The Buffalo Bills have a preference for left-footed punters. They showed this early in general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott’s tenure, rostering Corey Bojorquez from 2018-2020. After allowing Bojorquez to leave via free agency, Buffalo added another left-footed punter via free agency.
This year, the Bills added yet another left-footed punter to the roster, this one via the NFL Draft. With their current punter having struggled for the better part of the last two seasons, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see the Bills add another player to the mix.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile Buffalo’s incumbent punter—a veteran with a tenuous grip on his job.
Name: Matt Haack
Height/Weight: 6’ 205 lbs
Age: 27 (28 on 7/25/2022
College: Arizona State
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo as UFA on 3/18/2021
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Haack’s original deal was for three years and $5.475 million. The team restructured that contract this offseason, tearing up the last year of the deal and cutting Haack’s pay. He carries a cap hit of $1.485 million this year if he makes the roster, and a $700,000 dead-cap number if he’s released.
2021 Recap: Haack was at or near the bottom of most punting categories last year, netting a paltry 37.6 yards per punt. That figure was tied for last among qualifiers. His gross average wasn’t much better, as he averaged just 42.9 yards per punt. That was better than only Bradley Pinion and Pressley Harvin. On the positive end, only 17 of his 52 punts were returned, and those returns gained just 96 yards. He had a punt blocked in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers that resulted in the winning touchdown for Pittsburgh.
Positional outlook: Haack is joined by Matt Araiza, another left-footed punter. The rookie was selected by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
2022 Offseason: Haack is healthy and ready for training camp.
2022 Season outlook: Normally, I’d say that the job is the veteran’s to lose, as the onus falls on the rookie to make that veteran look expendable. I don’t know if that’s the case here, as Buffalo doesn’t waste draft choices, and if they valued a punter enough to choose him, I have to think that he has the inside track at earning the gig. If Araiza is merely a competent holder on kicks for Tyler Bass, I imagine that he’ll be able to beat Haack out easily for the punting job. Araiza had one of the strongest legs in the NCAA last year, which earned him a familiar nickname that he has said he dislikes, so I won’t use it. As with Tyler Bass when he was a rookie trying to unseat veteran Stephen Hauschka, it seems as if Buffalo is ready to turn the page to a younger, stronger specialist. Haack is probably in his last training camp with Buffalo.