Stephen Gostkowski has had an uncharacteristic start to the 2019 season.
For someone who can usually be counted on to put points on the board for the Patriots on the rare occasions they don’t score a touchdown, Gostkowski has been one of the few weak spots on this team through the first three weeks of the year, especially when kicking extra points.
Over his first 13 seasons in the NFL, Gostkowski was automatic on PAT’s. He hit 642 out of 649 attempts, which was good for 98.9 percent. This season, he’s just 10-for-14, tallying more than half the misses in three games than he’s had in his entire career.
“Obviously, I’ve hit a little bit of a skid here,” Gostkowski told reporters after the Patriots’ 30-14 win over the Jets. “It can be frustrating at times, but I’m just glad that I’m on a team that we’re winning and it’s not really hurting anybody.”
Some may think that it’s time for the Patriots to think about their next kicker. While the team has been fortunate to only have two kickers since 1996, it’s common for teams to cycle through kickers every few years if their current player shows signs of inconsistency.
In this case, the grass may not be greener. Here’s a look at free agent kickers who played in the NFL last season but find themselves without a home right now.
Cody Parkey: 83.9 career FG percentage
Blair Walsh: 82.4
Sebastian Janikowski: 80.4
Phil Dawson: 83.8
Mike Nugent: 81.4
Chandler Catanzaro: 83.8
Kai Forbath: 85.7
Gostkowski’s career field goal percentage (87.324) is good for third all-time behind Justin Tucker and Robbie Gould. So while Gostkowski’s extra point struggles may be frustrating right now, the kickers available right now have not proved to be more reliable than him. Not to mention Parkey and Walsh have two of the most infamous misses in NFL history. There’s usually a reason a kicker is a free agent this far into a regular season.