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Five NFL milestones that could happen in 2021

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

August 17th, 2021

The start of the 2021 NFL season is just weeks away. With the preseason rolling and rosters beginning to take shape, it’s a good time to take stock and see what milestones could be reached in the year ahead. Let’s take a look!

Tom Brady: Career passing yardage record

We’ll start with one of the more obvious ones. Barring an injury, Tom Brady is almost certain to overtake the recently-retired Drew Brees on the all-time yardage list. Brady is 1,154 yards behind Brees, which means the record should be his around a third of the way through the season.

Other QB’s could also move up this list (Ben Roethlisberger, for instance, is just 1,013 yards behind Dan Marino for sixth all-time), but Brady will likely be in position to set a new standard for career excellence here.

Justin Houston: Career safeties

Houston currently shares the all-time mark with Doug English, Ted Hendricks, and Jared Allen. They’ve all recorded four career safeties, and no defensive player has ever notched a fifth. That could change between now and when Houston retires, and that may be a while. At age 32, Houston likely still has several years left in the tank, and it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see him take sole possession of this fun record.

Larry Fitzgerald: 18,000 receiving yards

The Cardinals veteran is second all-time with 17,492 receiving yards. He won’t catch Jerry Rice, but a decent season for the stalwart WR could give him even more distance ahead of Terrell Owens, who is third all-time with 15,934 yards.

Fitzgerald needs a 508-yard campaign to do that. He had 409 yards a season ago, so he’ll need to bounce back to an extent, but it’s not like that’s an impossible ask.

Multiple defensive players: 100 sacks

Coming into the 2021 season, 35 defensive players have recorded 100 or more career sacks. That number is set to jump by a considerable amount this season, as no fewer than six active players are less than 10 sacks from that magic number. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Justin Houston is closest with 97.5 sacks, while Chandler Jones is close behind with 97.

Frank Gore: 20,000 all-purpose yards

We’ll finish with Gore, who’s currently a free agent. However, I’m hoping he’s not completely done yet, as he’s just eight measly yards short of 20,000 career all-purpose yards.

He’d be the fifth player to crack that barrier, and he’d join Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton, and Emmitt Smith.

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