Each NFL Team's Player Whose Superstar Days Are Over

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

Each NFL Team's Player Whose Superstar Days Are Over

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    Tom Brady and Drew Brees make it seem like NFL players are learning to defy Father Time, but even the brightest stars eventually no longer shine.

    Aaron Rodgers, perhaps the most talented quarterback in league history, recently hinted at his own impending drop-off.

    "Obviously, I've got a lot more gray in the beard than I did a few years ago," he said, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky. "So I know that football mortality catches up to everybody."

    While Rodgers probably won't be slowing down any time soon, the same can't be said for other superstars. In fact, many have already reached the end of their tenures as the league's elite.

    We're going to look at one example from each team here—whether due to age, declining skills or other reasons—of a player whose time as a superstar is at an end.


Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald

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    It's almost painful to put ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald on this list. The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver has continued to stiff-arm Father Time, and even at age 35, he remains a quality NFL wide receiver.

    That's the thing, though. Fitzgerald is no longer a superstar. He was named to the Pro Bowl last season, but he isn't having a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign in 2018. He's all but been replaced by rookie Christian Kirk as Arizona's No. 1 wideout.

    Kirk has emerged as Josh Rosen's favorite target, and he leads Arizona with 536 yards receiving. Fitzgerald has a good-but-not-great 460 yards and five touchdowns.

    If Fitzgerald decides to continue his career in 2019, he'll certainly continue being a productive and reliable receiver. He will, however, be a superstar in reputation only.

Atlanta Falcons: DE Vic Beasley

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    A couple years ago, Atlanta Falcons pass-rusher Vic Beasley was one of the hottest defenders in the league and appeared to be a surefire superstar for years to come. He racked up 15.5 sacks in 2016 en route to first-team All-Pro honors.

    Since 2016, though, Beasley has been a whole lot of mediocre. He produced just 5.0 sacks and 29 tackles in 2017 and has seen his playing time dip dramatically this season. Through 11 games, he has a mere 11 tackles and 3.0 sacks. He was recently ranked just 106th among edge-rushers by Pro Football Focus.

    Beasley has already gone from being a superstar sack artist to an underwhelming situational pass-rusher. Seeing as how he's due to earn nearly $13 million next season—a figure that is only guaranteed for injury—Beasley may not even be on Atlanta's roster in 2019.

    It's possible that a change of scenery will help Beasley become the formidable defensive force he once was. It's more likely, though, that he's had his last taste of being an All-Pro.

Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Suggs

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    Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Terrell Suggs can still be a playmaker on occasion. The 36-year-old defender proved that in Week 12 when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. Suggs has still lost a step, though.

    "It seemed like it took me forever to get there," Suggs said, per Garrett Downing the team's official website. "In high school, I could do it over and over. After that one, I was kind of gassed."

    Suggs' big plays have been fewer and farther between this season than in years past. Through 11 games, he has just 23 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl last season, but he may never do so again. In fact, he may never play for the Ravens again after this year.

    Suggs is in the final season of his current deal and will turn 37 during the 2019 season.

Buffalo Bills: LeSean McCoy

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    Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy was once one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the game, regardless of position. He made the Pro Bowl three times with the Philadelphia Eagles and three more times after being traded to the Buffalo Bills.

    McCoy has had his bright spots in 2018, and the Bills are interested in bringing him back next season.

    "LeSean is still a very good player in this league," general manager Brandon Beane said, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. "... We'll have him back in 2019."

    Here's the thing, though: While McCoy is still a good player, he is no longer a superstar. He has just 426 yards rushing, 198 yards receiving and two touchdowns this season. He's also averaging a career-worst 3.3 yards per carry. While this is partially a product of opposing defenses not respecting Buffalo's quarterbacks, prime McCoy had the elusiveness to cut through stacked boxes.

    McCoy simply doesn't move quite like he once did, and at 30 years old, has seen his superstar day pass.

Carolina Panthers: Julius Peppers

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    Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers is perhaps the greatest pass-rusher of his generation. He's certainly one of the biggest superstars on our list. He has amassed 158.5 sacks in his career, has been named to the Pro Bowl nine times and is a three-time All-Pro.

    Peppers is almost certainly a future Hall of Famer.

    However, he isn't the standout he once was. He returned to the Panthers last year—the franchise with which he began his career—and had a solid season (11.0 sacks, 33 tackles). This year, though, he's seen a reduced role and hasn't been as productive as a situational pass-rusher. Through 11 games, Peppers has just 15 tackles and 4.0 sacks.

    Peppers is also playing on a one-year contract, and at 38 years old, he could be in his final season with Carolina. Peppers will always be remembered as a defensive superstar, but that simply isn't what he is anymore.

Chicago Bears: Jordan Howard

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    Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard became an NFL superstar almost immediately. He had the second-most rushing yards in the league (1,313) as a rookie in 2016, made the Pro Bowl that season and amassed another 1,122 yards rushing in 2017.

    As a runner, Howard has been on a steady decline, though. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry as a rookie, averaged a still-solid 4.1 yards per carry the following season and is now averaging just 3.3 yards per rush. Howard has also seen his role reduced as Chicago leans more heavily on Tarik Cohen in the running and passing games.

    Howard is still a starting-caliber back and can be a regular contributor in the final year of his rookie deal next season. However, it's beginning to look like Howard was simply a fifth-round pick who overachieved as a rookie and not a superstar.

Cincinnati Bengals: Vontaze Burfict

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    Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was once a rising star. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2013 and for years was seen as the physical tone-setter for the Cincinnati Bengals defense. More recently, though, Burfict has simply been seen as a dirty player.

    Burfict has been suspended multiple times for dirty hits and cheap plays. He was most recently suspended the first four games of 2018 for violation of the league's PED policy. He has begun each of the past three seasons on suspension. He's also seen his play suffer this season.

    If you've watched the Bengals this season, you've likely seen Burfict taking poor angles, missing tackles and giving a serious lack of effort. He just isn't the same high-impact defender he once was, though the dirty play has continued. He's already received one suspension warning in 2018, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

    Burfict has two years remaining on his contract, but only $1.8 million in guaranteed money. Cincinnati may decide he's no longer worth the headache. Regardless, Burfict is not a star anymore, just an average player with a bad reputation.

Cleveland Browns: Jamie Collins

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    Not so long ago, Jamie Collins was widely considered one of the bright young superstars of the NFL. He helped the New England Patriots win a Super Bowl in 2016 and was a second-team All-Pro the season prior. The Cleveland Browns traded a third-round pick for Collins in 2016 and subsequently signed him to a new four-year, $50 million deal.

    While Collins is still a quality linebacker—he has 75 tackles, 2.0 sacks and an interception this season—he isn't a true star. He struggled to stay healthy in 2017, missing 10 games and is now merely one piece of a quality linebacker corps.

    Playing alongside Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey in Cleveland's defense, Collins is no longer a true standout. He's certainly no longer the star he was once perceived to be while in New England.

Dallas Cowboys: Sean Lee

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    When healthy, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is one of the most electrifying defenders in the league. He's a two-time Pro Bowler who has amassed more than 100 tackles in a season four different times.

    The problem is that Lee has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He's never played a full 16-game season, and he's dealing with yet another injury (hamstring). While he's been sidelined this time, though, Lee has had to watch rookie Leighton Vander Esch become the star of the linebacker corps.

    "It's great. It’s fun to watch," Lee said, per Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It motivates me to get back because I want to be a part of such a great group."

    The reality is that when Lee does return, it could be for his final run with the Cowboys. He's 32 years old, has an obvious replacement in Vander Esch and has less than half of his 2019 salary guaranteed.

Denver Broncos: Domata Peko

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    Denver Broncos defensive tackle Domata Peko may not be viewed as a superstar in the traditional sense, but that's largely because of the position he plays. He's long been one of the most dominant and consistent nose tackles in the NFL, and while the position doesn't usually rack up stats, Peko has plenty.

    Now in his 13th season, Peko has amassed 577 tackles, 20.0 sacks, 12 passes defended and three forced fumbles. He was voted a Pro Bowl alternate last season.

    At 34 years old, though, Peko has started to lose a step. He has a mere 19 tackles and half a sack through 11 games this season. He's also in the final year of a two-year contract with Denver and could be on his way out from the franchise.

    While Peko is still good enough to find employment in 2019, he's no longer one of the elite interior defensive linemen in the league.

Detroit Lions: LeGarrette Blount

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    Running back LeGarrette Blount has never been a Pro Bowl player, but it's hard not to consider him a former star. He amassed more than 6,000 yards over the course of his career, and his bruising running style played a big role in the Patriots' Super Bowl runs of 2014 and 2016.

    Blount rushed for more than 1,100 yards in 2016 and led the entire NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns. Last season, he played a role in the Philadelphia Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII.

    Now a member of the Detroit Lions, Blount has earned another opportunity to start in recent weeks. However, he's only gotten that chance because of Kerryon Johnson's lingering knee injury. Blount has started four games this season and has amassed 271 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He's also averaging a paltry 2.8 yards per carry.

    Blount will soon turn 32 years old, and it's highly unlikely he'll ever be a significant piece of a Super Bowl run again.

Green Bay Packers: Jimmy Graham

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    Tight end Jimmy Graham was once one of the most feared red-zone targets in the NFL. Paired with Drew Brees for the first five years of his career, Graham caught 51 touchdown passes, had two seasons of at least 1,200 yards and earned three Pro Bowl nods.

    Graham had Pro Bowl seasons again in 2016 and 2017 while paired with Russell Wilson. He signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Green Bay Packers this offseason. One would think that teaming up with Aaron Rodgers would allow Graham to continue being a superstar.

    This hasn't been the case. Graham has just 486 yards and two touchdowns this season—fine numbers for a tight end but certainly not elite. Given the relative under-use of the tight end position in Green Bay, it's unlikely Graham will return to being a star while he's still under contract. Considering he'll be nearly 35 when it's over, he probably never will again.

Houston Texans: Demaryius Thomas

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    Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was once one of the top wide receivers in the entire NFL. He starred alongside Peyton Manning with the Broncos, won a Super Bowl with Manning and made the Pro Bowl five times from 2012-2016.

    Thomas appears to be a player on the decline, though. He failed to hit the 1,000-yard mark last season and was traded to the Houston Texans just before the deadline this year. He had just 402 yards receiving and three touchdowns before being moved, and he has just 99 yards with Houston, though he does have two touchdowns.

    Can Thomas still be a productive NFL wideout? Yes, especially as he continues to learn Houston's offensive system. His days of being a top-10 receiver, however, have passed.

Indianapolis Colts: Adam Vinatieri

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    Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is a living legend—or in NFL terms, he's a still-playing future Hall of Famer. There's no denying it, and we're not trying to take it away from him. Vinatieri is one of the most clutch kickers of the modern era, and he recently became the NFL's all-time scoring leader.

    Vinatieri is no longer a superstar, though, if he ever truly was.

    His game has always been about consistency and making the big kicks in the big moments. It's never really been about putting up elite numbers. Vinatieri has actually only made the Pro Bowl three times, and he hasn't done so since 2014. He's making just 81 percent of his field goals this season, his lowest percentage since 2012, and he has missed a pair of extra points.

    We'd love to see the Colts slip into the postseason just so we can see Vinatieri make one more clutch playoff kick, but we have to admit his days as a star have passed.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Tashaun Gipson

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    Safety Tashaun Gipson came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, but that didn't stop him from becoming a star early in his career. In just his second season as a safety with the Browns, he managed to snag five interceptions. He grabbed six more in just 11 games in 2014 and earned Pro Bowl honors for that season.

    Gipson parlayed his success into a five-year, $36 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 2016 season.

    While he has been a good safety with the Jaguars, he hasn't been the same kind of playmaker he was early in his career. This season, he's simply been an average member of a good-not-great defense.

    Jacksonville's defense is no longer considered a transcendent unit, and Gipson is no longer a budding superstar.

Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Houston

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    Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston is still a good defender and a guy who opposing offenses have to pay attention to. However, he isn't the game-wrecker he once was and a number of injuries.

    Houston missed 12 games between 2016 and 2017, and he's only appeared in seven games this year. Though he did log 9.5 sacks last season, he has just 17.5 over the last two-and-a-half and hasn't made the Pro Bowl since 2015. He may also be seeing his time in Kansas City coming to an end. He has two years left on his contract after this one, but only $7.1 million of the remaining $32.3 million is guaranteed.

    A change of scenery may help Houston get back to Pro Bowl form, but he is no longer the same player who racked up 50.5 sacks over a four-year span.

Los Angeles Chargers: Antonio Gates

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    Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is a future Hall of Famer and one of the most prolific pass-catchers in league history. He also happens to be in the midst of one last run and is performing well as a complementary player.

    "At the end of the day, I just want to play my part," Gates said, per Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register.

    Gates' current part is as a secondary pass-catcher, and he really only has that role with the Chargers because star tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL before the start of the season. Gates has 19 receptions, 239 yards and two touchdowns. Those are decent numbers for a complementary tight end. For a guy with nearly 950 catches and more than 11,700 yards in his career, they represent the final stage of a superstar career.

Los Angeles Rams: Ndamukong Suh

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    Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was once one of the most impactful defensive linemen in the game. He had a physicality and a ferociousness that could consistently change the course of games from the inside of the trenches.

    While Suh is a very good interior defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams, he's no longer the one-man wrecking crew he once was.

    Suh's play started to trail off a bit after he signed with the Miami Dolphins, though he did make his fifth Pro Bowl with the franchise in 2016. He has just 4.5 sacks in 2017, the second-lowest total of his career. This season, Suh has just 34 tackles and 3.5 sacks despite playing next to the attention-grabbing Aaron Donald.

    Is Suh a valuable member of L.A.'s opportunistic defense? Sure. He'll soon turn 32, though, and his best years are behind him.

Miami Dolphins: Cameron Wake

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    If you love underdog success stories, you have to love Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. After the NFL decided it didn't want him, he went and starred in the CFL. He earned Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors there, and twice led the CFL in sacks.

    The Miami Dolphins then decided to take a chance on Wake, and he's gone on to rack up 96.5 sacks and make the Pro Bowl five times.

    While Wake is still playing at a high level—he's had 3.5 sacks in his last three games—he isn't the dominant game-changer he once was. Though he did hit double-digit sacks last season, he didn't make the Pro Bowl, and he has just 4.5 sacks in nine games this season.

    At 36 years old, Wake is much closer to the end than his prime.

Minnesota Vikings: Dan Bailey

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    Can a kicker other than Adam Vinatieri really be considered a superstar? When he's a former All-Pro and considered one of the best specialists in recent history, the answer is yes.

    At one point, Dan Bailey was the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, a fact that plenty of media types brought up when discussing his free agency. For seven years, he held down the kicking job for the Cowboys, but Dallas released him after he made just 75 percent of his field goals in 2017.

    Bailey has found work with the Minnesota Vikings this season, but he's still making just 75 percent of his field-goal attempts (15-of-20) and has missed an extra point.

    There are certainly worse kickers in the game, but he's no longer an elite specialist—and we're pretty sure when people bring up his being the second-most accurate kicker, it'll be in reference to what he once was.

New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski

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    Let's get this out of the way first. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is still a major mismatch in the passing game when he's healthy. Despite appearing in just eight games this season, he has 504 yards receiving and two touchdowns this season.

    Gronkowski is almost never fully healthy anymore, though, and you can see it on the game film. He hasn't moved as fluidly this season as in years past, and he hasn't been as physical at the point of attack as a blocker.

    It's likely Gronkowski is very close to the end of his career. He has a year remaining on his contract after this one, but only $2 million of his 2019 salary is guaranteed. The Patriots tend to part with players early rather than too late, and this could be Gronkowski's last run with the franchise. If so, it could be his last run ever.

    Gronkowski has already admitted he considered retiring this past offseason when the Patriots were thinking of trading him. We're likely looking at the last days of a once-superstar career.

New Orleans Saints: Dez Bryant

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    Are we being a bit technical with this one? Sure, but wideout Dez Bryant is under contract with the New Orleans Saints, and he definitely deserves to be on our list. He may be done for the season because of a torn ACL, but he seems determined to continue his playing career.

    "[I] promise I'm coming back strong," Bryant said, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News.

    Bryant may indeed be back, but it's unlikely he's going to return to play at a superstar level. The three-time Pro Bowler hasn't had a 1,000-yard season since 2014 and was already on the decline before the Achilles injuries.

    Teams weren't all that interested in signing Bryant early in the season, and it wasn't until New Orleans gave him a chance in early November that he actually got on the practice field—and promptly suffered a serious injury.

    Some team may give him an opportunity next season, but Bryant's days of being a feared receiver are over.

New York Giants: Eli Manning

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    This may be the most obvious entry on our list. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning—a future Hall of Famer due to his two Super Bowl rings—just hasn't been the same quarterback this season.

    While he's had some clutch playoff runs, Manning has never been a truly elite quarterback during the regular season. The only category he's ever led the NFL in is interceptions. He is a four-time Pro Bowler, though. You wouldn't know that by watching him now.

    Statistically speaking, Manning (3,093 yards, 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions) has not been terrible this season. The Giants may even bring him back next season, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. Manning is less mobile than ever, though, he's missing open receivers he use to hit with ease, and he's often seen panicking behind New York's shaky offensive line.

    Simply put, no one will be asking if Manning is an elite quarterback ever again.

New York Jets: Leonard Williams

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    As was the case with Bears running back Jordan Howard, defensive end Leonard Williams burst into the NFL as a superstar almost immediately. He produced 131 tackles and 10.0 sacks in his first two seasons, was named to the PFWA All-rookie team in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl in 2016.

    Over the last couple years, though, Williams has been merely an above-average player at best. He has just 27 tackles and 3.0 sacks in 11 games this season and is no longer the difference-maker he was early in his career.

    Tyler Calvaruso of Jets Wire recently referred to Williams as "useless."

    While Williams isn't quite useless, he isn't the kind of elite defender he was supposed to become. New York needs to put serious thought into whether it wants to pay his 2019 salary of $14.2 million, which is only guaranteed for injury.

Oakland Raiders: Jordy Nelson

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    Did you even know that former Packers star receiver Jordy Nelson was still playing? We'll forgive you if you didn't, because his profile has dropped in a big way since parting with Aaron Rodgers.

    Though Nelson only made one Pro Bowl with the Packers, he was one of Rodgers' top targets, and he produced four 1,000-yard seasons. He took a notable step back last season, though—he had just 482 yards and six touchdowns—and Nelson has been nearly invisible with the Oakland Raiders.

    Oakland signed Nelson to a two-year. $14.2 million deal this offseason, and he's rewarded the Raiders with a mere 353 yards and three touchdowns. Of those yards, 173 came in one game.

    Nelson hasn't had a catch in his last two games, and he has just three receptions for 30 yards over his last four. It seems unlikely the Raiders will keep him around for the second year of his contract and even less likely that he'll ever be a star again.

Philadelphia Eagles: Golden Tate

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    Wide receiver Golden Tate has only been to one Pro Bowl in his career (2014), but he's been one of the league's most consistent pass-catchers in recent years. Between 2014 and 2017, Tate caught at least 90 passes every season and amassed more than 1,000 yards in three of those four years.

    The Lions decided to trade Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles before this year's trade deadline, though, and Tate hasn't quickly adapted to his new home. In three games with Philadelphia, Tate has just 11 receptions and 97 yards.

    Tate is in the final year of his current contract, and if he doesn't pick things up soon, he may not be a part of the Eagles' future. Tate is good enough to find work in 2019 if this is the case, but he'll be 31 years old next season and likely playing his way into obscurity.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Chris Boswell

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    A kicker is a superstar when he's a Pro Bowler, an honorary member of the "Killer Bs" and considered one of the best players at his position in the NFL. This is how we viewed Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell last season, and the Steelers gave him a new four-year, $16.8 million deal in the offseason.

    Unfortunately, the Killer Bs are no more—you may have heard that Le'Veon Bell never reported—and Boswell's play has fallen off considerably. He's made a career-low 69.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and a career-low 89.2 percent of extra-point tries. He has missed a field goal in two of Pittsburgh's three losses and missed one in overtime during the Steelers' Week 1 tie with the Browns.

    "This guy didn't forget how to kick," head coach Mike Tomlin said back in early October, per NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.

    While Boswell has missed just one field goal and one extra point since Tomlin made that statement, he still hasn't been the superstar kicker of 2017. With Bell gone, Ben Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career and Boswell himself underperforming, the Steelers have some work to do in the offseason.

San Francisco 49ers: Pierre Garcon

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    Wideout Pierre Garcon has never been a Pro Bowler, but he has remained one of the NFL's standout receivers throughout a long and productive career. He first stepped into the spotlight during the end of Peyton Manning's run with the Colts, and he proved to not be Manning-dependent with the Washington Redskins.

    In 2013, Garcon's second season in Washington, he led the NFL with 113 receptions while amassing 1,346 yards and five touchdowns. Garcon had another 1,000-yard season in 2016.

    Since arriving with the San Francisco 49ers last season, though, Garcon has been more of a serviceable receiver than a star. He had an even 500 yards receiving and no touchdowns in eight games last season and has just 286 yards and a score in eight games this year.

    Garcon can still make an impact when healthy, but staying healthy is becoming an issue for the 32-year-old. His time in the spotlight is coming to an end.

Seattle Seahawks: K.J. Wright

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    Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright was one of the more underrated members of the Legion of Boom defense, and he had an incredible stretch from 2014-2017. He amassed more than 100 tackles every season between those years and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016.

    Wright is still a very good player—he has 14 tackles in three games this season—but his time as a Seattle superstar is likely over. Injuries have limited him to just those three appearances, and he'll be 30 before the start of the 2019 season.

    That season won't necessarily come in Seattle.

    Wright is in the final year of his current contract, and with the Seahawks experiencing a youth movement, he very well could be in a different uniform next season. Will he be the same star in a different defensive system? Probably not, and he may never be that again after this injury-filled season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brent Grimes

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    For a time, Brent Grimes was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He made his first Pro Bowl with the Falcons back in 2010, but his best years came with the Miami Dolphins. He made the Pro Bowl with Miami every year between 2013 and 2015 and earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2014.

    While Grimes hasn't been quite the standout since joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016, he's been a serviceable starter. However, his time as a superstar is clearly at an end. He's currently ranked just 80th among cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus and is likely nearing the end of his tenure in Tampa.

    Grimes will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. He'll also be 36 years old and lucky just to land a starting job on the open market.

Tennessee Titans: Malcolm Butler

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    As an undrafted rookie with the Patriots in 2014, cornerback Malcolm Butler instantly became one of the biggest stars in the entire NFL. His interception of Russell Wilson at the goal line gave New England a Super Bowl victory and will long be one of the most infamous plays in league history.

    Butler went on to make the Pro Bowl in 2015 and was a second-team All-Pro in 2016. However, he was benched in Super Bowl LII, released by New England and signed to a $61.25 million deal by the Tennessee Titans this past offseason.

    It's starting to look like the Patriots were on to something when they let Butler walk. Butler has regularly been torched by opposing receivers this season and has looked nothing like the shutdown defensive back he once was. He's currently ranked just 101st overall among cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus.

    Butler can still be a serviceable starter, but he's no longer a star corner.

Washington Redskins: Adrian Peterson

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    Redskins running back Adrian Peterson was one of the best stories of the early 2018 season. He was running hard again, steamrolling the once-rival Packers—to the tune of 120 yards and two touchdowns—in vintage style and making the Redskins a viable playoff contender.

    However, it's beginning to look like a good story was all Peterson's early run really was.

    The Redskins offensive line has been dealing with injuries, and Peterson hasn't been the same back recently. Peterson hasn't topped 70 yards rushing and hasn't rushed for more than 3.6 yards per carry in a game over the last month. Things are only going to get more challenging now that Colt McCoy is under center and opponents dare Washington to beat them through the air.

    Peterson may still reach the 1,000-yard mark this season (he's at 758 now). With Derrius Guice set to return next season for Washington, this is likely Peterson's last hurrah as a starting back, and it feels more likely he'll go out with a whimper than with a bang.