The Buffalo Bills appeared to have a punting problem in 2019. Corey Bojorquez, their left-footed punter, had some strong moments throughout the year; however, his inconsistent play led to him being ranked near the bottom of the NFL in some simple punting metrics.
Of the 31 punters who averaged at least 2.5 punts per game, Bojorquez was No. 30 in gross punting average (41.9) and net punting average (37.7). He kicked more touchbacks (7) than anyone else in the league. On the positive side, he was third in total punts inside the 20 (34), third in punts kicked out of bounds (15), and second in punts fair caught (26). Of the punters who met the aforementioned per-game qualifications, he also allowed the third-fewest returns (18) on the year.
While those up-and-down numbers show the roller coaster ride that Bojorquez can be at times, perhaps not all of it is his fault. Of his 79 punts in 2019, 20 of them came in “plus” territory—that is, they were made with the line of scrimmage between midfield and the opponent’s 35-yard line. With one-fifth of his punts working in such a tight frame, it’s understandable that his punting average doesn’t look terribly impressive.
Could the Bills upgrade at this position? I’m glad you asked! Of the six free-agent punters available, four are unrestricted free agents, one is a restricted free agent, and one (Cameron Johnston, the best of the bunch) is an exclusive-rights free agent who is certain to be retained by his team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
If the Bills want to add an experienced punter to compete with Bojorquez, here is the entire list they’ll have to scour.
All punting data courtesy of The Football Database
Sam Martin (Detroit Lions)
The 30-year-old Lions punter bested Bojorquez in both gross average (45.3) and net average (41.8), but he also allowed fewer return yards on fewer returned punts. Martin had 26 punts returned for just 130 yards while Bojorquez had only 18 punts returned for 157 yards. Martin made $3.4 million last year, so Bojorquez will certainly be the more economical choice, but Martin is probably the stronger punter overall.
Matt Bosher (Atlanta Falcons)
At the age of 32, Bosher is coming off an injury-marred year with the Falcons. He only punted nine times last year, as a groin injury kept him out of action for all but three games. In 2018, however, Bosher was among the league’s best punters, averaging 45.5 gross yards per punt and 40.1 net yards per punt. He also dropped over one-third of his punts (22-of-60) inside the 20-yard line. If he’s fully healthy, Bosher would serve as an upgrade to Bojorquez, and given the fact that he spent much of the 2019 season on injured reserve, he could probably be had at the veteran’s minimum.
Britton Colquitt (Minnesota Vikings)
The eldest of the available bunch, Colquitt had a phenomenal season at 35 years old. Not one of his 59 punts went for a touchback—he was the only punter to accomplish that feat last year—and he was sixth in the league in net average at 42.6 yards per punt. Colquitt’s long of 59 yards was the second-shortest “long” punt among qualifying punters, but that almost works as a positive given the fact that he still managed to stay right in the middle of the pack in gross average. Colquitt is as consistent as they come, and he would be a tremendous upgrade over Bojorquez.
Lachlan Edwards (New York Jets)
The Jets punted more than any team last year, and Edwards was the man called upon in all 87 of those situations. Edwards was 12th in the league in net punting average (41.6), and while he allowed the fifth-most return yards of anyone, it makes sense given that he punted more than anyone, as well. On the 44 returns Edwards allowed, return men only averaged seven yards. At 28 years old, Edwards has plenty of good years left in him.
Matt Haack (Miami Dolphins)
A restricted free agent, Haack was with the Dolphins last season. Exactly one-third of his punts (23-of-69) were downed inside the 20, and he had 20 punts fair caught this year. Haack beat Bojorquez in both gross average (45) and net average (41.1), and at 26 years old, he is just two years older than the Bills’ incumbent punter. After booting 11 touchbacks through his first two seasons, Haack showed improvement in that area, kicking only two touchbacks this year.
Which free agent punter should the Bills sign this offseason?
This poll is closed
None; keep Bojorquez
None; draft someone to replace Bojorquez