Imagine a world where every NFL player had to play for the team that was close to their hometown. This league would be completely different, as players who be forced to play based off of where they grew up. Some of the best teams that currently are dominating in the NFL, may be nowhere near as good. It’s a really interesting thing to think about, as history would be completely different if the league were like this. The worst part about it is that players wouldn’t be able to leave their team, as they would have to play for that team throughout the rest of the career.
With players switching teams, it also means that we would have some new stars in the league. Some players that may not be as popular currently, would be more popular due to the level of talent that is on their new team. For some of these teams, it was really difficult to decide which players would be the stars based on how much talent there was on the team. With many new players on new teams, the attention each player gets definitely changes dramatically, and a bunch of new fan favorites come in to play.
32 Arizona Cardinals - Everson Griffen
Truthfully, Everson Griffen does not get the attention he deserves. Having accumulated at least 8 sacks per season for the past four years, Griffen has become one of the more dominant defensive ends in the game right now. A huge part on why he isn’t as known, is due to playing on a Vikings defense that is filled with very talented young players.
Griffen grew up in Avondale, Arizona. The Cardinals wouldn’t be a very talented team in this new league, which is part of why he would be so popular. Not saying that there’s anything wrong with Griffen being the star on this team, but he isn’t the typical J.J. Watt or Von Miller type of defensive player that steals the show. That may show the talent of what this team would be.
31 Atlanta Falcons - Cam Newton
What a series of events it would be, for Cam Newton go and switch to playing for the Carolina Panthers' rivals. Growing up straight in Atlanta, Georgia, it would be pretty cool to see Super Cam go back home and be the star in that new beautiful stadium. It would allow Falcons fans to get excited about a much stronger, Michael Vick-type of quarterback. Newton would have some pretty good weapons on the outside too, including Demaryius Thomas and Jared Cook, and maybe Calvin Johnson would come out of retirement to play ball. If we go back a few years ago and start this league where players play for the teams of their hometown, chances are that this team has a Super Bowl championship.
30 Baltimore Ravens - LeSean McCoy (RB)
It’s a shame that LeSean McCoy doesn’t play for a top team in the NFL, so he tends to get underrated. McCoy is definitely a popular guy, but he doesn’t seem to have the respect that he should. McCoy constantly is a threat no matter what team he plays for, and makes life for his quarterback very easy. His ability to run the ball and catch the ball is phenomenal. And the crazy part is, McCoy has done what he has done during his NFL career without having a top offensive line. Imagine the damage he could do to opposing defenses if he played behind an offensive line like the Dallas Cowboys. We think Ezekiel Elliott is good, imagine that type of LeSean McCoy we would see.
McCoy actually isn't from Maryland, he's from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is only about an hour and a half from Baltimore, though.
29 Buffalo Bills - Rob Gronkowski
Honestly, it makes sense now why Rob Gronkowski is the way he is. If you know anything about the Bills’ fan base, they are absolutely insane. They probably can out-party any opposing fan base in the NFL, and maybe even college football fan bases as well. They have many different things they do during tailgates, one thing including where they jump into tables.
Now, this correlates perfectly with the tight end who grew up right outside of Buffalo, in Amherst. Despite all of Gronkowski’s great plays on the football field, he’s known for being a huge party animal outside of the game. A lot of what Gronkowski does off the field is covered due to playing for the New England Patriots, but it would probably be more publicized if he played for one of the biggest party fan bases in the NFL.
28 Carolina Panthers - Carson Wentz (QB)
Good for Carson Wentz, he would get placed on another NFL team that would be really dominant. Wentz grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He would be lined up with some other star players on his team, which should show how valuable Wentz actually is. Wentz would have targets on offensive including AJ Green, Jimmy Graham, and Randall Cobb. Wentz could possibly have the best targets in the NFL. Even though Wentz is only in his second year, he would still be the star on this team that is filled with talent.
Carson Wentz is going to be among many of the young stars in the new generation, when there’s no more Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Wentz has proven he can win in this league, and he will continue to do so for a very long time.
27 Chicago Bears - Kirk Cousins (QB)
Maybe, just maybe Kirk Cousins would get the love he deserves from his organization if he joined the Chicago Bears. Cousins grew up in Barrington, Illinois, just 45 minutes away from the Windy City. Unfortunately, Cousins would go to another team that isn’t filled with a lot of talent. But at this point, Cousins would probably be anywhere that he’s appreciated. The Redskins have been unable to give Cousins the contract he wants and deserves, and honestly, it’s a huge slap in the face to him.
If you look at the Washington Redskins, it’s not a team that has the ability to even attempt to make a playoff run. But due to Cousins’ play, the Redskins often look a lot better than they actually are. Without Kirk Cousins, the Redskins would easily become one of the worst teams in the NFL.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - Russell Wilson
The Bengals would have a lot to look forward to if Russell Wilson was their quarterback. Wilson is currently one of the most overlooked quarterbacks, due to the success of his defense. But Wilson alone has been able to carry that Seahawks team so far with a struggling offense. Through 13 games this season, Wilson has thrown for 29 touchdown passes and 3,527 yards with one of the worst offensive lines in the game and a mediocre receiving core. Wilson deserves a lot more credit, and definitely should be put up there as a MVP candidate.
Joining the Bengals, he wouldn’t get an upgrade at the wide receiver position. Where he would get an upgrade would be at the running back position, a position the Seahawks have yet to find someone for the long term. Imagine Russell Wilson getting to team up with Le’Veon Bell; it would be pretty sweet.
25 Cleveland Browns - Aqib Talib
Sadly, Aqib Talib would get stuck in a similar situation that he’s in right now. The Broncos have one of the most dangerous defenses in the NFL, but still currently struggle due to the offensive struggles. Defenses can win championships, and the Broncos proved that, but you need somewhat of a serviceable offense to make things work. Unfortunately, Talib will have to deal with that once again. The Cleveland native would have to play on the opposite side of an offensive filled with no-name players. On the bright side, Talib would get to play with other star defensive players including James Harrison and Danny Trevathan. The offense would just be brutal, as the Browns would have to deal with the Browns once again. The Browns may just want to get rid of their organization all together.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Von Miller
Exactly what the Dallas Cowboys need, a war daddy. Here comes another Bronco on the list who becomes a star, right from Dallas, Texas. It would be really interesting to see the star player of Jerry Jones’ Cowboys, be one of the best defensive players in the game right now. Rod Marinelli would be as happy as anything, knowing that he actually has a star defensive player that can be a real threat in all aspects of the game. We're not discrediting DeMarcus Lawrence or David Irving, but Miller is a straight up beast.
The talent of this Cowboys team would be very old, but at least they could get excited to see Von Miller constantly sack opposing quarterbacks. Maybe Von Miller’s defensive performance would be able to secure Jason Garrett’s position as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys forever.
23 Denver Broncos - Calais Campbell
And here comes another Broncos player on the list... just kidding. Calais Campbell would make our third straight defensive star on this list, from Denver, Colorado. Campbell may be one of the other most dangerous defensive ends in the game, who through 14 games, currently has 14.5 sacks. Campbell definitely doesn’t get enough credit, and that’s due to the number of rising stars on the Jacksonville Jaguars. With other stars including Leonard Fournette, Dante Fowler Jr., A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, many people forget how good Calais Campbell is.
But the truth is, Campbell makes this Jaguars defense one of the best in the league. If Campbell keeps up this hard work throughout his time in Jacksonville, we could be putting him up there with some of the other best defensive players in the league.
22 Detroit Lions - Antonio Gates
Here’s another great player who didn’t get anywhere near the attention he deserved throughout his whole career. Antonio Gates’ success was kind of always overlooked because of Philip Rivers, and the inability for the Chargers to succeed in the playoffs throughout most of his career. Gates may be up there with Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten as some of the best tight ends of this generation. But, things wouldn’t be as great for Gates if he had to play for the Detroit Lions.
Gates has been blessed pretty much his whole career, playing with two of the best quarterbacks in the game, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. But in Detroit, he would be stuck with Drew Stanton. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s a good thing that Antonio Gates didn’t get stuck in Detroit.
21 Green Bay Packers - J.J. Watt
It would be a party at Lambeau Field, with the Watt family all playing for the Green Bay Packers. But make no mistake, J.J. would be the star of this team. Watt grew up about two hours from Lambeau Field, but still grew up in the state of Wisconsin. When healthy, J.J. Watt may be the most dangerous defensive player the NFL has seen in years. Throughout his career, he has had three seasons where he has had at least 17 sacks. The only real problem behind Watt is his injuries, which have prevented him from being on the field as much as he would like.
Things would definitely be tougher in Wisconsin too, playing in the cold. This team would definitely have strong character, having both J.J. Watt and Colin Kaepernick on this team.
20 Houston Texans - Drew Brees
As J.J. Watt departs from the Houston Texans to play for his hometown, they grab quarterback Drew Brees. Brees is from Austin, Texas, which is about two and a half hours away from where the Texans play. This team offensively would be really good. Brees would pair up with Dez Bryant and Josh Gordon on the outside. Two really dynamic wide receivers that can both play against multiple defenders at a time, with some speed. In the back field would be Jamaal Charles, who may benefit from having Drew Brees under center, that way he’s not depended on as much as he should be. Also, Brees would be behind a more protected offensive line. Drew Brees is definitely one of the best quarterbacks of this generation, and Texans fans would have been honored to have him as their franchise QB.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Tyler Eifert
There really would not be much talent on the Indianapolis Colts if this league were a thing, which made it very difficult to decide who would be the star of this team. It was between Tyler Eifert and Zach Martin of the Dallas Cowboys, but if an offensive lineman were going to be the star of the team, it most likely wouldn’t be a guard.
Eifert has a lot to be excited about, as he seems to be one of the younger and more versatile tight ends in the league. The tight end position is gradually changing; in the past, you were considered a true asset if you could block and catch from TE. Eifert has the ability to catch like a wide receiver, which makes him a real threat. Tyler Eifert is from about two hours outside Indianapolis, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Cliff Avril
This should prove how bad the Jacksonville Jaguars would be. The Jaguars have gotten a lot better this season, but they honestly would go back to looking even worse than the old Jaguars. There aren’t many players are from Jacksonville, or even near the northern Florida area. Cliff Avril is one of the few NFL players that are even known that are from Jacksonville. Avril is definitely a good player, but he shouldn’t ever be looked at as a star on a team. He’s a consistent defensive end that can put up around 8.0 sacks each year, but he isn’t a mad man like J.J. Watt or Von Miller. He’s a good defensive end that deserves his credit, but nothing more. Maybe it would be good though if Avril had this team, as he would be cashing in on a great paycheck.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Jordy Nelson
Before even getting into talking about Jordy Nelson, we don’t know if he would be who he is without Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers physically may be gifted as the most talented quarterback of all time, and may help make the players around him look like legends. Nelson wouldn’t have much of a team at all in Kansas City, and would be nowhere near as popular as he is now.
Nelson is looked at as one of the better wide receivers in the NFL, but without Aaron Rodgers, he isn’t all that great. Through 13 games, where he even had Rodgers for part of the season, he has only caught six touchdown passes with 471 yards. He has yet to have a 100-yard game all season. Nelson grew up a little less than two hours away from Kansas City, in Manhattan, Kansas.
16 Los Angeles Chargers - Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman could have played for either the Chargers or the Rams, but we decided to let him play for the Chargers. Sherman would have to take over the shoes of Casey Hayward, who currently looks like the best cornerback in the NFL. That may have been an easy task for Sherman to take care of as he was looked at as one of the best corners for a while, but now with him being older, his talent isn’t as great as it once was.
Sherman wouldn’t have to travel far from where he once was in Seattle, and he would get to go home to play close to home, in Los Angeles. Sherman may even be more popular than he is, getting to bring his character to Hollywood.
15 Los Angeles Rams - Tyron Smith (OT)
Here we see the only offensive lineman on this list. The talent in Los Angeles isn’t that great, but this guy is definitely talented at an overlooked position. Tyron Smith is one of the best offensive tackles in the game, and he may be a lot more popular if he didn’t play on a team filled with young talents, and a pair of other great offensive linemen. Typically, offensive linemen are not all that popular, except if there truly is no talent on a team.
That’s the case for the Cleveland Browns, who currently look at offensive tackle Joe Thomas as a star on the team. Well, now we get to see Tyron Smith get the credit he deserves, although he won’t be playing for as talented of a team as he currently is.
14 Miami Dolphins - Patrick Peterson
Patrick Peterson has kind of faded away when talking about some of the best cornerbacks in football. It may be the fact that the Arizona Cardinals have been struggling and that he doesn’t really have to go up against many big-name wide receivers anymore. Peterson gets to continue playing in warm weather, except this time closer to home. He gets to go play for the Miami Dolphins, which play about 35 minutes away from his hometown of Pompano Beach, Florida.
Peterson would play for another team that struggles, except he would be able to play for a beautiful city that gets a lot of recognition. And who knows, maybe Peterson could even land a big contract there. Maybe Peterson will be able to get back into the talks of being one of the best corners in the game.
13 Minnesota Vikings - Larry Fitzgerald
At least for a little bit longer, Larry Fitzgerald would be the star player of the Minnesota Vikings. His career wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful, considering there hasn’t been any noticeable quarterbacks from Minnesota during Fitzgerald’s career. One thing for sure, is that the Vikings would have the top receiver core in the NFL, or at least one of the best. Despite just Fitzgerald, it would include Eric Decker, Michael Floyd and Adam Thielen. Even one a team that hasn’t been very good recently, Fitzgerald is still looked at as one of the best receivers in the game. His ability to make plays on the ball at all times makes him a threat no matter who is throwing the football to him. Somehow, he always ends up landing on the highlight reel.
12 New England Patriots - Kiko Alonso
The New England Patriots would go from the best NFL team of this generation to one of the worst, considering Kiko Alonso would be the star of this team. Not that Alonso isn’t talented, but come on. When your franchise player has been Tom Brady, going down to Alonso is a brutal transition. Alonso is a ball hawk, and is able to see the ball all around the field. He has the ability to play against both the run and the pass, making him a more dynamic middle linebacker. Back in 2013, when he played for the Buffalo Bills, he actually had four interceptions. Alonso is from Newton, Massachusetts, which is only about 30 minutes away from Foxboro. Well, Patriots fans could say goodbye to Tom Brady, and say hello to their new defensive star.
11 New Orleans Saints - Julio Jones
It seems like everyone in the NFC South is switching teams. This player needs no introduction, and it makes perfect sense why he would be a star on his rival team. Julio Jones is currently one of the best wide receivers in the game. You can double or triple cover him and it won’t matter, he will fight for that ball till the very end. This season marks Jones’ fourth consecutive season with at least 1,000 receiving yards. That’s extremely impressive, especially for a guy who plays on a team that has a lot of weapons.
Jones isn’t technically from New Orleans, or even Louisiana. He’s from the neighboring state Alabama, in a town called Foley. Jones is from about three hours away from the SuperDome, but still close enough to call it his home.
10 New York Giants - Pierre Garcon
And Pierre Garcon will make his way back to the NFC East. Garcon is definitely one of the more underrated players in the game, and one of the most un-noticed players in the league. Garcon is struggling this year due to all the issues around the offensive side of the ball on the 49ers, but has had a great career despite this season. The expectations for Garcon were that he would be able to develop into a #1 receiver on the 49ers, due to him performing at such a high level even with DeSean Jackson on the other side of him. Unfortunately though, there’s only so much Garcon can do on his own.
Garcon is from Carmel, New York. Technically Garcon would be considered to live upstate, but he’s still only about an hour and a half away from New York City.
9 New York Jets - Mark Ingram
Since the Giants got a New York native, the Jets had to grab someone from New Jersey. Well, they got to grab one of the better running backs of the 2017 season, Mark Ingram. If it weren’t for this season, Ingram may not be on this list. But Ingram’s 2017 campaign has been great, and has made the Saints into a true contender in the NFC South. Between him and Alvin Kamara, they make one of the best running back duos in the NFL. Ingram’s ability to help balance this offense out by running the ball makes this team a real threat, and would make the Jets a real threat. The Saints were known for throwing the ball, but now that they can also run the ball really effectively, this team looks really dangerous to face moving forward.
8 Oakland Raiders - Aaron Rodgers
The Oakland Raiders may have found their quarterback of the future, but they would really love to have a guy like Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers may physically be the best quarterback of all time. If he had the championships, we would probably put him up there with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. With Rodgers in the game, there’s always a chance. He makes the impossible, possible. He makes some of the most incredible throws down the field look effortless. He’s able to expand players further than most quarterbacks can.
His ability to play the game of football is incredible. Without Aaron Rodgers, this Packers team would probably be a losing team. Instead, they’re usually one of the best teams in the NFC due to Rodgers' ability to keep them fighting in every game they play.
7 Philadelphia Eagles - Matt Ryan
Here’s the guy that was good enough to defeat Aaron Rodgers last season in the NFC Championship Game. Matt Ryan is also another quarterback with a phenomenal arm and the ability to extend plays. The only problem that has happened throughout Ryan’s career is that he’s very inconsistent. Last season Ryan won the MVP Award, whereas this year he hasn’t played all that well. A huge part of being a starting quarterback in the NFL is to remain consistent. If you put Ryan on the Eagles team they currently have, there’s a really good shot that Matt Ryan would take this team to the Super Bowl. Ryan definitely knows how to use his weapon, which led to the Falcons making the Super Bowl last season.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers - Sean Lee
If there’s someone in the NFL that doesn’t get enough credit, it’s definitely Sean Lee, middle linebacker of the Dallas Cowboys. Now he doesn’t get enough credit most of the time due to the fact that he has suffered a lot of injuries, which have kept him out of football for many games during his career. But when he’s in there, he’s a real game changer. His ability to read plays and know where to be at the right time is incredible. He’s a true middle linebacker, someone that can play sideline to sideline, and be able to catch up with speedy specialty players. If Lee never suffered as many injuries as he did and miss as many games as he’s missed, we would probably be talking about him as the best linebacker in the game.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Tom Brady
When talking about NFL stars, you knew this guy was going to come up at some point. Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play the game, but things could be a lot different if he never played for the Patriots. But, at least he would go to what used to be a winning culture in San Francisco. And it would make a ton of sense, to go from Joe Montana to Steve Young then to Tom Brady. It would just be a line of legends.
Brady can spread the ball around the field like no other. His vision throughout the field is great, which makes him so dangerous. Most players have a difficult time spreading the field, but Brady can toss the ball anywhere, making any of his teammates look like stars.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Ndamukong Suh
Now this is a matchup that would be amazing to see. Ndamukong Suh playing for the Seattle Seahawks would be absolutely incredible, especially if he could play with the guys they have right now. Suh isn’t as dominant as he once was, but he still plays a good game, and is a beast against offensive linemen. But the interesting part about this setup would be how Suh’s character would be in Seattle. Many players on the Seahawks have high egos and don’t mind having some fun on the football field. Well, that’s Ndamukong Suh for you.
Suh is also a character, although his character can be very aggressive and his play dirty at times. The Seahawks would be a perfect location for him though, because he would be able to play with other guys with similar characters like him, but he would understand that it’s not his team.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Matthew Stafford
When you think of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, names like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson pop up in your head. But what about Matthew Stafford? Stafford’s consistent, can throw for a lot of yards, and limit the number of turnovers. The issue really for him has been his inability to win. Well, the Detroit Lions have a history of having issues with winning, which apparently has even led to some star players retiring. If Stafford got a new start on another team, he could become another one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league. Unfortunately, he’s on a team that doesn’t have much positives to it, although he still manages to give them hope to fight for the playoffs each year. Just imagine a Matthew Stafford on a good ball team.
2 Tennessee Titans - Philip Rivers
At this point, we might as well start listing every one of the best NFL quarterbacks. Philip Rivers adds to that list, as well as one of the best competitors in the game as well. Rivers has struggled to play for a winning team, which sometimes has led to his own struggles. But, no matter how bad the deficit was, if Rivers is playing, the Chargers always have a shot. Rivers would definitely miss Antonio Gates by moving over to Tennessee, but he would get to play alongside Jason Witten. We saw how Gates and Rivers connected over the years, imagine how great it would be to see Philip Rivers connecting to Jason Witten every week. And with Golden Tate on the outside, this team would be able to spread the ball a good amount.
1 Washington Redskins - Andrew Luck
Oh look, here's another quarterback the Washington Redskins could mess up. Things wouldn’t be good for Andrew Luck, which is disappointing considering his talent level. Kirk Cousins has played really good football, and has still been unable to reach terms to a long deal with the Redskins. If Cousins plays that well and can’t get a deal, there would be no reason why Andrew Luck would get a deal. Luck is definitely the better quarterback, but Cousins is also the healthier one. Luck has had injury problems since he first got into the league, and it has just never left him. But his reunion with his hometown team may lead to him actually succeeding and winning a championship. And with the tools around him, it would definitely be possible.