The Jets were so determined to bring in competition for incumbent PK Nick Folk that they reached out to Josh Brown only 10 minutes after he had been released by the Rams during the draft. Once he cleared waivers, Brown signed with the Jets, creating a true open competition at kicker.
Folk vs. Brown, two proven veterans.
"I've never been in a serious competition," Brown told me last week at OTAs. "This will be my 10th season and I've never had someone that legitimately pressed me."
Brown, 33, was deemed expendable when the Rams drafted Greg Zuerlein of Missouri Western in the sixth round. Besides the Jets, Brown had only one other option -- the Texans, but they, too, drafted a kicker. He picked the Jets, knowing a competition wouldn't be influenced by money because their 2012 salaries are relatively close -- Folk $765,000, Brown $855,000. Both are on one-year contracts.
"If Nick and I are close, they make a comfort decision," Brown said. "It's not an issue of money, it's an issue of performance -- and it should be an issue of performance. This was the best opportunity to where I would totally get a chance to be judged solely on performance."
Brown is an 81 percent career kicker on field goals (he spent the last four seasons in a dome), although his percentage dropped to 75 last season in St. Louis. Folk, 27, is a 78 percent kicker who finished at 76 percent last season.
This is a weird dynamic for Brown because, even though the competition won't be settled until the preseason, he knows every kick in every practice is scrutinized.
"It's very foreign," he said. "I want to impress every single day. I want to know what they're getting. I want them to have confidence that, when I go on the field, they don't have to watch."