A closer look at the NFL kicker market

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- So if Maikon Bonani or Travis Coons is not the Titans' kicker on Sept. 7 at Kansas City, who will be?

Bonani has a huge leg but doesn’t seem to have harnessed it in his work so far this camp. Coons is beating him on accuracy, but his field goals and kickoffs seem to have a low trajectory that could be a problem.

I surveyed my ESPN.com NFL Nation brethren and could see a viable alternative to Bonani or Coons coming from one of these places.


Veteran Jay Feely is working against rookie Chandler Catanzaro. Our Josh Weinfuss said it’s too early to tell who’ll win the job and that either could be on the market.

Catanzaro took the work in the preseason opener. He hit field goals from 32, 28 and 25 yards, all three PATs and kicked off well with a touchback and two others that went 6 yards deep into the end zone.


The Bills have Dan Carpenter and Dustin Hopkins. Mike Rodak says coach Doug Marrone has said they'd only keep Hopkins as a kickoff specialist.

Hopkins put two kickoffs 4 yards into the end zone against Carolina while Carpenter hit both his field goals and extra points.


Bengals reporter Coley Harvey says we should keep an eye out for Bengals backup kicker Quinn Sharp. Mike Nugent is the team’s kicker. Against the Chiefs, Sharp hit a fourth-quarter extra point chance, left his one kickoff 4 yards short of the goal line and saw the Chiefs recover his onside kick attempt.

“He’s only in camp to serve as an additional leg, so he’ll get cut,” Harvey said. “His accuracy hasn’t impressed me much, but he’s been hitting well from distance. Not saying he’s a great kicker by any means, but maybe he’s better than the two guys Tennessee has? Could be one to watch.”


The Lions have a fairly open kicking competition now between seventh-round pick Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio, who has been in San Francisco and Green Bay’s camp the past two seasons. Said ESPN’s Michael Rothstein: “Right now it’s a very close competition, but I don’t know if either guy gets picked up if he gets cut since neither one has kicked in a regular-season game.”

Freese hit field goals from 37 and 32 yards against the Browns with kickoffs that went 3 and 5 yards deep into the end zone. Tavecchio hit a PAT and put kickoffs 1 yard and 9 yards deep into the end zone.


The Texans have incumbent Randy Bullock and an undrafted rookie out of Rice, Chris Boswell, competing. Boswell made 13 50-plus yarders in college, and can punt, says Tania Ganguli, so the Texans might keep him for versatility and would have a backup in case Shane Lechler gets hurt.

As Houston got blown out by the Cardinals, only one of them did anything -- Bullock put the opening kickoff 6 yards short of the end zone.

Kansas City

The Chiefs have veteran Ryan Succop and rookie Cairo Santos.

Against the Bengals, Succop hit a 27-yard field goal, three PATs and all three of his kickoffs were touchbacks. Santos his a 28-yard field goal, two PATs and four kickoffs -- one 4 yards short of the goal line, one 5 yards deep into the end zone, one to the goal line and one that was a touchback.

New Orleans

Saints have a competition between veteran Shayne Graham and youngster Derek Dimke. Dimke has never cracked an NFL roster but did go a combined 8-of-9 in the past two preseasons with Tampa Bay (2013) and Detroit (2012). ESPN’s Mike Triplett thinks Dimke would “definitely be an option” for a team in need if Graham hangs on to the job in New Orleans.

Against St. Louis, Graham hit a 37-yard field goal, missed one of two long extra points when he hit the left upright and put two returnable kickoffs into the end zone, 5 yards and 4 yards deep. Dimke hit a 37-yard field goal, his one PAT and put four kickoffs into the end zone. Three of those -- 9 yards deep, 2 yards deep and 5 yards deep -- were returned.

New York Giants

Veteran Josh Brown was their kicker last year and was re-signed in free agency. His competition is Brandon McManus, a former Temple kicker who was in Colts camp last year. McManus has a big leg. They like him because he went to Temple and knows how to kick in Northeast weather, and because he’s an all-touchbacks guy on kickoffs, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.

If McManus shows he can make field goals, he could win the job and set Brown loose. McManus has hit two attempts in two games. He had three touchbacks against the Steelers, but Brown had two as the Steelers didn’t have a kick return.


The Redskins have a competition. They drafted Zach Hocker from Arkansas in the seventh round and already had Kai Forbath. “If Forbath becomes available, he has a track record from the past two years,” ESPN’s John Keim said. “There’s definitely a chance Forbath could get cut.”

Against New England, Hocker had a 39-yard field goal, a long PAT, a touchback and a kickoff that went 8 yards deep into the end zone. Forbath hit from 39 yards, was short from 46 yards, hit a PAT, had one touchback and two kickoffs short of the end zone.