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Patrick Mahomes headlines Pete Prisco’s Top 100 Players of 2024; more fuel to Brandon Aiyuk trade rumors

Hello, fine people of the internet and welcome back to the Pick Six newsletter. It’s your friend Tyler Sullivan here to get you caught up on all the latest news in the NFL on this beautiful Tuesday. Why is it beautiful you ask? Well, my Boston Celtics won the NBA title last night, so I am in a particularly great mood. 

Before I spend my entire paycheck on championship gear, let’s get back to football and roll through today’s jam-packed newsletter. We have Pete Prisco’s top 100 players list to get to, more fuel to the Brandon Aiyuk trade rumors, and much more. Of course, make sure to subscribe right here, so you never miss a second of NFL updates.

Alrighty, let’s get to it! 

1. Pete Prisco’s Top 100 Players of 2024

It’s that time of the year again when our guy Pete Prisco unveils his top 100 players in the NFL. It probably comes as no surprise that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and defending back-to-back Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes headlines the list. Prisco asks the question that if Mahomes does the impossible and helps make K.C. the NFL’s first-ever three-peat Super Bowl champion, could we already start calling him the best ever? Meanwhile, Browns pass rusher and defending Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett is the top defensive player on the list. 

Here’s a quick look at the top 10 on Prisco’s list: 

  1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
  3. Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers
  4. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
  5. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
  7. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
  8. Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
  9. Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
  10. Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

One of Prisco’s big takeaways while compiling this list was, as he notes, “how obvious it is that the league is in transition” with the old guard fading back with a new young crop emerging. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see how different this list could look in a year from now. 

To see Prisco’s entire story, click here

2. AFC North chosen for HBO’s in-season ‘Hard Knocks’ series

For the first time ever, an entire division will be the subject of HBO’s in-season version of the “Hard Knocks” docuseries. And that division will be the AFC North. The NFL and HBO announced on Monday that the division which is home to the Bengals, Ravens, Steelers and Browns will be the focus subject. 

This in-season version of “Hard Knocks” began in 2021 and focused on a singular team for its first three seasons on the air, starting with the Colts. Now, they are expanding that view, and what better division than the AFC North where every team was above .500 in 2023, and three of them were able to reach the playoffs? The division also doesn’t lack star power as it features defending MVP Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett and more. 

This is a return to “Hard Knocks” for the Ravens, who were the first-ever team featured in the series when it debuted its flagship training camp edition in 2001. The Bengals have been featured twice (2009 and 2013), while the Browns have been on once (2018). This is the first time the Steelers will be under the “Hard Knocks” spotlight. 

3. Brandon Aiyuk says the 49ers ‘don’t want me back’

Even with the NFL entering its hibernation period for the summer, there are still some lingering storylines that could pop up over the next few months. That includes what feels like a dissolving situation surrounding the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. He was the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason as he continued to look for a long-term extension, but no blockbuster had been struck. 

While, at this period on the calendar, it would seem like a trade is unlikely, we do have a development that could pour some fuel and move things in that direction. A video posted on what appears to be Aiyuk’s TikTok account shows the receiver talking to former college teammate and current Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels. Aiyuk can be heard telling Daniels that “they don’t want me back.” 

The “they” in Aiyuk’s comments has been perceived to be the 49ers. 

With this latest chapter in this saga now written, our own Cody Benjamin — who has been doing the heavy lifting with this newsletter in John Breech’s absence — compiled a list of landing spots for Aiyuk if the Niners do ultimately decide to move off of him. 

Here are two of Benjamin’s five landing spots for the star receiver: 

  • Washington Commanders: Is it a coincidence Aiyuk vented about his contract holdup to new Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels? No, because the two were once teammates at Arizona State. Now how about a reunion? Terry McLaurin is already well-paid as the No. 1 for Washington, but new coach Dan Quinn has prioritized veteran depth this offseason, and there are other San Francisco ties in D.C., where ex-49ers staffers, including Commies general manager Adam Peters, now reside.
  • New England Patriots: Aiyuk may not be itching to hop aboard a rebuilding team after enjoying four years of playoff contention in the Bay Area. New England has money to spare, however, boasting $45 million in cap space under new coach Jerod Mayo, plus a flashy quarterback of the future in Drake Maye. Desperately lacking a bona fide No. 1, the Pats might be best-positioned to outbid competition. 

To read the rest of Cody’s landing spots for Aiyuk, click here

Nowadays, there’s not too much wiggle room when it comes to rookie contracts as the deals are largely predetermined depending on where you slot in. However, the Chargers and rookie wideout Ladd McConkey did make some history on Monday night when they came to an agreement on his deal. 

Per NFL Media, the two sides agreed on a four-year contract that will give McConkey the most guaranteed money in NFL history for the 34th overall pick. McConkey received more guaranteed money than current Lions tight end Sam LaPorta, who was the 34th pick in 2023. Christian Watson, Michael Pittman and Donovan Smith are some other notable former 34th overall picks.

With his guaranteed money now in hand, McConkey will head into his rookie season as possibly the go-to target for Justin Herbert

5. Jayden Daniels ‘further along’ than most young QBs

All eyes will be on this year’s rookie quarterback class, which includes Washington’s Jayden Daniels. The No. 2 overall pick has impressed throughout the offseason program and, while Dan Quinn has not yet named a starter, he could start to rival to climb atop the Commanders depth chart sooner rather than later. Quinn even noted recently that Daniels is “further along than you probably should be.” 

“There’s no doubt that Jayden’s making unbelievable progress here,” said Quinn. “It was really clear that he’s put in the work. He’s got a swagger to him. He really has a very firm handle on the things that we’re doing, but he also has the humility of a young player … knowing he has a lot to prove.”

Not only is Quinn high on his new QB, but so is his offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who coached No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams at USC last year. 

“His football IQ is really high,” Kingsbury said. “[With] protections, I’ve been really impressed by that. A lot of guys coming into the league, that’s not an area that they major in in college. They don’t have a lot of time. But he’s well-versed in protections and works at it.”

6. Extra points: Browns GM gives update on Watson, more news

Want more NFL news? Here are some other noteworthy headlines from across the league:

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Author: Tyler Sullivan
June 18, 2024 | 1:20 pm

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