In August of 2018, the NY Jets claimed Jason Myers off waivers after he was released by the Seattle Seahawks. Myers’ performance that year would earn him a selection to the AFC Pro Bowl roster.
Unfortunately, then-Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan chose not to re-sign Myers during the offseason of that year. The former Jets standout has now gone on to post two outstanding seasons back with Seattle while the Jets kicking situation has been inconsistent at best.
From Chandler Catanzaro’s sudden retirement in the summer of 2019 to Kaare Vedvik’s opening day fiasco of that same year, the Jets have since lacked the consistency that Myers provided for them.
Sam Ficken has handled the majority of the kicking duties for the Jets over the last two seasons and though his performance has not been terrible, it also could not be characterized as very good.
During his tenure with the team, Ficken has attempted 42 field goals and has successfully converted 32 of them for an underwhelming average of 76.2 percent. Just as concerning is his overall accuracy on extra points making 35-of-41 attempts for an average of just 85.4 percent.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Ficken is his inability to convert from long range. As a Jet, he is a putrid 4-of-9 on field-goal attempts from 50 yards and beyond.
The Jets’ need for improvement at so many positions has overshadowed the fact that they could also use a major upgrade at the kicker position as well. If they wish to compete at a higher level in 2021 they will need to find a more reliable kicker.
There will no doubt be many more kickers made available once teams finalize their rosters during the preseason, but listed below are three current free-agent kickers that the Jets should consider bringing in to compete for a job in 2021.
Next: 3. Nick Folk
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3. The NY Jets could target Nick Folk
Since joining the New England Patriots in the middle of the 2019 season, Nick Folk has resurrected his career and proven that he is still a very reliable NFL kicker.
In 2020, Folk attempted 28 field goals and successfully converted 26 of them for an average of 92.9 percent. In addition, he made 30 of his 33 extra point attempts at an average of 90.9 percent.
The veteran kicker had a very successful seven-year run with the Jets from 2010 through 2016. His 729 total points rank second all-time in franchise history trailing only the great Pat Leahy with 1,470 points.
Perhaps, Folk’s biggest moment with the Jets came in the first round of the playoffs in 2011. With three seconds remaining, Folk nailed the game-winning field goal to give the Jets a 17-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
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He also has the distinction of being the only player from that Jets team still active in the NFL.
A lot has changed in terms of personnel and coaching for the Jets since Folk departed in 2017, but given his recent success combined with his familiarity with the organization, a second stint with his old team should be strongly considered.
Folk’s contract in 2020 was for one year at $1.05 million and he will almost certainly command a modest raise in 2021.
If New England chooses to move on from him, Folk could be an ideal candidate to bring in to training camp and compete for the Jets’ kicking job.
Next: 2. Ryan Succop
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2. The NY Jets could target Ryan Succop
Another kicker who had a bounce-back season in 2020 was Ryan Succop. The former South Carolina Gamecock had previously been an extremely reliable kicker for both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans.
Due to a variety of injuries, Succop was limited to just six games during the 2019 season and the Titans decided to release him after six seasons with the team.
On September 1, 2020, Succop was signed to a one-year deal by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an effort to stabilize their shaky kicking situation. During the regular season, Succop converted 28-of-31 field-goal attempts for an average of 90.3 percent.
Ryan Succop’s resurgence was most emphasized by his 2021 postseason efficiency. The 34-year-old veteran was a perfect 9-for-9 on field-goal attempts and 12-of-13 on extra points during Tampa Bay’s four postseason games.
In the Super Bowl, Succop converted his only field goal attempt of 52 yards and was a perfect 4-of-4 on extra points. In victory, he also earned the honor of becoming the first former “Mr. Irrelevant“ to win a Super Bowl.
Succop played this past season on a very team-friendly, one-year, $1 million contract. With his most recent success, the veteran kicker might be seeking a more lucrative, multi-year deal in 2021.
The current Super Bowl champs would love to bring Succop back, but with many other impending free agents to deal with such as Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, the Buccaneers may find Succop to be expendable.
Ryan Succop has certainly come a long way since being selected as the final pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. If Succop remains available he could be an enticing option as a kicker for the Jets.
Next: 1. Daniel Carlson
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1. The NY Jets could target Daniel Carlson
In 2020, Daniel Carlson established himself as one of the best kickers in the NFL. Originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Carlson’s first two years in the league were inconsistent but he really came into his own during this past season.
Most notably, Carlson broke the Raiders’ franchise record for most points scored in a season with 144, previously held by the legendary Sebastian Janikowski.
The former Auburn Tiger also broke Janikowski’s single-season record for field goal percentage by hitting 94.3 percent of his kicks. Overall, Carlson converted 33-of-35 field-goal attempts and 45 out of 47 extra points in 2020.
Carlson is a restricted free agent, but he is free to negotiate and sign with another team. The Raiders can tender him if they so choose which will give them the first right of refusal to match any offer made.
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Given his historic season, it is likely that general manager Mike Mayock will make every effort to re-sign the standout kicker. However, the problem facing Las Vegas is that they currently have very little cap space available.
In 2020, Carlson earned $750,000 and a substantial increase will be imminent. It will be very interesting to see if the Raiders choose to invest what little surplus they have on a kicker or focus on other positions of need.
The Jets signing Daniel Carlson is a longshot, but as long as a kicker with his ability is available, the Jets should at least do their due diligence and reach out to the talented specialist’s representatives.
The one thing the Jets have that the Raiders do not is cap space, and they should do whatever they can to take advantage of the situation and make Carlson a solid offer.