Which NFL player was the most surprising offseason departure?
The NFL become a young man’s game with the arrival of the salary cap in 1994 –and we are reminded of that every offseason when players with any age become salary-cap casualties.
This 2018 offseason has been no exception. Veteran players with Pro Bowl appearances and Super Bowl rings were sent packing by their teams, including some very surprising names. And that’s the subject of our Talk of Fame Network poll this week – what player was most the surprising departure this offseason?
Here are your options:
Michael Bennett, DE, Seattle. Bennett went to the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons and now has 54 sacks in his nine-year career. He also helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl with their Legion of Boom defense. But he’s 33 this season, so the Seahawks traded him to the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eales.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay. Nelson went to a Pro Bowl, helped the Packers win a Super Bowl and was the NFL comeback player of the year in 2016 when he led the league in touchdown catches with 14. He caught 98 passes in 2014 and 97 in 2016 but slipped to 53 in 2017 when his quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed nine games with an injury. But, like Bennett, he’s 33 this season so the Packers released him.
Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City. Peters was a first-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2015 who led the NFL in interceptions with eight as a rookie. He intercepted six more passes in 2016 and went to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. He intercepted five more passes in 2017. But at 25 years of age, Peters was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
Robert Quinn, DE, LA Rams. Quinn is a two-time Pro Bowler with 62 ½ career sacks in seven NFL seasons. He collected a career-best 19 sacks in 2013. He started 14 games last season and collected 8 ½ sacks. But he’s 28 this season and the Rams traded him to the Miami Dolphins.
Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle. Sherman went to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2013-26 and led the NFL with eight interceptions in 2013. The shutdown aspect of his game also helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl. But his string of Pro Bowls came to an end in 2017 when he ruptured an Achilles tendon that ended his season after nine games. He’ll be 30 this season so the Seahawks released him.
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Miami. Suh went to four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons with the Detroit Lions before receiving the largest contract ever given a free agent defensive tackle by the Miami Dolphins in 2015. He signed for $117 million over six seasons but only went to one Pro Bowl and never managed more than six sacks in any season. So at 31 years of age, Suh became a Miami salary-cap casualty.
Aqib Talib, CB, Denver. Talib went to five consecutive Pro Bowls with the Denver Broncos, intercepting 15 passes in those five seasons and helping Denver win a Super Bowl. But at 32 years of age, Talib was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.