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The NFL's 9 most indispensable players

By SAM SPIEGELMAN
XN Sports

One of the biggest training camp stories for Wednesday was the beginning of Jamaal Charles' holdout. The Kansas City Chiefs dynamic running back won't report to camp until he gets paid accordingly.

In 2013, Charles was the focal point in the Chiefs offense, recording almost 1,300 yards rushing, nearly 700 yards receiving and 19 total touchdowns.

Without Charles, the Chiefs are probably a team picking in the top 10 for 2014. Charles headlines our list of the nine most indispensable players in the NFL today.

Here are players two through nine:

4 PHOTOS
NFL's 9 most indispensable players
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The NFL's 9 most indispensable players

1. Jamaal Charles

(Photo by Christopher Polk/WireImage)

2. Tom Brady

In 2008 Brady was injured in the first game of season and the Patriots, despite going 11-5, did not make the playoffs. With Matt Cassel behind center, the Patriots offense didn’t produce as it did the year prior with Brady, and a result the team missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.

Case and point: with Brady in 2007, Randy Moss had 93 yards per game and record-setting 23 touchdowns. With Cassel, 63 yards per game and 11 scores — a significant drop in one year. Is there any doubt Moss’ numbers in ’08 would have resembled his ’07 campaign with Brady there?

Brady makes the most of a very mediocre receiving corps, minus Rob Gronkowski, who hasn’t been healthy in two years. 

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

4. Dez Bryant

You could argue the Cowboys offense would be as horrid as their defense without Bryant continually rescuing Tony Romo.

Bryant is the only playmaker on the Cowboys these days. He hauled in 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns, despite having no real weapons around him to draw opposing defense’s attention. They somehow competed for an NFC East title because of Bryant.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Why they didn't make the cut

Aaron Rodgers: Arguably the best NFL quarterback, Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace filled in and kept the Packers afloat en route to the playoffs.

Peyton Manning: If you plugged in even a mediocre quarterback under center, he could do well with overly talented offense. And the defense can certainly hold its own.

Richard Sherman: It's the Legion of Boom, and the title itself gives credit to the collection of talented defensive backs on the Seahawks, not just its best player.

Calvin Johnson: Now the team has Reggie Bush, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron. Matthew Stafford has a decent enough supporting case now that the Lions could still compete - not that they haven't underachieved the past five years.


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