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State of quarterback position entering 2024 NFL season, plus Tee Higgins ends holdout, signs tag with Bengals

Happy Monday, everyone! John Breech is taking time off now that Tee Higgins is secure (more below), so you’ve got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest from around the NFL, right here in the Pick Six newsletter.

Be sure to subscribe right here, to ensure you never miss a daily dose of NFL updates. And keep on reading for everything from contract news to quarterback assessments and much more:

1. State of the QB position: Trends, predictions for 2024

Quarterbacks headline the NFL, but what can their recent track record tell us about their future? Douglas Clawson identified several key signal-caller trends ahead of the 2024 season, including the increasing propensity of quarterbacks to throw shorter passes and lean more on their legs:

The youth movement (at quarterback) has come with growing pains. The league averaged 10.9 yards per completion last year, the fourth straight year it’s been the worst in a season in NFL history. The average pass continues to trickle shorter and shorter as it was 7.7 air yards per attempt in 2023, down a full yard from 2011. 

On the bright side, quarterbacks are more entertaining in other regards. Signal-callers accounted for 16% of teams’ rushes in 2023, the highest rate in NFL history. There have been more 500-yard rushing seasons by quarterbacks in the last 10 years (35) than the previous 90-plus combined (31).

2. Chiefs’ Isaiah Buggs arrested for second time

It’s been a noteworthy offseason for the reigning Super Bowl champions, to say the least. The latest drama: Buggs, a reserve defensive lineman, has been arrested for the second time in as many months, charged Sunday with domestic violence and burglary by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama. Previously detained for alleged animal cruelty in May, Buggs spent the 2023 season on K.C.’s practice squad. He’s yet to appear in a game for the Chiefs, and will be subject to NFL discipline for his off-field transgressions.

3. Tee Higgins ends holdout, signs tag with Bengals

The big-name wide receiver who skipped mandatory minicamp while protesting the franchise tag has reversed course and inked his one-year, $21.8 million tender, as ESPN reported, effectively guaranteeing his return to Cincinnati for 2024. The move isn’t all too surprising, considering the Bengals reportedly rejected Tee Higgins’ private trade requests, but it still has big ripple effects internally, securing Joe Burrow one of his top pass targets, at least for the short term. Higgins had been seeking a lucrative long-term extension.

4. Dolphins, Tagovailoa approaching long-term deal?

Speaking of holdouts, Tua Tagovailoa has been present for Miami’s mandatory activities despite admitted impatience over long-term contract talks. But the Pro Bowl quarterback could be next to cash in, with Trevor Lawrence recently resetting the increasingly lucrative signal-caller market. ESPN reports Tagovailoa and the Dolphins are finally in the same ballpark when it comes to extension negotiations, and it’s possible a new deal could be finalized between the two sides ahead of training camp.

5. Ranking top 10 offseasons: Bears lead the way

Which of the NFL’s 32 teams aced the offseason, upgrading their talent for the 2024 campaign? Josh Edwards reviewed all the biggest moves of the last few months and identified his top 10. Up top? The Chicago Bears:

General manager Ryan Poles did a fantastic job of addressing the present without sacrificing the future. Caleb Williams is the face of the franchise and the organization did everything in its power to surround him with the talent necessary for him to find success early in his career. A No. 1 overall selection may never have stepped into a situation as good as the one Williams has in the Windy City. His collection of pass catchers includes wide receivers D.J. MooreKeenan Allen and Rome Odunze, as well as tight end Cole Kmet. They also added veteran D’Andre Swift as another playmaker in the backfield.

6. Lions sign UFL kicker after 64-yard field goal

The United Football League just wrapped up its 2024 season, and now one of its headlining players is set to return to the field in the NFL: Fresh off a run with the Michigan Panthers that saw him drill a 64-yard field goal, kicker Jake Bates is headed to the Detroit Lions on a two-year contract. Originally undrafted out of Arkansas in 2023, Bates also drew interest from several other NFL teams after his UFL stardom.

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Author: Cody Benjamin
June 17, 2024 | 1:05 pm

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