What should the Seahawks do at kicker?
Specialists may not get the glory in football, but having a dependable talent at kicker makes all the difference come gameday. It’s a lesson the Seahawks were reminded of last season during Blair Walsh’s uneven stint.
Walsh connected on just 72 percent of his field goal attempts last season, a performance that impacted the final outcome of at least one contest (a Week 9 loss to Washington that saw him miss all three field goal attempts in a three-point game).
“It reminds you of the hard lessons of how the kicking game is such a vital part,” head coach Pete Carroll said of Walsh’s performance.
Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks let Walsh walk in free agency. Here’s a look at a few of their options for a replacement:
1. Stick with Jason Myers
Seattle signed kicker Jason Myers to a reserve/future contract in January. Myers, 26, spent the entirety of his three-year career with the Jaguars.
Myers offers Seattle a cheap option, though not necessarily a sure upgrade. He struggled in his final season with Jacksonville, and missed all three of his field goal attempts over 50 yards. Myers was released by the Jaguars in October 2017 after missing two field goals during a Week 6 home loss.
2. Sign another free agent
Options here are limited, at least until after the draft. Former Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski remains the biggest name on the market, though at 40, he’s also the oldest. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Seahawks have scheduled a visit with the veteran kicker.
Janikowski was 29 for 35 (82.9 percent) on field goals last season and 37 for 39 (94.9 percent) on extra points. He was released by Oakland in February.
Is he the best fit for the Seahawks? 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton thinks Janikowski can still compete, but favors former Jets and Buccaneers kicker Nick Folk.
“I guess maybe what I would do, I’d feel maybe better about Nick Folk or a couple of the other kickers that are still out there,” Clayton said. “Because you don’t want to get too old. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to be good… (but) it’s a very important position, because I think you saw last year… that’s so important for this team.”
3. Draft a kicker
The Seahawks last drafted a kicker a decade ago. Seattle selected Georgia’s Brandon Couto in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft (and ultimately waived him in 2009).
Of all the Seahawks’ options, this one is perhaps the least likely. Teams rarely draft specialists, especially with high-round picks: since 1994, only one draft class has seen more than three kickers selected. There are some exceptions (Janikowski was selected 17th overall in 2000), but more often than not teams sign veteran free agents or seek out undrafted rookie.