The regular season in the NFL is well underway and like always in the NFL, the more things change, the more a lot of them remain the same.
There are certainly teams to watch out for this season like the Pittsburgh Steelers with their ongoing drama with Le'Veon Bell and the Jacksonville Jaguars with bringing back one of the best defenses in the league. There is of course the reigning champions in the Philadelphia Eagles and the juggernaut that is the New England Patriots to keep eyes on as well. Like in any other professional sport, the NFL is no stranger to players flipping teams and players deciding to give up the game for good. But, are fans all caught up on players that are still out there for the taking and guys who decided it might be time to walk away?
There certainly have been a fair share of surprise moves that have made fans scratch their heads. There are also the moves that have not been done such as Dez Bryant not signing with Baltimore and many others. There are sure to be a few more moves that could happen during the season that will make fans wonder what is going on. Will there be any moves made that could change a season either way for a team? That remains to be seen. But for now, let's take a look at 10 NFL free agents you didn't realize are still out there and 10 that have more recently retired.
20 Free Agent: Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler by all accounts probably should've announced his official retirement by now and he may very well do that at some point this year. Cutler went the entire offseason drawing little interest from teams and hasn't even been worked out by a team so far. As injuries pile up on QBs during the course of the season, perhaps Cutler will eventually be called upon as a stop-gap solution. That's really the best Cutler can hope for at this point if he wants to keep playing, considering his subpar season in Miami last year, despite playing for his old offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
19 Retired: Richie Incognito
Really good offensive linemen are hard to come by. One guy that has decided to hang up the pads for good that people might not have seen coming is guard Richie Incognito. He certainly had a roller coaster of an NFL career.
He was a four time Pro Bowler, including three straight Pro Bowl appearances from 2015-2017.
He also had his lows of being involved in the whole Jonathan Martin situation when they were both with the Miami Dolphins. Incognito recently retired because he was complaining about problems with his internal organs. Some might be glad he's gone, considering he wasn't the nicest guy to play NFL football.
18 Free Agent: Orleans Darkwa
A running back that is still on the market that people may have forgotten about is Orleans Darkwa. Darkwa was the main option at running back for a Giants team that struggled mightily, finishing 2-14. They drafted Saquon Barkley and now Darkwa is looking for another job elsewhere. Orleans Darkwa started in 15 of the 16 games for the Giants last year and accumulated 751 yards on the ground while recording five touchdowns as well. He may not get starting reps with other teams. But, he can definitely be a serviceable running back for a team thin at the position. It's surprising to see Darkwa's name still up on the board.
17 Retired: Julius Thomas
One position that is unique is tight end. Nowadays in the NFL, a TE can either be an extra lineman or a great receiver in their own right. They have double the responsibility of catching and blocking. There are not a lot of really good catching tight ends in the game right now and one that is currently still at home is Julius Thomas.
Thomas did not have that great of a season in 2017 with the Dolphins as he only had 41 receptions and three touchdowns.
Thomas was a two time Pro Bowl tight end in his last two seasons in Denver. He played for Jacksonville and Miami and his production kept dipping. He announced his retirement late in the offseason to pursue a doctorate.
16 Free Agent: Matt Moore
One quarterback that is still out there for someone is Matt Moore. Moore has been a part of the Miami Dolphins since 2011. Matt Moore played in four games overall in 2017 and started in two of them as well. He was 78 for 127 along with four touchdown passes. Moore has quietly flown under the radar to teams that have wanted to either upgrade at quarterback or add more depth in there.
The only bad thing about Moore is that he is entering his age 34 season. If teams can see past this, Moore can be a dependable backup option to say the least.
15 Retired: DeMarco Murray
One of the more surprising names that went under the radar for retirement is DeMarco Murray. DeMarco Murray' s name being brought up in a retirement statement seems to be very surprising considering he rushed for nearly 2,000 yards with the Cowboys almost five years ago. He was also a Pro Bowler in 2016 with the Tennessee Titans when he rushed for over 1,000 yards during that season. His role seemed to be diminished with the increased role given to Derrick Henry. Murray could have surely found a home if he wanted to keep playing. Murray hanging up the pads was very surprising.
14 Free Agent: T.J. Ward
It is extremely tough for NFL safeties to be effective in the game these days with all of the new rule changes coming into play and more attention being paid to concussions. One guy that has seemed to do a great job at strong safety wherever he has gone is T.J. Ward.
Ward is a two time Pro Bowl safety, once with the Cleveland Browns and once with the Denver Broncos.
He was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year and didn't have a sack, an interception, and only one fumble recovery. Ward still has some value as perhaps a nickel safety, making it a bit surprising that he hasn't been signed yet.
13 Retired: Nick Mangold
Besides having good guards, teams also need to have a good center to be able to read all of the quarterback's commands. One gut that used to do it better than a lot of others was Nick Mangold. Mangold was a consistent spot on the line for the New York Jets and he was rewarded for his efforts. He was a six time Pro Bowler and a two time First-Team All-Pro. Mangold did not play in 2017 and has officially walked away from the game this off-season. Nick Mangold could certainly still be of service to a team if he wanted to. But, he will happily be retired and some of us didn't even know he finally called it a career.
12 Free Agent: Eddie Lacy
Sometimes, NFL running backs have a very successful rookie season and then seem to falter year after year going forward. That seems to be the case for Eddie Lacy. Lacy had a very good 2013 season with the Green Bay Packers. He was a Pro Bowler who had close to 1,200 yards in his rookie campaign and nearly did the same thing the following season. Since then, he has tried to get back to that form, but has struggled greatly with weight issues. Lacy was with the Seahawks this past season and didn't even rush for over 200 yards in nine games. Lacy could still be a big power running back for a team desperate for his services.
11 Retired: Vincent Jackson
One wide receiver that finally called it a career this offseason was wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson last appeared in the NFL in 2016 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played in five games, starting in all five and only had 15 receptions on the season. He also did not record a touchdown at all during that season. Jackson had three Pro Bowl seasons in 2009, 2010, and 2012 in two seasons in San Diego and one with Tampa Bay. Jackson's better playing days seem to be behind him. It is smart that he retired and hung up his cleats sooner rather than later.
10 Free Agent: Navorro Bowman
One linebacker currently sitting in free agency is NaVorro Bowman. Bowman has spent nearly all of his career with the San Francisco 49ers. He also has three Pro Bowls and four First-Team All-Pro selections to his credit.
He spent time with the Raiders last season after he found his way back to San Francisco in the beginning part of the 2017 season.
He had 1.5 sacks along with an interception combined between the two teams. More than likely, he will find his way back to the 49ers before it is all said and done. He is a guy that people are surprised to find out that he still doesn't have a team to play for yet.
9 Retired: David Harris
Surprisingly, this former NFL linebacker had some good years with the Jets, made a pit stop in New England, and then found himself hanging up his cleats after the season. That guy was David Harris. Harris found himself going from New York to New England to try to have a better chance of getting a Super Bowl ring. He played in 10 games last season for the Patriots and had 1.5 sacks along with 15 total tackles. Harris was essentially a non-factor with the Patriots and retired following being a part of a Super Bowl loss. A different Super Bowl ending might have made the end of David Harris's career a bit sweeter.
8 Free Agent: Eric Reid
Sometimes, a simple action can leave a lasting impression, and not in a good way. That seems to be what is happening to Eric Reid. Reid is a safety that has spent all five of his NFL seasons playing with the San Francisco 49ers. He also was one of those who took a knee during the National Anthem, which has seemed to hurt him as well. He had two interceptions and 52 total tackles on the year in 2017. He was a Pro Bowler in 2013 in his first season when he recorded four interceptions along with 73 tackles and two fumble recoveries as well. Reid is still an intriguing name on the board.
7 Retired: James Harrison
One of the most intimidating linebackers to ever come in contact with was James Harrison. Harrison was a man who helped ignite the Pittsburgh Steelers defense for years.
He had a bit of a sour ending when his complaint about his lack of playing time led to his release from Pittsburgh.
He caught on with the New England Patriots and got some revenge as the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl while the Steelers were upset at home by the Jaguars in the divisional round. Harrison had two sacks for the Patriots and decided to call it a career this off-season. He will be missed by Steelers and Patriots fans everywhere.
6 Free Agent: Dez Bryant
This is one of the most interesting stories of the off-season. The marriage is over between Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are moving on and apparently want Dez to do the same. He turned down an offer this offseason already to go play for the Baltimore Ravens. He also is reportedly going to visit teams soon such as the Cleveland Browns.
Bryant is a big name, but it still comes as a surprise that he hasn't found a new home where he is content with the team and the money situation. When you're a three time Pro Bowler and one time First-Team All-Pro, the price has to be 100% right in the future.
5 Retired: Dwight Freeney
This next defensive end has no shame in calling it a career after the numbers he put up. Dwight Freeney was known for his patented spin move to get by offensive linemen and get in on the quarterback. He spent a majority of his career with the Indianapolis Colts with stops to Arizona, Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle thrown into the loop as well. He is a seven time Pro Bowler and three time First-Team All-Pro member.
Freeney only played in nine games last season and recorded three sacks along the way. He has his individual awards and a Super Bowl ring as well. Yet, we are still surprised he has finally step away for good.
4 Free Agent: Dan Bailey
Dan Bailey was certainly a surprising cut by the Dallas Cowboys late in training camp, as he's been the Cowboys' most accurate kicker in franchise history. His accuracy issues last season were caused by a lingering groin injury and for the Cowboys, that was still a concern going into the 2018 season. A healthy Dan Bailey is probably an upgrade at kicker for the majority of NFL teams. If a team experiences some kicking woes at some point this season, Bailey will be one of the first kickers called to come in. We don't expect him to be a free agent much longer.
3 Retired: Kam Chancellor
The Seattle Seahawks once had the "Legion of Boom" with guys like Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner leading the defense. One big time defensive player the Seahawks will miss is Kam Chancellor.
The Seahawks seem to be going into a new phase for their franchise as they released guys like Sherman and a guy like Chancellor decided to retire.
He was a four time Pro Bowler, but only played in nine games last season. He had one forced fumble, and no sacks on the year. Chancellor will surely be missed in the Seahawks defense next year and going forward too.
2 Free Agent: Terrance West
It's not a good sign that the 27-year-old Terrance West was cut by the Saints in training camp even though they knew Mark Ingram wouldn't be back until October. However, it could also be a case of the Saints feeling Alvin Kamara could carry the load and they didn't need West. West isn't a flashy runner, but he's shown he can be a solid backup and give the starters a much needed rest. West should be able to find a home as a backup somewhere once injuries begin to pile up for teams around the NFL. And at the RB position, that's always possible.
1 Retired: Darrelle Revis
One of the most feared cornerbacks to play in most recent memory has been Darrelle Revis. Revis has been one of the best cornerbacks and somebody that quarterbacks pay close attention to and try to stay away from. He made stops with the Buccaneers, Jets, Patriots, and the Chiefs before his career was over. He has his Super Bowl ring from his one season in New England. He earned his big contract with the Jets. He was a seven time Pro Bowler and four time First-Team All-Pro before it was all said and done. He saw a limited role in Kansas City and that led to him retiring after the 2017 season completed.