Kicker Options For the Eagles
It’s possible that the Eagles’ kicker for the 2014 season is not currently on their roster. They are obviously not totally sold on Alex Henery, who has missed from 47 and 31 yards this preseason. Cody Parkey was acquired from the Colts for running back David Fluellen on Wednesday and will get a brief tryout for the job. If the team isn’t satisfied with either option, they’ll look to the outside for help.
Where could they turn?
With a little help from ESPN’s Adam Caplan, we put together a list of possible options:
Last year: 25-of-29, long of 55 for Tennessee
The scoop: He was cut from the Titans for salary reasons last year. Caplan views the nine-year vet as the top option currently on the market. “He’s not a great kickoff guy but he has a good history. It was a little surprising that they cut him, even more surprising that no one has signed him to at least come into camp and compete,” said Caplan.
Last year: 23-of-29, long of 54 with Tampa Bay.
The scoop: Lindell got the job last season after Lawrence Tynes was diagnosed with having a staph infection. (It sounds like Tynes will be sidelined this year as well.) Lindell was 4-of-6 from 50-plus yards for the Bucs in 2013. “He’s a guy that should get a look,” said Caplan.
Last year: 16-of-19, long of 53 with Detroit
The scoop: Akers is working out with Bironas down in Nashville. He is said to be healthy and connecting from long distance. The sense here is that he would be open to returning to Philadelphia should the opportunity present itself, but the odds seem to be against a reunion at this point.
Last year: 22-of-30, long of 55 for New Orleans
The scoop: Hartley was released by the Saints after missing a pair of field goals in mid-December against the Rams.
One thing to keep in mind: If a player is signed after Week 1, their salary is not guaranteed for that season. So if a team decides to bring in one of these veterans, it might make financial sense to wait a couple weeks.
KICKER COMPETITIONS AROUND THE LEAGUE
Buffalo Bills — Dustin Hopkins vs. Dan Carpenter
Hopkins, a sixth-round pick by the Bills in 2013, beat out Lindell last season but sustained a groin injury that put him on injured reserve. Carpenter was brought in as his replacement and was re-signed by Buffalo this offseason. Jimmy Kempski did a piece on Hopkins recently.
In terms of leg strength, Hopkins is everything Henery is not. In his final season at Florida State, Hopkins hit five of six field goal attempts from outside 50 yards. For his college career, he was nine of 15.
Hopkins is also considered a weapon on kickoffs. In the Bills’ first preseason game against the Giants, Hopkins produced touchbacks on all four of his kickoffs.
The thought is that Hopkins will only be kept on the Bills roster if they decide to use him as a kickoff specialist.
New York Giants: Josh Brown vs. Brandon McManus
McManus, besides having a sensational last name, is also a Temple product with a big leg. He made 14 of 17 field goals for the Owls last year and had 40 touchbacks on 56 kickoff attempts. He handled punting duties for Temple as well. Brown, 35, made 23 of 26 field goal attempts for New York last season, including a pair from 50-plus yards.
The Redskins drafted Zach Hocker from Arkansas in the seventh round and have him going up against Kai Forbath, who made 82 percent of his kicks for Washington last year… Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke are competing for a spot in New Orleans…Rookie Cairo Santos and veteran Ryan Succop are fighting for a spot on Kansas City’s roster…Sounds like rookie Chandler Catanzaro is holding his own against Jay Feely in Arizona. He hit three field goals in the preseason opener and had a touchback…The Texans have Randy Bullock and undrafted rookie Chris Boswell in camp.
There are no slam-dunk solutions on the street but at least a couple are worth a look. A handful of kickers will shake loose in the coming days as rosters are trimmed to 53. Chances are, the Eagles will work a few kickers out as they continue to evaluate the position.