The NFL changes rapidly. Often times that means your favourite team's depth chart can shuffle around massively from year to year. Some players find themselves starting every single game for a team one year, but due to performance or age, can find themselves washed up and out of the league the following season. With sports in general becoming faster and younger everyday, it can be understandable that some older/less dominant players fall by the wayside. Sometimes these washed up players still believe that can play at an elite level though. While a guy like James Harrison is proving age is just a number, other players are not so lucky. A lot of players have passed their primes and will likely never return.
The players below are some familiar faces around the league that still occupied starting spots in the 2017-2018 season that could find their way out of that role due to their abysmal play. These players should not expect to be starting for their current franchises next season. Some will either be replaced at the top of the depth chart, while others who looked absolutely washed up last season will find a hard time getting back into the league. Not every player on this list will be replaced or shipped off to a new team obviously, but many need a harsh reality check that their starting days are winding down fast as their play declines.
15 Josh McCown
When teams have Josh McCown as their starter, things normally do not go well. In the three seasons leading up to this year, McCown was a combined 2-20. The Jets were interested in getting a high draft pick, and retained McCown in order to tank. McCown still looked like a below average quarterback, but suddenly was able to win games. His numbers were non-impressive, throwing for under 3,000 yards and only 18 touchdowns, but carried the just to a 5-8 record in games he started. His ability to win games consequently cost the Jets a chance to grab a top tier QB prospect in the draft. McCown, at age 38, should not expect to be on the Jets next season, and may be out of the league next season if no other teams seek out his services.
14 Frank Gore
Frank Gore is a legend, a Hall of Famer, and his time spent in San Fransisco and Indianapolis will be appreciated by fans of both franchises. At the age of 34 though, Frank Gore cannot be going into the 2018 season thinking he will be a starting running back. The last three seasons were the first time in his career he has averaged less than four yards a carry, and barely averaged over 61 yards per game in that time. The Colts owner, Jim Irsay, mumbled his way into expressing that he hopes that the team uses one of their early round picks to grab a top-tier running back. Gore's chances of being a starter for the Colts are very slim. His production does not match what the Colts need, and with the emergence of Marlon Mack, do not be surprised if Gore joins a new franchise this summer.
13 Darrelle Revis
Darrelle Revis has a career that is slowly coming to end. His last season with the Jets in 2016 did not go well, as he showed obvious signs of regression. With New York moving on from the former star corner, Revis found himself unemployed for a large portion of 2017. The Kansas City Chiefs signed him to a deal that could have him playing next season, but it is not guaranteed. He started the first two games in Kansas City, but his role diminished as the season started to wind down. Revis was brought in for depth, a far cry from his usual role of manning the outside by himself. He cannot be trusted in that starting role anymore, and it will be interesting to see if Revis is on a roster at all in during the 2018-2019 season.
12 Julius Thomas
Julius Thomas used to be the future of the tight end position. Unfortunately for him, that was back when Peyton Manning was tossing him 12 touchdowns both seasons they played together. It has taken Thomas three seasons to equal that number in Jacksonville and Miami. This year he ranked 18th in snaps played among tight ends, due to his no existent run blocking ability. The Dolphins could not have him on the field on running plays and was not a dynamic receiver when called upon. Thomas has been a starter essentially his whole career, but his production says he is otherwise nowadays. The tight end position is thin across the league, but that does not mean Thomas' starting role is secure. The Dolphins are expected to cut Thomas after a disappointing season where many fans and media members expected a double-digit touchdowns performance.
11 Mike Wallace
It would be safe to say that not many of the players who started on the Ravens this year should be starters ever again. With a non-existent running game for most of the season, Joe Flacco was forced to throw the ball over 35 times a game. 2017 showed that Wallace is not a reliable number one or two option as a wideout anymore, as he had one of his worst seasons even though the Ravens were forced to pass often. The former deep play threat no longer has the speed to burn opposing corner downfield, and his numbers reflect that. Wallace had more yards his rookie year as a fourth option in Pittsburgh (756) than he had as the focal point of a terrible Ravens wide receiver corps. It could be time for fans, and Wallace, to accept that fact that his best days are behind him.
10 Andy Dalton
One of the few players on this list that may be a starter next season, all due to the Cincinnati Bengals love of being mediocre. With Marvin Lewis miraculously getting extended, the only logical move to continue not winning playoff games in the near future is to keep Dalton running the offence. In 2017, Dalton proved that his run as an average quarterback may be over. His 3,320 passing yards was the lowest total for a season in which he started every game, ranking in the bottom half of the league. Dalton is locked into a lucrative contract through 2020, but has a very low cap hit of $2.3 million if released before June 1st. With Cincinnati retaining Marvin Lewis, it would seem like Dalton will return as well, even though he may be washed up with his best days behind him.
9 Eddie Lacy
Seahawks fan who thought Lacy would return to the form he displayed earlier in his career with the Packers were troubled to find out that he is washed up. Lacy believed he would have a chance to retain the starting post when coming to Seattle. After keeping his weight maintained this offseason, the former Alabama star had his worst season. His play may keep him out of the league next season, as surely no front offices would want a back who averaged 2.6 yards on 69 carries. The fact that Lacy was pegged as the starter before the season started makes this even worse.The Seahawks played six running different running backs this season in order to get any type of production. Lacy is now 27 years old, and after how badly his starting gig went with Seattle, he should not expect to start in the league for quite some time.
8 Kenny Britt
Contracts like the one Britt signed during the summer of 2017 is a key example of why NFL contracts remain non-guaranteed. The four-year, $32.5 million dollar contract that was given out was absurd in the moment, and even worse once Britt touched the field for the Cleveland Browns. It was expected that he would be one of the main contributors in the passing game after signing such a big deal, but was a complete non-factor. The Browns cut their loses with the nine-year veteran, who signed with the New England Patriots after being released. In those nine games, his totals were just 233 yards on 18 catches, two of them for touchdowns. It will be hard-pressed for Britt to carve out a starting role with the Patriots next season as well, with Tom Brady's safety net, Julian Edelman, returning from injury.
7 Ricardo Louis
The Browns were a complete disaster this past season. Without a doubt having one of the worst wide receiving corps in the league, the way Ricardo Louis played only made it worse. Whatever promise he showed in college at Auburn has virtually disappeared. His lack of aggression for his size when going up for balls vertically, and when going over the middle, contributed to him having the 6th worst catch percentage in the league. It is tough to say if such a young player is washed-up per say, but it wouldn't be shocking to see Louis get very few opportunities going forward. At this point, Cleveland is desperate for any serviceable wide receiver to start alongside Josh Gordon, unfortunately for Louis, it would be a long shot for him to get much playing time in 2018 for any roster.
6 Mike Adams
Mike Adams did not play terrible last season, but the Panthers may be looking for something more desirable than a former pro-bowler who turns 37 in March. In the playoffs against the Saints, Adams showed why there are concerns if he will be able to continue starting in the league. New Orleans wideout Michael Thomas, destroyed the Carolina secondary in the 31-26 Saints victory. Adams and the Carolina secondary gave up 131 yards to Thomas, and 115 yards to Ted Ginn Jr. During the late stages of the game, Adams made a costly mistake. On fourth down, he picked the ball off instead of batting the ball down, losing field position as well as costly seconds. Even though he was an average safety, Adams could sharply decline next year and should be in a reduced role in order to maximize his efficiency.
5 Colin Kaepernick
Although his play is not entirely the reason he is not currently playing in the league, the fact of the matter is if he was a talent that transcended whatever press coverage he would get off the field, someone would sign him. Unfortunately for him, his political stance happened to coincide with him coming back from a shoulder surgery that forced him to not start the season. During times last off-season, Kaepernick was asking for a starting role as well as a starter's salary, with some outlets reporting he wanted as high as $9 million a year. The only person who seems to think Kaepernick is a starter, besides himself, is Pete Carroll. The Seahawks coach said after meeting with the unemployed QB that he believes Kaepernick will get a starting role in this league.
4 Vontae Davis
With Vontae Davis getting cut by the Colts in the middle of the season, it should be a sign that this former pro bowler has lost a major step in his game. According to Davis, his subpar play in Indy this season was due to a groin injury the team was unaware of. After being benched, and not being allowed to make the trip to Houston during week nine, Davis came out and said he had to have season-ending surgery. Many people believe this was in response to him being replaced as the starting cornerback. After receiving multiple opinions, Davis decided to see if his injury sustained in week three of the pre-season would heal on its own. This may be the underlying reason why he looked like a major liability in an already terrible secondary, but the Colts decided to release him.
3 Jeremy Vujnovich
Andrew Luck was injured the whole 2017 season due to an injury sustained by taking a large number of hits the prior season. When Jacoby Brissett ran the offence in 2017, the offensive line got even worse. Vujnovich was a part of the offensive line unit that gave up the most sacks per game in 2017, giving up 3.4 on average. He simply looked lost and laughably slow against teams that possessed an above-average defensive unit. unfortunately that doesn't bode well for his future in Indy. The Colts have to play the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars twice a year, with both teams being able to generate a large amount of pressure from up front. It would be surprising to see Vujnovich start in the NFL anytime soon again, but what was even more shocking was that he started every single game for the Colts this past season.
2 Breno Giacomini
Giacomini's 2017 campaign was the textbook example of a player who is washed up. Ethan Young of Bleacher Report ranked him as the worst offensive tackle this season, which is quite the accomplishment really. There was no sense of urgency when attempting to block, with his assignment often causing havoc in the backfield. The Texans, along with the Colts, were the teams who gave up the most sacks this past year. The Texans signed him out of desperation, and it showed. Houston had such little depth at the position, the worst performing offensive lineman of last season played every single snap for the team. If the Texans move forward with Giacomini on the team, regardless of if he is starting, it will be a clear indication of the competence level the front office has.
1 Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson looked absolutely terrible this year when in New Orleans. He spoke out often about his playing time and carries, as he still believes he is a premier back in the league. The week before he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, he registered just a 4-carry, 4-yard outing against the Dolphins. When he did leave the Saints, Peterson was not able to recreate the magic we have grown accustomed to. Averaging just 3.4 yards a carry, his lowest ever for a full season, Peterson could not be leaned on for production. Next season he will attempt to find a new home, or accept a backup role, as the Cardinals anticipate the return of stud running back David Johnson in 2018. What makes matter worse for the former MVP is that he is now coming off another injury, missing the last six games due to neck issues.
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