For today’s look at the upcoming season I wanted to break the teams down by age. I looked at every roster (excluding the practice squad) and determined the average age on offense and defense. Here is what I came up with.
First of all I think the big takeaway is how young the NFL is in general. The average age in the league is just over 26 years old and the spread of teams is only between 25.5 years and 27.3 years. So we are talking pretty small differences here, but it is something to at least note when you start looking at your teams this year.
The teams in the upper right quadrant are the most veteran clubs in the NFL. They are above the average age on both offense and defense. Most of these teams would likely be classified as “win now” teams since moving from 27 ish to 28ish is not a good model in todays NFL. These are all the usual suspects of the Bucs, Bears, Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, Raiders, Saints, and Falcons. Some are playoff teams from a year ago and others need to be this year. Inexplicably the Texans are in here as they take on a strange self inflicted rebuild.
On the bottom right we have teams with a veteran offense but a young defense. I would say that this should bring more predictability on the offense side of the ball and a lot of unknowns on the defensive side. Some of these represent teams that are building defenses in the draft while being happy with the offense. Here the offenses are probably going to hide the defense in most cases and if they can not that could be a problem area.
The top left are the teams that are old on defense but young on offense. Some of these are teams that have traditionally been stronger defenses like New England, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Baltimore. The teams in this quadrant are more unknown on offense and if they catch fire, in particular those with a young QB, they can probably surprise. If the offenses are terrible the makeup of this type of team is probably very concerning.
Finally, the bottom left are the most volatile teams. They are young on both sides of the ball and rebuilding their rosters. These are the teams that could stun this year and if they do have a very bright future because of how young the teams are. Most of these teams will get a pass if they play poorly if it is due to a 1st or 2nd year QB. The teams who fail here likely will in line for another rebuild before they ever move out of this quadrant unless the GM goes on a free agent spending spree as a last ditch effort to help the team.
Overall, the oldest roster in the NFL belongs to (no surprise) Arizona. They are followed by the Bears, Bucs, Texans, and 49ers. The Panthers will have the youngest team in the NFL followed by the Lions, Jets, Browns, and Bengals.
I also looked at how many positional players (excluding QBs) are at least 30 years old on every team. The NFL average is 7.8 players per team. Arizona doubles that with 16 players followed by the Bucs (15), 49ers (13), Bears (11) and five teams tied with 10. The Rams with just 3 players have the fewest followed by the Lions and Dolphins with 4.
Here is the data for each team.
|Team||Avg. Age||Def. Age||Off. Age||Pos. Players |
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.