This NFL season has been a roller coaster all around, between the kneeling during the national anthem controversy, to NFL Network employees being outed for inappropriate misconduct and even Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson facing allegations and in turn, selling the team.
In terms of on-field play though, there are players though that maybe one time were great but now they are one play away from losing their job. The number one goal on every team is winning and in order to do that teams that win do what’s best for the team. If every team followed the Patriots motto they’re would be more competitive teams in the NFL.
Tom Brady is a prime example of being 40 and really not slowing down. There are players though who are slowing down or don’t have it anymore. We saw that this last month of the season with the Giants and Eli Manning. Manning was benched but quickly reinserted as the starter after the Giants fired coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese. Eli and 15 others maybe be playing on a different team next year or even retire. Here are my top 15 NFL players hanging to their jobs by a thread.
15. ODELL BECKHAM JR.
Odell Beckham is out for the season with an broken ankle injury. The Giants as a whole team are a complete mess but as of right now Beckham has a job next season but he could be barely holding onto it. Beckham wants to be the highest paid player at his position he is under contract through the 2018 season. Beckham has had some criticism about him though. For example, there was him partying on a boat last year with Justin Bieber and peeing like a dog this season after scoring a touchdown.
Giants owner John Mara wasn’t pleased with the post touchdown celebration saying recently it could tarnish Beckham’s legacy. Beckham was unapologetic but Mara said he was very remorseful to him about the incident. With a new coach next year, as well as a new GM, the Giants could very well be starting fresh and moving on from Beckham.
14. BEN ROETHLISBERGER
Ben Roethlisberger at one time was a great quarterback and a two time Super Bowl Champion. He’s on this list because there is speculation that this could be his last season. The Steelers need Roethlisberger at quarterback if they want to contend with New England who are dominant in the AFC every year. He said earlier this season he wondered if he still had it after a 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Head coach Mike Tomlin took those comments with a ‘grain of salt.’ even though the Steelers are playoff bound, will Roethlisberger just hang it up at the end of the year?
13. FRANK GORE
Frank Gore has had a pretty good career but you can tell in his play that his career could be coming to an end. Right now he is pretty much playing for milestones as he moved to fifth on the all- time rushing list early in December. He moved past Jerome Bettis and Ladainian Tomlinson on the all- time rushing list and if he plays another year, he’ll likely pass Curtis Martin for forth.
The question is will Gore who has rushed for about 900 yards and three touchdowns call it a career or will he get cut or traded? With rookie Marlon Mack behind Gore you wonder if the Colts go with a younger backfield next season and Gore goes elsewhere.
12. JARVIS LANDRY
Jarvis Landry is in his last year of his contract with the Miami Dolphins. He’s caught over 100 passes this season despite not playing with his starting QB Ryan Tannehill. Will the Dolphins move Landry in the offseason? Landry has proven he belongs on the team, but because of his asking price, you have to wonder if the Dolphins will keep him around.
He has stuck up for Jay Cutler when fans earlier in the season were calling Cutler to be benched. Landry said “A man who comes out here and works his butt off, for people to not understand what’s going on, or not to have even touched the field before … They just want to be on Twitter. They just want to start a chant.” Pretty soon he’ll need to start his own chant of him wanting to get paid what he thinks he deserves.
11. CARSON PALMER
Casrson Palmer was placed on injured reserve earlier this season after suffering a broken arm and the Cards elected to keep him there once they fell out of playoff contention. Palmer wasn’t playing all that well before the injury anyway, as the Cards offense struggled in 2017 after David Johnson was lost for the season in Week 1.
The Cardinals have fared pretty well since the injury all things considered. However, the Cards seem to be falling behind in the NFC West with the Rams now the team set up for immediate success, with the Seahawks still lingering and the 49ers looking like they’re bound for future success. The Cards may need to begin an overhaul this offseason and it’s unlikely Palmer is brought back.
10. JAY CUTLER
Jay Cutler is one of the biggest jerks in the NFL. He’s lucky to even be on a team because of his attitude. The Miami Dolphins aren’t very good and have some dirty players on their team but having an average quarterback on your team doesn’t help either. Cutler had a poor attitude at the start of training camp saying he didn’t have to be in the best shape to play quarterback.
The Dolphins have still managed to remain competitive this season in spite of a sputtering offense. Adam Gase only brought Cutler out of retirement because of Ryan Tannehill’s ACL tear in training camp and there’s no reason Cutler should be brought back next year. Cutler has expressed interest in continuing to play, but it’s unlikely it’ll be in a Dolphins uniform.
9. ALEX SMITH
The Kansas City Chiefs had a great start beating the Super Bowl champion Patriots and staring the season 5-0. The Chiefs then went on a midseason slump before picking up the slack and managing to win the AFC West for a second consecutive year. However, this is a Chiefs team that has Super Bowl aspirations and Alex Smith keeping his job for the 2018 season will depend on how the Chiefs fare in the postseason. If the Chiefs fall short again, questions will start to be asked as to whetehr Smith can take KC to the next level.
First round pick Patrick Mahomes III is sitting on the bench and the coaching staff has raved about his potential, especially as it relates to the offfensive system Kansas City runs. Anything short of an AFC Championship appearance may result in Mahomes gaining the starting job in 2018.
8. ELI MANNING
The New York Giants are the laughing stock of the NFC this season and if not for the Browns going 0-16, they’d be the joke of the entire NFL. Former head coach Ben McAdoo, who got fired early in December, benched Eli Manning for Geno Smith and had players and fans outraged. Instead of John Mara firing McAdoo prior to the Geno Smith start, he fired him after the game which Eli sat out. Even though Manning has returned to his starting role, it still doesn’t mean he has a job in 2018 for the New York Giants. His father Archie Manning said this month his son could retire but Manning said he still has it and still wants to play next season. With the Giants out of the playoffs this will be a busy offseason as they may not be looking for just a head coach but also a new quarterback.
7. DEMARCO MURRAY
Murray is starting to decline for the Tennessee Titans. He has failed to record a single 100-yard rushing game. On the season, (through Week 16) Murray has six touchdowns and 659 yards. Derrick Henry has seen more action this season and it seems the Titans are trying to get the ball to Henry more and Murray’s job at running back could be hanging by a thread.
Murray is having one of the worst seasons of his life after leading the AFC in rushing in 2016. To be fair, the Titans o-line hasn’t been as dominant as they were last season, but on the wrong side of 30, you wonder how many years Murray has left as a starter. It remains to be seen what happens in the off season as for now Murray just has to prove he still has it or they will be going to Henry full time.
6. EZEKIEL ELLIOTT
Ezekiel Elliott had everything going for him last season and he likely would’ve dominated this year too if he didn’t have off field distractions. Elliott’s six-game suspension this season put a speed bump in the Cowboys offense. The Cowboys are such a better team with Elliott than without him. Will the off field distraction cause the Cowboys to get rid of Elliott in the off season? The Cowboys will be staying home this January after earning homefield advantage last year with a 13-3 season.
The main focus going forward for the Cowboys is their coaching staff (Jerry Jones has said Jason Garrett will be back) and the running back. It’s unlikely Elliott would actually be moved, but after the distraction he caused this season, you wonder if he’s another mistake away from being shipped out.
5. Terrelle Pryor Sr.
In November the Cleveland Browns tried to get Terrelle Pryor back from the Washington Redskins but at the time the Redskins weren’t interested. Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards last season for the Browns. He has been benched this season for the Redskins for wide receiver Josh Doctson and questions remain if Washington will bring him back after signing him to a one-year “prove it” deal last year.
He has only played in nine games this season and has 20 catches for 240 yards and now is on the injured reserve list with an ankle injury. Pryor put in a lot of hard work to continue his NFL career after falling flat as a QB but you have to wonder what his NFL future is after a disappointing season at wideout.
4. MARTAVIS BRYANT
Martavis Bryant wants out of Pittsburgh. He can see the writing on the wall that Roethlisberger doesn’t have much left in the tank. He wants to be a focal point in the offense and it doesn’t look like it can happen on a Steelers team that runs through Antonio Bryant and Le’Veon Bell.
Bryant has said earlier in the season he doesn’t want to be on the Steelers anymore. He called in sick to a team meeting once, which is what kids do when they don’t want to go to school. Bryant missed all of the 2016 season due to an suspension and really isn’t much of a factor this season either. Juju Smith-Schuster has emerged and taken a lot of snaps and targets away from Bryant and there doesn’t seem to be a spot for him in Pittsburgh anymore.
3. MITCHELL TRUBISKY
Mitchell Trubisky is a rookie and was the second overall pick for the Bears in the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky was initially intended to sit on the bench this season and learn while Mike Glennon, who was signed to a three-year, $45 million deal held the fort. Glennon was a disaster and so Trubisky was rushed in, but the Bears haven’t really let him loose. It doesn’t look like Trubisky is really ready to lead a team. The Bears have remained competitive due to a surprisingly good defense, but you wonder if they’ll want to move Trubisky back to the bench in 2018.
With the Bears having an option to release Glennon with little cap penalties, it’s possible they look to bring in a veteran for 2018 (maybe Josh McCown again?) to let Trubisky learn for another season before regaining his starting job in 2019.
2. TREVOR SIEMIAN
The Denver Broncos have been carried the last few seasons by a powerful defense while their offense struggled. Siemian was supposed to be their franchise quarterback but he’s anything but. After this season is over you wonder if he’s on a different team next season. One scenario for John Elaway is trade Siemian to the Giants and get Eli Manning as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos next season. This season, Siemian has thrown for 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. That is not something you want to see out of your starting quarterback. He is an average quarterback at best and really needs to be on the bench. The Broncos seem to want to win now, but they need a better quarterback.
1. ANDY DALTON
Could Andy Dalton be on a different team next season? A month ago during the trade deadline the Bengals were trying to trade back up quarterback A.J. McCarron, but a trade to the Cleveland Browns fell through. Adam Schefter reported that Dalton’s $13.7 million salary for next season is not guaranteed. That allows the Bengals to trade or release him.
It’s possible the Bengals could make a change at the quarterback position in the offseason. With Marvin Lewis not returning, it’s a chance for the Bengals to have a fresh start at both coach and QB.
The teams that could be interested in Dalton are the Browns and the Washington Redskins. Browns head coach Hue Jackson and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden liked working with Dalton. They were both offensive coordinators at one point for the Bengals.
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