With the 2018 NFL season vastly approaching there are plenty of players in the league who will be reaching their final stretch on their contracts.
There are some players who will be destined for big contracts at the end of the 2018 season, regardless of their play, injury, or attitudes outside of the field. While they are also players who have had a good season (or two) but still haven’t been consistent enough to obtain big contracts to “secure the bag”.
Here are the top 3 prove it or lose it players:
Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawerence
The Dallas Cowboys did not complete a long-term deal with Lawrence to sign, so the 2017 breakout star will be forced to play under the franchise tag for the 2018 season and will become a free agent in the off-season.
Lawerence had a career high 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and a combined total of 58 tackles to end the 2017 season. Prior to this season, Lawerence suffered multiple injuries and had only 9 sacks within three years.
With all the jokes critics make about the Dallas Cowboy’s “no-name” defense, the Cowboys are looking to make people notice the talent they have and Lawerence could be that chess piece the Cowboys need to entice fear in NFL offenses. If he is able to keep producing on defense, the Dallas Cowboys will most likely give him a big-time deal like they completed with their last franchise tag star, Dez Bryant.
Cleveland Brown’s QB Tyrod Taylor
The Cleveland Browns traded their third-round pick to acquire Taylor in a trade from the Buffalo Bills.
His first season starting in the NFL he completed 20 TDs, had a 99.4 passer-rating, completed 3,035 yards with only 6 INTs. He also helped the Buffalo Bills end a 17 year playoff drought in the 2017 season.
With the Brown’s selection of Heisman Trophy winner QB Baker Mayfield, Taylor’s days are numbered as a starter and on the Browns. Although, he may not be in Cleveland’s long term plans, this is his chance to “audition” for other teams in this Pass-first QB thirsty league.
Jacksonville Jaguar’s DE Dante Fowler JR
After a shaky start to his NFL career, Fowler is coming off a career-high 8 sacks following the 2017 season. However, the Jaguars still didn’t believe his play was good enough to pick up his 5th year option to sign him for 14.2 million.
Fowler missed his whole rookie season due to tearing his ACL, and struggled the season after that, and came off the bench as more of a “situational contributor” in his career high season on a talented defensive roster.
There is still time for Fowler to show Jacksonville, he is capable of playing a bigger role…(if he can stay out of trouble off the field) since he is only twenty-three years old. Fowler is ready to show the Jags his worth:
“I know I’m one of the best players in this league. When I go out there, I’m going to make the best of my opportunities every time. I’m working hard to have the best season of my career.
Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert
This young tight-end career has witnessed countless injury after injury causing him to miss over 39 regular season games in the midst of 4 years. Eifert missed a total of 15 games in 2014, two games in 2015, eight games in 2016, and 14 games in 2017.
The bengals still have hope in him and decided to give him a one-year contract to prove that he can top his breakout season in 2015. In 2015 he finished the season with 13 TDs and made his way to the pro bowl.
The chances of that happening is slim and the bengals may have to snap out of their nostalgic state since Eifert will be coming off of a complicated season-ending back injury.