NFL players who could retire after the 2022 season

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Every pro athlete has to call it quits eventually. These 25 NFL players could be entering their final season in 2022.

 

1 of 25

Anthony Barr, LB, Cowboys

Anthony Barr, LB, Cowboys

Harrison Barden / USA Today Sports Images

Barr is set to be a role player in Dallas after back-to-back injury-plagued seasons in Minnesota. Now age 30, his Pro Bowl days are long behind him, and he could retire if injuries strike again this season.

 

2 of 25

Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers

Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers

Nathan Ray Seebeck / USA Today Sports Images

Brady already has his post-career job lined up with a pending broadcasting deal, and he’s sat out most of camp for personal reasons after retiring this offseason temporarily. The writing is on the wall for Brady to retire after 2022.

 

3 of 25

Calais Campbell, DE, Ravens

Calais Campbell, DE, Ravens

Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports Images

Campbell’s streak of four consecutive Pro Bowls ended last season, as he recorded only 1.5 sacks in 15 games. He’s still a strong contributor for the Ravens, but is in severe decline entering his age 36 season.

 

4 of 25

Mason Crosby, K, Packers

Mason Crosby, K, Packers

Benny Sieu / USA Today Sports Images

Crosby has shown some inconsistency recently and is coming off arguably his worst season, making fewer than 75% of his field goals in 2021. Another season like last year might force the 38-year-old into retirement.

 

5 of 25

Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles

Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles

Kevin Jairaj / USA Today Sports Images

Formerly the leader of the Eagles defense, Cox’s streak of six straight Pro Bowls ended in 2021. He had only 3.5 sacks, and the team has added his eventual replacement with first-round pick Jordan Davis. Turning 32 in December, Cox’s clock is ticking.

 

6 of 25

Robbie Gould, K, 49ers

Robbie Gould, K, 49ers

Kelley L. Cox / USA Today Sports Images

Gould continues to play at an extremely high level, making 87% of his field goals last season. Despite his long and productive career, Gould won’t be able to perform at this level forever and is entering his age 40 season. Any deterioration this year could cause him to consider moving on.

 

7 of 25

Cameron Heyward, DT, Steelers

Cameron Heyward, DT, Steelers

Joseph Maiorana / USA Today Sports Images

Heyward is sometimes overlooked now on a talented Steelers defense that has so many stars. He made his fifth straight Pro Bowl last year, and was also an All-Pro for the third time. Still, his power rushing game typically doesn’t lend to continuing a career well into a player’s 30s, and Heyward is now entering his age 33 season.

 

8 of 25

Akiem Hicks, DE, Buccaneers

Akiem Hicks, DE, Buccaneers

Steve Roberts / USA Today Sports Images

Hicks has missed significant time to injuries in two of the last three seasons as he joins the Bucs. He’s hoping for a Super Bowl ring with his new team, with sack production that has been well down recently. Hicks turns 33 in November in what could be his final go.

 

9 of 25

Justin Houston, OLB, Ravens

Justin Houston, OLB, Ravens

Philip G. Pavely / USA Today Sports Images

Houston is back on his second short-term deal with the Ravens, clearly favoring winning over a more prominent role. He had only 4.5 sacks in 15 games with the Baltimore last season, and could see his playing time cut further this year at age 33.

 

10 of 25

Brian Hoyer, QB, Patriots

Brian Hoyer, QB, Patriots

David Butler II / USA Today Sports Images

Hoyer had a significant stint in his mid-career as a starter with the Browns, Texans, Bears, and 49ers, but his role as a backup has been evident over the last several seasons. He continues to back up Mac Jones in New England, but there might not be much football left as he approaches age 40.

 

11 of 25

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports Images

Ingram is a popular player in New Orleans, and in a good role behind Alvin Kamara after many years as the team’s starter. He’s already outlived the typical running back career now entering his 12th NFL season, and last year’s 3.5 yards per carry indicates he’s lost a step.

 

12 of 25

Melvin Ingram, OLB, Dolphins

Melvin Ingram, OLB, Dolphins

Jasen Vinlove / USA Today Sports Images

Ingram’s post-Chargers career has included the Steelers, Chiefs, and now Dolphins. It’s clear he wants to help winning teams, but the 33-year-old might not have the ability to be a three-down player any longer.

 

13 of 25

Kareem Jackson, S, Broncos

Kareem Jackson, S, Broncos

Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today Sports Images

Jackson is entering his fourth year in the Denver defense, and has continued to take on a leadership role. Entering his age 34 season, Jackson is also one of the oldest defensive players in the league on a team that has gotten younger on that side of the ball recently.

 

14 of 25

Julio Jones, WR, Buccaneers

Julio Jones, WR, Buccaneers

Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Images

Jones has been plagued by injuries over the last two seasons, and didn’t seem to have much of a market before signing in Tampa Bay. He’s down on the depth chart now in a clear quest to win a Super Bowl at age 33 before he hangs up his cleats.

 

15 of 25

Jason Kelce, OC, Eagles

Jason Kelce, OC, Eagles

Bill Streicher / USA Today Sports Images

There was speculation Kelce would retire after last season, but he’s playing as well as ever as an All-Pro for the fourth time last season. Turning 35 in November, he’s hoping to win his second Super Bowl in Philly before retirement.

 

16 of 25

Andy Lee, P, Cardinals

Andy Lee, P, Cardinals

Michael Chow / USA Today Sports Images

Lee has been in the NFL since 2004, and now enters his age 40 season. He still has a big leg, but the whispers of retirement get louder given his age.

 

17 of 25

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Packers

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Packers

Samantha Madar / USA Today Sports Images

Lewis is mainly a blocker these days as Green Bay’s second tight end. He’s fared well in that role since joining the Packers in 2018, but he’s now one of the oldest players in the league at age 38.

 

18 of 25

Devin McCourty, S, Patriots

Devin McCourty, S, Patriots

Brett Davis / USA Today Sports Images

McCourty’s twin brother, Jason, retired during the offseason, and Devin surely isn’t far behind. He’s been a staple in the Pats secondary since 2010, though the production has slipped over the last three years.

 

19 of 25

Von Miller, OLB, Bills

Von Miller, OLB, Bills

Shawn Dowd / USA Today Sports Images

Miller still draws a big payday, but he clearly has bigger goals at this point in his career. He won a Super Bowl with the Rams last season, and joined a Bills squad with an excellent shot to provide Miller with his third ring. The future Hall of Famer could ride off into the sunset after his age 33 season.

 

20 of 25

Matt Prater, K, Cardinals

Matt Prater, K, Cardinals

Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports Images

Prater has been known for his big leg for most of his career, but we have to expect his range to decrease as he gets closer to age 40. Accuracy has become an issue for Prater over the last three years, which is concerning entering his age 38 season.

 

21 of 25

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

Dan Powers / USA Today Sports Images

Rodgers is a back-to-back MVP winner, but his struggles in the playoffs have clouded his career in comparison to Tom Brady. He will likely be able to play as long as he’d like, but Rodgers knows the end is coming sooner than later.

 

22 of 25

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Buccaneers

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Buccaneers

Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Images

Rudolph hasn’t produced much over the last two seasons, so it’s not surprising that he’d join a highly competitive Bucs squad in what looks like the twilight years of his career. At age 33, he has a chance to win his first Super Bowl as the Bucs second tight end.

 

23 of 25

Tyron Smith, LT, Cowboys

Tyron Smith, LT, Cowboys

Tim Heitman / USA Today Sports Images

There hasn’t been a more dominant left tackle during Smith’s career, as his eight Pro Bowls show. Unfortunately, he’s really had trouble staying on the field, playing a total of 13 games over the last two seasons. The wear and tear might be too much for Smith, who turns 32 in December.

 

24 of 25

Sammy Watkins, WR, Packers

Sammy Watkins, WR, Packers

Samantha Madar / USA Today Sports Images

Watkins struggled in the 13 games he was healthy with the Ravens last year. A Super Bowl hero with the Chiefs in 2019, Watkins hasn’t played an entire season since his rookie year in 2014, and lower body injuries could lead to ending his career early.

 

25 of 25

J.J. Watt, DE, Cardinals

J.J. Watt, DE, Cardinals

Rob Schumacher / USA Today Sports Images

A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Watt has struggled to stay on the field recently. He played only seven games last year, recording only one sack in the process. If Watt’s body fails to cooperate again, he could opt to end his career.





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