1. RODGERS
NEWS
Aaron Rodgers says offseason has been about “enjoying my time and spending it where I want to spend it."
IMPACT
Packers president Mark Murphy recently called Rodgers “a complicated fella.”

But what if Rodgers’ approach to the offseason was really quite simple…

As outlined in Monday’s edition, perhaps Rodgers, who has had his offseason schedule dictated by the Packers for the past fifteen years, simply feels justified in spending this offseason on his own terms.

And it’s hard to argue that he isn’t justified in doing so — he was literally the league’s most valuable player last season and carried his team to the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

The Packers don’t really have the leverage to tell him he doesn’t deserve independence — when their only other options are to start an unprepared Jordan Love (who couldn’t beat out Tim Boyle for the backup job last season) or journeyman backup Blake Bortles.

If the Packers stay respectful over the next month, which they seem to be having a hard time doing (see Mark Murphy’s “complicated fella” comments), it’s certainly possible that Rodgers will be ready to end "his" offseason and show up for training camp.
2. TUA
NEWS
Tua Tagovailoa throws five interceptions on the first day of Dolphins minicamp
IMPACT
After practice, Tagovailoa and HC Brian Flores seem to attribute the interceptions to “aggressive vertical passes” thrown in adverse conditions (practice took place during a rainstorm).

Improving the vertical passing game was an offseason priority for the Dolphins, as Tua averaged only 9.8 yards per completion as a rookie.

GM Chris Grier added speed this offseason in the form of receivers Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller.

But Miami’s investment will be wasted if Tua can’t connect on the deep ball.... and, rain aside, it appears as though he's got a lot of work to do in that area.
3. CARR
NEWS
Carr: “I'd probably quit football if I had to play” for anyone but the Raiders
IMPACT
Carr’s seven-year career with the Raiders has yielded mixed results.

On one hand, he’s the organization’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.

On the other hand, he has a disappointing 47-63 career record and has only led the team to one above .500 season.

Carr was solid last year, completing 67% of his passes for 4,103 yards, and 27 touchdowns. But the Raiders still only managed an 8-8 record.

There is a lot of pressure on Las Vegas to make the playoffs this season, as the Raiders have only been to the postseason once (in 2016) since their Super Bowl loss in 2002.

Another disappointing season (which seems like a real possibility in a division with Pat Mahomes and Justin Herbert) could mean the end of Carr’s time in the silver and black.

The organization reportedly looked into trading for Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers earlier this offseason.
4. HOLDOUTS
NEWS
Seahawks S Jamal Adams, Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore, Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones, Dolphins CB Xavien Howard among notable players not attending mandatory minicamp over contract disputes
IMPACT
Adams wanted a new deal from the Jets last season, they weren’t willing to pay and sent him to Seattle. While he agreed to play out 2020 on his rookie deal, he wants a long-term deal for 2021. The Seahawks have virtually no leverage, as they gave up two first-round picks to get him.

Adams was a difference-maker in Seattle, recording the most sacks (9.5) by a defensive back in NFL history. It's hard to imagine a deal not getting done before the start of the season.

Howard actually signed a 5-year, $72 million extension with the Dolphins last year but went on to have monster season (league-leading 10 interceptions) and now wants to be paid even more. Dolphins HC Brian Flores said the team “wants to keep” Howard in Miami but called the situation "unique."

Jones and Gilmore on the other hand are more complicated. As both are over the age of 30 and coming off injury-plagued seasons. Neither the Patriots (in the case of Gilmore) or the Cardinals (in the case of Jones) have indicated a willingness to work out an agreement.
5. GILMORE
LEGIT QUESTION
Which teams could have interest in trading for Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore?
LEGIT TAKE
Assuming Belichick would only trade Gilmore to an NFC team… the Cardinals, Vikings, and 49ers
The Cardinals have been aggressive in upgrading their defense this offseason, adding DE J.J. Watt in free agency and LB Zaven Collins in the first round of the draft. But they could still use help in the secondary and Gilmore would be an excellent fit. Though the Cardinals would ultimately have to choose between paying Gilmore or Chandler Jones (who is holding out for a new contract).

The Vikings allowed the seventh-most passing yards in the league last season. They added CB Patrick Peterson in the offseason, which should help, but Gilmore would take the secondary up another level.

The 49ers have a solid veteran in Justin Verrett, but after him they have one of the more unproven cornerback depth charts in the league. Gilmore would be an immediate upgrade and help the 49ers defend against a division full of excellent quarterbacks (Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, Kyler Murray).

A few more possibilities...

The Cowboys are in desperate need of secondary help and Jerry Jones might view Gilmore as a missing puzzle piece type player.

Washington already has a top defense, but Gilmore could take them from great to truly dominant.

The Patriots have the cap space to work something out and it’s still too early to rule out some sort of compromise.
BONUS NEWS
Mac Jones took more first-team reps than Cam Newton at Patriots minicamp, “was the best quarterback on the field for the secondary in a row.”
Bears HC Matt Nagy totally committed to Andy Dalton as Week 1 starter
Toss the Pigskin with Peter King
May 31, 2021
Peter King Interview
Credit: NBC Sports Group
Football’s most iconic writer sits down with Legit Football.
What’s the best football game you’ve ever witnessed?
I’d have to say the Giants’ victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. Not because it was a great game — it really wasn’t, except for the mastery of Phil Simms going 12 for 25 in it. My family is from Connecticut, and my dad was an ardent Giants fan, and he died the previous year. This was an emotional game for me; I thought of my father throughout. I don’t root, but I was happy the Giants won and thought how happy he’d have been to see it. This is a tough question, because I’ve covered the game for 37 years. So I’ll go to the only game I was emotionally invested in.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about being a sports writer?
I had a professor at Ohio University, Roger Bennett, who once told me: Your job is to take people where they cannot go, and teach them things they’d don’t know. That’s how I’ve tried to live my journalism career. My favorite stories are the ones where I’m behind the curtain … taking a bus cross-country with John Madden in 1990, being in draft rooms 11 times over the years to see some real drama, embedding with Carson Palmer for a week in the life of a quarterback in 2015, embedding with Gene Steratore’s officiating crew in 2013 to tell the story of what officials’ jobs and lives are like.
What’s been your proudest moment as a sports writer?
Getting hired at Sports Illustrated in 1989 is one, and entering the National Sports Media Hall of Fame in 2019 is another. But what makes me proudest, I think, is when I write a story that I know is important and hasn’t been done before.
Name a team that could surprise in 2021.
Chargers. I think Justin Herbert will lead them to the playoffs using the Saints’ system of new coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Who’s been the most entertaining football player or coach you’ve covered so far?
Easy. Brett Favre. Back in the day, when I first met him 26 years ago, we had the kind of relationship that is hard to build today with so many gatekeepers between teams and players. I used to spend time with him, lots of time, every time in Green Bay. Went on a grouse hunt with him one time, just to watch him, and he was a riot. “Here Grous-y!” he’d call, like he was calling his dog.
What’s the last series you streamed on Netflix?
Call The Midwife. An unexpected surprise.
If you could only listen to one artist or band for the rest of your life, who would you choose?
Beatles.
Do you believe in aliens?
Oh, stop.
Recommend a favorite charity or cause.
Write on Sports, a New Jersey-based charity that helps middle-schoolers falling behind with literacy. I believe in trying to help your little corner of the world.
Please nominate a fellow football writer to take part in a future Toss the Pigskin:
Sam Farmer of the LA Times.
LINKS
Football Morning in America
Twitter: @peter_king
Peter King Podcast
Write on Sports
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By Nate Ebner and Paul Daugherty
THE TOP FIVE STORIES IN FOOTBALL.
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