Live from the police show yet not overly ostentatious studios of CBS Sports Radio here in beautiful New York City sitting on top of the 10th floor 345 Hudson Street. Welcome on in to another week, another Monday edition of the Zach Gelb show across all of our great local CBS Sports Radio affiliates, Sirius XM, Channel 158 and that free Odyssey app. 855-212-4CBS is numbered to jump on in.
855-212-4227. You can also always get at me on Instagram where I'm straight flexing or via the good old cesspool of Twitter at Zach Gelb. That's Z-A-C-H-G-E-L-B and back from his week long bougie vacation, which I found a lot about the hickey family this past weekend is no other than hot take hickey. I don't know about that hot take hickey. So I knew your dad is a one of 10. But I did not know that all the hickeys each and every year go to some destination on a vacation. You guys rented out 10 different condos, the bougie hickey family and you had like 70 hickey members out there in Montauk. That was impressive.
Just following the pictures on social media. That's right. That's right. A big gathering. Thankfully, everyone is for the most part still around so you could be there. And it's a once a year thing when you have that many people. Do you actually like all your relatives? Because in smaller families, not everyone loves their relatives.
When you have a family that long. Do you get along with everyone? Do you even know everyone? How many people are there? It looks like you have like 70 people, a college football team there. There were a few missing. So I don't know the exact number, but when everyone's together, it's about 45. Something like that. 40, 45.
I really should know the exact number, but I do not. Is there anyone that you kind of just try to avoid? You go, OK, I don't want to talk to that relative.
Honestly, no. For how big the family is, I swear there actually is no drama. There's never any fights. I mean, we get together way more than once.
A year anyway, but there's really there's no fights. You guys all agree like you're a picky eater. People don't get annoyed with you. We know about what to eat for dinner.
We're not going to be starting a food fight or a screaming match over my decision not to eat the muscles and people are saying eat the muscles. But all those family members together kind of turns into an episode of the late great Jerry Springer show. That's kind of what I was envisioning. No, no. Although maybe Jerry still showing the year. I was gonna say if not, he could maybe come over, but unfortunately he passed away. Did he really? Yeah, so that's bad job by me. Still in vacation mode. Sorry Jerry. RIP.
Yeah, no, that was in April right around the draft. He did pass away in 2023, so there's no real housewives or or real family chaos. On Long Island, but with the hickey family, everyone just gets along and is prim and proper.
Listen, when you're on the beach, it's hard to get frustrated or get into a fight. OK, so let's get into this. The big news over the weekend.
Well, there's a lot. Just recently, the 4 PM Eastern Time deadline was on the table for players that get franchise tag to reach a long term extension. We know running backs always a hot topic. Say Quan Barkley.
No long term extension. If he's going to play this year, it's going to be on the tag. That's where all these players Josh Jacobs as well. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys, as I've been saying for awhile, not surprised. Tony Pollard didn't get a long term deal. Not surprised that Josh Jacobs didn't get a long term deal. Say Quan Barkley. I am somewhat surprised, because once you make that decision to pay Daniel Jones, I thought you should have found a way whether you boost up the guaranteed money and make it an easy out of that contract and front load the money to not have someone that's so imperative for Daniel Jones is success, unhappy, and we'll see what fires from that.
There's a whole lot that we have to react to on that front. We will do so actually with an NFL running back who has his own contract situation. Austin Eckler, who's going to join us 15 minutes from now, and Elijah Molden will debut first in gold today will preview the Tennessee Titans.
Elijah Molden, their third year cornerback will join us and let's start with Tennessee today because yesterday I'm at a housewarming party for a buddy of mine and delicious food. You got Chicken Club sandwiches. You got chicken fingers. There was a whole lot of chicken. And I absolutely loved it. Great dessert stand as well. Make your own Sunday.
Really good job by my buddy Jordan and his girlfriend putting on this really good housewarming event. And as I'm sitting there, one of my buddies goes, Did you see DeAndre Hopkins just signed? And for a second I got really excited. I go, Okay, is he gonna go to my Patriots? He goes to the Tennessee Titans on a two year deal for $26 million, and it's worth up to $32 million.
So let's look at this from a Tennessee standpoint. It is frustrating that he lands in Tennessee for multiple reasons, but the biggest reason of them all is I don't know what direction this franchise is heading into because you have Derrick Henry, who still has some prime years left. I know last year had to deal with injuries, but he's still an elite running back in the NFL. But you look at the rest of the roster. They'll be a gritty team, but they're never gonna be a team that you look at and you go.
Oh, I'm shaking in my boots. Even though they have respect in the NFL that you think they're gonna be a serious contender to go do damage in the postseason, and they had their window and they had five or six straight winning seasons above 500 seasons before last year, where they started off seven and three, and they didn't win a game down the stretch, and they finished off the season at seven and 10. But the wildly frustrating part with Tennessee is for the last few years. You have the corner quarterback.
Don't get me wrong. Ryan Tannehill is not awful, but he's not great. He is an above average quarterback in the NFL, and they had a window, but you didn't have the right quarterback to go elevate this team.
And you still don't. And we all know that John Robinson lost his job as the general manager. And I said this at the draft two years ago when he decided to make an idiotic decision to not pay AJ Brown, try to reset the market, draft Burks, the wide receiver, and look at the year that AJ Brown just had.
So now, a year later, John Robinson out of a job, ran Karthon, the new general manager is in, and you look at this team. Yes, you know that Derrick Henry is still elite, but he's a year older. And now you're bringing in DeAndre Hopkins, who's 31, coming off a PED suspension, but had a really good year after returning when he had to miss the first six games of the season.
So you bring in a receiver in a putrid wide receiving room, so it gives you that message that you're trying everything, you're leaving no stone unturned to go for it. But does anyone actually think that this team in a loaded AFC, when you have the likes of the reigning Super Bowl champions and the Kansas City Chiefs, you have the Cincinnati Bengals, you have the AFC East, which is loaded with talent with the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins. You have the Baltimore Ravens with Lamar Jackson, you even have the Chargers who are loaded with weapons on the offensive side of the ball. How is Tennessee going to make the playoffs? Tennessee will be gritty. But if they don't win the division, I don't think that they're going to make a wildcard spot. And yes, right now I would put a lot of money on the Jacksonville Jaguars winning that division. But if the Jaguars don't win that division, Tennessee is going to be right there. Tennessee, this upcoming year, they could go be an eight to ten win team. But if you look at the entire landscape of the AFC, let's just say for argument's sakes right now, Buffalo wins the AFC East, the Bengals win the AFC North, the South goes to Jacksonville, and the AFC West goes to Kansas City.
You only got three spots left. And I would take just for starters right now, the Jets, the Dolphins, the Chargers, the Ravens, and maybe even the Steelers to be better than Tennessee. So if you look back, it almost would have been better if Tennessee just never traded AJ Brown to begin with, and they still could have made this move. Because you have a quarterback that has his problems, you take away his best wide receiving weapon, you get off to a hot start last year, then injuries catch up to them. You have Henry Tannehill getting older and not like anyone has looked at him and thinks that he's going to be this franchise quarterback. And now you're bringing in an older DeAndre Hopkins. Imagine they had AJ Brown and DeAndre Hopkins, but they don't.
So some of these younger wide receivers are going to have to step up. But Hickey, that's the frustrating part for me, because I look at this team and they had a window where they impress, they overachieved, they were a threat at times in the AFC. You know, whether you believe in them or not, they went to an AFC championship game and at one point worked by 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but they never capitalize off that window with a heck of a coaching job by Mike Vrabel to get the right quarterback.
And there's only so much that Ryan Tannehill could do, and so far Ryan Tannehill could take you. And the last two years, and this will bleed over into this year, they keep on trying. Like last year, they sent a horrible message getting rid of AJ Brown. They could keep on trying, but I think this ship has already sailed where you bring in DeAndre Hopkins, and let's be real from the DeAndre Hopkins perspective, you just took wherever the most money was.
And I don't blame you if you're a player and you do that, but when DeAndre Hopkins says he wants to win, we all know money and we all know being the number one weapon was prioritized more over a winning situation. And you could talk yourself into Tennessee being a winner, but we all know the odds are against Tennessee. Forget winning the division this year, but even making the playoffs this year. And I would assume that it's more likely than not that they're going to be on the outside looking in in a loaded AFC where they could be a gritty team, they could be a tough team, but no one's going to look at them and expect them to be a force to be reckoned with. It feels like Tennessee is chasing ghosts, if you will. They're still holding on to 2019 or even still holding on to the 7-3 start that they got off to last year when you look around the AFC, a lot of teams have gotten better. They have marginally upgraded, and it's also an older roster where you mentioned before about Ryan Tannehill, and obviously that's been one of the bigger hindrances for this offense and why they haven't been explosive or even been able to be a legitimate threat in the AFC.
And it's like, okay, this is Tannehill's last year. If they move on from him, even if you go in the draft, which is done the last two years, don't know how that's going to work out if you go three years in a row, they're not attractive for any other sort of veteran quarterback because you've got an aging running back and an aging wide receiver. No, they don't have a lot where you look at outside of just a really good football coach where you start to say, man, if I'm a quarterback that's disgruntled on another team, I've got to go to Tennessee. The only way they become really attractive, if let's just say CJ Stroud stinks, Anthony Richardson stinks with those two teams inside the division, and maybe Jacksonville regressing, you think it's just an easy division.
That could be the only way you could really talk me into it. So the poll question today, the Titans this year will win the AFC South, be a wildcard team or miss the playoffs. Early returns, 11% say win the South, 21% say be a wildcard team, and the overwhelming majority, 68%, say miss the playoffs. So Tennessee's a team that is a fringe playoff team, but you don't believe in their quarterback.
Hickey has compiled the list here. Let's go through a few of these teams of teams that are fringe playoff teams that have questionable quarterbacks, and I'll give you my thoughts on them. Take it away. The Denver Broncos. Man, well, Russell Wilson a few years ago would not have been perceived to be a quarterback that you didn't have a lot of confidence in. I think the AFC and the AFC West is just too good this year for Denver to make the playoffs. They have a phenomenal defense, but offensively a lot that is left to be desired. Where you're hoping that Russell Wilson has a bounce back year.
Sure, Sean Payton is a phenomenal coach. I think you have a lot of overrated wide receivers and you're relying on a running back who I like in Javonte Williams that is coming off an ACL where he missed the majority of last season. So I'm out on the Denver Broncos this year. The New England Patriots.
Furious with my football team. I wanted DeAndre Hopkins. And I said before the offseason started that for this offseason to be a success, the hoodie had to go get a legit offensive coordinator and then a number one wide receiver.
He did not do that in terms of the ladder. He got Bill O'Brien, but he didn't get DeAndre Hopkins. And it just shows you as much as I love Bill Belichick and have the utmost respect for Bill Belichick, that he's still operating as if he has Tom Brady. You look around the league, what Josh Allen and the Bills have done, what Jalen Hurts and the Eagles have done. They had a young quarterback that people were questioning. And then those regimes got them number one and number two wide receivers. That has not happened for the Patriots where at best you have JuJu Smith-Schuster as a two in this league. They needed a number one wide receiver and they failed.
And Kraft said, all the money out there for Bill to use, he has all the resources. And Bill Belichick didn't give DeAndre Hopkins an offer that he couldn't refuse. That's a bad job by the Patriots. I'm not high on them this year. I think just because of Belichick they could go win eight or nine games. But I don't think they're going to put their quarterback in the best position to succeed. And I think this team is going to be on the outside looking in at a loaded AFCs.
The Green Bay Packers. Let's hear from Kenny Clark. He joined us last week.
And this is Kenny Clark talking about what Jordan Love, their quarterback, has proven so far. Man, he's just been steady. He's coming in, coming in to work. He's going to be a great player.
Excited about everything that he brings to our team. He's definitely like a leader. He comes in every single day and works.
Works his ass off. I think that's what the guys respect about him. That's what everybody loves about him.
He's got that quiet, you know, that quiet swag, that quiet just confidence. And, you know, everybody feeds off of that. So, can't wait to get out there with Jordan. And I also ask Kenny Clark if he feels like the Packers are getting disrespected heading into this season. Yeah, 100 percent. But that's cool. I like it that way. You know, this has been one of the first off-seasons where, you know, we ain't really been getting the credit, getting the love. You know, everybody says, Aaron, that determines the factor whether we win or lose.
So, you know, we love it, man. We're going to embrace it. And, you know, when the season get here, you know, we'll see how everything stacks up.
But we're excited about it. I'm starting to buy into a little bit in the Packers making the playoffs this year. The NFC is not that strong. You have good guys on the defensive side of the ball.
They just have to be more consistent. But I like Kenny Clark. I like J.R. Alexander. An offensive line that was injured last year. And then you have Christian Watson. You have Aaron Jones and A.J.
Dillon. And remember, I'm not saying that Jordan Love is going to be this, but Patrick Mahomes first full year as a starter, won an MVP. Lamar Jackson first full year as a starter, won an MVP. It's not impossible for a first year starter to have success.
It's a major question mark with Love. But if he plays above average football, that Packers team can sneak into the playoffs in a weak NFC. Next team.
The Washington Commanders. It comes down to their quarterback in Sam Howell. I think they have a really good roster.
I don't trust Sam Howell. I think this team will be on the outside looking in. But they're very close to being that third team in the NFC East and doing what the Giants potentially did last year. If they could put their quarterback in a better position. The Pittsburgh Steelers. I think the Steelers bare minimum are going to be a 9 or 10 win team just because of who their coach is. And they have so many names that were hurt last year on the defensive side of the ball.
It comes down to will there be a spot available. But I like the Steelers heading into this year. And Kenny Pickett showed me a lot down the stretch. You have Najee Harris and you also have Pickens, the big wide receiver.
And Fryer Muth as well. The Steelers team has talent and I think they're getting slept on heading into this season. It is the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio. When we come on back, we will chat about the Chargers upcoming season. And also get Austin Eckler's take on why running backs aren't getting paid around the NFL. You're listening to the Zach Gelb show. Alrighty, we continue this Zach Gelb show coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio.
We'll head out to the guest line right now. Welcome in Chargers star running back in Austin Eckler. And by the way, the Austin Eckler Foundation just last week unveiled the new state of the art high school gym. And Austin is kind enough to join us right now. Austin, always great to talk to you.
Appreciate the time. How you been? Man, been doing great. As you said, getting back in the community. Making my footprint where I can. Hopefully help some people out.
Become the best version of themselves. And really off season has been great. But looking forward to training camp coming up here next week. Yeah, I was reading about it. Tell me a little bit about this new state of the art gym. Yeah, so really with my foundation, the Austin Eckler Foundation. We're taking tangible resources, putting them back into the community. Whether that's upgrading something that's already there or replacing something.
Or even putting something that maybe hasn't been there. That ranges from washers and dryers at schools. Football equipment. School supplies.
Bags for the homeless. Weight rooms. We've done two weight rooms now for a couple of high schools. So just different types of tangible things that we're continuing to put back in.
And as I said, really things that people have to go and actually use to get the benefits out of that. So for example, we just finished Long Beach Poly's weight room. And I tell these kids, I'm like, this is a great weight room, but it's only a tool.
And if you don't use the tool, you don't gain all the skills. And there's so many different transferable skills that you can learn and practice in the weight room. And so that's why it's one of my favorite projects. And looking forward to continue to do more.
So yeah, you can check us out at AustinEckler.com. You can see all of our different projects and all the things that we're putting back to the community to make this place a little bit better. You do a great job interacting with your fans and also doing a good job setting an example and being a good role model. I'm just curious, when you were growing up as a kid, who were some of your favorite players?
Because now you're in that position where you get it all the time. Kids come up to you and they say, oh, I absolutely love your game, Austin Ecklund. I'm a big fan.
Yeah, you know, it's pretty unique for me, actually, because I grew up out in the country, out in Colorado. So I didn't watch the NFL growing up. So I didn't really look up to any players. I didn't even think about the NFL. I didn't know I was going to be in the NFL. I have this new story.
I've been doing some speaking. And one of my taglines is there is how I accidentally made it to the NFL. And that's really what happened. It wasn't necessarily an accident, but more of a result of the work that I was putting in. I was continuing to build up my capacity and the mental support, mental spot and the aspect and the physical aspect in the weight room. And then, you know, on the field and the sports that I was playing. And I was able to continue to build it. And so what I looked up to and who I looked up to were people that were just doing that.
Like who's continuing to progress? Like I really looked up to a concept more than an actual individual, if that makes sense. I guess I've seen it for both ways. Right. We've all seen the player that's been told from the start they're going to be a star from day one and they find a way to get to that level and be as good as advertised. But I always like those stories when someone is overlooked and someone's told they can't do this, they can't do that. And that chip and that motivation is always just sitting on your shoulder and you keep on proving people wrong, which makes a great story.
Yeah. And for me, I never had like people saying you won't make it, but it was more so the actions of the next level. For example, going into college, I had zero Division one schools come talk to me. So it wasn't like people were telling me, oh, you can't make it. It was just it wasn't an option. Yeah, like they're not they're showing me with their actions.
No, you're not good enough. And then obviously it wasn't drafted or anything like that. But I have this saying it's undrafted, underestimated, but unfazed. And so it didn't matter to me because guess what? I was continuing to build to push forward. I didn't know I didn't know where I was going.
I had a vision. I wanted to go get into the business world, start growing myself as a person, and then did that well enough in the in the athletic space where I was able to get an opportunity for football. So, yeah, for me, it's all been it's always been about the journey.
The destinations are great, but that's just a stopping point to get to the next one. Austin Eckler here with us. What do you take from last season? We all know how it ended, but how do you guys grow from what occurred in the playoff game last year?
Yeah. You know, our season was there's a lot of ups and downs and that's what the NFL is. And why is it up and down? Well, it's because inconsistency and we're trying to find consistency. And there's a ton of different reasons why you might be or might not be consistent. And look, we have another opportunity to go out there and try to prove that we can be consistent. We have playmakers that can take us all the way. We have shown right how high of a level we can play at. We've also shown a low level that we can play at.
That was last year. This is a whole new year. So we have a whole new opportunity. And on paper, you know, for the past few years, we look pretty good again this year. We look great on paper.
All right, let's go out there. Now, can we play to our potential? Can we keep guys healthy? Are our guys playing up to that expectation?
Are coaches coaching up to that expectation? Because that's what it comes down to. It's a whole organization. Are fans showing up supporting? From top down, community, everybody.
It takes everyone to get this thing done. And that's what I love about this game is we're all individuals, but we all have our own piece. I have opinions on Brandon Staley. Fans have opinions on Brandon Staley. You talked about the coaching component of it. You get to see him day in and day out, right?
You have the player's view. What is the player view on your head coach? Yeah, my play, my view on him is this man, he's going to bring in all of the different strategies. He's going to set it up. He's going to have this man. So I swear this man sleeps and drinks and eats football because he's I love his team meetings, his team meetings. He breaks it down to a very basic level where anyone he's talking about his wife, he's like, Amy could make this pass.
Look, this is a cover to the flat open, you know, and he's break it down. He's making it entertaining. But he's super strategic, very sophisticated, understands the concepts, the tendencies. He understands the statistics and he plays off of those.
He plays off of those. He'll be, hey, we're in the red zone. We got this coverage.
Is this down to distance this much time? Higher probability we're going to be a man type of thing like he knows that stuff. And so it's on the on the spot. So this man proven himself as a head coach has proven himself as a head coach to me that this man understands in and out of offense. He knows all the offensive plays, even though he's the defensive guy.
And so he's definitely earned my respect. And then, you know, it comes down to the other coaches, too. We have to have a good supporting cast.
Right. He's not calling the offensive play. So he's relying, you know, on our offensive coordinators, relying on our on our other guys to make sure that everyone is in the right spot at the right time.
And us as pros to make sure we're getting it done. So, yeah, coaches, I'm excited to go back and play for him. He expects good things, big things.
If you don't live up to those, he calls you out. I remember he was calling out Joey one time. He's like, this is what I saw in training camp.
This is what I saw today. This is what Joey's level is. Like, he's not afraid to do it. He'll call me out. You know, he called me out last year.
A couple of times, me and the O-line, we got to get our run game struggled. And so he'll put you on the block. And guess what? You're in professional sports.
You've got to be able to step up and understand that you're going to get called out because you have a high expectation. And that's what I want. And that's the environment he gives us.
So I love it. Austin Eckler here with us. We all know you guys have the talent. You talked about an offensive coordinator. You have a new one in Kellen Moore. Just what do you think he'll bring to this offense here in 2023?
Yeah. You know, what I've learned about the NFL is, you know, you can have different guys who have different tendencies and things like that. But it comes down to your team because your team's going to decide what is what your strengths are, what you can and can't do.
And then guess what? Your coaches are going to have to adjust to try to bring out the best in that. And so what we have is we have a different playmakers. We have me.
You can put me all over the field. You know, receivers just brought in Quinton, you know, Q. He's our first front pick.
So excited to see him. I'm getting a lot of our O-line back. And so we have a lot of the pillars of our team that we had last year coming back in. And so what I want to see from him is how can he efficiently use us? That's what it comes down to, because, sure, he can have his philosophies and everything. That's great. But guess what? Does that mesh with us?
And if it doesn't, how do we adjust so it does? So I've only been in there two days during mandatory minicamp. I was there for OTAs or anything like that. But just in those two days, I love his meetings. He brings in outside concepts, talking about basketball, talking about life. And I love when people can make the sport more than just, hey, where's football, football, football.
Let's bring in different types of concepts to help people understand, to make it more entertaining so I'm not falling asleep in your meetings. So that's a plus. And so, no, I'm excited. He's got some energy, too. So that's always good. I love energy from our coaches out there.
And so it's going to be fun. Austin Eckler here with us. I saw the other day that Tyreek Hill said he wants to put up 2,000 yards this year and win a Super Bowl. And when I first saw that, it's not just because I knew you were coming up on the show. I said, man, Austin Eckler's been close, 1,000 yards rushing, 1,000 yards receiving.
Do you think that you're knocking on the door of maybe going on out there and putting up 1,000 yards, not only running, but also catching the ball in a single season? Look, I always am really hesitant on putting out those types of, you know, declarations. So for me, it comes back to the concepts. Like, you're going to get everything, you're going to get all, every ounce of effort that I can put out there. Do I want to do that? Yes. That's the standard that I've set that I can do.
But I'm not going to come out and say I'm going to do 2,000, you know, and do all that. But, you know, to each their own, you know, so if he's going to do it, let's see it. I'm excited. He's a great player. He has that definite potential.
He's got that ceiling that he can go and push. And so I'm excited to see it. But for me, I have a standard, too. You know, I've been playing pretty consistent for the last two years.
I better go out there. I better be having a bunch of all-purpose yards and I better be scoring a lot of touchdowns. And I'll just say for you, the reason why I don't think it's going to happen, you guys just have too much damn talent on that team. There's only one ball, you know.
That's a lot with all the receivers you have and then the deep running back room. Man, they would really be making the case for you to get a new contract if that was the case this year. I mean, that's my job. My job is to go out there and make that case for myself, right? You know, I have a lot of odds stacked against me, you know. We do every year as football players. There's injuries. There's your age.
There's, right, like expectations. There's new competition coming in every single year. I'm not shying away from competition. I tell these young guys every year, come try to take my job. Come try to. You can try because guess what?
I'm doing everything in my power for you not to be able to take my job. And I'm going to continue to run and play at a high level and be consistent. And so if you can earn that, that's good. You earn your own reps. But at this point, I'm trying to, you know, eat them all up even though we do have talent because that's what it is.
That's how we get better as a team. And so, yeah, maybe the odds aren't in my favor. But I'm not looking at odds. I'm looking at myself.
Look at yourself in the mirror. That's where you start. Absolutely love that answer. Austin Eckler here with us. So, you know, today for players that were franchise tag, it was the deadline to reach an extension to get a new long-term contract. Your contract situation has been well publicized this offseason. But for guys like Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard, they didn't get deals. Just as someone that has been in a similar position looking for a new deal. Just how did you react to today's occurrence? Yeah, you know, I've been pretty vocal about this just because, you know, it's not good for our running back market as far as capital coming in. It's putting like a ceiling on it. There's no new contracts being made.
There's no new comparables that are actually relevant because there's been a set number set on guys. And so, you know, it's from a player's aspect, we have no control of that. I have no control. Basically, who we want answers from is the ownership. Like, why are you doing this?
What's the reasoning? Like, give us – you're interviewing them about it. Like, how many owners have you talked to about this? You know, zero. And so that's who we got here.
I would love to. I know. They ain't going to say anything either because for whatever reason, right, they got this thing going on where it's like a new trend. Like, oh, let's not pay these guys.
I don't know. Maybe they're just testing us. Like, hey, let's see what happens. But, you know, you poke the bear, you know, and, you know, you're going to make us have to do something. You're going to put – you're forcing us to be in a situation where, look, we are trying to fight for value.
I understand they're trying to fight for value to, you know, make sure, hey, let's try to get the most out of it we can at the cheapest. And then we can spread and maybe pay the quarterbacks even more. But guess what? We're out there carrying the ball for you 400 times a year, right, scoring all your touchdowns. And all the press around fantasy, right. Don't say we don't sell jerseys, all that stuff because we're doing that too.
We're making a big impact. So I don't see how they can justify not giving our guys contracts. They can bring up the injury thing. I don't care who you – what position you look at. There's positions.
Every position gets injured. So that's what I would want to hear from them is just kind of what's their logical reasoning behind it. And so for me, yeah, seeing this, these guys not getting, you know, any contract. It's like, you know, they've, you know, fell victim to the process that we've agreed upon. You know, and the ownership is playing by the rules that we agreed upon.
Whether it's right or wrong now is for us to decide because there's different ways that you can skew things to be in your favor or not in your favor. It's just business for them. It's just business for us too. So, you know, we've seen guys hold out in the past. It wouldn't surprise me if that's another thing that's going to be happening now or hold in, I guess you say, whatever these – like, I don't know.
It's just putting a lot of pressure on us with not a lot of information. And with your current situation, I know that they gave you permission to seek a trade this offseason and see what was out there. Were you ever close to getting dealt and not being on the Chargers?
No. And that's because I came with a lot of baggage. You're going to have to trade some high picks for me. They weren't going to let me go for anything that wasn't up there. So they saw my value there. It's funny how when they allowed me to trade, they're like, OK, but we want you to get these types of picks, which were not low picks. But we're not going to pay you like you're that type of player. So it's kind of interesting where it's like, oh, if you're going to get traded, you've got to get traded at this level. But if we're going to keep you, we're going to keep you down here at this level.
So you can see for them, yeah, that makes sense because they're getting the best of both worlds there. They have the leverage. And so that's why it was tough for me to get out anything out there and get a new contract. We're going to have to give up high picks and also restructure my contract. And so that's just being transparent on my situation. And look, I signed my four-year deal.
I'm very thankful to have an opportunity to continue to play and go out there and play at another high level again. But now there's just more pressure on me because I have no guarantees. And I will be a free agent after this year, you know, unless, you know, something gets done during the year, which could be a possibility. Can you get franchise tagged at the end of this year or was there something reworked in your contract to prevent that?
You know, I can get franchise tagged. Yeah, because that's like objectively looking at that. I was curious about that. That's where I think this is going to go to because they're not just going to let you walk for anything. It depends.
It depends. We'll see. Wrap it up with Austin Eckler. Let me just ask you about your quarterback and Justin Herbert. I'm a huge fan of Justin Herbert. I see some people say that he's overrated.
I don't really get those comments when you hear stuff like that. Just what do you say to people that believe Justin Herbert with what he's done his first three years in the league is overrated. Yeah, he's been in the league for three years. And I think we've had this new era of quarterbacks. And so the comparables are pretty great. It's great for the game. You know, when we get a lot of these stud quarterbacks in because they're flashy, right? You know, they make good runs. They sell a lot of jerseys.
They're relatable to the younger crowd. And so it's great for our game. That's why we see these guys getting rewarded, you know, in the pay column. And so for us, you know, having Justin, he's been right there with us. He's given us a competitive chance every single year.
Even going into our first year, giving us opportunities to make it to the playoffs and to make a run. And so for us, it's great having him. It makes me excited to be on the team because I'm like, if you don't have a quarterback that's top in your division, especially in our division. You know, where we got Mahomes over here.
And so we got, you know, the last year's world champs. So I'm excited to play with him. You know, is he overrated? I would say absolutely not because he's one of the top quarterbacks every single year.
And we're right there at the end as well. If anything, you know, our inconsistency, I think it's almost held him back from our injuries that we've had. So I still think he's underrated, but still needs a year to prove that.
But yeah, no, I think he's a stud. He's going to continue to grow and I'm looking forward to playing with him. We'll always enjoy when you jump on board with us. Once again, check out the Austin Eckler Foundation.
They just unveiled the new state-of-the-art high school gym last week. Austin, good luck and thanks so much for doing this once again. Yep. Thanks.
Thanks for having me on. You're listening to the Zach Gelb Show. And you can think of O'Reilly Auto Parts for your car care needs. Get guaranteed low prices and excellent customer service from the professional parts people at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
O'Reilly Auto Parts. This is Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. So I did see over the weekend that Dak Prescott was talking to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. And he said, I won't have 10 interceptions this year. This just shows you that Dak Prescott doesn't get it.
Like, don't get me wrong. If you take outside the fact that he plays for the drama Dallas Choking Cowboys. I think everyone can acknowledge Dak Prescott is easy to root for.
And Dak Prescott is a good dude and someone that you want to pull for. But if you look at Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, I don't think they could really win anything in the regular season. I don't give a rat's ass what they do in the regular season. The regular season can only be negative for them, whether they're not as good as advertise or unfortunately, Dak, who's been hurt quite a bunch the last three years, gets injured again. But this is a team that the last two years, their defense has played championship level.
And offensively, they've done enough for the regular season to win back to back 12 win seasons. But then come playoff time, that offense gets exposed. And for now, Ezekiel Elliott, who got released, isn't coming back. You have Tony Pollard, who hasn't even signed his franchise tag yet. And we'll see what happens there with his situation. And he's going to play this year.
I don't think he's he's going to sit out. But Tony Pollard is someone that is on a franchise tag and he didn't get a long term deal done this year. So now you look at that team and Tony Pollard coming off an injury, too. Yeah, sure. You go out there and you get Brandon Cooks.
You have C.D. Lamb, really good wide receivers. You have an offensive line that is not as great as it once was. But this is a team that in recent memory, with how great they've been in the regular season come playoff time, their defense has stepped up two years to go up against the San Francisco 49ers. Dak Prescott couldn't even get the snap off. And then last year, even when they got the snap off at the end, remember they direct snapped it to Ezekiel Elliott.
I don't even know what the heck was going on there. And in a game where you limited that high potent, high octane offense for the 49ers, Dak Prescott did not do his job in that second half when the game was right there for the taking. So the Cowboys are a team, even though the NFC is wide open and it's top heavy right where you look at just Philly and the 49ers. But the Cowboys easily could be the third best team in the NFC. But until Dak gets it done in the playoffs, remember, this is an organization that has not been to an NFC title game since the 1995 season. Am I going to expect that they're going to go out there and they're going to win two playoff games if they don't get a bye?
No. And look at last year, they threw a parade because they finally defeated and slayed Tom Brady with a football team that was eight and nine. And even I was buying it up against the 49ers and they had every opportunity to go win that game because their defense bowled out.
But offensively, they did squat. So I don't care if Dak Prescott only throws nine interceptions this year. If it's the playoffs and he stinks, he once again shows you the problem in the NFL where you pay a quarterback because you have to pay a quarterback and you don't know what the alternative is going to be. And it's tough to find, right, just draft someone automatically and be in that position, whether it's trade up or natural to get someone better than Dak Prescott. But there's a big difference of being good and from being great.
And there's nothing wrong with it in saying it. But Dak Prescott, until he shows me otherwise, has the ability to be great. But I keep on seeing a guy that is good, but in the big moments, he has shortcomings. And that team can only go so far right now with Dak Prescott playing the way that he's playing in the postseason, Hickey.
I agree. When it comes to the turnovers, I guess what I will say in terms of trying to cut them down, he's not Patrick Mahomes, obviously. So him turning the ball over, he's not had a great ability to throw a pick and then all of a sudden come right back and almost make it not matter by scoring a touchdown or scoring two touchdowns.
We've seen Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs do now, feels like the last five or six years. Cutting down the interceptions is going to be key because the margins for Dallas are narrow. But even if he throws, let's say, I don't know, nine picks in the regular season, do I expect that to carry over into the postseason?
No. He will go back to his turnover heavy ways and not playing well and it goes back to a larger issue just overall with the Cowboys. They are a good regular season team, but anytime the postseason comes, they should not and mostly don't get the benefit of the doubt. And remember, last year he only played 12 games because of the injuries and he threw 15 interceptions last year. Now I'll throw out 20-20 because he only played him five games. So you're basically looking at six seasons, four interceptions in 2016, 2017 at 13, 2018 eight, 2019 at 11, 2021 he had 10 and 2022 he had 15. So outside of two seasons in the NFL, if you take away the injury season in 2020, this guy has thrown four seasons of 10 plus interceptions, which is fine if you hit that number 10, but then you've got to be the quarterback in 2021 that threw 37 touchdown passes or the quarterback in 2019 that threw 30 touchdown passes. And I look at the Dallas Cowboys once again, those stats mean nothing in the regular season because in the postseason last year when he threw the ball 37 times, he only had 206 yards, had a touchdown and two picks. And you could go back to a year ago in that game against the Niners, he had an interception, couldn't get the ball snapped at the end of the game. And in 43 attempts, he only had 254 yards.
Those numbers stink. So go out there if you want to go win an MVP and be like Joel Embiid, right? And put up great numbers in the regular season, but then you got to follow up in the postseason.
And here's what I fear. With how much of that focus was on the regular season, Dak has a good regular season, Hickey. Exhales and then come playoff time, just very similar to Embiid where he finally got that MVP.
I'm not saying Dak's going to win the MVP this year. You exhale and then the biggest moment you crumble and look what Joel Embiid did in the playoffs. It's a little bit similar to what Dak Prescott has done in the playoffs.
We're in the biggest moment. The best player on that team on the offensive side of the ball does not show up and ends up being a major reason why your team goes home. And at least to Embiid's credit, he has shown you a regular season. This could be a guy that can lead you to a championship. That's the problem with Dak even in the regular season. When he's at his best, it's either Zeke is leading the way or he's never shown you, oh that's a Super Bowl caliber quarterback.
And we'll see what happens with Tony Pollard this year. I wonder what Jerry Jones is going to say because I feel like Jerry Jones vacillates each and every month. No, it's Dak who's going to lead us to the championship. No, it's the running back that's going to lead us to a championship. No, it's Micah Parsons that's going to lead us to a championship. No, it's Mike McCarthy where we're making s'mores and drinking milk who's going to lead us to a championship. Who the heck knows what Jerry Jones is going to say? Onside's offside next. Zach Gelb's show. CBS Sports Radio.
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