David Akers has been a New York Giants' nemesis for a long time, both as a member of the San Francisco 49ers and before that the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that Akers is a free agent, having been cut by the 49ers after a miserable 2012 season, could Akers end up with the Giants?
The Giants appear likely to lose placekicker Lawrence Tynes to free agency. They have two kickers on their current roster, veteran David Buehler and rookie Jake Rogers. Buehler is a kickoff specialist made 24-of-32 field goals in 2010 with the Dallas Cowboys, the only year of his three in Dallas during which he kicked field goals.
Akers, 38, is a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro coming off the worst season of his career. The 15-year veteran made only 29-of-42 field-goal attempts (a miserable 69 percent) for the 49ers last season. Only Green Bay's Mason Crosby (21-of-33, 64 percent) was worse.
Akers was 9-of-10 inside 30 yards, 11-of-13 between 30 and 39 yards, 7-of-13 between 40 and 49 yards and 2-of-6 from outside 50 yards.
In his six-year Giants' career, Tynes has attempted only 10 field goals from beyond 50 yards, making five of them.
In 2011, Akers was 7-of-9 from beyond 50 yards. The most disturbing thing about Akers' numbers is that over the past two seasons he is only 13-of-24 from 40-49 yards. Those kicks aren't automatic, but you hope for better than that. Over that same period, Tynes is 10-of-14 from 40-49 yards.
Akers still has leg strength, averaging 66 yards per kickoff (10th in the NFL last season) with 46 percent touchbacks. Tynes' kickoffs resulted in touchbacks only 25.5 percent of the time in 2012.
David Fucillo, editor of SB Nation's 49ers web site, Niners Nation, offered this about Akers:
The 49ers released David Akers following a season in which he had a lot of struggles. Akers had the worst season of his career, connecting on only 69 percent of his field-goal attempts. There were reports during the season of sports hernia surgery, and his agent reported on Wednesday that he had another surgery recently.
If he was simply playing through pain, he could still have something left in the tank. His problems were not really an issue of distance, although his kickoffs were not spectacular. He struggled primarily with accuracy for most of the season. If the sports hernia is the reason for his struggles, a full offseason could do the trick. Of course, he had surgery last off-season and then aggravated the issue during the season.
Whether this is the end or not for Akers, he had serious highs and lows during his time with the 49ers. In 2011, he set the record for most kicks attempted and completed, as well as the most points by a kicker. In 2012, he opened the season with a record-tying 63-yard field goal. After the first two games however, it was mostly downhill. He was OK in the Super Bowl, but one has to wonder if a healthy Akers gets the kickoff out of the end zone and prevents Jacoby Jones' touchdown (still bitter!).
Akers certainly would not command any sort of big money deal. Is it worth at least offering him the opportunity to come to training camp and try to win a spot, try to show that 2012 was an aberration and not the end of an excellent career?
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?