Patriots: Which players should stay and which should go?
Stephen Gostkowski should STAY
Yes, he’s missed some critical field goals and extra point attempts in the Super Bowl and playoffs.
Yes, he’s also getting older (35) and he might not be quite as accurate as he once was.
And yes, he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason who is sure to have plenty of suitors.
Still, the Patriots should try and extend Gostkowski to a new contract if they can. The veteran kicker is not only the all-time leader in Patriots’ field goals; he’s also their all-time leader in points scored, surpassing Adam Vinatieri in both categories.
While Bill Belichick isn’t about to dish out a new contract just based off a player’s lifetime achievements and accolades, he no doubt understands and appreciates that reliable kickers with postseason experience and the all-important “clutch gene” don’t just grow on trees.
Similar to how the Colts managed to transition from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck with relative ease at the quarterback position, the Patriots are fortunate they went from Adam Vinatieri to Stephen Gostkowski at placekicker. Not every team is so lucky with their field goal kickers (just ask the Chicago Bears this season).
Especially when considering the lack of available talent on the market this spring, the Patriots should try and lock up Gostkowski, while perhaps adding a new young heir apparent in the later rounds of the draft this April. That way they maintain consistency at a position that shouldn’t be tinkered with, while still grooming a future replacement should Gostkowski show signs of declining skills/diminishing returns.