The Falcons are pretty strapped for cap space right now, but that is going to change soon. Due to the designation of Desmond Trufant as a “post-June 1st” cut, the team will be receiving a significant windfall of cap relief in early June. Atlanta will be getting back exactly $10.75M next month, with $4.4M in dead cap remaining on Trufant’s deal. This money is going to be used, in part, to pay for the draft class. Due to the top-51 rule, however, this will only cost the team about $2.5M against the cap. That should theoretically leave about $8.25M for the team to use for potential free agent additions.
If you missed any of the previous entries in this series, you can find them below:
Today’s group is K, where Dan Quinn has made it clear he’d like to add competition for 2019 starter Younghoe Koo. While Koo finished the season strong, he looked a little shaky on longer attempts (45+ yards), and the Falcons may want to see if any available veterans can push him a little. Let’s take a look at some of the remaining names on the market.
By far the most established and historically successful veteran option left on the market, Stephen Gostkowski was the kicker for the Patriots from 2006-2019. Gostkowski was still very good in the field goal department, going 7 of 8 (87.5%), but he struggled with extra points to start the season (just 11 of 15, 73.3%). This was apparently enough for the Patriots to decide to move on from his salary. Gostkowski was excellent at extra points in 2018 (98.0%) and was actually having his best season ever on kickoffs (80.8% touchbacks) in 2019, so perhaps his slip in extra points was an aberration. Although he’ll be 36 in 2020, Gostkowski would be cheap at this point in the offseason and would provide strong competition for Younghoe Koo.
A veteran kicker who has bounced around a bit in recent years and had his fair share of struggles and triumphs, Nick Folk was actually the kicker brought in to replace Gostkowski. Folk was a respectable 14 of 17 on field goals (82.4%) and 12 of 12 on extra points (100%) in 2019, which was a far cry from a miserable 2018 season which saw him cut from the Buccaneers after just 4 games. Folk isn’t necessarily a high-end kicker, but outside of a bad start to the season in Tampa Bay a few years back, he’s been solid at worst. He’ll be cheap and good veteran competition for Koo.
A possible reclamation project, Ryan Succop had 10 successful seasons as a kicker for Kansas City and Tennessee. That changed in 2019 after injuries impacted his game in a major way, culminating in a miserable 16.7% field goal percentage and winding up on IR after just six games. Outside of 2019, however, Succop has been a very good kicker—reliable into the low 50s and very good on extra points. He’s been fairly mediocre on kickoffs, but the Falcons have Sterling Hofrichter for that. Succop could be a very affordable option to compete with Koo if he’s back to full health.
What are your thoughts on the Falcons potentially bringing in a veteran kicker to compete with Younghoe Koo? Do you think any of these players has a chance to beat out Koo in training camp?