NFL Hype Trains Teams Threw Away Like Yesterday’s Garbage

Darren - September 6, 2023

NFL Hype Trains Teams Threw Away Like Yesterday’s Garbage

Darren - September 6, 2023

The NFL loves hype trains of all types because they generate tons of excitement in the media. Fans and some so-called experts project that players or even trams will be sensational. But inevitably, everything goes wrong, and the franchises discard athletes like yesterday’s garbage.

Maybe they’re young rookies who become massive busts like Trey Lance. Or perhaps they deliver for a couple of seasons like Odell Beckham Jr. before suffering shocking declines. In the end, these hype trains went off the rails and their teams showed no mercy. Check out these failed NFL hype trains right here.


DeShaun Watson

Watson’s story is arguably one of the most controversial NFL dramas ever because he irreparably tarnished his image. The quarterback was a genuine blue-chip star for many years in Houston. But he reasonably became frustrated in Texas because the franchise seemed to be going nowhere. Watson pushed for a trade, but then sexual assault allegations involving several masseuses around the country came rolling in thick and fast.


The quarterback barely played for two seasons because of his off-field drama. In the end, the Texans traded him away like yesterday’s garbage because he was tainted goods. Meanwhile, Cleveland handed him a $230 million guaranteed contract, the first ever of its kind in the NFL and a major reason why few teams reportedly want to do business with the Browns (via

Miami Herald

Ricky Williams

Nobody quite knows what Mike Ditka was smoking when he decided to trade the Saints’ entire 200 NFL Draft for Williams. It’s one of the most lopsided deals in history and a stain on the Super Bowl-winning coach’s career. Washington laughed all the way home because they robbed New Orleans blind.

Heisman Trophy

In the end, Williams never stood a chance of living up to the hype. He had a brilliant college career with the Longhorns and was a solid NFL running back for several years. But even after sending all of those picks away for him, New Orleans traded him to Miami after a few seasons in the Big Easy. They essentially threw him away like yesterday’s garbage (via New York Post).


Russell Wilson

Denver fans almost expected the NFL to hand them the Super Bowl after they traded for Wilson in 2022. It was one of the biggest deals of the decade as they looked to become instant contenders. But they didn’t count on Wilson’s form dropping off a cliff (via Denver Post).


Many people called for the Seahawks to fire veteran head coach Pete Carroll instead of trading their franchise QB. In the end, Carroll made a mockery of them by turning backup Geno Smith into the Comeback Player of the Year. They went to the postseason while Wilson went home with his tail between his legs.

Ezekiel Elliott

There was a time when Elliott’s shirt was the most popular in the NFL. In the end, he crashed hard, however. The running back’s first few seasons were decent as he earned three Pro Bowl appearances. But nothing lasts forever as the Cowboys discovered.


They handed him a $50 million extension that put a serious dent in their cap space. In the end, this forced them to trade Amari Cooper while Elliott offered nothing on the field. They finally cut their losses and threw him away like yesterday’s garbage (via SBNation).


Aaron Hernandez

This hype train came off the rails in the craziest way ever. Many NFL experts believed that Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez would be the greatest tight-end duo in history. They offered a unique threat and played brilliantly for the Patriots but then Hernandez killed people.


It’s one of the darkest NFL stories out there because of the horrific details. The Patriots disposed of him like yesterday’s garbage as soon as law enforcement charged him. Nobody expected them to stand behind a murderer so that’s not shocking. In the end, he took his own life in jail (via WBUR).

Sporting News

Trevor Lawrence

It’s a little bit unfair to include Lawrence on this list because he revived his career. But the Clemson star arrived in the NFL with staggering levels of hype around him. He was the most exciting quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck but there was one massive problem.


The Urban Meyer circus threatened Lawrence’s career as he failed to impress in Jacksonville. He endured a miserable rookie year but it wasn’t entirely his fault. Doug Pedersen replaced Meyer for Lawrence’s sophomore season and they made the postseason (via NBC Sports).


Baker Mayfield

The Browns have had plenty of false dawns over the past couple of decades. But they honestly believed that Mayfield was the man to lead them toward a new era. They endured two of the worst back-to-back seasons ever before Mayfield emerged as a bonafide franchise QB.


Yes, he was inconsistent but he finally led them back into the playoffs in 2020. How things soured in Cleveland as injuries took their toll on his performance levels. In the end, the Browns discarded him like yesterday’s garbage after they signed DeShaun Watson (via Fansided).


Mitchell Trubisky

Trubisky was the first quarterback selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. Looking back, it’s insane because the Bears selected him ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it now seems like the mistake of a century. Maybe it wouldn’t matter because Chicago is where quarterbacks go to die.

Sky Sports

He set several rookie franchise records and the hype increased in his sophomore term. There were even whispers of a potential MVP season. But everything went wrong for him over the next couple of years and finally, the Bears discarded him like yesterday’s garbage (via Bleacher Report).

Sporting News

Tim Tebow

Tebow Time’ is up there with ‘Linsanity’ as one of the most unlikely hype trains in sports history. Denver made him their starter after they went 1-4 in their first five games of 2010. He had amazing luck on the field because he was a terrible passer but they made the playoffs in 2011.

CBS Sports

However, the writing was on the wall because Denver knew he wasn’t the answer. Yes, the fans and media hyped him because it was fun to watch his chaotic energy. But they knew they couldn’t win with him as their starter so they threw him away (via Us Weekly).

Detroit Free Press

Charles Rogers

Experts called Rogers the ‘next Randy Moss’ because of his incredible displays for Michigan State. Detroit thought that they secured a winner when they drafted the receiver. But this is a tragic story because he suffered horrific collarbone injuries in his first two seasons.

Sporting News

Then a painkiller addiction derailed his career and he breached the NFL’s strict substance control policies. They suspended him before the Lions threw him away. It’s a massive shame because he had amazing talents but his body betrayed him (via ESPN).

CBS Sports

Carson Wentz

The Eagles bet the house on Wentz as they traded multiple picks to secure his services in 2016. They saw him as their future franchise quarterback and believed that the sacrifice was worthwhile. It’s a tough one to gauge because they won the Super Bowl but he was on the injury list. But he did lead them towards the playoffs that season.

Sky Sports

Wentz was on an MVP trajectory and made the Pro Bowl in 2017. But his downward spiral is one of the most notorious ever and finally, Philly dumped him. They opted to start Jalen Hurts instead of the former South Dakota star. Wentz went on a nomadic tour of the NFL as his career spiraled (via NY Post).

Bleacher Report

Dwayne Haskins

The Haskins hype train began in 2017 when he exploded into life at OSU. He won a clutch of awards during his time with the Buckeyes before Washington drafted him. But the late quarterback’s star declined rapidly because of his immaturity and bad attitude (via CBS Sports).


In the end, Washington discarded him after he lost the starting spot. He packed his bags for Pittsburgh and briefly reignited the hype train flames again. But they fizzled out and sadly, he lost his life in 2022 before he could achieve his full potential.

NBC Sports

Jeff Okudah

Some Detroit fans will always call Okudah a bust but that’s not entirely fair. Nonetheless, Detroit gave up on the cornerback after they made him the third overall pick in 2020. It’s not the way they expected things to turn out after his stunning rise with the Buckeyes.

Detroit Lions

Injuries and concussions curtailed Okudah’s game time so the Lions never saw the best of him. Finally, after three aimless seasons, they sent him to Atlanta for a fifth-round pick. That’s a dismal return for a player they thought would be a long-term roster fixture (via Fansided).

New York Post

Josh Gordon

The Gordon hype train was in full effect in 2013 after an outstanding season. He earned an All-Pro selection after he led the league in receiving yards. This seemed to vindicate the Browns’ decision to draft him. Fantasy Football fans licked their lips the following year (via The Cauldron).

Boston Globe

But Gordon’s substance abuse problems changed the narrative. He barely played for the rest of his career because of suspensions. Finally, Cleveland threw him away like yesterday’s garbage. In 2018, he started 18 games with New England as the Pats won the Super Bowl. But there’s no doubt that he seriously underachieved.

NFL Spin Zone

JaMarcus Russell

Al Davis desperately wanted Russell to become the Raiders’ franchise quarterback. He went against Lane Kiffin’s wishes to make the LSU star the first overall pick in 2007. Russell had a good college career at LSU but his attitude concerned NFL scouts (via USA Today).

Sports Illustrated

Nonetheless, the Raiders got their man after they handed him an outrageous contract. He held out and secured a staggering $68 million. Russell threw 18 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions in three seasons. In the end, they let him go and he became one of the NFL’s biggest busts.

Sky Sports

Sam Darnold

The Jets thought that they struck gold when they drafted Darnold in 2018. But the dream turned into a nightmare for the former USC star. He was the youngest starting quarterback of the modern era and this carried a lot of weight. But in the end, they threw him away like an empty takeout container.

Nobody will forget him ‘seeing ghosts’ against the Patriots. Darnold threw many interceptions, but Adam Gase deserves criticism for destroying his confidence. Oddly, Darnold’s hype train exploded again when he joined the Niners in 2023 (via New York Post).

Fox News

Jared Goff

Everyone had massive expectations for Goff in Los Angeles. The Rams made him the first overall pick in 2016 and they immediately red-shirted it. But he became the starter toward the end of the season and held this position for two years. Goff made back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances and played in a Super Bowl.

L.A. Times

But he never convinced Sean McVay that he was the man despite the hype. Goff’s confidence went down after the Super Bowl defeat and his form deteriorated. In the end, they sent him to Detroit where he underwent a remarkable career revival (via The Ringer).

Florida Times-Union

Blake Bortles

In 2015 it looked like Bortles was going to be the future of the Jaguars’ organization. He was part of an exciting attacking trio including Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Bortles was a transformed player after a 2016 year and helped guide the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game.

Bleacher Report

But everything fell apart the following season after he signed a three-year extension. Cody Kessler ousted him as the Jags’ starter in Week 13 after his form disappeared. Bortles bounced around the NFL for a couple of years as a roster option but played his final games in 2019 (via Fox Sports).

CBS Sports

Lawrence Phillips

Phillips was another brilliant college player who failed to make it in the NFL. The former Huskers star won two national titles and was one of the nation’s top prospects. This convinced the Rams to take him number six overall in the 1996 draft (via Pro Football History).

Omaha World-Herald

But they threw him away like yesterday’s garbage before the end of his sophomore season. He passed out drunk in practice and this was the final straw. Chaos followed him everywhere but they should have seen it coming. His life is a tragedy because he had amazing potential.

New York Post

Johnny Manziel

Manziel almost singlehandedly changed the Aggies’ fortunes on his Heisman run. His stunning college form at Texas A&M persuaded the Browns to draft him in 2014. This wasn’t a given because his attitude and stature put off many other franchises (via AP News).

New York Times

But Cleveland decided that it was a worthwhile gamble. In the end, they threw him away like yesterday’s garbage. Manziel threw seven touchdown passes and seven interceptions in two seasons. His substance abuse problems took control and he fell out of the NFL.

NBC Sports

Nick Foles

The Foles hype train exploded after he stunned the world with his Super Bowl MVP performance in 2017. He wouldn’t have played if Carson Wentz was fit. Suddenly the NFL thought that he was more than a decent backup and the Jaguars signed him as a free agent (via Bleacher Report).


They gave him a ludicrous $88 million four-year contract that exploded in their faces. He only played four games for the franchise before they were done with him. They sent him to Chicago where he didn’t do anything either. Foles had a great moment but not a fantastic career.

NBC Sports

Henry Ruggs III

The Raiders haven’t experienced much joy over the past few decades. Ruggs was a rare glimmer of hope after they moved to Allegiant Stadium because he became their most important weapon. The wideout was on course for the Pro Bowl in his sophomore year before a fatal car collision.

CBS Sports

He killed Tina Tintor in the drunk-driving incident that saw him smash his Corvette into his victim’s vehicle. She died in the ensuing blaze with her dog and the Raiders immediately cut him. His appallingly selfish act means that he’ll spend years in a Nevada jail (via 8 News Now).


Ryan Leaf

San Diego thought that they pulled off a coup when they drafted Leaf in 1998. The former Washington State prospect had exciting raw potential. Peyton Manning was the big name that year but many thought that Leaf also had an amazing long-term ceiling (via Sportskeeda).


But his horrible performances derailed the hype train and they threw him away like yesterday’s garbage. Everybody knows about Leaf’s addiction problems but maturity was also a big issue. He spent a couple of seasons bouncing around the NFL as a backup before retirement.

Essentially Sports

Odell Beckham Jr.

This was one of the NFL’s most dramatic hype trains but Beckham derailed it quickly. Everybody thought that he was going to become a New York icon. This superstar played brilliantly in the nation’s biggest city. It was a match made in heaven on paper.


OBJ became a three-time Pro Bowler before they threw him away like yesterday’s garbage. His off-field behavior was exhausting and this convinced the Giants’ front office to trade him to Cleveland. It came a season after he signed a five-year extension, but they had enough (via SNY).

Trey Lance

Lance has one of the strangest career arcs in recent NFL history. Whenever the Niners draft a quarterback it’s going to attract attention. They made the North Dakota star the second-overall pick in 2021. But they sent him to Dallas in 2023 like spoiled leftovers (via The Ringer).

San Diego Union-Tribune

Some people thought this was a massive risk because he only attempted 318 career passes with the Bisons. Then he had shocking lousy luck in San Francisco with horrible injuries. He failed to inspire confidence when he did play and then “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy emerged.