The NY Jets have struggled to find a consistent and reliable kicker for the better part of the last half-decade. The team has seen various failed projects come and go over the last few years, ever since the departure of Jason Myers back in 2019.
The hope is that this year can prove to be the turning point, although any optimism is curbed as a result of recent history. This summer's kicker battle will be between the incumbent Eddy Pineiro and free-agent signing Greg Zuerlein.
Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer spoke to the media last week and insisted that the competition between the two was "neck and neck" through OTAs.
Boyer expressed excitement for the competition as we approach mandatory minicamp and then training camp. He was expectedly complimentary of both kickers on the roster.
"Zuerlein has come in and fits right into our room and has done a fantastic job so far. Eddy has improved his rise and things that I've asked him to do. So, it's going to be a heck of a competition."- Brant Boyer
The NY Jets hope that one of their kickers steps up this summer
It's important not to take much away from OTA performances, but to this point, it doesn't appear as though either kicker has looked very impressive.
The Athletic's Connor Hughes touched on this briefly when discussing Boyer's assessment, insisting that "neither kicker has impressed all that much." Again, it's still very early, but that probably isn't the "neck and neck" battle the Jets are looking for.
Pineiro was signed by the Jets last December following failed stints from the likes of Matt Ammendola and Alex Kessman. The former Bears kicker went on to make all eight of his field-goal attempts and 9-of-10 extra points, promoting the Jets to re-sign him in the offseason.
His primary competition will be the experienced Greg Zuerlein who, at one point, was considered to be one of the best kickers in the NFL. He's a long way removed from his All-Pro 2017 season, however, as the 34-year-old has missed nine extra points over the last two seasons.
Zuerlein has the advantage when it comes to power and leg strength, but Pineiro has proven to be more consistent in recent years.
It should be a fascinating battle as we approach training camp. The Jets are just hoping that someone emerges as the obvious choice.