Here’s A Kicker Detroit Lions Could Get Without Having To Give Up Any Assets
The clock is ticking for NFL teams to cut their rosters down to 53, and the Detroit Lions are reportedly in the market for a new kicker.
As of 2 p.m. eastern on Tuesday, the Lions had two kickers on their roster: ostensible starter Riley Patterson and newcomer Parker Romo. But, according to The Athletic, Detroit isn't satisfied with either of those options.
The Lions acquired Patterson this offseason when they sent Jacksonville a conditional seventh-round draft pick. He broke into the NFL with Detroit back in 2021, when he made 13 of 14 field goals and all 16 extra-point attempts in seven games with the Lions. Patterson spent all of 2022 with the Jaguars, connecting on 30 of 35 field goal attempts (85.7 percent) and 36 of 37 PATs.
Patterson ended the preseason on a bad note, though. He missed a 53-yard field goal and an extra point against the Panthers on Saturday.
The Lions signed Romo, a rookie coming off a good season in the XFL, after an offseason tryout.
Detroit has already potentially lost one draft pick attempting to land a kicker this offseason, and they'll have to part with more in order to secure one now as rosters settle. Does GM Brad Holmes really have the stomach to throw away more draft capital? What if there's another way?
There is. Does the name Mason Crosby ring a bell?
Green Bay let the 38-year-old Crosby's contract expire this offseason, and he still hasn't found a new team. His declining abilities were apparent in recent years, the kind of issues that simply can't be hid in the cold, blustery conditions so common at Lambeau Field.
Crosby has a career field goal accuracy rate of 81.4 percent. He ranked in the middle of the NFL last season at 86.2 percent, but he only hit one of four tries of at least 50 yards. He also struggled to regularly place kickoffs through the end zone.
The decline Crosby has experienced, though, may not matter to the Lions, or at least may not matter as much. Ford Field is an indoor, climate-controlled facility, the likes of which veteran kickers like to end their careers playing in after many seasons of inhospitable kicking environments.
Detroit has more than enough cap space to make this happen with a reportedly $19 million in room. Crosby made about $4 million in Green Bay last season. At 38 and showing irrefutable signs of decline, the Lions would be able to sign him for far less. Plus, there's the fact that Crosby pretty obviously wants back in the league.
The big downside to the Lions brining Crosby in is that he would probably cause Detroit to carry two kickers given his kickoff issues lately. That means Detroit would be using two roster spots on kickers, which isn't ideal.
There's also that teeny, tiny matter of Crosby potentially being haunted by Ford Field. Remember when the Lions hosted the Packers in the 2018 season? Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point in a performance that nearly cost him his job in Green Bay.
I wouldn't worry about it, though. The man has made big kicks in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. I think he could acclimate well to the Lions' place and provide them a nice stop-gap until they find a long-term solution at kicker.
Besides, Crosby has had a few triumphant moments in Ford Field over the years, too.