Carroll says of Blair Walsh that "he's our guy.'' Team standing by him.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) December 13, 2017
I can feel it already, half of you opened this article just to yell at me in the comments. I get it, you’re angry. It’s okay, go down there and tell me I’m an idiot and I’ll wait for you right here for when you’re done. No, the title isn’t clickbait, no, I don’t believe Blair Walsh is a long term solution for the Seattle Seahawks.
Got all that vitriol out of your system? No, me either. But let’s talk about why, again, Pete Carroll has come out and publicly said Walsh is “our guy.” If you have been reading John Gilbert’s articles on the cap, you are probably aware of reason number one why Seattle is not and will not move on from Blair Walsh this season.
The Seahawks are out of cap space
I won’t go into exactly why, because John has done a phenomenal job outlining all of that here. But here’s the short version of a long problem: The Seahawks can’t afford to bring anyone in.
“But what about..” No, can’t afford it. Seattle is projected to end the season in violation of the cap according to the NFLPA. Sitting Eddie Lacy last week was no accident, expect more moves like this as the season finishes because the team is literally out of money that it’s allowed to spend.
“Even a rookie?” Yes faithful Field Gulls patron, even a rookie. Kind of a sticky situation for a team whose kicker is 4 of 9 in its last three losses.
The #Seahawks three losses in their last six games have been by a combined 12 points. Blair Walsh was 4-of-9 in those three losses.— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) December 13, 2017
But what if Seattle weren’t out of cap space?
A completely fair question to ask is what if the team could come up with some cap space. Perhaps someone gets an extension which lowers their hit this year, or some other kind of restructure. Could the Seahawks pursue a kicker then? Sure, they absolutely could.
However, this late in the season and with the Chargers burning through basically anyone worth signing, there aren’t a whole lot of good options remaining. Let’s do a quick rundown.
The most promising younger kickers are as follows:
Roberto Aguayo - Career field goal percentage of 71%, lower than what Walsh has done this year (74.1%).
Younghoe Koo - cut by the Chargers after going 50% on 6 kick attempts.
Veteran kickers with a field goal percentage better than 71%:
Josh Brown - Suspended for domestic violence. Even if you wanted him based on his stats and were willing to look over his conduct, which I am not, you would have to clear enough space for veteran minimum. Plus there is always the possibility he repeat offends — let alone the optics of signing him.
Alex Henery - cut by the Detroit Lions in 2014 after kicking 20% from field goal range.
Dan Carpenter - Carpenter’s wife threatened to castrate Richard Sherman.
Lawrence Tynes - had a MRSA infection in his kicking foot and hasn’t played since 2012.
Shaun Suisham - catastrophic knee injury.
Nate Kaeding - Chronic groin injuries led to retirement. And before that? One might say that Kaeding was known as the Blair Walsh of the early 2010s.
Clint Stitser - Hasn’t played since 2012, now a real estate agent.
Maybe Pete Carroll actually believes that Blair Walsh has good kick mechanics and his misses are largely an fluke, maybe he believes that Walsh has developed in ways that we as fans don’t see. But even if you don’t believe that, even if you think this is just Carroll being overly optimistic again, there really isn’t a good alternative nor the money to sign one. While I know that kicker is an easy punching bag for fans, the loss to the Jaguars would be hard to attribute to Walsh alone. If not for two spectacular throws by Russell Wilson, the Seahawks never even get back within one score. So while we can wring our hands and lament personnel decisions gone by, one thing is certain. Better learn to love and support him because Walsh is “our guy” for the rest of 2017.