The 2018-19 NFL season is officially underway, and so far it has been a thrilling one. From Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's sudden (if temporary?) rise to stardom throughout the first few weeks of the season to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' stunning performances throughout the first weeks, this season has kicked off with a bang.
In the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars all jumped out to early leads in their conference. Also in the AFC, the Cleveland Browns snapped their 635-day streak without a win, picking up a Week 3 win over the New York Jets 21-17. As mentioned above, Patrick Mahomes has been the star of the conference, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to the top of the conference with 13 TDs and no INTs.
In the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams have cemented their place atop their conference. The Buccaneers, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick who threw for over 400 yards in 3 straight weeks, are enjoying one of the best starts to the season in nearly a decade, even if they did lose in Week 3 to the Steelers.
With the NFL season underway, we're counting down which player every NFL team should consider dropping before the end of the season, taking into account their player efficiency rating when applicable, salary in relation to the cap room, and statistics from past seasons counting down by team based on last season's standings.
32 Arizona Cardinals - Sam Bradford
Currently signed to a massive one-year, $20 million contract with the Cardinals, former No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford played in just two games last season before sitting out the remainder of the season with an injury. This has been the tale of Bradford's career, as he has had several seasons cut short due to injury. In 2016 Bradford played in 15 games, where he threw with 71% accuracy to go along with 5 interceptions, an improvement from the 14 he threw the season prior, in just 14 games. So far this season, Bradford threw for 2 TDs and 4 INTs in three games. The Arizona Cardinals may want to commit to 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen, who took over from Bradford in the Cardinals' Week 3 game loss to the Bears.
31 Atlanta Falcons - Logan Paulsen
This season is Logan Paulsen's first with the Atlanta Falcons after joining the team from the San Francisco 49ers. The 31-year old UCLA alum is currently on a one-year contract, serving as the backup to Austin Hooper. Paulsen has been durable, playing in all 16 games five times throughout his seven-season career. Despite that, he had zero yards on zero receptions last year, declining from 14 yards on three receptions the prior season, where he played 16 games for the Chicago Bears. Bottom line: Paulsen may be durable, but his lack of production makes him a liability for the Falcons as they look to put themselves in Super Bowl contention.
30 Baltimore Ravens - Maxx Williams
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Maxx Williams in 2015 in the 2nd round. Since then, he has proven underwhelming for the Ravens, playing in 14 games his rookie season and earning 268 receiving yards. The following season Williams played in just four games, catching the ball zero times. Unfortunately for Williams, despite playing in 11 games last season, he had just 86 receiving yards and one touchdown. He is currently on a four-year, $4 million contract while serving as the third-string tight end. Given his consistently mediocre performances over the past three seasons, the Ravens may want to spend their money elsewhere.
29 Buffalo Bills - Jordan Mills
Jordan Mills joined the Buffalo Bills in 2015 after spending the first two seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears after being drafted by the franchise in the fifth round in 2013. While Mills has played in all 16 games the past two seasons, he allowed six sacks last season, as well as seven the season prior. In addition, Mills has picked up 13 penalties across the two seasons. Given his two-year, $3.8 million contract, the Bills should look to find another tackle to defend Josh Allen moving forward.
28 Carolina Panthers - Chris Clark
After going undrafted out of Southern Miss, Chris Clark joined the Denver Broncos in 2010. A durable player who has consistently played in nearly every game of the past seven seasons, Clark has seen a decline in stats in recent years, allowing 7 sacks in the 2016 season, where he played 16 games, the most of his three-year stint with the Houston Texans before signing with the Carolina Panthers after one last season in Houston last year, where Clark gave up 3.5 sacks. His one-year contract comes to an end this offseason, and the Panthers may want to find another second-string tackle to protect Cam Newton.
27 Chicago Bears - Bobby Massie
Massie joined the team in 2016 after spending the first four years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Throughout his first two seasons with the Bears, Massie has allowed 4 sacks each season. While Massie isn't the sole problem with the Bears offensive line, he's entering the final year of his three-year, $18 million contract. Depending on Massie's performance this season, the Bears might want to consider dropping him this offseason.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - Cedric Ogbuehi
Drafted as the 21st overall pick of the 2015 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Cedric Ogbuehi's stats have continued to decline from season to season. Currently on the final year of a four-year, $9 million contract, Ogbuehi allowed 7.5 sacks in his sophomore season in 2016 after playing in 14 games compared to 5 the previous season. Last season, Ogbuehi allowed 7 sacks, putting him in a do-or-die position this season as he prepares to enter free agency at the end of this season. Given the Bengals desire to improve their record behind quarterback Andy Dalton, Cedric Ogbuehi's contract is a massive burden on the Bengals, given his poor production.
25 Cleveland Browns - Chris Hubbard
The Cleveland Browns have consistently served as one of the worst teams in the NFL. After winning their first game in nearly two years this season, starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was taken out of the game with an apparent concussion. While he is expected to clear the league's concussion protocol by next week, the incident paints a picture of a larger problem in Cleveland regarding the team's offensive line's inability to protect their quarterback. This season so far, Chris Hubbard has allowed 3.5 sacks. In comparison, last season he allowed 4.0 sacks while on the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Browns want to improve their offense, it starts with getting a true left tackle to protect their quarterbacks.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys struggles at the receiver spot are well documented, and Deonte Thompson isn't going to solve any of the team's problems. Currently on a one-year, $790,000 contract, the 29-year-old has played in 16 games just twice throughout his six-year professional career. Last season, Thompson began the season with the Chicago Bears, before then joining the Buffalo Bills, where he showed promise, finishing 11 games with 430 yards and 1 touchdown. Thompson's lack of in-game experience isn't doing the Cowboys any favors right now, and they should look to bolster their receiving squad with other players if he can't prove his value this season.
23 Denver Broncos - Jared Veldheer
Offensive Tackle Jared Veldheer signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Denver Broncos this March, making him one of the highest paid players on the team. This season will be Veldheer's first with the Broncos after playing the past four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. In his last two seasons with the Cardinals, he played in 8 games, and most recently 13 games last season, where he allowed 5 sacks. While the Broncos have been off to a good start this season, Veldheer's contract is a long-term one that's worth quite a bit of money. As the Broncos look to improve on last season's record, whether or not this long-term commitment to Veldheer is a good thing remains to be seen.
22 Detroit Lions - Theo Riddick
Drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2013 in the sixth round, Theo Riddick has been a Detroit Lion for his whole career. A backup to recently signed LeGarrette Blount, Riddick is currently on the second year of a three-year, $11 million contract that has so far seen him produce lackluster numbers. Last season saw a drop in Riddick's rushing yards from 357 to 286 despite the Notre Dame alum playing in six more games. As the Lions look to prove themselves as contenders in the NFC, Riddick's large contract and lack of production should be reevaluated by the team.
21 Green Bay Packers - Tramon Williams
While Tramon Williams was a Pro Bowler in 2010, and a Super Bowl champion with the Green Bay Packers the same year, at 35-years-old it's hard to justify the two-year, $10 million contract the Packers offered him this past offseason. Williams played the first eight seasons of his career with the Packers, racking up 28 interceptions throughout his time in G.B. before then spending three years on other teams. The past three seasons, Williams has picked off just four passes collectively, and despite his notoriety in Wisconsin, no longer commands that large of a contract.
20 Houston Texans - Lamar Miller
While the Houston Texans may want to consider bolstering their offensive line, much like some of the teams mentioned above, after allowing 54 sacks last season, they decided not to trade up for a first or second-round draft pick this year. While an improved o-line could solve some of their offensive problems, the Texans front office has expressed a desire to part ways with their running back Lamar Miller. While Miller finished 20th overall amongst running backs for yards per game, while only fumbling the ball once, the team isn't happy with Miller's production given that he's on the third year of his four-year, $26 million deal. We may not consider him the player most worthy of being cut on the Texans, but the franchise has made it clear that they do and depending on his production early on in this season his time with the Texans could be winding down.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Castonzo
Indianapolis Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo is currently on a rather large four-year contract worth $43.8 million. Castonzo has played his entire career with the Colts after being drafted as the 22nd overall pick in 2011. Since then he has continued to prove himself as a liability on the offensive end. Last season, Castonzo allowed 6.5 sacks, while earning himself 4 penalties. The one upside to Castonzo has been his durability, as he has played in all 16 games in five of his seven seasons with the team. That changed this season however as Castonzo has missed every game. Given his poor performance and large contract, the Colts should consider parting ways with Castonzo.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles
While the Jacksonville Jaguars have cemented themselves as a legitimate threat, one major liability comes to mind: Blake Bortles. Finishing last season with one of the worst passer ratings among starting quarterbacks, which included 21 touchdowns and thirteen interceptions, it's hard to justify Bortles' massive three-year, $54 million contract recently offered to him by the Jaguars. It's a lot of faith to put in a player who hasn't thrown for over 300 yards since 2015 while continuing to put up double-digit interceptions season after season. If the Jaguars truly want to cement themselves as Super Bowl contenders they will be hard-pressed to do so on the back of Bortles.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Fisher
Drafted as the first overall draft pick of the 2013 draft, Eric Fisher has been one of the biggest disappointments as a first-overall pick. Despite being a durable player who has played in all 16 games four of his five seasons, Fisher has let up more than six sacks every season, with a career-high 8.5 sacks allowed. Last season, Fisher picked up 5 penalties to go along with 6.5 sacks allowed. Despite his lackluster performance since being drafted, Fisher was given a massive six-year, $63 million deal back in 2016. Given his lack of production and his massive salary, the Chiefs need to reconsider who they want protecting Patrick Mahomes.
16 Los Angeles Chargers - Corey Liuget
Corey Liuget is currently one of the highest-paid players on the Los Angeles Chargers despite playing in just 12 games last season, and zero so far this season as he sits out the first four games of the season without pay as part of a suspension for violating NFL policies. Currently on a massive five-year, $51 million contract that saw him sign an extension with the Chargers in 2015, Liuget has continued to be underwhelming throughout his time with the franchise. Given his PED violation, as well as his massive contract, the Chargers may want to consider finding a player that consistently produces.
15 Los Angeles Rams - Andrew Whitworth
A four-time Pro Bowler, it may be surprising that we have Andrew Whitworth listed in this position. The 36-year-old had spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals before signing a lucrative three-year, $33.7 million contract with the Rams in 2017. The season prior to Whitworth's signing with the Rams, he had the best statistical season of his career, starting in all 16 games for three straight seasons, and finishing the 2016 season with no sacks allowed. The following season, however, Whitworth allowed 6 sacks in his first season with the Rams. For the LSU alum, inconsistency has been the story as he has bounced between impressive seasons with under one sack allowed, to seasons with seven sacks allowed. Given his massive contract, lack of consistency, and the Rams' push to be Super Bowl competitors, it's hard to justify his place as a starter.
14 Miami Dolphins - DeVante Parker
After being drafted as the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Miami Dolphins with the hopes of landing a future star, DeVante Parker has been consistently average. The 2016 season was Parker's best, where he had 744 receiving yards to go along with 4 touchdowns. With that being said, Parker is on a four-year, $10 million contract that currently sees him in the final year of his deal. While the Dolphins may not necessarily want to completely part ways with the Louisville receiver, his stats over the past four years show he may not command as high of a contract from the team. Depending on whether or not Parker is willing to take a pay cut, the Dolphins may want to consider parting ways with him.
13 Minnesota Vikings - Trevor Siemian
Drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2015 in the 7th round, Trevor Siemian has played in just 26 NFL games. After playing in just one game his rookie season, Siemian played 14 games in 2016, connecting on just 59.5% of his passes, and throwing 10 interceptions. The following season Siemian played in just 11 games and threw 14 interceptions to go along with 12 touchdowns before injuring his shoulder and missing the remainder of the season. He has yet to play a game in a Vikings jersey but is currently on the final year of a four-year, $2.3 million deal. While he certainly isn't the worst quarterback in the league, he remains a mystery to Vikings fans, and an unreliable backup. The Vikings likely will look elsewhere for a quarterback after this season.
12 New England Patriots - Marcus Cannon
While the New England Patriots have consistently been one of the best teams in the NFL, they struggled in the Super Bowl, as well as early on in this season with their offensive line. Marcus Cannon, who has started this season, could be a liability for the Patriots. Last season Cannon allowed 5 sacks in just 7 games played before getting injured. While he isn't necessarily a bad offensive tackle, a five-year, $32 million contract signed in 2016 could prove to be a bit of a burden as the 30-year-old begins the backend of his contract, and the Patriots look to avenge their Super Bowl loss last season.
11 New Orleans Saints - Josh Hill
New Orleans Saints backup tight end Josh Hill has been with the team since they signed the undrafted Idaho State alum in 2013. Since then he has managed to earn over 100 receiving yards every season, earning a career-high 176 receiving yards in 2014. While Hill certainly isn't by any means a poor tight end, starting tight end Alvin Kamara has proven his worth as a starter, leaving the Saints' three-year $7 million contract with Hill to be a bit much given that they have third-string rookie tight end Dan Arnold signed to a three-year deal as well.
10 New York Giants - Ereck Flowers
Similar to the Cleveland Browns problem with their offensive line, the New York Giants also have a lineman they can do better without. After using their 9th overall draft pick on Ereck Flowers in 2015, the team expressed doubts about whether or not they believed Flowers had the attitude to play at a high level. While Flowers won't be protecting quarterback Eli Manning's blindside anymore, thanks to the acquisition of Nate Solder, Flowers has allowed 5+ sacks every season he has played in the league and has racked up between six and 12 penalties every season as well. That, combined with a $2.3 million contract, may want to persuade the Giants to move on from Flowers.
9 New York Jets - Isaiah Crowell
This past offseason, Isaiah Crowell signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the New York Jets after parting ways with the Cleveland Browns, who he spent four seasons with after going undrafted in 2014. While Crowell put up solid numbers last season, ranking 22nd among running backs for yards-per-game, his contract is a bit of a burden on the Jets, who also have running back Bilal Powell signed to a three-year, $11.5 million deal. When comparing the stats of the two running backs, Powell ranked just three spots below Crowell last season for yards-per-game, while scoring three more touchdowns than Crowell during the 2017 season. As the Jets look to improve on last season's 5-11 record, Crowell's contract could be put to better use.
8 Oakland Raiders - Derek Carr
Derek Carr is currently on the second year of a five-year deal worth a whopping $125 million; heavily back-loaded. That may seem like a lot for a quarterback who finished the 2017 season with one of the worst passer ratings among starting quarterbacks. Carr was ranked 5th last season for interceptions thrown and ranked 37th among quarterbacks for passer rating. Given that, it's hard to justify Carr's contract in the NFL and the Raiders should consider looking elsewhere for a starting quarterback if he can't drastically improve his performance.
7 Philadelphia Eagles - Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, Halapoulivaati Vaitai showed promise his rookie season, playing in 7 games and allowing just three sacks. Those aren't bad numbers for a rookie drafted in the fifth round. Last season, however, while starting in 10 games, and playing in all 16 regular season games, Vaitai allowed 7 sacks and picked up 6 penalties over the course of the season. Currently on the third year of a four-year, $2.5 million contract, Vaitai serves as the second-string left tackle on an offensive line that is looking to protect Carson Wentz as he returns to the starting quarterback spot this season.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers - L.J. Fort
Northern Iowa alum L.J. Fort has been in the league since 2012 when he joined the Cleveland Browns after going undrafted. The linebacker played in all 16 games his rookie season, racking up 8 tackles, and 1 interception. To date, that remains Fort's best season, as he found himself without a team for the 2013 season. After being picked up by the Steelers in 2016, Fort played in 29 games over two seasons, picking up 2 tackles each season, as well as another tackle last season. For a Steelers team that is trying to make a serious push for the Super Bowl this season, Fort may not be the right choice as a backup linebacker.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Malcolm Smith
Linebacker Malcolm Smith joined the San Francisco 49ers last season on a massive five-year, $26.5 million contract after parting ways with the Oakland Raiders in 2016. Smith has yet to play a single game for the 49ers after tearing a pectoral muscle prior to the start of last season. Smith had 86 tackles in his last season with the Raiders, but the fact that the 49ers are in desperate need of bolstering their rushing defense means his contract and injury problems make him a bit of a liability for the 49ers at this point. Only time will tell when we see Smith play this season, but the 49ers may want to consider parting ways with the linebacker.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Germain Ifedi
Germain Ifedi was drafted to the Seattle Seahawks with the 32nd pick of the 2016 draft in hopes of improving the Seahawks noticeably weak offensive line. Since then, Ifedi has done little to help solve the Seahawks problem, allowing 6.5 sacks last season, while picking up a whopping 16 penalties. In the season prior, Ifedi showed more promise as a rookie, allowing just 5.5 sacks. Currently on the third year of a four-year, $8.2 million contract, the Seahawks should consider looking to find another option to replace Ifedi moving forward if they look to return to the Super Bowl.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Brent Grimes
A four-time Pro Bowler, Brent Grimes has been in the NFL for just over a decade now, spending the majority of his career with the Atlanta Falcons after signing with the team in 2007 after going undrafted. Since then, Grimes has proven himself as a cornerback. At 35 years old, however, his one-year, $7 million contract from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is hard to justify given their ranking as the worst pass-defenders in the league last season. While his durability has been a highlight throughout his career, Grimes has missed every game of this season so far. Given that the team has continued to struggle with their pass-defense in recent years, they need to change things up, starting with freeing up Grimes' contract.
2 Tennessee Titans - Blaine Gabbert
Drafted as the tenth overall pick in 2011 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Blaine Gabbert has continued to struggle throughout his eight-year career. Interceptions have been the obvious story of Gabbert's career, as he has averaged 6.1 interceptions per season. In comparison, he has averaged just 6.2 touchdowns per season and finished last season with one of the worst passer ratings of any quarterback. Given that he is currently on a four-year, $24 million contract to play backup to Marcus Mariota, the Titans should look to dump Gabbert's contract as soon as possible.
1 Washington Redskins - Matthew Ioannidis
Last season the Washington Redskins finished the season with the most rushing yards allowed. As a result, going into the 2018 season the Redskins knew they would have to improve on their defensive line if they wanted to be considered a defensive threat. Matthew Ioannidis was drafted by the Redskins in 2016 in the fifth round. Since then he has proven himself to be an average lineman, racking up 13 tackles last season to go along with 4.5 sacks. Currently on the third year of a four-year, $2.3 million contract, the Redskins should look to bolster their defensive line by replacing Ioannidis or relegating him to a backup role.