Veteran placekicker Robbie Gould is a free agent and the New York Giants have a decision to make. Bring him back because he is a reliable field goal kicker even if his range might be limited, and live with his woefully short kickoffs, or try to upgrade.
We recently debated the pros and cons of signing Los Angeles Rams’ placekicker Greg Zuerlein. Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez might be a possibility if the Giants wanted to use a late-round draft pick on him.
Let’s add another name to the list of potential Gould replacements. What about Steven Hauschka, who appears to be headed to free agency after the Seattle Seahawks signed former Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh?
Hauschka, 31, is a nine-year veteran who has kicked in a lot of big games with Seattle during the past six seasons. He has made 87.2 percent of his field-goal attempts during his career, third-best of all time, and went 33-of-37 (89.2 percent) in 2016.
Why, then, might the Seahawks be willing to replace him with Walsh, who was released nine games into the 2016 season by the Vikings? That might have a lot to do with Hauschka’s odd issues with the longer extra point. Hauschka has missed 10 of them, going 69-for-79, (87.3 percent) since the league pushed the extra point back to a 33-yard try. Oddly, during that same time period Hauschka has gone 20-for-20 on field goals between 30 and 39 yards.
Here is a little bit about Hauschka’s situation from the Seattle Times:
Hauschka had some uncommon struggles in 2016 missing more PATs than any other kicker — six — going 29-35, including one that could have put Seattle ahead in a late-season loss to Arizona. Hauschka also missed a 28-yard kick late in overtime of an October game at Arizona, a contest that ended in a 6-6 tie. Changing either result would have meant Seattle would have had the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and a home game in the divisional round instead of finishing with the No. 3 seed and having to play in the divisional round at Atlanta, where Seattle’s season ended in a 36-20 loss.
His 2016 salary of $2.7 million (and a salary cap charge of $3.5 million) was the highest of the 14 Seattle players who will officially become unrestricted free agents on March 9 and it’s not thought the Seahawks wanted to pay that much, or more, this time around.
That salary combined with Hauschka’s uncharacteristic misses in 2016 and a potential desire to get younger and cheaper at that position had led much speculation that the Seahawks could look for another kicker in 2017.
As for kickoffs, Hauschka had 54 touchbacks in 85 attempts, a touchback percentage of 63.5 percent. Gould had only 19 touchbacks in 41 kickoffs, 46.3 percent.
Is Hauschka a player you would be interested in seeing the Giants bring on board?