Stephen Hauschka has made 83.6% of his field goals since joining the Buffalo Bills in 2017. He has made 51 of 61 kicks in Buffalo red, white, and blue, a total which leaves him sixth all-time in franchise history for made field goals. He trails only Steve Christie, Rian Lindell, Scott Norwood, Dan Carpenter, and John Leypoldt in overall makes; he trails only Carpenter in terms of percentage of field goals made in franchise history.
Why, then, would the Bills consider cutting ties with Hauschka to sign a free-agent kicker? The simple answer is that they shouldn’t, as their current kicker is among the best in franchise history. Yes, he had a poor end to the 2018 campaign, missing on five of his last 11 kicks, but that downward spiral can easily be explained by two points: first, the Bills gave him a new holder in punter Matt Darr beginning in Week 12, which is when Hauschka’s slump began. Second, he was leveled by New York Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson in Buffalo’s Week 13 tilt, which weakened Hauschka for the remainder of the season.
If the Bills were to cut Hausch-Money, they’d end up spending a pretty penny on his replacement. Hauschka’s $3.25 million cap hit in 2019 is ninth among all kickers, but it represents a solid investment in a strong player with plenty of years ahead of him.
Here are a few potential free-agent replacement options if Buffalo decides to cut Hauschka.
If you’re going to cut a great kicker, you might as well sign the guy thought by many to be the best in the league. The New England Patriots have employed the 35-year old Gostkowski since 2006, and he has been fantastic each year. Gostkowski has nailed 87.4% of his career field goals, including 25-of-35 kicks from beyond 50 yards in his career. Signing him would strengthen the Bills in two ways—Buffalo would improve and it would hurt New England—but it would also presumably cost much more than Hauschka currently does. Gostkowski counted $5 million against the cap last season, and it would take a number at least that high to make him consider leaving the only place he’s called home in his professional career.
After a dismal 2017 season that saw him released after six games, Myers had a huge comeback season in 2018. He made the AFC Pro Bowl squad on the strength of a 33-for-36 campaign, including a fantastic 6-for-7 mark on field goals over 50 yards. While he struggled with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 28-year old graduate of Marist College thrived with the New York Jets this season. He would come at a lesser cost than Gostkowski, but with good reason—Myers has never made more than 80% of his field goals in two consecutive NFL seasons.
A restricted free agent, the New Orleans Saints will almost certainly choose to tender Lutz a contract; at what level they choose to do so is the real question. Lutz entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and he’s made 87% of his kicks in the comfortable confines of the Superdome. If you’re worried about him kicking poorly outdoors, however, there’s no need to fear: Lutz has made 52-of-60 kicks in a dome, and he’s made 32-of-37 kicks outdoors. He’s an excellent kicker no matter the stadium type, and at 25 years old, he has quite a future ahead of him.
Which kicker should the Buffalo Bills sign in free agency?
This poll is closed
Other; specify in comments
None; just keep Stephen Hauschka