At this point of the year, some teams are looking ahead to pivotal playoff matchups with hopes to advance far enough to obtain that coveted Lombardi Trophy at season's end. For others, coaching staff rebuilds and front office personnel changes have already commenced.
No matter what, at some point, every team is going to have to evaluate their roster and decide which free agents are worthy of the signing and which ones should be allowed to hit the open market. Below, we'll take a look at some of the riskiest players who are due for new contracts.
5. Josh McCown
No one expected journeyman Josh McCown to play this well for the Jets this season. Had it not been for him, the team could be in Cleveland Browns territory record-wise. As much as the team may want to bring him back, they must keep in mind that he will be 39 by the start of next season, and unless he's on the TB12 diet, there's a good chance this year was just a flash in the pan and serious regression is inevitable.
The team has a high draft pick in line, and if they can keep McCown on for another year at a cheap price to help groom a potential rookie quarterback pick, then that's great. If not, then it's time to part ways.
4. Terrelle Pryor
A failed experiment in Washington. Kirk Cousins and Terrelle Pryor never got on the same page despite Cousins throwing for over 4,000 yards in 2017. Only appearing in nine games due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 2, Pryor was never able to overcome it and was shut down midseason.
With only 20 catches for 240 yards on the year, unless his price tag comes dirt cheap, the Redskins should focus on Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson as the No. 1 and No. 2 and move on from the quarterback-turned-receiver.
3. Eddie Lacy
It's time for NFL fans to give up on the idea that we will ever get back the 2013 version of Eddie Lacy, who earned a Pro Bowl nod on 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Since then, it has been nothing but regression in both categories, and he was never able to make an impact in Seattle. The Alabama product has the size and power you would want in a bell-cow back, but the vision and decision making is just not there to take him to the elite level. Buyers beware.
2. Carlos Hyde
Carlos Hyde put together a great season, falling just short of the 1,000 yard rushing mark with 940 yards through 16 games. He started every game, adding 59 catches for 350 yards as well. However, he was at times spelled by rookie Matt Breida, which made Hyde a volume-based runner in a two-back committee. That doesn't mean he won't demand RB1 money, though, as his market value currently sits at around $6.2 million a year—a significant jump from his average annual $900,000 salary. Risky value that could go either way.
1. Case Keenum
What a year it has been for Case Keenum. Career season isn't even the phrase, as the journeyman quarterback was able to start more than 10 games for the first time in his six years as a pro. For now, all is well for the Minnesota Vikings who sit at the No. 2 in the NFC. A legitimate chance to play at home for Super Bowl LII, the offseason is not the concern right now. Eventually though, they will have to make a decision on what to do for a quarterback that will probably get a Brock Osweiler-caliber contract.
With Teddy Bridgewater healthy and waiting in the wings, it's highly doubtful the team will commit to Keenum. Hell, they barely committed to him each week in naming him the starter. There are plenty of teams in need out there looking for a starting QB, and they will pay big. Question is, will they get the 2017 Keenum or the other less-appealing version?