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Point Of Veau: Packers In Catch-22 At Kicker

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Point Of Veau: Packers In Catch-22 At Kicker

The NFL Draft is complete and only one kicker was taken among the 254 selections announced: Nebraska's Alex Henery in the fourth round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

In a perfect world, that should set up nicely for the Packers.

Mason Crosby, the Packers' kicker for the last four seasons, is a free agent, and while it may be likely he returns to Green Bay, the Packers simply can't operate under such an assumption.

There's the possibility that if he's an unrestricted free agent, he spurns them for better offer. It wouldn't be the first time that happened in the NFL.

So here sit the Packers: They didn't even have to spend a draft choice on a kicker yet they could get the pick of the litter once undrafted free agency commences.

And it's not as if Crosby has been one of the best kickers in the NFL over his first couple seasons. With a 78.1% field goal accuracy rate, he's been below average. It makes sense the Packers would explore their options.

On the surface, it would seem like an ideal situation for a college kicker free to sign with any team he chooses––the Packers are the Super Bowl champions and their incumbent kicker is a free agent.

Why wouldn't you want to sign with them? It sounds like an perfect-world scenario for some of the top-ranked kickers left after the draft like UCLA's Kai Forbath, Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey and LSU's Josh Jasper.

But according to a recent interview with former Packers kicker Al Del Greco, a 14-year NFL veteran, for the upcoming Maple Street Press Packers Annual special teams preview, kickers aren't exactly lining up to play in Green Bay.

"It's going to be very difficult to get a guy, a free agent to come to Green Bay just because of the conditions of playing up there," said Del Greco.

Now consider this: For the sake of argument, assume for a second the Packers want to re-sign Crosby even if they do sign an undrafted free agent. Let them battle for the job. May the best man win.

If the Packers sign another kicker, they may not have that luxury. Signing another kicker may give Crosby the motivation he needs to sign somewhere else.

And by going with a kicker other than Crosby, there's always the risk that the Packers replace him with something even worse.

Del Greco actually thinks pretty highly of Crosby given the winter weather and tundra-like conditions of Lambeau Field he's had to deal with.

"You throw in where he kicks, and I think that has a lot to do with why his percentage is what it is," said Del Greco.

Of course, this could all be a moot point if a federal court makes it necessary the NFL plays under the 2010 rules of the collective bargaining agreement and Crosby is a restricted free agent.

But for the moment being, the situation at kicker is a little more complicated than meets the eye.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

BubbaOne's picture

PK Matt Bosher of Miami was picked in the 6th round by the Falcons.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Primarily as a punter, although he does kick too. Basically the opposite of Henery who was selected primarily as a kicker, although he can punt too.

BubbaOne's picture

Alot of times teams will designate when drafting: OG vs OT, ILB vs OLB, etc.
I was going by the Falcons listing him as a PK.

BubbaOne's picture

I hear you and yet it may be a numbers issue. The roster limit is 80. W/ the current roster, IR's, PS, and draft picks we techically have 85.

Q's TT/MM has to consider:
What shape are the players going to be in? Are there higher priority UDFA's (Cedric Thorton) more worthy of signing?
Which six do you cut BEFORE you could bring in a PK?
Experiencing the effect injuries pose, what position do we risk being short at to bring in a PK?

In essence, signing a PK may be a luxury not worth the consequences.

Chad Toporski's picture

Here's who I think will most likely be let go as free agents:

- Korey Hall
- Jason Spitz
- Matt Wilhelm
- Atari Bigby
- Cullen Jenkins

Here's who I have on the fence:

- Brandon Jackson
- James Jones
- Josh Bell
- Anthony Smith

The other free agents have a pretty good chance of re-signing. (Of course nothing is certain.)

So I think within that list, you can definitely trim enough players to pick up at least a kicker and probably a couple more UDFAs.

BubbaOne's picture

On the fence, I would include Diyral Briggs and Brandon Chillar (may not pass physical after 3 shoulder surgeries). And of course, most of the PS would be included.

One of the reporters posted that supposedly TT had a handshake deal w/ Crosby, Kuhn, and one other FA.

I know we can find players to cut. My point was and still is bringing in a PK is not high on the pecking order.

Wiscokid's picture

I bet that they will still sign Cullen Jenkins. With the Jolly situation such as it is, they need the help on the D-line. That is of course unless somebody offers him crazy money. I guess that could happen, after all, it a crazy league.

afrenchpackersfan's picture

California (UCLA), Oklahoma or Louisiana are not even close to Lambeau field in terms of bad weather conditions. I wish there were a good kicker prospects from Wisconsin, Minnesota or even Connecticut...

That is why I would have liked Green Bay drafted Henery in the last rounds... The weather in Nebraska is closer to Wisconsin and even worst in terms of wind... I hate the Eagles!!!

Nerdmann's picture

Bubba's right. They got alot of talent to squeeze into the 80 man roster limit.
My problem with Crosby has always been that he's not money with the game on the line. As far as his career %, I think it's been deflated a bit by an excessive number of 50+ yard kicks as well as by the 2009 season in which they messed around with his holder. Sure, the weather is a major issue, but that's similar to all cold weather teams.

NoWayJose's picture

It's a tricky issue isn't it? Crosby is underwhelming on both kickoffs and FGs, but he's not a disaster by any means.

I think given the overall state of the Packers (ready to kick ass and take numbers next year), the more prudent course here is to go with the devil you know over the devil you don't.

I wouldn't want this to turn into the Jon Ryan Fiasco Part II.

MarkinMadison's picture

Exactly right. Unless Crosby's contract demands are unrealistic, I think you bring him back. Not a great kick-off guy, but the rule change will help. Strong leg, but seems to have real accuracy problems sometimes. But how dumb do the Packers look if it turns into another Ryan situtation.

Cole's picture

Just sign Akers once Philly releases him. He's better than Crosby.

Chad Toporski's picture

Besides, he did already help the Packers win one playoff game!

*ba-dum ching*

Franklin Hillside's picture

McCarthy trotting Crosby out to try 60 yarders doesn't help his accuracy.

Cole's picture

To crosby's credit, he does have the best onside kick in the game.

CJ in Guatemala's picture

+1

BLACK HAWK's picture

The high octane offense of AROD and company shouldn't be trying many FG's over 50 or more. Bring back Longwell if the price is right, he's a free agent and may want a realistic shot at a SB ring.

Wiscokid's picture

Longwell should stay gone. I don't want him back wearing the Green and Gold. With him it's all about the money and he wants to kick indoors.

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