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Ranking the NFL’s top 100 players, plus why June 1 is a big day for Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones

I’m not sure if I blacked out for the first five months of the year, but it is somehow already June, and this year that’s extra notable because now that it’s June 1, that means we’re exactly 100 days away from the start of the 2021 NFL season. 

Pete Prisco loves to celebrate things so to help us celebrate the fact that the new NFL season is just 100 days away, he decided to release his latest top 100 rankings. If you’re not familiar with Prisco’s top 100, it’s pretty simple: Every year, he locks himself in a small room and doesn’t come out until he’s ranked the NFL’s top 100 players. 

We’ll be covering those rankings plus we’ll go over why June 1 is such a big day when it comes to Aaron Rodgers or Julio Jones possibly getting traded. We’ll also be laughing at the one team that isn’t expected to win a game this year, so let’s get to the rundown. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share the link. 

1. Today’s show: Week 1 games worth betting now plus NFL MVP favorites

With Pete Prisco’s ranking of the top 100 players coming out today, the plan was to have him join Will Brinson for Tuesday’s episode of the podcast, but apparently, Prisco doesn’t “do” podcasts. I’m not sure what that means, but my theory is that Prisco doesn’t understand any technology that’s more complicated than a rotary telephone, which is why he decided to sit out today’s episode. 

Instead, Brinson was joined by R.J. White and the two of them had a nice long conversation about how YOU can make some money gambling on the 2021 NFL season. White is one of the top NFL prognosticators in the country and during his conversation with Brinson, they talked about Week 1 games that you should think about betting now so that you can get the best value. The two also talked about the betting favorites to win MVP in 2021. 

We’re going to cover everything here, so let’s start with White’s picks for MVP: 

Dak was actually my pick for MVP last year and I might have jinxed him because he didn’t even make it to Week 6 before he got injured. 

As for those early Week 1 bets, here’s what White likes so far: 

  • Cleveland at Kansas City: Chiefs (-6) to cover against the Browns
  • Baltimore at Las Vegas: Ravens (-4) to cover against the Raiders
  • Seattle at Indianapolis: Colts (-2.5) to cover against the Seahawks

White also offered five more Week 1 picks, but to get those, you’ll have to listen to today’s show and if you want to do that, be sure to click here. 

2. Prisco’s top 100 players heading into 2021  

Pete Prisco hasn’t returned any of my texts over the past three weeks and although I initially thought he was ignoring me, it appears there was a way more logical explanation: He was busy working on his list of the NFL’s top 100 players.  

Ranking NFL players might seem like an easy job, but it’s really not, so I’m going to give Prisco a congratulatory pat on the back for getting this list done. Also, I’m giving him a pat on the back because no one on Twitter is going to. This list has only been out for roughly two hours and the entire Browns fan base has already turned against him because he left Baker Mayfield off the list. 

So who did make it? 

Let’s check out the top 10, which is very quarterback heavy. 

1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
2. Aaron Donald (Rams)
3. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
4. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
5. Travis Kelce (Chiefs)
6. T.J. Watt (Steelers)
7. Davante Adams (Packers)
8. Russell Wilson (Seahawks)
9. Myles Garrett (Browns)
10. Josh Allen (Bills)

The Chiefs and Packers both had three players in the top 15, which was the most in the league. Overall, the Buccaneers had the most players on Prisco’s list with seven guys in the top 100. To check out every player on Prisco’s list, be sure to click here. If you want to complain to Prisco because he left your favorite player off the list, then you can do that by clicking here and heading to his Twitter account. 

3. Why June 1 is a big day for Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones 

Now that the calendar has hit June 1, that means it’s going to be a lot easier for Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones to get traded. Due to the rules governing the salary cap, the Falcons and Packers would have had to take on a gigantic cap hit if they had tried to make a trade before June 1. 

For instance, if Atlanta had traded Jones before June 1, the Falcons would have had to take on a $23.25 million cap hit. However, with any potential trade now coming after June 1, they can spread out the hit over two years with $7.75 million in 2021 and $15.5 million in 2022. In Rodgers’ situation, the Packers would have taken on a $38.356 million cap hit if the trade went down before June 1. However, with any potential trade now coming after June 1, they can spread out the hit over two years with $21.15 million in 2021 and $17.2 million in 2022.

We covered Jones situation in-depth yesterday, so let’s take a quick look at where things stand with Rodgers: 

  • Packers are insisting they won’t trade him. According to The Athletic, the only way the Packers will trade Rodgers is if they believe he’s “truly committed to never playing for them again” and they don’t believe that yet. The team is basically calling Rodgers’ bluff and daring him to make a public statement declaring that he wants to be traded, which he definitely hasn’t done. As a matter of fact, just last week, he mentioned that he loves everything about the team… although he noticeably left out the front office when he listed the things he loves about the Packers. 
  • Top trade candidates. When all the drama started, it was reported that Rodgers wanted to be traded to one of three teams: the 49ers, Raiders or Broncos. At this point, we can probably take the 49ers out of the equation, which means the Raiders and Broncos are probably the best bets with Denver being the team that probably makes the most sense. 
  • Patrick Mahomes would welcome Rodgers to the AFC West. If Rodgers does end up in the AFC West, Mahomes is ready for the challenge. “Obviously, it’d be awesome,” Mahomes told Bleacher Report when asked about the possibility of Rodgers possibly heading to his division. “To have that challenge two times a year, every single year, would be a great opportunity. I mean, he’s a heck of a football player. He’s been doing it for a long time that I’ve watched play and learned a lot from. If he came to the AFC West, it would just make it a little tougher for us, but we’re up to the challenge.” 

With 100 days to go until the NFL season starts, we still have no idea where Rodgers (or Jones) will be playing next year, which means the next 100 days could get a little crazy.  

4. Why Falcons probably won’t get their asking price for Julio Jones

When the Falcons eventually trade Julio Jones, the team is hoping to get at least a first-round pick in return, but they might want to lower their asking price because it’s not going to be easy for them to get the kind of compensation, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. 

The Falcons basically have two things working against them in any potential Jones trade. For one, most teams view the move as a salary dump, which means other teams know that Atlanta is desperate to get rid of Jones so they would have no reason to make a high offer. The other thing working against the Falcons is that Jones is 32 years old and most teams aren’t going to want to give up a first-round pick for a player who is eight months away from turning 33.

From La Canfora: 

“The Falcons have been peddling a 32-year old receiver who has hurt much of last year, desperate to get a first-round pick, with a small handful of teams monitoring the situation and mostly scoffing at the entire process.

You can try to masquerade a salary dump as a high-value football trade in the media (apparently with great success). But you can’t with other front offices, and, sadly for the Falcons, Bill O’Brien is not running an NFL team anymore. 

Seems to me, there aren’t that many teams eager to pay $20M for receivers.”

At some point over the past week, it was leaked out that the Falcons had an offer on the table for Jones that involved a first-round pick. If the Falcons had that kind of offer on the table and didn’t take it, their entire front office should be fired, because it’s starting to seem unlikely that like a first-round pick is going to happen unless it’s a unique trade (The Falcons trading Jones and a third-round pick for a first-round pick would qualify as a unique trade. Yes, the Falcons would get a first-round pick in a deal like that, but they had to give up a lot to get it).

5. Predicting Washington’s final record for 2021 

Now that the month of June is here, that means the dead part of the NFL offseason is almost upon us and although things can get kind of boring during that period, we’re going to keep things spicy around here by going through and predicting every game on each team’s 2021 schedule. 

There are 32 teams and we’ll be doing one team per day until we make it through every team. Today, we’re taking a closer look at Washington. 

Our Jordan Dajani went through the Football Team’s entire schedule and picked out all the games they’re going to win and all the games they’re going to lose. After watching them take home the NFC East crown in 2020, Dajani thinks Washington is only going to get better this year. 

Here’s a look at how he sees Washington doing in seven key games: 

  • Week 1: Chargers at Washington. “The Ron Rivera era started off with a bang last year — as Washington defeated the Eagles by 10 points after trailing by 17 in the second quarter — so don’t be surprised if it happens again” Prediction: Washington 24-20 over Chargers. 
  • Week 6: Chiefs at Washington. “Patrick Mahomes vs. Washington’s defense should make for an exciting game, but you can’t pick against Kansas City here.” Prediction: Chiefs 30-24 over Washington. 
  • Weeks 14-18: NFC East opponents. Washington will be closing the season with five straight divisional games, which marks the first time since 1995 that a team has had to play five consecutive divisional games to close a season. In those five key games, Dajani has them going 4-1. Prediction: Washington 25-21 over Cowboys (Week 14), Washington 30-13 over Eagles (Week 15), Cowboys 28-26 over Washington (Week 16), Washington 24-20 over Eagles (Week 17), Washington 30-28 over Giants (Week 18). 

Overall, Dajani is predicting that Washington will end the season with a 10-7 record, which is interesting, because 10 wins will likely be enough to win the NFC East. If Washington does win the division for the second straight year, that would make them the first NFC East team SINCE 2004 to repeat as division champs.  

If you want to see Dajani’s prediction for each game, click here to check out his entire story. 

6. Texans are going 0-17 if the oddsmakers are right

On paper, the Texans are definitely the worst team in the NFL this year and if you’re wondering how bad things might get, well, let’s just say if the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are right, the Texans might go 0-17. The SuperBook in Vegas released its point spreads for every regular season game being played this year and the Texans are favored to win exactly zero of them. That’s right, there are 17 games and they are in an underdog in every game. 

Let’s take a quick look at two of the most notable games: 

  • Biggest underdog week for Texans: at Buffalo (Week 4). In this game, the Texans are a 14-point underdog to the Bills. Overall, the Texans are a double-digit underdog in five of their 17 games. To put that in perspective, there are only 11 games on the entire NFL schedule all year where a team is a double-digit underdog and the Texans are the underdog in five of them. 
  • Smallest underdog week for Texans: vs. Jets (Week 12). In this game, the Jets only opened as a one-point favorite, which says more about the Jets than it does about the Texans. Clearly, the oddsmakers aren’t really expecting much from either team. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there isn’t a single team that’s favored to win all 17 of its games. The Chiefs are favored to win 16 of 17, but they’e a pick’em in their Week 2 game against the Ravens. As for the defending Super Bowl champs, the Buccaneers are favored to win 15 of their 17 games. Tampa Bay is a one-point underdog on the road against the Rams in Week 3. The Bucs are also a pick’em against the Colts in Week 12.