It doesn’t take a life-long Seahawks fan to know Seattle won’t be resigning Blair Walsh (if they do, I’m out), but how will they address the position? Free agency or the draft?
Losing Steven Hauschka seemed just fine before the 2017 season, he had a down year and plenty of fans were aggressively against resigning him to a long-term deal, he actually had a fantastic year with the Buffalo Bills making 29/29 extra points and 29/33 (87.9%) on field goals with his longest coming from 56 yards out. The only time he’s been successful at such long range was in 2014 where he made a 58 yarder.
It wasn’t so much the field goals with Hauschka in 2016, it was the extra points, he missed 6 in total that year. Just proves the mental aspect of kicking is alive and well, really.
So, what options are available in free agency?
Obviously, there are tons of ‘off the street’ guys who weren’t on teams in 2017, however as my kicker knowledge is about as reliable as Blair Walsh from 35-yards out, I’m going to focus on kickers that were on teams in 2017.
Graham Gano - Panthers– UFA
Sebastian Janikowsk - Raiders – UFA
Matt Bryant – Falcons – UFA
Ryan Succop – Titans - UFA
Nick Folk – Buccaneers – UFA
Blair Walsh – Seahawks – UFA
Mike Nugent – Bears – UFA
Caleb Sturgis – Eagles – UFA
Chandler Catanzaro – Jets – UFA
Kai Forbath – Vikings – UFA
Cairo Santos – Bears – UFA
Cody Parkey – Dolphins – UFA
Chris Boswell – Steelers – UFA
Dustin Hopkins – Redskins – UFA
Patrick Murray – Buccaneers – UFA
You also have Sam Ficken (Rams) and Giorgio Tavecchio (Raiders) however they are both Exclusive Rights Free Agents so doubtful options.
But which of those were any good?
This table is ranked based on the mean average of % for both FG’s and XP’s
Based on the above information, the players I can see Seattle showing an interest in would be –
Graham Gano is only 30, would cost in the region of $3,000,000 - $3,500,000 average per year and is coming off his best year. He was a little more inconsistent from 2014 – 2016 but seems to have improved. If Seattle is confident he can maintain his 2017 stats he may well a serious option.
Matt Bryant is much older at 42 years of age so I’d suspect the Seahawks would be concerned about diminishing power, I doubt they show any interest outside of maybe a one year cheap deal, however I don’t expect the team to go that route. He has been very consistent over the course of his career, though.
Chris Boswell was an undrafted free agent out of Rice in 2014 and has been solid for the Steelers in each of his three seasons with the team. They (Steelers) may not want to sign a K to a multi-year deal in the $3,000,000 - $4,000,000 range which means he may hit free agency, however my gut says he ends up staying in Pittsburgh. If he doesn’t, though, I’d love Seattle to pick him up.
Finally, Ryan Succup. He’s currently 31 years old and has improved since entering the league in 2009, his best year was 2016 however 2017 wasn’t bad by any stretch. He would likely be a mid-tier kicker and play as such, a possibility, sure, but I’d be ever so slightly nervous signing him long term.
Of those four, Chris Boswell makes, by far, the most sense from a consistency and upside standpoint, he will also likely be the most expensive but given the year Seattle had at place kicker, my bet is they’d gladly not skimp on the position moving forwards.
So that’s the free agency options looked at, how about the draft? Obviously any drafted (be it late round or UDFA) player is going to be considerably cheaper, however there’s far more risk involved.
2018 draft options –
Daniel Carlson – Aubern Tigers
Typically, only the best kickers get drafted, it is more a position that sees plenty of UDFA action, however Daniel Carlson is very likely to go in the later rounds.
2017 stats – 23/31 FG’s
Longest – 54 yards
Eddy Pineiro – Florida Gators
Eddy Pineiro could be legitimate kicker in the NFL but, being a rookie, may well cave under the pressure. He wasn’t asked to do as much as most kickers in 2017 but when he was asked, he almost always delivered. I wouldn’t be worried if Seattle invested draft capital in him.
2017 stats - 17/18 FG’s
Longest – 50 yards
Michael Badgley – Miami Hurricanes
I doubt Badgley gets much attention from Seattle, he’s not a bad kicker by any stretch, however there absolutely will be better options available.
2017 stats - 17/23 FG’s
Longest – 50 yards
Griffin Oakes – Indiana Hoosiers
If Seattle is interested, they’d have to arrange a private workout or visit his pro day as he isn’t attending the NFL Combine. He had a down year in 2016 but proved more consistent in 2017, I like this kid and believe Seattle very well may show interest, likely as a priority UDFA however I’d have no problem spending a 7th rounder on him.
2017 stats - 16/17 FG’s
Longest – 51 yards
Drew Brown – Nebraska Cornhuskers
Drew Browns stats look pretty good on the surface, the team he was on probably didn’t help the relatively low field goal attempts however making 12/14 and 100% of his XP’s is a great start. Definitely a contender.
2017 stats - 12/14 FG’s
Longest – 44 yards
Having looked at both free agency and the draft it’s reassuring to know there are options out there. The one downside is Seattle isn’t the only team in the NFL with a need at the position so it becomes a game of who will open their wallet the widest or invest the most draft capital. Seattle could easily afford any kicker with the right contract structure so provided Chris Boswell does hit the open market, expect to hear the Seahawks linked to him, as with Graham Gano.
If nothing happens in free agency, I’d expect one of the five names to end up on the roster for next season. Whatever happens, the kicking game needs a dramatic overhaul. Thankfully, there’s resources available to address the need.