clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

After an unsettled 2015, kicker will be a position worth watching for the Falcons

New, comments

All eyes should be on Matt Bryant, unless you're watching something else.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons have had one of the most stable kicking situations in the NFL for years now, with Matt Bryant nailing down the gig with some steel-veined field goals in huge situations. Even the impending specter of an age 40 season didn't cause the Falcons to reconsider signing him last offseason, and there was nothing in his track record to indicate he'd drop off.

That's what made the 2015 season so discouraging for Bryant, who ultimately hit 14 of his 18 kicks for a 77.8% conversion percentage, his lowest in a great many years. An injury was likely a factor for Bryant, who ultimately only kicked in 10 games last year. He's going to be 41 in 2016, the team can save $2.3 million by cutting ties with him, and they got an 11/13 season out of Shayne Graham, albeit one marred by a horrible miss in the last game of the season.

The Falcons have shown again and again that they prefer established, veteran kickers, and they've mostly been successful going that route. That alone may keep Bryant in Atlanta next year, and certainly I don't think he's cooked just because the 2015 season was a shaky one. Add in the fact that the Falcons have just five picks and the free agent market at kicker isn't expected to be hot, and you have to think Bryant will be back unless the Falcons viewed his 2015 campaign as a harbinger of things to come.

Still, though, keep an eye out. There aren't a lot of veterans who should be feeling totally comfortable right now. Even Bryant.