One player on every NFL team that needs a change of scenery

By Rachel Wold

Every now and then, a change of scenery is necessary. This certainly applies to some NFL players who, for various reasons, need a new team.

For starters, there are several elite players stranded on poor-performing franchises and deserve better. Other situations around the league find disgruntled players at odds with their current clubs. Perhaps ties should be cut and those players be set free. Than there are players who should be starters but are sadly relegated to backup roles.

Whatever the reason, we have selected one player from every NFL team that needs a change of scenery.

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver

Fitzgerald turns 35 years old this August and has committed to one more season. He has been a loyal member of the team since he was drafted third overall in 2004, and without a doubt, he deserves a ring. But, this is not likely to happen in Arizona. Ideally, Fitzgerald needs to wind down his career playing with a contender. How sweet would it be watching Fitz catching passes up in New England or Philadelphia?

Atlanta Falcons: Tevin Coleman, running back

Coleman is entering the final year of his rookie deal, meaning he could suit up with another club next season. But for now, he remains the No. 2 guy behind Devonta Freeman, who inked a lucrative extension last offseason. In Coleman’s three years thus far as Freeman’s backup, he has proved his worth. Coleman has 20 total touchdowns on the books that resulted from a mere 421 touches. This is a big enough sample size that shows Coleman can handle a larger role.

Baltimore Ravens: Justin Tucker, kicker

Oftentimes, Tucker is called upon to pick up the slack for his lagging offense. He managed 34 field goals in 2017 compared to quarterback Joe Flacco’s measly 18 passing touchdowns. If this trend continues, the Ravens’ chances of making the playoffs are slim. Tucker’s contract with the Ravens takes him through the 2019 season. Beyond that, Tucker might look to sign with a franchise that contains a more promising offense.

Buffalo Bills: LeSean McCoy, running back

LeSean McCoy

Speaking of playing on an offense that is not exactly on stable ground, McCoy’s talents are wasting away in Buffalo. He is sure to be heavily leaned upon when the Bills place either quarterback A.J. McCarron or rookie Josh Allen under center this fall. But, McCoy should not have to literally carry his entire team on his back each season. Running the ball and scoring touchdowns for on a more balanced offense would help preserve Shady’s 29-year-old body a lot longer.

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, quarterback

The Panthers’ offensive line has failed Newton far too many times in his seven seasons. As such, Newton has endured multiple injuries and has been sacked a staggering 256 times. Imagine how much more effective Newton’s personal performances would be if he played for a team with a solid offensive line? It is not unheard of that a franchise quarterback lands with a new team midway through his career. Newton is currently signed through the 2020 season, but we’ve sure love to see him on another squad.

Chicago Bears: Kevin White, wide receiver

Since being selected seventh overall in 2015, White’s career as a Bear has been abysmal. He missed his entire rookie year due to injury and since has played in only five games. To show for it, White has recorded just 193 yards and zero touchdowns. It was not shocking that the Bears signed reinforcements in Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel to bolster their offense. This means the pressure is on for White, who might be better off playing in a completely different environment.

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, wide receiver

We can see why Green gets frustrated at times with his team. He is a top-tier receiver saddled to an under-performing offense. An offense that features quarterback Andy Dalton, who is in regression mode. This obviously impacts Green, whose yards and touchdowns have dropped the past two seasons. Ideally, Green would thrive catching passes from an elite quarterback. Let that thought soak in as we prepare to watch Green suit up for his eighth season as a Bengal.

Cleveland Browns: Jamie Collins, linebacker

Collins’ first complete year playing in Cleveland did not turn out swimmingly. Injuries cut the former New England Patriots linebacker’s season to only six games. Expected to be ready for training camp, Collins will rejoin a crowded linebacker corps that recently landed Super Bowl champ, Mychal Kendricks. Collins will need to regain and maintain his full health to show the Browns he can earn his keep. Otherwise, he could find himself landing on the trade block in the near future.

Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive end

The Cowboys did as expected and franchise-tagged Lawrence, who is entering his fifth season. This is after he made a fuss about wanting to get paid as much as New York Giants defensive end, Olivier Vernon. Securing Lawrence, who has had a past suspension, and dealt with injuries, long-term, is a bit risky. Perhaps those aforementioned Giants or another club would suit Lawrence better in 2019.

Denver Broncos: Devantae Booker, running back

Booker is currently listed as the No. 1 back after the team let C.J. Anderson walk in free agency. But, Booker’s time as a featured starter might be limited with rookie Royce Freeman breathing down his neck. Freeman is already being viewed as a “bellcow” back, according to the Broncos’ brass. If this winds up being the case, Booker will slip down the ranks once again. He deserves a shot at a starting role, but that doesn’t look to be the long-term plan in Denver.

Detroit Lions: Ameer Abdullah, running back

Another running back struggling with his current team is Abdullah. The Lions are clearly not an adequate fit, and Abdullah is frustrated with his role. He has yet to top 600 rushing yards in any season and has only rushed for six touchdowns in three years.  And now, the Lions have added LeGarrette Blount, who could steal the goal line work, and drafted Kerryon Johnson out of Auburn. Another sub-par year could easily see the Lions allowing Abdullah to walk as a free agent in 2019, if not sooner.

Green Bay Packers: Randall Cobb, wide receiver

No longer relevant in fantasy football, and seemingly in Green Bay, Cobb needs a change of scenery. At only 27 years old, his best seasons as a Packer appear to be well behind him. Playing on a different offense where he is more prominently featured might reignite Cobb’s career. This won’t happen with a healthy Davante Adams now taking over as the No. 1 pass-catcher in Green Bay.

Houston Texans: Braxton Miller, wide receiver

At the time of this writing, the Texans currently have 10 wide receivers on their roster. This is far too many, and Miller will once again be fed scraps. He currently loses targets to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. If Miller received more snaps on a different team, that might make all of the difference. The former quarterback was drafted in 2015 after playing only one season as a receiver at Ohio State.

Indianapolis Colts: T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver

Courtesy of USA Today Images

Hilton has a ton to offer, and his production moving forward depends on quarterback Andrew Luck slinging the pigskin his way. Since Luck’s health is up in the air, let’s envision Hilton playing on a different offense. He has averaged a lofty 15.8 yards per catch and he might have a much better chance of increasing his touchdowns playing in a new environment. Perhaps a team in need might attempt to strike a trade for this talented 28-year-old.

Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J. Yeldon, running back

Yeldon might do a lot more if he was given a featured role on another team. He averaged a healthy 5.2 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns in a complementary role behind Leonard Fournette last season. Yeldon is a strong back who left behind 3,322 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns during his three seasons (2012-14) at Alabama. It is somewhat of a shame that Yeldon, who is only 24 years old, will continue to be stuck behind Fournette.

Kansas City Chiefs: Spencer Ware, running back

Ware was gaining speed when he inherited the starting role in 2016. But a preseason injury last August and the takeoff of running back Kareem Hunt cancelled Ware out last year. He is currently buried deep behind Hunt and Charcandrick West on the Chiefs’ depth chart. Another team could provide Ware the opportunity to take on an expanded role when he’s fully healthy. He has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and 11 total touchdowns in his two years playing in Kansas City.

Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Ekeler, running back

Ekeler will open the new season as a backup behind starter, Melvin Gordon. This is unfortunate for Ekeler after he averaged a very impressive 5.5 yards per carry in his rookie year. He also scored five combined touchdowns on only 74 total touches. In doing so, Ekeler turned heads in a big way at times as a rookie. It would be pretty cool to see what Ekeler would bring to the table should he have the opportunity to be a lead back. Maybe another club might take note of this, sooner rather than later.

Los Angeles Rams: Aaron Donald, defensive tackle

Donald is disgruntled with his current contract situation, and like last season, he is holding out team activities. He is due a major raise, but he and the Rams are nowhere near agreeing to a lucrative long-term deal. Additionally, Donald has watched his team sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and other various new teammates. Perhaps Donald would be better off in the future playing with another franchise willing to give him the contract he deserves. The three-time All-Pro has recorded 204 combined tackles and 39 sacks.

Miami Dolphins: Cameron Wake, defensive end

Wake is easily one of the Dolphins best defenders. He has been with the team since signing on in 2009. During his nine-year tenure, Wake has played in 132 games and has 92 sacks as well as 322 combined tackles on the books. While he continues to perform at a high level, Wake will likely retire without experiencing a championship. His current contract takes him through only one more season. A great way for Wake to wind down his career would be for him to latch onto a contending franchise in 2019.

Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver

As a 23rd-overall pick by Minnesota in 2016, Treadwell has been a dreadful disappointment. To date, he has recorded only 21 receptions, amounting to 215 yards and zero touchdowns. Heading into 2018, Treadwell will likely continue to overshadowed by fellow receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. It also doesn’t help that the Vikings added Kendall Wright to the mix. Unless he ever changes teams, Treadwell will continue to be the odd man out.

New England Patriots: Mike Gillislee, running back

It is never easy to carve out a starting role as a Patriots running back. Just ask fantasy football enthusiasts about that. Heading into 2018, Gillislee will have to fight for a roster spot in training camp. The 27-year-old back was last most successful when he played for the Buffalo Bills in 2016. There, he averaged a league-high 5.7 yards per carry. Gillislee is the perfect example of a player who would thrive if given a real opportunity.

New Orleans Saints: Mark Ingram, running back

Let’s face it. Second-year running back Alvin Kamara is going to steal the spotlight from Ingram in New Orleans this year. This is only magnified by the fact that Ingram will miss the first four games of the season due to a suspension. Ingram is signed only through 2018 and could be on his way out of the Bayou next spring. He proved he has plenty left in the tank last year, recording 1,540 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns. His efforts would be better spent on a team that would prominently feature him moving forward.

New York Giants: Eli Apple, cornerback

New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple

The Giants’ 10th-overall pick from 2016 created all kinds of chaos around the Big Apple last season. He got into a huge feud with safety Landon Collins, who referred to Apple as a “cancer” on the team. A horrific season tainted with immature behavior landed Apple on the suspended list for last season’s Week 17 game. The Giants are reportedly giving Apple a “clean slate” heading into 2018. But, we must wonder if both parties would be better off going their separate ways.

New York Jets: Jermaine Kearse, wide receiver

Kearse went from catching passes in Seattle from quarterback Russell Wilson to the Jets and their unsettled quarterback situation. Now, Kearse is one of 13 wide receivers the Jets currently have on their roster. He faces training camp competition with the healthy return of Quincy Enunwa, as well as the newly-signed Terrelle Pryor. At this point, the Jets might consider moving on from Kearse, who would benefit as well by joining a less-crowded roster.

Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, defensive end

Mack, who wants a new contract and is holding out on his team, is not making friends with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther said Mack will “have a lot of catching up to do” and that he is focused on the players who are showing up to practice. Being called out in a bad way is never fun. But the truth is, Mack is due a huge payday after producing 40.5 sacks and 303 combined tackles in his four years in Oakland. If the Raiders do not pay him at some point, another franchise would love to.

Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Foles, quarterback

Foles is a Super Bowl MVP after earning a 115.7 quarterback rating during this last postseason. For this, he deserves and wants to be a starter. But, that’s not going to happen anytime soon in Philadelphia. Quarterback Carson Wentz is the face of the franchise for years to come, baring another injury. Meanwhile, Foles remains a valuable security blanket whose talents will go unseen unless the Eagles decide to trade or release him.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Le’Veon Bell, running back

Le'Veon Bell Steelers

Bell is currently not a happy camper as a Steeler. He wants a new deal that pays him as a top-shelf running back as well as a No. 2 receiver. The Steelers are currently unwilling to oblige — just as they were at this time last season. What Bell brings to the table as far as performance is invaluable. But, the Steelers remain hesitant to commit long-term to him. Perhaps at some point, this marriage comes to an end. For now, Bell looks to be a summer holdout.

San Francisco 49ers: Garrett Celek, tight end

Celek’s targets dropped from 50 in 2016 to just 33 last season. This was due to the emergence of last year’s rookie tight end, George Kittle. Kittle garnered 63 targets, resulting in 43 receptions and 515 yards. More Kittle and less Celek will likely be the trend in San Francisco again this year. If the 30-year-old tight end wants to see more field time, he will need to break free from a 49ers team that has him signed through 2019.

Seattle Seahawks: Earl Thomas, safety

Thomas, who wants a new contract, and who has been the topic of trade rumors, is making waves in Seattle. As such, head coach Pete Carroll said Thomas had better show up to training camp. Though, that doesn’t mean Thomas will participate happily. The 29-year-old safety is one of the best at his position, having recorded 662 combined tackles and 25 interceptions during his eight years with the Seahawks. If things keep going south, Thomas may find himself out the door — just like a couple of his former teammates.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brent Grimes, cornerback

Grimes turns 35 this July and is signed only through the 2018 season. If he wants to retire as a champion, that is not likely going to happen this year in Tampa Bay. Should Grimes decide to play beyond 2018, he needs to set his sights on a true contender. The Buccaneers unfortunately, continually struggle to keep up in the ultra-competitive NFC South.

Tennessee Titans: Delanie Walker, tight end

Walker is another vet who would wear a Super Bowl ring well. But earning one might be a tad difficult in his current digs. Walker is 33 years old and is due to become a free agent in 2019. He has been a heavy contributor on the Titans, having put up 4,156 yards and 26 touchdowns since signing with the team in 2013. It will be interesting to see if Walker remains loyal and attempts to re-sign with Tennessee, or decides to seek out another franchise that could earn him a championship.

Washington Redskins: Chris Thompson, running back

There is way too much running back clutter surrounding Thompson on the Redskins’ roster. The team just drafted Derrius Guice, who joins Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine and a slough of other backs. This means shared duties for Thompson once again. It is worth mentioning that Thompson has maintained an average of 5.2 yards per carry in addition to recording 1,126 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He might really fly if he was given an opportunity to spread his wings.