NY Jets should consider signing free-agent kicker Graham Gano

NY Jets (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets should consider signing free-agent kicker Graham Gano after he was released.

The NY Jets have managed to completely transform their special teams unit over the last few years. A unit that was once among the league’s worst has consistently ranked among the best in the NFL over the past two seasons.

However, despite their return game and other aspects being revitalized, the Jets have struggled to find an answer at the kicker position following the departure of Jason Myers.

The 2019 season was a rollercoaster with the team going through numerous kickers before finally settling on waiver-wire pickup Sam Ficken for the majority of the season.

From the recently-unretired Chandler Catanzaro to Taylor Bertolet to Kaare Vedvik, the Jets went through their fair share of kickers before settling on the former Los Angeles Rams specialist.

Unfortunately, while he did go on to play most of the season, Ficken was hardly a dependable option.

The 27-year-old connected on just 70 percent of his field-goal attempts going a lackluster 19-of-27 while missing three of his 26 extra-point tries. It was clear that the Jets needed to bring in some competition in the offseason.

That competition is set to come in the form of former Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher who was signed by the team at the very end of 2019. And at the moment, the expectation is that Ficken and Maher will compete for the job in training camp.

But a better, more experienced option just became available. That player is Graham Gano who was recently released by the Carolina Panthers after eight years with the team.

Graham Gano could provide a huge boost to the NY Jets’ kicking game.

Gano missed all of last season due to an injury to his left knee and saw rookie kicker Joey Slye step up in his place. Slye performed well enough that the Panthers felt comfortable saving some money and cutting ties with their longtime kicker on Thursday.

But there’s no doubt that Gano is still an incredibly efficient kicker if healthy.

The 33-year-old made 14-of-16 field goals when he last played in 2018 including a Panthers record 63-yarder. And just one year prior, Gano made an incredible 29 of 30 attempts earning his first Pro Bowl nod.

In total, Gano has made 43 of his last 46 attempts over the last two seasons he’s played. If healthy, it seems like a no-brainer to bring him in and have him compete with either Ficken or Maher.

Gano has a massive leg and would be a huge improvement over Ficken in that regard. And given the lack of experienced kickers on the market — save for Stephen Gostkowski — he’s likely the Jets’ best option at this point.

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If Gano is healthy, the Jets should do everything they can to bring him to New York.