The Miami Dolphins have one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL, but they also have one of the most expensive kickers in the NFL in 27-year-old Montana alumn Dan Carpenter. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, team executives are “leaning towards” signing another kicker to bring in to compete with Carpenter, who has made 81.9% of his field goals as a Dolphin.
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Carpenter is set to make $2.675 million in 2013, and only Bay Area kickers David Akers and Sebatian Janikowski have higher base salaries. Placed on the injured reserve late in the season, a groin injury hampered Carpenter and caused him to miss a couple of games. Despite the fact that the Dolphins want to bring in a new kicker to push Carpenter, he had a successful 2012 campaign with a kicking percentage of 81.5%.
Overall, Carpenter had a rather average season in 2012 when you look at kick-offs and divide his field goals based on distance. I guess the Dolphins feel like Carpenter can perform at a higher level than just “average”, especially since he is one of the three highest paid kickers on a yearly basis. A worry with kickers is confidence when bringing in other guys for work outs, but this season the New England Patriots flirted with bringing in kickers (they worked out a few) to push Stephen Gostkowski, and he responded by finishing the season strong and graded out as the third-highest kicker from the Pro Football Focus.
The reason why the Dolphins are considering axing Carpenter isn’t because of effectiveness, but rather cost. That aspect of it makes sense, and it’s interesting because the piece notes that Carpenter got his gig from the Dolphins after beating out significantly more expensive veteran Jay Feely. Although Feely was a star kicker and knocked down 21 of 23 field goals for a franchise record in field goal percentage, he lost his job in training camp because Carpenter, then a rookie, played just as well as him in the competition and was much cheaper.
The author of the piece mentions several veteran kickers who could be brought in by the Miami Dolphins at a lower cost, and one of them is former Dolphins star kicker Olindo Mare. Shayne Graham, Nick Folk, Billy Cundiff, Rob Bironas, Josh Brown, and Phil Dawson are the notable names that are tossed around in the article. Those guys won’t come cheap, but they could still come cheaper than Dan Carpenter’s $2.675 million.
Miami could also restructure Carpenter’s contract or replace him with a rookie, and the former option should be the preferred route for the Dolphins. Carpenter told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “It was a tough situation. You never want to let your team down. It is hard for kickers because there is only one of us. When you go down there isn’t a backup who can take your spot for a while. All I can do is get healthy and get ready for next year.”
“It is unfortunate because I feel like I was kicking the ball really well. It is one of those things you can’t do anything about. I’m looking forward to next year and training camp.”
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