The NFL is arguably the most popular professional sports league and it is easy to understand why. So many people in the world are introduced to football at such a young age that it becomes part of their social life. Only a select few will ever have the chance to play in the NFL as a professional athlete. With that said, the NFL is a league that is constantly changing because there is so much talent that enters the league each season. When this occurs, many star players end up losing their jobs and become backup options for their current clubs. It is very challenging for players to accept their diminished roles, but it is simply a part of the game. As competitors, it is a tough pill to swallow.
In this article, we will be looking at fifteen NFL starters that will become bench players this upcoming season. The 2017 NFL season showed a lot of star players drop in skill due to old age, but also other players who simply were too inconsistent. There were an abundance of NFL teams that disappointed their fans immensely by having extremely bad seasons. The main reason for this is because many of their starting players ended up not being the players they were expected to be. The 2018 NFL season should bring on a whole new variety of change and it will be an extremely exciting time for all fans.
Nonetheless, let us take a look at the fifteen NFL starters of 2017 who will be benchwarmers in 2018.
15 Frank Gore
Frank Gore was once one of the top running backs in the entire NFL when he was in his prime for the San Francisco 49ers.
As his career has progressed and he joined the Indianapolis Colts, he has shown signs of age and a steady drop in ability.
That could ultimately result in less playing time for him this upcoming season and rightfully so. The Indianapolis Colts need to find a way to win and that mainly will happen if their franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, can remain healthy and find his game yet again. Gore could benefit from a change of scenery so he could find a way to revive his once outstanding career. There is still hope for the aging veteran, but time is definitely running out.
14 Eli Manning
The way that the New York Giants handled Eli Manning this season was extremely disrespectful for all that he brought to that organization. Although the Giants ended the year at 2-14, Manning still performed at a level that is very similar to his past statistics. He may not be an elite quarterback anymore, but he did not deserve to be stripped of his job.
The NFL can sometimes be a cruel place and that ultimately is why Eli Manning will most likely be riding the bench this season.
If Manning decides to stay with the Giants, he very well could lose his starting job yet again and with them in a rebuilding phase, this seems inevitable for the veteran quarterback. Manning will not be a star in New York anymore.
13 Blake Bortles
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a very solid season this year and are absolutely heading in the right direction with their franchise. The Jaguars are a team that saw the majority of their success due to the amazing ability of their defense. With that said, if the Jaguars want to eventually win, they need to find a way to improve their offensive game.
Quarterback Blake Bortles had a decent season, but he is not a quarterback that a contending team should build around.
Bortles showed a lot of signs of inconsistency last season and is likely to continue that as his career progresses. There have been rumours that the Jaguars are also looking at potentially going after a new quarterback, so Bortles may be done.
12 Brock Osweiler
Brock Osweiler had a wild career since he opted to leave the Denver Broncos just a few seasons ago. After all that he went through, he has found himself back on the Denver Broncos and it is hard to believe that anyone saw this coming. Osweiler led the Broncos to a 5-11 record and with his contract, that is a massive disappointment.
With that said, it is easy to believe that the Denver Broncos will be very active in looking for a new quarterback to help them win like they did when they had Peyton Manning. Osweiler simply is not an elite quarterback and Denver is a storied franchise that lives off having that. With that said, Osweiler will be better suited as a backup for them, only used in emergency situations.
11 Case Keenum
The Minnesota Vikings had an outstanding regular season this year, but when it mattered most, they got absolutely embarrassed by the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. It is hard to pinpoint what went wrong exactly during that game because it was an absolute blowout, but it is easy to believe that change is coming everywhere.
Case Keenum had a career year and will likely be given an opportunity to be a starting quarterback again in the future.
Yet, it is also likely that the Minnesota Vikings may elect to move on from Keenum after how disappointing the year ended for the squad. The Vikings are reportedly interested in Kirk Cousins and if they acquire him, that would result in Keenum riding the bench.
10 Malcolm Butler
The New England Patriots made a pretty idiotic decision when they opted to bench Malcolm Butler for the Super Bowl and that ultimately is what made them lose this season.The Patriots’ defense was atrocious that game and it is easy to believe it would have been different if the team decided to play the guy that won them the Super Bowl a few short seasons ago.
Yet, at the end of the day, Bill Belichick made his decision and knowing how stubborn he can be, it is likely that Butler has earned a spot on the bench. It is not entirely noted as to what Butler did to receive the benching, but it is easy to believe that he has fallen out of favor with the team, Unless he is traded this offseason, it is likely he will be watching a lot of games this year.
9 Josh McCown
The New York Jets had another embarrassing season this year and that is mainly due to the fact that their management simply cannot build a winning football club. The Jets are in desperate need of a real starting quarterback, yet last season they decided to give the reign to the ancient Josh McCown.
McCown did not do terribly last season, but he is not a starter.
At age 38, it is hard to believe the New York Jets will be using Josh McCown as their starting quarterback. The Jets need to finally build a roster that can compete with the New England Patriots if they ever want to be taken seriously against the other teams of the league. Expect them to be aggressive when they are in pursuit this free agency period to fix their issues.
8 Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson was once the most dominating running back in the entire NFL, but father time has finally caught up to him and he is showing signs of slowing down. Now, it is important to note that Peterson is not necessarily bad now, but it is fair to assume that he will be given less snaps next season to whatever team he decides to sign with.
Adrian Peterson is simply not the player he was with the Minnesota Vikings when he was basically unstoppable.
Yet, it is likely that Peterson will be able to land another NFL contract, even if his role is reduced fairly significantly. This could end up being the season where we see the complete fall of Peterson, especially if he is riding the bench through the majority of it.
7 DeShone Kizer
The Cleveland Browns had an absolutely terrible season this year and that is exactly why they went 0-16. When a team finishes a season without a single win, it is easy to assume that there will be massive changes made throughout the organization. The team will look to select a franchise quarterback with the first overall pick and rightfully so.
With that said, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will definitely not be the starting quarterback next season for the club. Kizer struggled immensely this year and that is mainly because he was an inexperienced quarterback playing on one of the worst teams in NFL history. With that said, Kizer may benefit from less pressure next year and some extra time on the bench.
6 Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton was once seen as the franchise saving quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, but as his career has continued, it is quite apparent that he simply cannot lead a team to glory. Dalton has had many years to show the NFL that he is a legitimate star, but he keeps finding new ways to drop his value. Just look at how poorly the Bengals’ record was last season to see that.
It will be extremely surprising if the Cincinnati Bengals decided to allow Andy Dalton to be their starting quarterback yet again because it is clear that all he brings is failure. Dalton was once seen as a player who could handle the pressures of the NFL, but now it is apparent that he is simply inconsistent. Expect this season to be the year he finally sits on the pine.
5 Eddie Lacy
When the Seattle Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy, many saw it as a potential steal because Eddie Lacy had the potential to become a star. The Seahawks added him because their depth at running back was extremely low and Lacy seemed to be a good player to help fill the holes. Yet, after having the chance to start, it became clear that Lacy simply was not good enough.
The Seattle Seahawks are a team that always pushes for Super Bowl titles, so they will look to move on from Lacy and his lacklustre play. The Seahawks absolutely need to do this because there honestly was no worse running back in the league than Lacy this past season. He is better suited as a player to come off the bench. He is not a real starter.
4 Nick Foles
After the outstanding playoff run that Nick Foles had this season, it is easy to believe that he will forever be a legend for the Philadelphia Eagles. The way that he replaced Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl Championship will forever be remembered and should be respected by every NFL fan in the world. David managed to defeat Goliath.
Yet, although Nick Foles tory is a feel good one and he will forever be beloved in Philly, there is no way that he will be starting for them next season.
Carson Wentz is there number one quarterback and both the present and future of the Eagles. Foles will simply not have the chance to be a permanent starter for the Eagles and will be the backup.
3 Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor had a fantastic season with the Cleveland Browns in 2016 so many thought he would be an excellent weapon for the Washington Redskins last season. Pryor was one of the most effective wide receivers in the league with the atrocious Browns, but completely lost his game with the Redskins. He was one of the worsts in the entire league.
With the Washington Redskins desperately trying to become a legitimate contender again, they will absolutely be reducing the playing time of Terrelle Pryor. Pryor showed the NFL that his skill was drastically decreasing and that will ultimately make him more of a bench warmer this upcoming season. One touchdown as a wide receiver is simply not good enough.
2 Stephen Gostkowski
For many years now, Stephen Gostkowski has been one of the best kickers in the NFL and a huge piece of the New England Patriots. Gostkowski has one of the biggest boots in the entire NFL and has been known to hit clutch field goals from very far distances. He has been a secret weapon for the Patriots since he made the squad, but time has changed.
Stephen Gostkowski is another huge factor behind the Patriots loss to the Eagle this year. Gostkowski missed an extra point attempt and a close field goal that could have helped the Patriots immensely. These two kicks will not leave the minds of the Patriots and they may opt to move on from him or use him in less situations. It would make a lot of sense now.
1 Blaine Gabbert
The Arizona Cardinals have not been able to find a franchise quarterback since the retirement of Kurt Warner and it is truly hurting them. With that said, this past year, they used former college star Blaine Gabbert as their starting quarterback and it failed miserably. Gabbert was arguably one of the worst quarterbacks in the entire league and even lost his job.
With that said, it is extremely difficult to believe that the Arizona Cardinals will opt to use him as a starter again this season. At this stage in his career, it may be hard for Gabbert to ever be more than a backup quarterback. Gabbert simply is not capable of keeping up with the top notch talent in the NFL and will most likely be on the bench for the entirety of his career.