32 NFL players who need a change of scenery this offseason

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

There's nothing wrong with change. Some of the NFL's best players have had their careers jump-started by switching franchises. Both sides can benefit from these changes, whether it be players who excel in new schemes or teams that use draft picks from the ensuing moves to get a rebuild going.

Among our listof players who could benefit most from a change of scenery last year, Jadeveon Clowneythrived following his move from Cleveland to Baltimore and Baker Mayfield looks to have finally found his NFL footing in Tampa Bay.

The 2024 offseason is once again sure to bring change for several players. We asked our NFL Nation reporters to name one player from each team who might benefit from a fresh start and to explain why he might be eager to move on.

Who could be on the move this offseason? Let's start with a Bills receiver who might have more success elsewhere.

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NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF



Buffalo Bills

WR Trent Sherfield

The Bills brought in Sherfield on a one-year deal in 2023 with the receiver coming off a career year with the Dolphins (30 receptions for 417 yards and two touchdowns). Despite a not-that-crowded wide receiver room, Sherfield's opportunities were limited. He had just 11 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown that was caught in the final regular-season game.

Even with receiver Gabe Davis (knee) out with an injury in the playoffs, Sherfield had only one reception for 7 yards. Buffalo is where he would like to be, and he is a positive locker room presence, but a new team with more opportunities might be a better fit. -- Alaina Getzenberg

Miami Dolphins

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.

Wilson is an effective runner who might be the odd man out in the Dolphins' running back room. After the emergence of De'Von Achanein 2023, Wilson took an obvious back seat to the tandem of Achane and Raheem Mostert. That doesn't figure to change in 2024, despite Wilson averaging 4.6 yards per carry in limited action. The veteran still has one more year remaining on his contract, and the Dolphins would save $3 million if they decide to part ways with him.-- Marcel Louis-Jacques

New England Patriots

QB Mac Jones

It isn't out of the question that Jones could revive his career in New England -- perhaps taking off with a boost of confidence from first-year coach Jerod Mayo, like Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa experienced with Mike McDaniel in 2022 -- but a case could also be made that a fresh start is best for both sides.

Similar to the 49ers receiving a fourth-round pick from the Cowboys in a trade for QB Trey Lance, the expectation is that Jones would have value if he is moved elsewhere. Whether the Patriots do so probably depends on whether they sign a veteran free agent or select a quarterback in the draft. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

QB Zach Wilson

The Jets-Wilson marriage, which began in 2021 when they chose him at No. 2 overall in the draft, appears to be over. Wilson has one year remaining on his contract, but he likely will be traded in the coming weeks. His star faded quickly, but not all of it was his fault. It has reached the point where the organization no longer trusts him to be Aaron Rodgers' backup. From all indications, Wilson wants a fresh start. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

WR Rashod Bateman

Bateman has never seemed to get on the same page with quarterback Lamar Jackson. In three seasons, the 2021 first-round pick has more drops from Jackson (nine) than touchdown receptions (four). Last season, Bateman caught only 60.4% of the passes thrown his way by Jackson (32 of 53), which ranked 13th on the team.

However, it appears the Ravens aren't ready to move on from Bateman, who is entering the final year of his contract if Baltimore doesn't exercise his fifth-year option. "Rashod Bateman has a great future," coach John Harbaugh said at the end of the season. "I think he'll be a bigger part of it next year ... and he'll be starting. He'll rise to the occasion." -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

RB Joe Mixon

Mixon restructured his contract in 2023 to lower his cap hit. While Mixon was productive last season in gaining more than 1,400 scrimmage yards, even a reduction to his cap charge of $8.5 million might not be enough of a reason for the team to keep him in his current role. -- Ben Baby

Cleveland Browns

WR Jakeem Grant Sr.

The Browns had high hopes for Grant when they signed the former Pro Bowler two years ago to bolster their return team. Grant, however, has yet to play a game for Cleveland, suffering back-to-back season-ending injuries (Achilles, patella) in the preseason. Grant is a free agent now and would figure to have better luck reviving his career elsewhere. -- Jake Trotter

Pittsburgh Steelers

WR Allen Robinson II

The Steelers got an early jump on top candidates in need of a change of scenery when they cut C Mason Cole, QB Mitch Trubisky, OT Chukwuma Okorafor and P Pressley Harvin III earlier this month. Beyond that quartet, Robinson is the next best change-of-scenery beneficiary. Robinson arrived in Pittsburgh via trade a year ago to round out a relatively young receiving corps, but he finished fifth on the team in receiving yards with only 280 on 34 receptions with no touchdowns.

Robinson is valuable as a mentor to the younger players such asGeorge Pickens, but with relatively little production and a $10 million cap savings if released, Robinson's future in Pittsburgh is up in the air.-- Brooke Pryor


Houston Texans

QB Davis Mills

The Texans aren't inclined to trade Mills, but he should want a change of scenery. When rookie C.J. Stroud suffered a concussionin Week 14, coach DeMeco Ryans started Case Keenum over Mills for two games, even though Mills, a 2021 third-rounder, was the No. 2 the entire season. Mills, still on his rookie contract, could use a fresh start in a situation where he could potentially compete for the starting role. -- DJ Bien-Aime

Indianapolis Colts

CB Kenny Moore II

This is not a prediction that Moore -- who is scheduled to be a free agent next month -- won't remain with the Colts, nor is it a suggestion that he isn't valued. But Moore's skill set hasn't been featured in coordinator Gus Bradley's defense in the same manner that it was in Matt Eberflus' system.

Moore's impressive versatility in coverage, run support and pass rushing was once on full display. It's what made him a Pro Bowler in 2021. Is there a team that could deploy him similarly? And would the Colts dare let him walk? -- Stephen Holder

Jacksonville Jaguars

S Rayshawn Jenkins

Jenkins made two of the Jaguars' biggest plays in 2022 -- an OT interception return for a touchdown against Dallas and a strip sack against Tennessee that was returned for the winning touchdown -- but his level of play slipped in 2023. The Jaguars believe Antonio Johnson (a 2023 fifth-round pick) is ready to take over as the starter in 2024, and releasing Jenkins will save $5.148 million against the cap ($9 million if he's a post-June 1 release).-- Michael DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

CB Kristian Fulton

The past four seasons have been up and down for Fulton, mostly because of injuries. He is a talented cornerback who at times flashed lockdown potential; he has four interceptions and 150 tackles across four seasons. Although the Titans have a new defensive staff led by proven secondary coach Dennard Wilson, a fresh start elsewhere would most benefit Fulton. -- Turron Davenport


Denver Broncos

QB Russell Wilson

While the Broncos have said publicly that they think Wilson is open to staying despite being benched by coach Sean Payton last season and Wilson has recently indicated that he's open to the possibility if he's wanted, the quarterback has put his Denver house on the market.

Wilson watched as the Broncos put up 16 and 14 points, respectively, in the final two games after he was benched -- two of their four lowest outputs of the season -- and he has little incentive to help the team adjust his contract even if there was a slim chance he would be back.-- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire hasn't lived up to the hopes the Chiefs had when they drafted him in the first round in 2020. He led the Chiefs in rushing as a rookie with 803 yards, but he has never been their top rusher since. His rushing stats have declined in each of his four seasons, and in 2022, he lost his job as the featured back to Isiah Pacheco. -- Adam Teicher

Las Vegas Raiders

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Garoppolo's future in Las Vegas was murky at best before he was slapped with a two-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy that could void his $11.25 million base salary for 2024. What a gift that would be for a team looking to add a QB this offseason.

Garoppolo wasbenched after Week 8, played only three snaps the rest of the way and finished with career lows in passer rating (77.7) and QBR (33.9) in seasons in which he started at least six games. He was leading the league in interceptions with nine when benched. -- Paul Gutierrez

Los Angeles Chargers

WR Mike Williams

Williams missed the final 14 games of last season after tearing his left ACL and is heading into the final year of a three-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2022. The Chargers are currently $25.55 million over next season's cap and invested a first-round pick in receiver Quentin Johnston last year, making Williams a likely candidate to be cut or traded. Either move would save the Chargers $20 million in 2024 while incurring a dead money charge of $12.46 million. -- Kris Rhim


Dallas Cowboys

WR Michael Gallup

The Cowboys signed Gallup to a five-year, $57.5 million deal in 2022, knowing he was coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but it hasn't worked out. He caught 39 passes in 2022 and 34 passes in 2023, when his health was no longer a problem. The Cowboys are looking at a deal that would make CeeDee Lamb one of the highest-paid receivers this offseason and will need all the cap room they can get.

On the fifth day of the league year, $4 million of Gallup's $8.5 million base salary becomes guaranteed, so a decision on his future will need to be made quickly. The one tricky part: Gallup had his first 100-yard game since the knee injury in the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. Would that provide enough promise to keep him? -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

WR Parris Campbell

It just didn't work in his one season with the Giants. Campbell thrives in space working out of the slot, but his skill set is too similar to the one provided byWan'Dale Robinson,a 2022 second-round pick whom the Giants are heavily invested in. Campbell went from 623 yards receiving his final year with the Colts to 104 yards this past season. A new home could be rejuvenating. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Quez Watkins

Watkins set personal bests in 2021 with 43 catches for 647 yards (15 yards per reception) but has seen a dip in snaps and production the past two seasons with DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown occupying the top spots. Watkins is only 25 years old and has the type of vertical speed that can help take the top off defenses. Consistency was an issue during his four seasons in Philadelphia, however. Now an unrestricted free agent, perhaps he can find his groove elsewhere. -- Tim McManus

Washington Commanders

TE Logan Thomas

Injuries and age have combined to slow Thomas' game. He turns 33 in July, and though he has missed only a combined four games because of injuries the past two years, various knee and hamstring ailments over the years have altered his game.

In the past two years combined, Thomas ranks 25th among tight ends in receiving yards and 21st in touchdowns. He can still help a team, but Washington could save $6.54 million if it releases him. Washington's new staff wants to rebuild with youth. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

WR Darnell Mooney

Mooney's 2023 season was a disappointment and a far cry from the wide receiver's 81-catch, 1,055-yard breakout campaign in 2021, his second year. The 26-year-old struggled in his No. 2 role with a career-low 31 catches for 414 yards and one touchdown.

Maybe a change at quarterback would reignite Mooney, but the receiver is headed toward free agency, andlooking outside of Chicago for a fresh startmight be best. Perhaps a reunion with Matt Nagy in Kansas City could give him the type of role and compensation he's looking for. -- Courtney Cronin

Detroit Lions

DL Levi Onwuzurike

Onwuzurike still has a ton of potential but hasn't been able to find a groove in Detroit -- mainly because of injuries. He could benefit from a new situation, which could rejuvenate him on the field. The 2021 second-round pick missed most of training camp as a rookie and didn't have much of an impact when he did play. He then didn't suit up for a single game in 2022 while recovering from surgery on his back. He did appear in 10 regular-season games this past season, but he was a healthy scratch at times. Things haven't worked out for him so far in Detroit. -- Eric Woodyard

Green Bay Packers

OT Yosh Nijman

The Packers thought highly enough of Nijman last offseason to put a second-round tender on him as a restricted free agent. No one else signed the left tackle to an offer sheet, giving him $4.3 million for the 2023 season. After playing 69% of the offensive snaps in 2022, he played only 21% this past season. The Packers primarily went with 2022 seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker after David Bakhtiari (knee) was shut down following Week 1. Nijman has enough solid game film to warrant a shot somewhere, but it probably won't be with the Packers. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

WR K.J. Osborn

Osborn has started 21 games in the past two seasons, but by the end of 2023, he was functionally the Vikings' third receiver. His 4.7 targets per game trailed both Justin Jefferson (10) and Jordan Addison (6.4). With Jefferson up for a new contractand Addison carrying the pedigree of a first-round pick, it's unlikely the Vikings will have the budget -- or targets -- to merit Osborn's return as he approaches free agency. -- Kevin Seifert


Atlanta Falcons

QB Taylor Heinicke

Atlanta appears committed to finding a new starting quarterback. If the Falcons view Desmond Ridder as a No. 2 or No. 3, they would move on from Heinicke, which would save $7 million against the cap in 2024. Heinicke completed 54.4% of his passes last season -- by far the lowest rate of his career. While the coaching staff is new, it seems like a split might make sense for both sides unless the Falcons choose to move on from Ridder and keep Heinicke as a more expensive backup option. -- Michael Rothstein

Carolina Panthers

OLB Shaq Thompson

There aren't a lot of great options for a team that would like to clear as much salary cap space as possible to rebuild. Thompson is scheduled to count only $6.6 million against the 2024 cap, and cutting him with a post-June 1 designation saves only $3.6 million. But he is entering his 10th season and will be 30 in April. Thompson is also coming off an injury (broken fibula) that limited him to only two games last season. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

WR Michael Thomas

Thomas came back on a revised deal after missing most of the pastthree seasons, but he suffered a knee injury 10 games into the season and did not return. He took shots at Saints quarterback Derek Carr on social media and blamed a bad pass for his injury. Thomas' age (he'll turn 31 on March 3), contract situation and injury history (only 20 games played since 2019) could prompt the Saints to move forward with their younger group of wideouts. -- Katherine Terrell

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ILB Devin White

Frustrated by not being rewarded with a new contract, White requested a trade last offseason -- something the team did not grant -- and the 2023 season couldn't have gone any worse for him. He played through foot and groin injuries and struggled, but even when healthy, there were instances of him being out of position and a liability in coverage over the past two seasons, which cost the Bucs touchdowns and games.

He was replaced by backup K.J. Britt, a 2021 fifth-round draft pick, down the stretch. The two rotated when White regained his health, but Britt played 87 defensive snaps in two playoff games compared to White's 37. With his Week 16 interception against the Jaguars and his 4.4-second 40 speed, White will pique interest from other teams. But consistency is what has eluded him. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

WR Rondale Moore

The Cardinals' 2021 second-round pick ran the most routes of any season of his career in 2023, but the increase didn't correlate to higher production. He finished the season with career lows in receiving yards (352) and receptions (40), despite having the second-most targets of his career (63) and 181 more routes than his previous career high.

As a result of the imbalance between routes, yards and targets, he averaged just 0.8 yards per route, a 50% drop from last season. He also accounted for just 11.7% of the Cardinals' total targets. Other teams may want to utilize Moore's speed and ability to take the top off of defenses more than Arizona has. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

WR Tutu Atwell

Atwell was passed by Demarcus Robinson(who was recently re-signed to a one-year contract) as the Rams' No. 3 receiver at the end of last season, and the 2021 second-round pick has just one season left on his rookie contract. Atwell's targets took a major dip as the season went on; he went from 35 in the first four weeks of the season to 32 total from Week 5 on. Los Angeles traded receiver Van Jefferson, who was in a similar situation, during the 2023 season. -- Sarah Barshop

San Francisco 49ers

DT Javon Kinlaw

The Niners would welcome Kinlaw, who is slated for unrestricted free agency, back as part of their interior rotation if the price is right. The 2020 No. 14 pick, Kinlaw was finally healthy for a full season in 2023 and had some moments in big spots, finishing with 25 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 3 passes defensed.

But for him to have a chance to fully flourish, he probably needs to go somewhere where he can start and play more snaps rather than backing up the likes of Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

SJamal Adams

More than anything, Adams needs a change of injury luck after missing 34 out of a possible 69 games (including playoffs) over his four seasons in Seattle. He hasn't recorded a sack since he set the single-season record for a defensive back with 9.5 in 2020.

Even if the Seahawks feel he can finally get back to full strength from his 2022 torn quad tendon and want to see whether Mike Macdonald's defense can get him back to his Pro Bowl form, they'll have to do something to lower his $26.9 million cap charge -- perhaps asking him to take a pay cut that lowers his $16.5 million base salary. -- Brady Henderson

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