Happy New Year!
With a new year comes new hope, new opportunities -- and always change.
Here are nine folks who need a change of scenery this year, to benefit both them and their current employers.
1) Sam Bradford
Prior to the 2014 draft, I argued that the Rams needed to select a quarterback in the first or second round. If they had, their win-loss record this season (6-10) could've been very different. St. Louis' reliance on Bradford, who simply cannot stay healthy, is absurd. The inability to protect the team with a legit backup is mind-boggling -- Austin Davis and Shaun Hill are not answers when you have Bradford at quarterback.
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Jeff Fisher swears he will bring in someone new to compete with Bradford. But here's the problem: Bradford always makes you go gaga over his amazing potential in the spring and summer. You get fooled in the moment. The Rams need a clean break. So does Bradford. It just seems like he's snake-bitten in St. Louis.
This franchise is wasting a talented defense in a tough NFC West. The Rams can't set themselves up for yet another non-playoff year in 2015. They need a new starter under center.
2) Robert Griffin III
But don't get duped.
It's become crystal clear, through his words and actions (see: rightly benching RGIII), that coach Jay Gruden doesn't believe in Griffin. And he shouldn't. Over the past two seasons, Griffin has failed as a player and leader. He can't stay healthy. He can't handle the press or social media. His pipeline to owner Dan Snyder has been counterproductive to the franchise.
And Griffin could use a change himself.
Wouldn't it be ironic if Griffin were the QB brought into St. Louis? (Yes, as you recall, St. Louis originally received a king's ransom from Washington, allowing the Redskins to draft the quarterback.) OK, so maybe that wouldn't quite solve the Rams' injury woes at the position. But a man can dream ...
3) Mike Wallace
I wrote, when Wallace originally signed with Miami, that it was a bad move. When an organization as classy and intelligent as Pittsburgh allows a young talent to walk, that's a red flag. Well, Miami gave Wallace a boatload of money, and two seasons later, it hasn't panned out. Wallace has had issues catching the ball and being a reliable teammate. Did he ask out of the season finale or was he benched? Either way, it's a clear sign Wallace isn't a team player and isn't living up to his $60 million deal. He's a divisive force on a team that needs leadership. Ryan Tannehill look a step forward this season. He doesn't need a malcontent and underachiever dragging him down in a pivotal 2015 season for the Dolphins.
And being fair, Wallace could use some structure, something that Miami has lacked under Joe Philbin.
4) Ndamukong Suh
Should the Lions give this free agent-to-be a mega-contract? That's the question they must ask themselves. To me, the answer is no. There are too many on-field examples where he resembles Albert Haynesworth. Suh isn't worth the headache and the cap space to a team trying to win while being clutch and classy.
5) Jay Cutler
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Unless the Bears hire a coach with the last name Shanahan, Cutler needs to go. His play and demeanor sucked the life out of the Bears in 2014, with Chicago stumbling to a 5-11 mark. Cutler's reputation as a coach-killer is at an all-time high. For Chicago to maximize its coaching search and attract the best candidates, the Bears must let it be known that, despite salary-cap ramifications, they won't saddle the new head coach with Cutler.
Some team would take a chance on Cutler's talent, just like some team always took a chance on Jeff George. That's Cutler's career arc right now.
6) Mike Glennon
This guy can play -- he was the top rookie QB in the 2013 class. I don't believe there are 32 better quarterbacks in the NFL than Mike Glennon. There should be a market for him.
A location change would give the 25-year-old the opportunity that was foolishly stripped from him when Lovie Smith entered Tampa. I think he would've thrived under Greg Schiano in 2014.
Bucs GM Jason Licht can now take advantage of the market and ship a legit commodity to pick up an extra pick.
7) Rob Ryan
The five seconds of fame are up. 2013 was a fantastic year for New Orleans on defense, and rather stunning, to be frank. 2014? A year of underachievement. A year that, quite honestly, seems more on par with Ryan's pre-2013 production. And reports of infighting are also par for the course when Rob Ryan is your coordinator.
The Saints need a cleansing after being one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. Rob Ryan and the Saints need a mutual parting. After all, it's not doing Ryan any good when the only way he makes headlines is by getting into a yelling match with the head coach.
8) Steven Jackson
The Falcons thought he had gas left in the proverbial tank when they signed him two offseasons ago. They thought they were acquiring a difference maker in the backfield. Unfortunately, despite Jackson's fabulous tenure in St. Louis, it just hasn't worked out in Atlanta.
Devonta Freeman needs to be featured. And the classy Jackson just doesn't have a place on this roster.
9) Jason Pierre-Paul
Don't let the sack-barrage down the stretch fool you, Jerry Reese. JPP hasn't put together a season anywhere near his spectacular 2011 campaign in the past three years. The Giants need to take the money that would theoretically go to Pierre-Paul and instead spread it around. This team needs help all over the place: linebacker, offensive line, defensive backfield -- I could go on.
Pierre-Paul's still young enough, having just turned 26 on Jan. 1, that he'll command some nice dough in free agency. Can't imagine he'd be too upset hitting the open market.