Notable NFL Free Agents Who Could Retire This Offseason

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2016

Notable NFL Free Agents Who Could Retire This Offseason

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    Marco Garcia/Associated Press

    Calling it quits is never an easy decision to make for an NFL player.

    For so long, some of these guys play at such a high level, only to watch the level of their play diminish, with an inability to bounce back like they used to.

    The guy pictured above, Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson, called it quits after the 2015 season.

    Right now, there are seven players who could retire. Whether it is age, injury history or a combination of the two, these players may need to hang 'em up.

    Let's start with a linebacker out of Arizona.

Dwight Freeney, LB, Arizona Cardinals

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    According to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dwight Freeney wants to play one more season.

    Marvez also notes that Freeney almost retired before the Cardinals called during the 2015 season.

    Including the playoffs, Freeney averaged just over 24 snaps a game in 2015; however, he amassed eight sacks, which is impressive.

    At this point, Freeney would be nothing more than a rotational guy playing 15-20 snaps a game.

    If his free agency extends into the season like it did in 2015, Freeney may just decide to call it quits.

Charles Tillman, CB, Carolina Panthers

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    Chris Keane/Associated Press

    After missing time during the season with a partially torn ACL, Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman tore his ACL in Week 17 and missed the postseason.

    At 35 years old, Tillman could realistically play another year or two, but he'll probably miss a huge chunk of the 2016 season.

    Tillman could decide that the rehab process and everything that goes with it may not be worth it and decide to just call it quits.

    However, the narrative that players do not want to retire after an injury and want to "end on a good note" is very much real.

    It's probably fair to say that retirement has crossed Peanut Tillman's mind throughout his rehab process.

Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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    Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

    It was just around one year ago that the Indianapolis Colts signed wide receiver Andre Johnson.

    The Colts released Johnson earlier this month, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

    Watching him in 2015, it was apparent that Johnson was sluggish and not himself. Of course, some of his issues were quarterback play, but Johnson just looked like a mid-30s wide receiver.

    According to Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com, Johnson wants to play in 2016, saying, "I am playing, there's no question about that."

    If anything, Johnson will be offered a one-year, cheap-money contract.

    Johnson may decide it's just not worth it in the end and call it quits.

Wes Welker, WR, Los Angeles Rams

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Wes Welker has suffered three documented concussions since Week 11 of 2013.

    In seven games with the Rams last season, Welker caught a mere 13 passes on 22 targets for 102 yards.

    Before he was signed, there was speculation that Welker should just call it a career and spare his health.

    After an uninspiring season, it's hard to imagine a team giving Welker a shot.

Michael Vick, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Michael Vick has obviously had one of the more interesting careers we've ever seen in the NFL.

    From his electrifying days in Atlanta to the dog-fighting charges, jail time, his stint with the Philadelphia Eagles and now the Steelers, Vick has left his mark on the league one way or another.

    According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vick intends on playing one more season, even if it means being the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

    Vick was not even a fraction of what he once was in limited action last season, posting just a 5.55 yards-per-attempt average from Weeks 4-6, per Pro Football Focus.

    Being the No. 3 option is likely Vick's last shot. Other than that, he should just hang them up.

Fred Jackson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Seattle Seahawks running back Fred Jackson wants to continue his playing career.

    At 35 years old, Jackson's options will be limited. Fortunately for him, he remained healthy last season, but that is partially due to the fact that he barely played.

    While he did catch 36 passes, Jackson carried the ball just 29 times.

    The Seahawks are likely not interested in bringing Jackson back.

    Barring a running back depth injury in training camp, Jackson is probably at the end of his line.

    Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

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