When the NFL’s 2017 business year ended in March, 27 players with Alabama football roots who played in the regular season last year became free agents. Since then, every NFL team has held its offseason program, but the football practices came and went without nine of the free agents.
The number would have been 10, but the New York Jets announced on Thursday they’d signed defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw . The former Eufaula High School and Alabama standout had been a free agent after six NFL seasons. The Jets gave Upshaw a tryout at their mandatory minicamp last week, and he made good on his opportunity, earning a contract and a spot on the roster for training camp next month.
The nine former Alabama high school and college standouts who played in 2017 but don’t have a team yet for 2018 include:
Linebacker Karlos Dansby , Woodlawn, Auburn : The Arizona Cardinals, Dansby’s team for eight of his 14 NFL seasons, have turned his spot at middle linebacker over to another former Auburn standout, Josh Bynes, for 2018. Dansby hasn’t found a landing spot even though he played 87 percent of the Cardinals’ defensive snaps and led the team in tackles with his 11 th consecutive season of at least 90. Dansby ended the 2017 season seven short of Takeo Spikes’ record for NFL tackles by an Auburn alumnus, according to stats on profootballreference.com.
Defensive tackle Quinton Dial , Clay-Chalkville, Alabama: Injuries kept Dial out of three games last season, but he played regularly as a run-stopper and started twice when healthy in his fifth NFL season and first with the Green Bay Packers in 2017.
Outside linebacker Junior Galette , Stillman: Galette needs a new team to keep his comeback going. He played in every game for the Washington Redskins in 2017 after missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons because of Achilles tendon injuries. Galette made three sacks and played 37 percent of the defensive snaps last season.
Running back Eddie Lacy , Alabama: A 1,000-yard rusher in each of his first two NFL seasons and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, Lacy had a drop-off in production in 2015, played only five games because of an ankle injury in 2016 and had a disastrous season in 2017 with the Seattle Seahawks, who couldn’t generate much of a ground game regardless of which running back got the football. Lacy played in nine games, with three starts, and gained 179 yards on 69 carries and caught six passes for 47 yards.
Offensive tackle Greg Robinson , Auburn: The second player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, Robinson didn’t reach the level of play the Rams envisioned for him. He lost his spot with Los Angeles when it signed Andrew Whitworth as a free agent before the 2017 season. The Rams unloaded the remaining $3.3 million on Robinson’s contract to the Detroit Lions in a trade. Robinson started six games for Detroit before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
Defensive tackle Pat Sims , Auburn: In his 10 th NFL season, Sims started eight games for the Cincinnati Bengals – his high since starting all 16 for the Oakland Raiders in 2013 – and played 304 defensive snaps (26.5 percent) as a run-stopper in 2017. But he’s found no takers for an 11 th season.
Offensive lineman Anthony Steen , Alabama: Steen started the first six games of the 2017 season at left guard for the Miami Dolphins after starting seven games at center in the 2016 campaign. But six games were all Steen played in 2017 because of a foot injury that required season-ending surgery. He was a restricted free agent, but the Dolphins decided not to re-sign him.
Defensive lineman Ed Stinson , Alabama: Three of Stinson’s four NFL seasons were significantly affected by injuries. Last year, he was on the Arizona Cardinals’ injured reserve with a hamstring problem when he was released on Sept. 12. The New York Jets picked up Stinson on Oct. 4, and he played in four games before another injury ended his season.
Defensive back Lardarius Webb , Beauregard: The Baltimore Ravens released Webb in March in 2017 and 2018. Last year, the Ravens re-signed Webb in April, and he made 37 tackles and intercepted two passes while playing 34 percent of Baltimore’s defensive snaps in 2017. This year, he didn’t get re-signed. Webb has spent his entire nine-year career with the Ravens.