Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com puts the average NFL career in perspective with a very thought provoking column:
“What are youth and middle age in the NFL today?
“The NFL Players Association loves to promote the idea of the average career of an NFL player being 3.3 years, but Roger Goodell disagrees.
“The commissioner recently explained the union’s numbers include everybody with a contract but in fact the average career of players who start their rookie seasons on an NFL team’s 53-man roster is just under six years.
“Either way it suggests players need to peak somewhere between their second and fourth seasons.”
The names of the only two Bears players in their fourth season may surprise you: Alshon Jeffery and Shea McClellin. These are players that I think virtually all of us are used to thinking of as young. They’re not. They’re middle aged and arguably on the decline already.
Jeffery is very productive but McClellin is basically still a developmental prospect. Indeed, the Bears are likely starting him over veterans like the released Mason Foster in large part because they believe that he still has a higher ceiling. But does he really?
Hub’s purpose was to point out the players that Bears fans should be following the development of in particular as the future of the franchise – those in their first and second years as pros. These include Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, Christian Jones, Terrance Mitchell, Eddie Goldman and Jeremy Langford.
But to me it’s a reminder of how terribly far away this team is from building a respectable roster.