When talking about players who need a fresh start, many come to mind. Guys like Eric Weddle, Colin Kaepernick, and Mario Williams come to mind. However, when listing five players who need a change of scenery, those three will not be listed. Williams and Weddle are free agents and Kaepernick has a new coach that fits his playing style. So, here are five players who I believe need a change of scenery.
WR Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots
Brandon LaFell put up career numbers this year, but was dropped to fourth on the depth chart for the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos. LaFell wasn’t targeted in that game and they lost. Instead, the Pats relied on Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski (who’s a tight end), James White, and Brandon Bolden. With the way things seem to be trending for LaFell, I believe it would be best to ask for a trade or for his release. Teams that could be interested in him include the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and the Washington Redskins.
QB Geno Smith, New York Jets
Geno Smith hasn’t had a great start to his NFL career. As a matter of fact, it’s been bowling shoe ugly (Jim Ross™) and it doesn’t look as if it’s going to get any better in New York. In his rookie year, he threw 12 touchdowns and had 3,000 passing yards. Not bad for a rook, eh? Well, he threw 21 INTs and had a QBR of 38.6. I will say that his stats were better in the 2014 season, but overwhelming chants of “We Want Vick” echoed through the Meadowlands after every bad play and they ended up getting Vick. I think that Smith needs a new start with a new team. Perhaps the Washington Redskins or Philadelphia Eagles would be interested?
CB Brandon Boykin, Pittsburgh Steelers
I know, he’s a free agent this year and I am not including the aforementioned Weddle and Williams in this list, who are also UFAs. However, those guys were already on there way out because their teams didn’t want them. The Steelers wanted Boykin, a versatile slot corner who can be effective on the outside as well, but it didn’t fit. He played only a quarter of the teams defensive downs and a change of scenery is needed. His former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, could be a team interested in Boykin’s services.
LB Kyle Van Noy, Detroit Lions
Van Noy has had some trouble being healthy in his short NFL career. Although he played in 15 games in 2015, he only played in eight in his rookie season. In 2015, he had 10 tackles and a sack. While he is still a young player, and this could just a slow start, the Lions should do themselves— and him— a favor by getting rid of him. The Kansas City Chiefs are looking for a linebacker, and while they can easily find themselves a better LB, Van Noy could be a low-risk, high-reward option.
WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson needing a change of scenery? Not as crazy as it sounds. He had four consecutive 1,000 yard seasons prior to 2015, but saw his production drop significantly. He had 543 yards and three TDs in 2015 and he’s scheduled to make north of $12M in 2016. If the Bucs want to be competitive next year and for years beyond, moving Jackson’s contract wouldn’t be a bad move. I mentioned the New England Patriots and their WR Brandon LaFell needing a change, so that would be perfect for both teams. Bringing LaFell in to Tampa will give him a great opportunity to play more, and Jackson would have a change to revitalize himself in New England. I know that a straight up LaFell-for-Jackson trade probably wouldn’t work. If TB cuts Jackson, he could sign in NE and then LaFell could be dealt to TB to clear a spot for Jackson. Just a thought.
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