With training camp now here, teams are already looking forward to the 2017 regular season, and are all hoping to be the next Super Bowl champions. Some players are under contract for more than one season, and other players are in "contract years." That means that it is the last year on the player's current deal, and will look to give it more than 100 percent this year to prove that they are worth the money that they will ask for in the following offseason. Players who are in "contract years" tend to have better numbers because they are out to prove that they can be an effective asset in this league.
With the league on the rise, and looking at the names of the 2018 free agency class shows that a lot of guys are poised to have big seasons. Some of these star players in the league will look to add on to what they are already worth, and to make sure that they can get the money in the following offseason like they believe that they should.
Another aspect of this is that other teams look at certain players during the year to make a potential trade to help their team out, or they look at certain players to see if they will be able to not only get a meeting with said player, but to see if they will be able to afford the player for the foreseeable future. With the trade rumors swirling, and some big names who are under contract after the 2017 season are on the trading block it makes it interesting to see where some players will play in 2018. With that being said here are the 15 players that will be playing on new teams in 2018.
15 Alfred Morris - Cleveland Browns
Alfred Morris started off his NFL career with three straight 1,000 plus rushing yards seasons, and has slowly started to see his numbers decrease due to lack of carries. With Morris set to become a free agent after the 2017 season it does not look like he will get paid the amount that he thinks he is worth, but one team will definitely take him to be their starting running back for the foreseeable future. That team is none other than the Cleveland Browns, who currently only have Duke Johnson Jr. as their only running back under contract for the 2018 season.
With Morris being a former three-time 1,000 yard rusher, Cleveland could look to make him their prime focus for their running game. Look for the Browns to take his past into considerations with what he can do if he gets the amount of carries per game.
14 Carlos Hyde - New York Jets
Carlos Hyde has not lived up to what the San Francisco 49ers thought that he would be when they drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Hyde has not gotten an offensive strategy that seems to fit his style of play, and had his best season as a professional in 2016. With 2017 being a "contract year" for Hyde his numbers should improve and should be a 1,000 yard rusher in 2017. One team that could use a good solid running back like Carlos Hyde is the New York Jets.
The Jets look like they will be the team that will pay the amount of money that Hyde will look for this offseason, but will it be worth it is the question. With it looking like Christian Hackenberg is the quarterback of the future in New York, and adding a running back like Carlos Hyde could be the start of a revival of the New York Jets.
13 Paul Posluszny - Buffalo Bills
Paul Posluzsny has been one of the better inside linebackers of the 2010s, and is set to become a free agent after the 2017 season. In his ten year career Posluszny has had over 100 tackles four times in his career, and has been a Pro Bowler once (2013). One team that should be interested in a reunion with Paul Posluzsny is none other than the Buffalo Bills.
He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and he was a solid linebacker for the first four seasons of his NFL career in Buffalo and both sides should try their best to create a reunion starting in 2018. It won't cost Buffalo as much as people think to sign Posluszny and he would fit nice in defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier's scheme.
12 Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah - Cincinnati Bengals
Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah has been one of the best defensive ends since entering the league in 2013. The former fifth overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft has been the face of the Detroit Lions defense since he stepped foot into that locker room for the first time. With Ansah set to become a free agent after the 2017 season, the Lions could look to move Ansah instead of taking the risk of potentially losing him for nothing.
One team that will definitely be interested in Ansah's talent is the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals will take the idea of adding Ansah to their defense and absolutely roll with it. With the Bengals having roughly $17.4 million in cap room for the 2018 season, they can figure out a way to be able to have a guy like Ansah to be a part of their team. Look for Cincinnati to take their shot during the season at Ziggy, but if not they will go all out to get him in the offseason.
11 Sheldon Richardson - Indianapolis Colts
Sheldon Richardson is a one of the better defensive tackles in the game today, and will definitely look to get paid when he becomes a free agent in the 2018 off season. Richardson is a former thirteenth overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, and has been a big part of the New York Jets defense since he has entered the league. Looking forward. the Jets are going through a rebuilding process that Richardson definitely does not want to be a part of. The Jets can either look for a counter part to trade Richardson, or they could let him walk in free agency.
One team that would be an interesting fit for Richardson and would definitely lock him up long term is the Indianapolis Colts. He would come right in to Indianapolis and help make a change in their defensive part of their game. Look for the Colts to look to either trade for him and lock him up to an extension, or to acquire him in free agency for a nice long-term contract.
10 Mychal Kendricks - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mychal Kendricks is one of the top young linebackers, and can make an impact with any team. Kendricks' name has been coming up in trade rumors and has a potential out in his contract after this upcoming season. It is more than likely that the he will opt out after this season if he is still in Philadelphia, so the Eagles should look to move him to try and find a team that would want him. One team that would be interested in acquiring him, and could become a legit contender after this move is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With their defense already looking promising and having Kwon Alexander, and Lavonte David as their two big linebackers, adding a guy like Kendricks could help out the Buccaneers defense in a tremendous way. Tampa Bay should be willing to dump two draft picks for a guy like Kendricks, and could create a dominant front seven with the addition of him.
9 Matthew Stafford - Los Angeles Chargers
Now I can already here everybody reading this saying why in the world would Stafford go to the Chargers. If you read further into the article you will find out my answer. Stafford is a former number one overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft and has been "the guy" for the Detroit Lions since entering the league. With Stafford not recording a playoff win in his eight year career, perhaps he could be looking for a fresh start after 2017.
With Detroit looking in a different direction when it comes to their quarterback, one team that would make sense for Stafford is none other than the Los Angeles Chargers. With rumors swirling about a potential trade that could happen, it makes you start to think that the Chargers have a different idea of who they want at quarterback with Philip Rivers getting older. Stafford could help turn the Chargers organization around, with his huge arm to go along with the talent that they have at wide receivers.
8 Jimmy Garoppolo - Washington Redskins
Now this one seems like a better fit than anything that the Washington Redskins could have ever imagined. Jimmy Garoppolo showed that he can be a starting quarterback in this league, and the Redskins will benefit out of it. Instead of paying a guy like Cousins as much as they are for this upcoming season, they can get a much cheaper option in Jimmy Garoppolo and have money to add talented receivers for him.
The Redskins should bounce on the chance, either by trying to acquire him in a trade, or signing him as a free agent this offseason. One mistake that Washington should learn from the Houston Texans is do not over pay if you think there is a possibility that he could flop in his first season as a starter.
7 Jonathan Stewart - Pittsburgh Steelers
Jonathan Stewart has been a solid running back in the NFL, and started his career as a running back who was splitting carries. One team that could benefit from him to either splitting carries/being the primary running back is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers having roughly $24.3 million in cap space at the moment for the 2018 season, could sign Stewart to a good friendly contract.
The thought of adding Jonathan Stewart to the Steelers backfield would be a huge upgrade for Pittsburgh. Both sides can see this as a win/win situation; the Steelers get a solid running back who can be effective as the number one guy, or a guy who splits carries and Stewart gets a realistic chance of winning a Super Bowl title by playing with the Steelers.
6 Sammy Watkins - Tennessee Titans
Sammy Watkins has been a good number one receiver for the Buffalo Bills since they selected him fourth overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. With Watkins set to become a free agent after the 2017 season, one team that he could like to sign with is none other than the Tennessee Titans. Imagine a duo of Marcus Mariota and Sammy Watkins, that is a nice Pro Bowl dynamic duo that the Titans could acquire. With Watkins looking for a quarterback that could throw him the ball, the idea of him teaming up with the likes of Marcus Mariota sounds like a match made in heaven.
Looking at the potential that these two could have together makes it hard to believe that Tennessee would not take that chance. Look for the Titans to try and take that next step by acquiring themselves a number one receiver in Sammy Watkins.
5 Alex Smith - Detroit Lions
With the Kansas City Chiefs trading up to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, makes it hard not to believe that Andy Reid and the Chiefs drafted him to be Alex Smith's replacement. Smith has a potential to opt out of his current deal after next season, but it does not look like that Smith will be in a Chiefs uniform after the 2017 season. One team that would be interested in Alex Smith is none other than the Detroit Lions. With the possibility of them losing Matthew Stafford the Lions could definitely try and add Alex Smith to their team.
The former number one overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, is a game manager that the Detroit Lions have been looking for. With the Lions set to become big time buyers in the 2018 free agency period look for the addition of a quarterback like Alex Smith to be a possible addition for the Lions.
4 Kirk Cousins - San Francisco 49ers
Kirk Cousins' name has been tossed around in rumor after rumor, and he will not be in a Washington Redskins uniform after the 2017 season. One team that has been linked to Cousins throughout the whole time is the San Francisco 49ers. The big reason why the 49ers would want Cousins is because of the relationship that he has with Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan was the former coordinator of the Redskins, and the idea of having Cousins be the quarterback in his system is incredible to think about.
Looking ahead Kirk Cousins to San Francisco seems inevitable at this point. The 49ers should either try to trade for him, or wait to acquire him in free agency. Cousins being the guy in San Francisco can help make them a tough team to play against in the future.
3 Philip Rivers - Denver Broncos
Now this move might shock you, but it looks like Rivers wants out of Los Angeles. He was not happy about the relocation to Los Angeles and could look to go elsewhere. If the Chargers were smart they would try and move his contract, and one team that is in desperate need of a quarterback and would love to have Rivers be "the guy" for them is none other than the Denver Broncos. Rivers was the fourth overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, and has spent his entire career with the Chargers.
I can see everyone thinking there is no way that he would allow himself to play in Denver, but what you don't realize is with Denver's talented defense and talented receivers could be a big attraction for Rivers. It would give him perhaps the best chance he's ever had at winning a Super Bowl before he hangs 'em up.
2 Le'Veon Bell - New York Giants
Le'Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers can't agree to a contract, and he will play under the franchise tag for the 2017 season. If this off season is a sign of things to come, then Le'Veon Bell looks like his days as a Pittsburgh Steeler seems to be close to over. The former second round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, has become one of the top five running backs in the league today and deserves to get paid like one.
One team that could afford to pay him that type of money, and would be a huge upgrade for this team is none other than the New York Giants. Imagining an offense with Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Le'Veon Bell to go along with Eli Manning running the show is a nightmare for any defense in the NFL.
1 Richard Sherman - Dallas Cowboys
Richard Sherman's name has been tossed around for the past few months, and could see himself on a different team come the time the 2018 season starts. Sherman is set to become a unrestricted free agent in 2019, but there is one team that would love to be able to acquire the 3-time all-pro shut down corner. That team is none other than the former "America's team" Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas lost the majority of their secondary in the 2017 offseason, and Dallas should try to acquire Sherman via trade. The thoughts of having Sherman in a Dallas uniform is unreal, and doesn't seem likely, but with the rumors swirling he could be dealt, it's worth considering as a possibility.
Looking forward, it looks like Sherman's time in Seattle is close to being over, and Dallas should capitalize on that opportunity to try and acquire him as soon as possible.