The Miami Dolphins might have done the kicking-starved Green Bay Packers a big favor by cutting 27-year-old Dan Carpenter Wednesday.
If Green Bay remains unsatisfied with the shaky competition currently being waged at kicker by Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio, there’s now a capable veteran without a home.
A five-year member of the Dolphins, Carpenter has connected on 127 of his 155 career field goals (81.9 percent) since entering the NFL as a undrafted free agent in 2008. Last season, he hit 22 of 27 kicks (81.5) over 14 games, with a long of 53.
After a disastrous 2012 season that saw Crosby make just 21 of 33 attempts, including two of nine from 50 or more yards, the Packers are now allowing Tavecchio, a first-year kicker, to compete for the job in training camp.
So far, the results have been mostly mixed. Through camp, Tavecchio has made an impressive 35 of 39 kicks, while Crosby has connected on 30 of 39. However, there remains question marks regarding Tavecchio’s leg strength, especially later in the season when temperatures dip severely during the Wisconsin winter. And Crosby’s accuracy has continued to be erratic, as highlighted by his 3-of-8 performance during the team’s Family Night scrimmage.
Carpenter, who’s job will be taken by fifth-round rookie Caleb Sturgis in Miami, is now the best available kicker on the open market.
In 2012, he made 8-of-10 kicks from 40-49 yards, and 2-of-5 from 50 or more. In contrast, Crosby made just 9-of-12 from 40-49 and 2-of-9 from over 50. Carpenter was also perfect from inside 40, while Crosby had two misses.
Back in 2010, Carpenter made all three of his kicks—including a 53-yarder and the 44-yard game winner—during the Dolphins’ overtime win over the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Thanks to his five NFL seasons, Carpenter will not be subjected to the waivers process and is free to sign with another team immediately.
Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.