There are 53 players on an active NFL roster. Those 53 players have had to endure an incredibly difficult road to get where they are. Even the most highly-touted NFL draft pick has had to struggle to get to the draft and compete against some of the greatest players in the world in order to make the team. Every single NFL player is, relatively speaking, a great professional football player. However, even great professional football players can be dead weight on a team. The fact of the matter is that not every player in the NFL is going to be great in the NFL, and that there are some players who are going to straight up be bad. Even if they’re not bad, there are many circumstances that can lead to a player becoming dead weight.
There are 53 players on an active NFL roster, and there are at least 32 players in the NFL that are dragging their teams down. That’s not nice to say, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Of those 32 (at least) players, you have to believe that at least some of them are not going to be on the team (or in the league at all) by 2019. Yes, a player can always turn it around, but the fact remains that the NFL is a what 'have you done for me lately' league in which the guy that’s taking up a roster spot can easily be deprived of the chance to do better.
32 Arizona Cardinals - Sam Bradford
Arizona probably saw Bradford as an insurance policy at worst and a potential QB1 at best. However, Bradford has proven to be neither of those things.
Bradford wasn’t the source of all of Arizona’s problems, but he looked utterly incapable of leading the offense in anything more complicated than a huddle.
Bradford was an expensive gamble from the start, and the Cardinals should know by now that he is not worth what they will have to pay him to be a backup.
31 Atlanta Falcons - Devonta Freeman
The Falcons want Devonta Freeman to be their guy. They’ve seen that he is capable of being a workhorse running back that can put together 1,500 all-purpose yards seasons. However, there are a few problems with Freeman. First off, he’s had trouble staying healthy. Stories involving often-injured running backs rarely end well. Secondly, he’s currently attached to a massive contract that the Falcons are probably regretting. They can’t really cut Freeman outright, but they can certainly look for a trade partner. Not to mention, Tevin Coleman is a free agent and could probably be re-signed for cheaper.
30 Baltimore Ravens - Alex Collins
Alex Collins is quickly becoming a frustrating part of the Baltimore Ravens’ offense.
It’s clear to everyone that he’s talented, but at some point, all the talent in the world has to actually produce.
So far as that goes, we’re still waiting for Collins to break out. He’s been on the verge of a breakout, but it feels like there’s always an excuse as to why he hasn't’ quite gotten there. At this point, the Ravens really have no reason to continue the Collins experiment.
29 Buffalo Bills - Kelvin Benjamin
Kelvin Benjamin’s time in the NFL has to be coming to an end. Granted, we understand that Buffalo isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut. As such, it can be hard to tell just how talented certain people on the team really are. Still, Benjamin only has one good season to his name, was shipped out of Carolina without much fuss and has some notable attitude problems. He could probably perform better if he was playing for Kansas City or the L.A. Rams, but that’s true of most receivers.
28 Carolina Panthers - Torrey Smith
We don’t know what it is about receivers that have lone great NFL seasons that gets GMs so excited, but the hype around Torrey Smith has faded considerably in recent seasons. Smith is a poor man’s Tyreek Hill. He has big-play ability, but he no longer has the ability to do enough outside of those big plays.
Smith has bounced around a bit since his Baltimore glory days, and it’s clear that he doesn’t have “it” anymore. We’re amazed he has two Super Bowl rings.
27 Chicago Bears - Bobby Massie
You could argue that the Bears have bigger problems than Bobby Massie (and certainly bigger name players who might be considered bigger problems), but Bobby Massie is shaping up to be a bigger issue than his name suggests.
Bears fans know that Massie has been a weak link as a member of the Chicago offensive line.
While Massie isn’t the sole reason that Bears offense looks so bad at times, there’s little reason for Chicago to remain committed to him.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - John Ross
We get the feeling that the Bengals are scared to cut John Ross. That’s partially because he’s a recent first-round draft pick, and you don’t cut first-round picks easily, but it’s also because he’s one of the fastest and most athletic receivers in the league. We get that they don’t want him to break out for another team, but Ross hasn’t been able to turn the opportunities he’s been given so far into many yards or touchdowns. Besides, it’s not like the Bengals are desperate for a receiver with the emergence of Tyler Boyd.
25 Cleveland Browns - Tyrod Taylor
This pick has less to do with Tyrod Taylor and more to do with Baker Mayfield. Taylor is a solid guy to have around. He’s certainly an above average backup. However, the Browns are in a rough spot right now, and young Baker Mayfield is in the middle of it all. Taylor is going to be an expensive backup who might end up cutting into Mayfield’s confidence too much. Unless the Browns are going to start him, they need to ship him.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Tavon Austin
There’s no shortage of dead weight amongst Cowboy receivers (Allen Hurns comes to mind), but Tavon Austin certainly jumps out as the most obvious cut. Listen, we get what’s appealing about Tavon Austin. However, Austin has been in the league long enough to prove that he’s more than just some speed and flash. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Austin lacks the consistency needed to be a true starting receiver in the NFL.
He’s not worth what the Cowboys are paying him to occasionally make a catch.
23 Denver Broncos - Case Keenum
Granted, we don’t think that the Broncos are actually going to ship Case Keenum, but you can certainly make the argument that they should. Unless Case Keenum just “figures it out” in a way that he hasn’t so far, he is not going to be the guy in Denver. We know that the Broncos have been looking for their guy since Peyton Manning left, but Keenum just doesn’t rank above solid no matter how generous fans want to be. John Elway needs to cut his losses here.
22 Detroit Lions - Ameer Abdullah
It wasn’t long ago that Ameer Abdullah looked like the great RB1 hope that the Lions had been waiting on. However, a mix of performance shortcomings, staying healthy and growth issues have left Abdullah demoted deep down the running back depth chart. There are probably teams out that who will be willing to take a chance on Abdullah’s talents, but the Lions need running backs who are ready to contribute now. Abdullah isn’t going to be that guy, which means that Detroit needs to move on.
21 Green Bay Packers - Jimmy Graham
It feels like a lifetime ago that Jimmy Graham was one of the best tight ends in football.
With Drew Brees as his quarterback, Graham helped usher in the era of the athletic and dominate pass-catching tight end.
However, the truth of the matter is that Graham hasn’t been Graham in a long time (if he was ever really that guy at all). If Aaron Rodgers can’t bring anything out of Graham, then we feel pretty confident in saying the Packers should move on.
20 Houston Texans - Lamar Miller
It’s not easy to move on from a running back. There aren’t that many true starting running backs in the league, which means that teams tend to hold on to their starters for longer than they should. However, we feel confident when we say that we’ve seen the best of Lamar Miller and that Miller’s best is...okay. Really, he’s a fine running back. The question is whether or not Houston is going to want to keep overpaying him to be a fine running back.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Robert Turbin
Marlon Mack is looking pretty good, but we think the Colts are ultimately going to be left looking for that running back they haven’t really had in a long time. That someone might end up being Le’Veon Bell (more on that in a bit), but we can pretty much guarantee fans it won’t be Robert Turbin. Turbin has been underperforming for quite a few years now despite the flashes of promise that he showed during his time with the Seahawks.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles
The very bad news is that Bortles contract will likely keep him in Jacksonville for another year. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s really bringing the team down.
We’re not going to pretend that Bortles is the only thing wrong with the Jaguars, but does anyone look at Bortles and see a true franchise quarterback?
We think that Bortles is going to end up being a great backup somewhere (or a potential starter for one or two other teams) but his time in Jacksonville is at an end.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Ron Parker
We’ve got few questions about Kansas City’s offense (even if we’re not completely sold on Sammy Watkins yet), but the Chiefs’ defense is a mess. Yes, some of that has to do with a few starters being hurt, but even a healthy KC defense doesn’t sound that great on paper. Ron Parker isn’t the only name we’re unsure about, but he’s the name we have the least confidence in. Parker just keeps getting burnt. He’s part of the reason the Chiefs have to score as many points as they do.
16 Los Angeles Chargers - Antonio Gates
Antonio Gates was a great tight end. In fact, he will be a Hall of Fame tight end. However, everyone knew the Chargers were reaching when they brought back the 38-year-old Gates. The main reason he was brought back was due to Hunter Henry tearing his ACL and even then, the Chargers were hesitant in binging him back.
Gates is a Chargers legend, but the Bolts’ inability to move on from him has left them weaker at the position for quite a few seasons now. Surely, Gates doesn’t make the Chargers’ roster in 2019.
15 Los Angeles Rams - Ndamukong Suh
We’re not sure what to make of the Rams defense. They’re not great at linebacker, and they’re a little banged up in the secondary, but they should still be better than they are. It’s times like this that we look at the Ndamukong Suh signing and wonder whether the Rams’ hired mercenary contract signing was an expensive mistake.
Suh just hasn’t produced enough this year to justify a $14 million contract with the Rams.
He needs to be making more of an impact than he currently is.
14 Miami Dolphins - Kenyan Drake
It’s tempting to throw Ryan Tannehill’s name out there, but if we’re being honest, there’s still a chance he ends up being the Dolphins' best option at QB. We can’t really say the same about Kenyan Drake. We don’t blame the Dolphins for taking a chance on Drake as a third-round prospect, but the fact that he’s being treated as the team’s RB1 is not a good sign. Frank Gore, even at 35, has looked like a more effective running back. The Dolphins just need to move on and consider other options.
13 Minnesota Vikings - Trae Waynes
Remember when people thought the Vikings defense was going to be the reason they made a Super Bowl run? What happened to that? Well, the answer isn’t quite as simple as Trae Waynes, but it’s not that much more complicated either.
Teams are learning to pick on Waynes, and Waynes hasn’t done much to make them pay as of yet.
He’s a gaping hole on a defense that should be much better than it is. We doubt he’s sticking around for long.
12 New England Patriots - Cordarrelle Patterson
As a rule, the Patriots don’t keep players around once they deem them expendable. While you can argue that a couple of their running backs need to go, we can’t help but wonder what Cordarrelle Patterson is doing on this team. Patterson is another Tavon Austin type of player whose intangibles lead coaches to believe that he’s going to be a much better overall player than he ever really is. Patterson just doesn’t belong on this team with what he brings to the table.
11 New Orleans Saints - Mark Ingram
First off, we’re not saying that Mark Ingram is a bad player. He’s actually been a pretty great player at times. However, he’s one of the most obvious cases of a player that isn't going to get any better.
Everyone knows that Alvin Kamara is the future of the Saints’ backfield.
Ingram is a nice change of pace, but Kamara is special. With Ingram’s contract ending in 2019, and Kamara looming in the backfield, we don’t see the argument for paying Ingram to stick around.
10 New York Giants - Eli Manning
Much like Blake Bortles, we’re not going to join the trend and call for Eli Manning’s head. Still, the writing's on the wall in the Giants’ locker room. Eli has never really been a dominant player, but his ability to ultimately get the Giants where they needed to be made him an asset. That version of Eli is gone, and we don’t think he’s coming back.
The Giants have to realize that Eli has won his last Super Bowl. Even worse, he may have had his last winning season.
9 New York Jets - Bilal Powell
Despite being a Jet since 2011, Powell has never rushed for over 800 yards in a season. Part of the reason why that’s the case can be attributed to his status as a backup during many of those years, but as the Jets desperately search for a true RB1, they’ve got to ask themselves what Powell is really contributing via his roster spot. We suppose that the Jets can do worse than Powell, but they can certainly do better, and we expect they will.
8 Oakland Raiders - Marshawn Lynch
You can’t really argue with the Raiders' decision to bring Lynch out of retirement. At the time, they looked like a playoff-ready team that just needed a great running back to put them over the top. It was also a feel-good story for Lynch to come out of retirement and join his hometown team. Things have changed since then.
The Raiders are rebuilding about as hard as we’ve seen an NFL team rebuild, and Lynch just doesn’t fit into any team’s plans.
There are teams that Lynch can still contribute to, and the Raiders aren’t one of them.
7 Philadelphia Eagles - Darren Sproles
This will probably surprise fans, but Darren Sproles has been in the league for 13 years. During that time, he’s never started more than six games in a single season. The reason teams keep him around is that he’s a nice change of pace back whose speed and elusiveness have proven to be useful from time to time.
At this point in his career, though, Sproles has outlived his usefulness. Philly has to find a true RB1, and Sproles is taking up space on the roster.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers - Le’Veon Bell
Again, saying which player needs to go on a team doesn’t necessarily pertain to whether or not a player is talented. It just means that they’re taking up a roster spot that could go to someone more useful to the team.
It’s pretty clear at this point that Bell doesn’t want to be a Steeler unless Pittsburgh pays him a king’s ransom.
It’s also clear that Pittsburgh isn’t going to pay him that much. It’s time for both sides to move on.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Pierre Garcon
Losing Jimmy Garoppolo for the season effectively spelled the end of San Francisco’s hopes and dreams. That loss also makes it hard to effectively evaluate some of the team’s offensive weapons. All that being said, we’re just not convinced that Pierre Garcon is the guy San Francisco needs. Garcon’s contract means the 49ers are able to exercise an option to cut him in 2019, and we honestly don’t see why they shouldn’t. That’s especially true if San Fransisco ends up drafting a receiver.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Doug Baldwin
The Doug Baldwin debate is really a debate of when good isn’t good enough. Yes, Baldwin has proven to be a pretty solid player. However, he’s a solid player who the Seahawks are trying to pass off as a WR1. Baldwin has put up those kinds of numbers in the past, but he’s needed some help to do it.
As the Seahawks enter a re-tooling period, one has to wonder whether or not they’re going to want to pay Baldwin to do what he has been doing.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston
We suppose you could say we’re living in the moment with Jameis Winston. After all, Winston has put together some impressive statistical seasons. Yet, a deeper look at his stats reveals that Winston just isn’t becoming the franchise quarterback that Tampa Bay thought he could be.
Winston’s turnover rate is poor, there are character concerns, and all of those yards he's throwing for aren’t equaling wins.
The real problem is that Tampa Bay is going to be stuck paying Winston a ton of cash if he’s around in 2019.
2 Tennessee Titans - Derrick Henry
Too soon? Maybe. After all, Henry has only been in the NFL for a few seasons, and it’s not like the Titans have been world beaters during his time with the team. What it comes down to, though, is what happens on the field. So far as that goes, Henry isn’t getting it done. He’s gotten the opportunities, but he isn’t getting it done. Henry is coming up on some bigger paydays, and the Titans are going to have a hard time justifying them.
1 Washington Redskins - Jordan Reed
The Jordan Reed narrative has always been that he’s talented when he’s healthy. The problem is that Reed hasn’t been healthy very often. The other problem is that some of his talent is based on the assumption of what he can do during a full season. The reality of the situation is that Reed is being paid a lot of money to not do much of anything. We’re not sure if Washington can immediately do better, but it’s about time to move on.