The Longest-Tenured Player on Every NFL Roster


In the last few years, we’ve had some really old football players end really long tenures with teams. Tom Brady, of course. Aaron Rodgers. Derek Carr. But of the five longest-tenured players a year ago, only one (more on him later) is still there now. On one hand, it’s all very “Why the Oldest Person in the World Keeps Dying,” but on the other, we’re in an era of almost unprecedented turnover in football players around the league.


Today, I’m looking at the longest-tenured player on each team around the league. No analysis, just a for-fun look at some guys who found their home and just never left. NFL Squatters, almost.

(One note: I’ll mention them when they qualify, but I’m not crowning any long snappers as their teams’ longest-tenured players. Sorry, guys. I’m sure you understand.)

First, though, let’s just look at age:

The Oldest Players in Football

This topic is near and dear to my heart. I turn 40 this Dec. 9. Do you know who turns 40 exactly one week before me, and thus is older than me? Aaron Rodgers. With the retirement of Tom Brady this offseason, and with Jason Peters, Andy Lee and Robbie Gould all free agents, Rodgers is the last remaining player older than me. Play forever, Aaron.

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, New York Jets (age: 39)

Rodgers just had his worst season in a long time. By passer rating, it’s his worst ever as a starter. It’s easy to mock him. On the other hand, he was a dude who passed for 3,695 yards and 26 touchdowns as a 39-year-old with a broken thumb. My arm hurts for no real reason I can explain. Trust me, he’s still impressive.

2. Marcedes Lewis, TE, Chicago Bears (age: 39)

Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew were teammates at UCLA in 2003-2005. They were both drafted by the Jaguars in 2006 (Lewis in the first, MJD in the second) and were teammates in Jacksonville for eight years. MJD retired after 2014 and has had about four different broadcasting careers since then. Lewis? Still going, signing with the Bears just last week. In short…

3. Matt Prater, K, Arizona Cardinals (age: 38)

Matt Prater kicked for the Broncos forever (or seven years), and then he kicked for the Lions forever (or seven years). Now, in his third year on a Cardinals team that has gone in the tank and turning 39 literally the day after this publishes, this year might feel like forever.

4. Nick Folk, K, New England Patriots (age: 38)

By the time this publishes, Nick Folk might not be eligible anymore. He’s still on the Patriots roster, but the team brought in kickers for workouts multiple times earlier this offseason and drafted Chad Ryland in the fourth round. Folk’s days are numbered.

5. Duane Brown, T, New York Jets (age: 38)

Duane Brown was a star for the Texans, for whom he played 2008-2017. He was a star for the Seahawks, for whom he played 2017-2021. He joined the Jets last year and … was not. He put up a career-low 57.8 PFF grade. This Jets team (and oldest-guy-on-the-list Aaron Rodgers) will want him to rebound in 2023 at 39, which he turns just before Week 1.

Longest-Tenured Players on Each Team

To the chart!

(If a player was briefly released but then re-signed and I missed it, apologies. I think I caught them all, but … things happen.)

1. New England Patriots: Matthew Slater, WR

Joined team: April 27, 2008
Days on roster: 5,582

Matthew Slater was a fifth-round receiver in 2008, and in 15 seasons, playing 223 of a possible 242 games, he has … 8 career targets and 1 career reception. Of course, that’s not what he is, as Slater is one of the best special teams gunners of all time. He’s made 10 Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro teams. He’s 37 now and basically going year-to-year like the Patriots are an apartment he can’t decide if he wants to stay in, but he could keep this going for a while yet.

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Graham, EDGE

Joined team: April 22, 2010
Days on roster: 4,857

Brandon Graham’s never been a superstar. He’s made one All-Pro, one Pro Bowl. He’s also nearing his end, only playing two games in 2021 and going from a starter for years to all of one start in 2022. On the other hand, he’s been the NFC Defensive Player of the Week twice in his career, and both came in 2022. If he stays healthy in 2023, he’ll pass the Eagles franchise record for games played (David Akers, 188, 10 ahead of Graham), and if he plays even one game he’ll tie Chuck Bednarik for seasons in Philly.

3. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, T 
New Orleans Saints: Cameron Jordan, EDGE 
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward, DT

Joined team: April 28, 2011
Days on roster: 4,486

Technically, Tyron Smith has been a Cowboy longer than Cameron Jordan or Cameron Heyward have been on their teams, because he was drafted earlier in the 2011 first round than them, but I refuse to be that nitpicky. Apparently 2011 was a good year to be a first-rounder, as far as staying power is concerned, and even better if your name is Cameron.

6. Minnesota Vikings: Harrison Smith, S

Joined team: April 26, 2012
Days on roster: 4,122

Harrison Smith has made six Pro Bowls, with five coming 2015-2019 and then a sixth in 2021. He’s got 34 interceptions and 4 touchdowns. He’s played at least 13 games every year of his career except 2013. Just chugging along.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lavonte David, LB

Joined team: April 27, 2012
Days on roster: 4,121

I didn’t differentiate between Smith, Jordan and Heyward above, because they were all drafted the same day, but Lavonte David comes in below Harrison Smith here because he was drafted in the second round, so he has spent one fewer day on his team. Silly? Yeah, probably. David is back with the Buccaneers on a one-year deal for his age-33 season, one of the holdovers from the Super Bowl team.

8. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Tucker, K

Joined team: May 29, 2012
Days on roster: 4,089

Old Man Justin Tucker turns 34 in November, and the biggest sign of his slipping is that he only made the second-team All-Pro team in 2022. He was still PFF’s second-highest graded kicker. Just absurd.

9. Kansas City Chiefs: Travis Kelce, TE 
Los Angeles Chargers: Keenan Allen, WR

Joined team: April 26, 2013
Days on roster: 3,757

“Hey, Keenan Allen! You were a Day 2 pick a full decade ago, and you’re still on the same team and still an elite pass-catcher! Surely you’re the best example of that from 2013! … Oh, hi Travis. Uh, sorry, Keenan.”

11. Green Bay Packers: David Bakhtiari, T

Joined team: April 27, 2013
Days on roster: 3,756

Injuries have hindered David Bakhtiari the last couple years, but if he’s healthy in 2023, most expect him to get back to his five straight All-Pros from 2016 to 2020. He comes in behind Allen and Kelce because he was a Day 3 pick in 2013, not Day 2.

12. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, T
Los Angeles Rams: Aaron Donald, DT

Joined team: May 8, 2014
Days on roster: 3,380

Jake Matthews has proven to be a very good-but-not-quite-elite offensive lineman for almost a decade now … and he is absolutely shoved aside by Aaron Donald, who might go down as the best defensive player ever and even at age 32 has an argument to be the best defensive player in 2023 (tied for seventh in DPOY odds on DraftKings Sportsbook). 


14. Cleveland Browns: Joel Bitonio, G

Joined team: May 9, 2014
Days on roster: 3,379

Joel Bitonio keeps improving. He was fine early, though had a few injuries. He broke out in 2018 to a Pro Bowl and a second-team All-Pro, which he repeated in 2019 and 2020. Then in 2021 he got even better, making the first-team All-Pro and the Pro Bowl again in 2021 and 2022. Can he keep improving? What’s next? 

15. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyler Shatley, G

Joined team: May 13, 2014
Days on roster: 3,375

I mentioned when the Jaguars released Myles Jack in 2022 that he was the last part of the near-Super Bowl Jacksonville team in 2017. And I was clearly wrong, because Tyler Shatley was a Jaguar before you were born and he’ll be a Jaguar after you die, even if this is probably the only time his name will ever appear on our site.

16. Washington Commanders: Tress Way, P

Joined team: Aug. 20, 2014
Days on roster: 3,276

Kirk Cousins is an unsung iron man. Other than sitting a meaningless Week 17 of 2019, he took every pass attempt on the Washington/Minnesota teams between 2016 and 2020, with two exceptions:

In other words, for a five-year stretch, other than a game that didn’t matter, Tress Way was the only player on a Kirk Cousins team other than Cousins to complete a pass.

17. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, EDGE
Arizona Cardinals: D.J. Humphries, T
Carolina Panthers: Shaq Thompson, LB 

Joined team: April 30, 2015
Days on roster: 3,023

Three first-rounders, eight seasons apiece on their teams, 274 starts, 304 games and exactly one (1) Pro Bowl nod (D.J. Humphries in 2021). Just a bunch of get-the-job-done guys who aren’t going anywhere.

(We have our first honorable mention here: Long snapper J.J. Jansen has been on the Panthers for 5,231 days, since being traded over from the Packers in 2009.)

20. Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Joined team: May 1, 2015
Days on roster: 3,022

Tyler Lockett was an All-Pro each of his first three years as a returner, but since he became a full-time receiver he hasn’t made it back. And that’s really just because there are so many good receivers, because Lockett has five straight years of at least 8 touchdowns and 900-plus yards (four straight over a thousand), and even turning 31 in September, there’s not much reason to expect him to slow down yet.

21. Chicago Bears; Cody Whitehair, G/C

Joined team: April 27, 2016
Days on roster: 2,660

Cody Whitehair made a Pro Bowl in 2018, but otherwise he’s just been a guy. The notable thing about him is that as the Bears’ roster has undergone at least one and maybe two almost-total transformations in the last few years, they haven’t even appeared to really consider moving on from Whitehair. He’s the arch in Nagasaki.

(Another honorable mention! Long snapper Patrick Scales went from the Ravens to the Dolphins to the Jets to the Buccaneers back to the Ravens from 2011 to 2014, then signed with the Bears Nov. 28, 2015, and hasn’t left since, giving him 2,811 days on the roster.)

22. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, T
Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly, C

Joined team: April 28, 2016
Days on roster: 2,659

A couple of offensive linemen for teams who were built around the offensive line. Of course, the Lions are still an elite line (second in our offensive line rankings), while the Colts unit will be looking to rebound after a very down 2022. But hey, I’m fond of Ryan Kelly, because we have a history:

24. Miami Dolphins: Xavien Howard, CB
New York Giants: Sterling Shepard, WR
Tennessee Titans: Derrick Henry, RB
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd, WR
Denver Broncos: Justin Simmons, S

Joined team: April 29, 2016
Days on roster: 2,658

Obviously it’s easier to still be on a roster when you were drafted in 2016 vs. 2011 or whatever, but man, Day 2 of 2016 was a goldmine for long-tenured players. And they’re all somewhere between “still relevant” and “still stars!”

(This has got to be the last time we ever have a running back as a team’s longest-tenured player, right?)


29. Houston Texans: Ka’imi Fairbairn, K

Joined team: May 6, 2016
Days on roster: 2,651

Ka’imi Fairbairn led the league in kicker fantasy points in 2018, but really he’s just a guy. Good enough kicker, not special, only there because there’s no real reason to move on. But I also want to note his full name, because I love it very much: John Christian Ka’iminoeauloameka’ikeokekumupa’a Fairbairn. I want to hear him say it out loud.

30. Buffalo Bills: Jordan Poyer/Micah Hyde, S

Joined team: March 9, 2017
Days on roster: 2,344

The 2016 Bills rode the struggle bus at safety, with only then-31-year-old Corey Graham playing over 340 snaps or providing much production. So they said “Screw it, we’re fixing it” on the very first day of free agency that offseason by signing both Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. I could probably take the time to figure out which of them they signed first, but who cares? It’s fun they joined together and are still together.

(Honorable mention: Long snapper Reid Ferguson has been with the Bills since signing as a UDFA May 2, 2016, 2,655 days ago. His brother Blake Ferguson is the Dolphins’ long snapper! That’s a very cool story that people never talk about!)

31. Las Vegas Raiders: Kolton Miller, T

Joined team: April 26, 2018
Days on roster: 1,931

Kolton Miller was an absolute bust early in his career after the Raiders took him 15th overall in 2018. But they stuck with him, he got better and he’s been one of the game’s elite tackles the last couple years. Now he’s a stud.

32. New York Jets: C.J. Mosley, LB

Joined team: March 15, 2019
Days on roster: 1,608

It is somehow true that the Jets have the oldest player in the NFL, the fifth-oldest player in the NFL, and the ninth-oldest player in the NFL (P Thomas Morstead), yet their longest-tenured player in C.J. Mosley has only been there since signing as a free agent in March 2019. That’s a weird dichotomy, not gonna lie.

(One last honorable mention: LS Thomas Hennessy was traded to the Jets Aug. 28, 2017, 2,172 days ago. So even if we included long snappers here, the Jets would only rise from 32nd to … 31st.)

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