Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) blocks against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Free agency is fast and furious, and players are getting cut and restructured like crazy. For a few guys, a new contract may never happen again. Here are 10 good players that may never suit up again.
1. Richie Incognito G Dolphins. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve heard the Incognito-Jonathan Martin story. Incognito as a player is only 31 and is middle of the pack for starting lineman. Ordinarily he would get a deal for sure, but with all the baggage and bad press he’s gotten, not to mention the smashed up car, his days in the NFL might be done.
2. Brandon Weeden QB Browns. Very rarely do you have a 30 year old player who was on a rookie deal. Weeden was terrible in his time in Cleveland. Because he doesn’t fit the need of a veteran backup, mentor, or project guy, he might be one of the quickest 1st round quarterbacks to be out of the NFL completely.
3. Larry Foote LB Steelers. Foote played 12 years, 11 with Pittsburgh and one in Detroit. He’s been on both Steelers Super Bowl teams. He is 34 years old at the start of the season, slow, and coming off a torn biceps. He might have just been forced out by age and injury.
4. Kenny Britt WR Titans. I hate to put Britt on this list because he’s a very talented guy, and only 25 years old. He is however, reported to be a problem in the locker room. He’s had trouble off the field. To add to that, he’s had injuries, and suffers from mental lapses on the field sometimes. I would guess some team would give him a tryout, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he never played another down in the NFL.
5. Champ Bailey DB Broncos. Bailey is one of the greatest defensive backs to play in the last 20 years. He is however 35 and coming off an ugly Super Bowl loss. The Broncos released him, but he’s rumored to be linked to the Falcons. If the Falcons don’t bite, I don’t know what team would take him at 36 years old when the season begins and having lost two steps by now.
6. Kevin Kolb QB Bills. Remember when Kolb was a 2nd round draft pick and successor for the Eagles? Then he got injured. Remember when Kolb was traded to the Cardinals to be the long term answer at QB? Then he got injured. Now he’s a former Bill, for what is his 3rd team in four years. Even though he’s not 30, there’s a good chance that you will never see Kevin Kolb in the NFL again.
7. Jonathan Goodwin C 49ers. Goodwin once upon a time was a developmental guard for the Jets in the Herm Edwards era. He has since played on two Super Bowl teams in New Orleans and San Francisco as a guard. 2 Super Bowls with 1 victory as a former 5th or 6th round developmental draft pick isn’t bad. He is however 35, and the road may have come to it’s end.
8. Jermichael Finley TE Packers. This is a bit of a shocker I know, but there is a chance he never plays again despite being young, and a top 10 type of free agent. The reason I think he may not play again is because he had spinal fusion surgery for a big time neck injury. Players do get neck injuries and get spinal fusion ala Peyton Manning. The thing is, Manning is not getting tackled to the ground every time the ball is in his hands. Throw in the fact that Finley hasn’t even been medically cleared to play football as of yesterday, and there’s a chance he doesn’t make it past a preseason game. Hope he can make it all the way back.
9. Rashard Mendenhall RB Cardinals. Mendenhall made news recently that he’s retiring at 26 years of age. He was a great back for the Steelers, and a power back for the Cardinals. I think he may try to come back, but the odds of a team signing him if he’s been out of the league for a year or two are slim to none. Ask Tiki Barber.
10. Kerry Rhodes DB Cardinals. Rhodes didn’t play football last year although he ranked top six in stats for safeties the year prior (2012). Rhodes is 31 and says he wants to play again, but for some reason he isn’t getting a shot. Rhodes drew headlines for potentially being gay, but denied it. Since then no team has been linked to him despite his play at a high level. I hope to see Rhodes one last time, maybe even in a Jets uniform.