WATCH: Three free agents who could solve Jets' kicking conundrum
After letting Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers walk in free agency, the New York Jets have yet to find a suitable replacement.
Due to Kaare Vedvik's struggles (missed 45-yard field goal and failed PAT) in Sunday's 17-16 season opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, the team's kicking carousel could very well continue to spin -- as early as this week.
Let's take a look at three free agent kickers who could be a solution to the Jets' kicking conundrum.
Despite a decorated career at Penn State, Ficken failed to hear his name called during the 2015 NFL Draft. He eventually signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016, but lost the kicking battle to veteran Jason Myers and was waived prior to cut downs. He participated in training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs the following summer, but was once again an early casualty.
Ficken would finally get his chance on Dec. 20, 2017, when the Los Angeles Rams signed the 6-foot-1, 191-pound kicker to replace the injured Greg Zuerlein. Ficken made 2-of-3 on his field goals attempts and 4-of-5 extra points in his two-game stint. Ficken would play in two more games for the Rams last season, going 1-for-3 on field goal attempts and 10-for-10 on extra points.
After being waived by the Seattle Seahawks early in the offseason, the well-traveled kicker was claimed by the Green Bay Packers. Ficken enjoyed a strong preseason, but was narrowly edged out by veteran placekicker Mason Crosby.
Analysis: Of the available free agent kickers, I'm most intrigued by Ficken. While many may look at the 26-year-old's lengthy list of teams and label him as merely a journeyman, he's improved with each opportunity, nearly forcing Green Bay to part with their veteran mainstay. He demonstrated consistency and a big leg throughout preseason play, and many felt he was poised to get claimed off the waiver wire. If nothing else, the former Nittany Lion at least warrants a look.
Tavecchio's last NFL action came in Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns last season. Replacing injured Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, Tavecchio made his only field goal attempt (40 yards) and connected on his only extra point attempt.
Like many kickers, Tavecchio has bounced around the NFL since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012. After failed stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions, he tried his luck with the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders waived the 5-foot-10, 180-pound kicker four times in a four-year span, before ultimately promoting him to the active roster on Sept. 9, 2017. He made his NFL debut on Sept. 10, in place of an injured Sebastian Janikowski.
Tavecchio has played in 19 career games, going 21-for-26 on his field goal attempts (80.8 FG percentage) and 41-of-42 on extra point attempts. His longest successful field goal is 56 yards.
Analysis: Though he endured a rocky preseason with the Falcons, Tavecchio is a proven commodity. The 29-year-old has an entire season as an NFL placekicker under his belt (2017) and his 56-yard field goal last season proves he has enough leg strength. As someone who filled in admirably in spot duty in 2018, Tavecchio is worth kicking the tires on.
The most experienced kicker on this list, Forbath would be entering his eighth NFL season.
The 32-year-old kicker has kicked for four teams throughout his career, with his most recent being a three-game stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. During his brief stay, Forbath went 4-for-5 on his field goal attempts and 3-for-3 on extra points.
Analysis: At 32-years old, Forbath doesn't offer a ton of upside. What he does offer, however, is 77 games of NFL experience and a proven track record. Though he likely doesn't have the leg to boot a 55-yarder consistently, he boasts a career 85.7 field goal percentage and a 94.0 extra point percentage.