The average career in the NFL is around three years long. The league is compiled of hundreds of players, most having to fight for a job. Add in over two-hundred rookies that make it into the league annually through the draft and one can imagine how hard it is to sustain a career in the league. There have been countless greats to have played the game of football, some so good they’re considered to be NFL “legends.” While individual accolades are what sets these players apart, football is a team sport with a focus on a single goal that can only be achieved as a group.
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in the sporting world. Each year teams hope to build and improve enough, so that they might reach it. In order to do so, a team is going to need its share of great players. But even the best players can’t shoulder the burden alone. They’ve got to have a consistent supporting cast around them in order to make any progress. Even some of the worst teams in the NFL are home to some of its biggest name stars. Being the best player on a bad team might mean getting more attention, but it also means never tasting success at the pro level while wearing that uniform.
Plenty of great players have never been to or won a Super Bowl. Jim Kelly and Dan Marino are two of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, yet both failed to win the big game when they had the chance. However there is something much worse than never reaching or winning a Super Bowl – and that’s failing to make the playoffs. It seems somewhat unnecessary to mention, but the road to the Super Bowl goes through the playoffs. When teams envision themselves holding up the Lombardi, making the playoffs is sort of a default. And yet, some teams have failed to get to this first step for years. Same for their players. The big name guys in less successful franchises get paid like they should, but come January are watching the playoffs on their couches. They don’t know what it feels like to be competitive that time of year.
These are the 15 highest paid players to never play in a playoff game.
15 Mike Pouncey – $7 Million
14 Reshad Jones – $7.712 Million
13 Alex Mack – $8 Million
12 Marcell Dareus – $8.06 Million
11 Rodger Saffold – $8.25 Million
10 Jared Cook – $8.3 Million
Another of many Rams on this list, tight end Jared Cook was brought in with the hopes that he’d be the next Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski. While he hasn’t been a complete bust, he certainly hasn’t lived up to his expectations since signing with St. Louis. Don’t let his numbers fool you. Cook is one of the few competent receivers on a Rams team that lacks true superstar ability. Maybe now that the team traded for Nick Foles, the team will be able to spread the ball around more efficiently. St. Louis has slowly been getting better, but in order to make a legitimate playoff run – in a very tough division – the Rams are going to need their superstar players to step up. Cook included.
9 T8. Jason McCourty – $8.6 Million
The Titans weren’t much to talk about last year. A struggling run and pass game along with weak performances by a young secondary played roles in Tennessee ending up with the second overall pick in this year’s draft. Jason McCorty is returning to Tennessee for his seventh season after being selected by the team in the sixth round in 2009. Over the years, McCourty has developed into one of the team’s most reliable players. While the rest of the secondary struggled last year, McCourty held his own pretty well and will now get some help in the form of free agent Perrish Cox.
8 T8. Andy Levitre – $8.6 Million
7 Jared Odrick – $9 Million
6 Joe Thomas – $10.2 Million
5 Joe Haden – $11.7 Million
4 Chris Long – $12.5 Million
3 Sam Bradford – $12.985 Million
2 Gerald McCoy – $14.595 Million
1 Robert Quinn – $16.744 Million
Opposite Chris Long on the St. Louis Rams defensive from is Robert Quinn. Quinn – who is just two years removed from a season that saw him put up 19 sacks – is without a doubt the best 4-3 defensive end in football. He’ll continue to play a major role on a line that recorded 40 sacks in the last 11 games last season. A line that should only get better now that all its key players are healthy. Quinn, Long and second year man Aaron Donald form one of the fiercest pass rushing trios in the league. With Quinn, who put up 40 sacks in the last three seasons, leading the way there’s no telling as to how good they can be.
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