If you thought Blair Walsh was good at hitting the uprights in 2017, well Cody Parkey just outdid that effort. In a season where Parkey missed four field goals in a single game by hitting the goal posts, he concluded the year by doing the same thing to miss a game-winner against the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs. Although the 43-yard kick was partially blocked, it didn’t just hit the left upright, it also bounced off the crossbar and is now chiseled into NFL history as the “double-doink.”
Walsh and Parkey have some similarities. Both made the Pro Bowl in their rookie season, hitting nearly 90% of their attempts while making every one of their tries over 50 yards. Walsh had 10 attempts compared to Parkey’s four, but ultimately Walsh had his best season in his rookie year. When Parkey signed his four-year, $15 million contract with the Chicago Bears last season, he was coming off a year with the Miami Dolphins where he only missed two field goals, from 44 and 50, respectively.
In his press conference to review the 2018 season, Bears head coach Matt Nagy was critical of Parkey after the 27-year-old kicker went on the TODAY show to talk about missing the field goal:
”We always talk about a ‘we and not a me’ thing. And we always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team,” said Nagy. “I didn’t necessarily think that was too much of a ‘we’ thing.”
Considering the history with Walsh, a kicker who also missed a potential game winner in the playoffs against Seattle, as well as a kick that would have beaten the Arizona Cardinals in the closing moments of the 2017 season, Pete Carroll may not want to travel down that road again.
With that in mind, here is a look at some of the most accurate kickers from 2018 who are set to become free agents:
Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers
The 36-year-old kicker missed just one field goal in 34 attempts last season and was 27 of 29 on his extra point tries. Gould is an interesting option not just in terms of his accuracy, but the idea of taking a player from an NFC West roster to hurt a division rival and improve your own roster is a bonus. However, the 49ers have plenty of room under the salary cap and may want to use the franchise tag on their kicker to keep him from hitting free agency.
Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
The Seahawks may be ready to move on from the injury concerns that come along with having a kicker in his 40s. Bryant made 95% of his kicks last year, above his 86% career average, but will be 44 a the start of the 2019 season. He was injured kicking a 57-yard field goal against the Buccaneers and missed three games for the Falcons last season. But the fact that he made that kick would at least give him bragging rights over Sebastian Janikowski, who injured his hamstring on a 57-yard attempt in Seattle’s playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason Myers, New York Jets
In hindsight, the Seahawks would have been better off keeping the guy who was competing with Janikowski in the preseason. Myers is now coming off a Pro Bowl season with the New York Jets after making 33 of 36 field goals and 30 of 33 extra point attempts. He made six kicks over 50 yards in 2018, which was more from that distance than Janikowski even attempted last year. The 27-year-old kicker is the youngest of the unrestricted free agents who made above 81.5% of their kicks last year, the percentage Seabass was at for 2018.
Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
Lutz is a restricted free agent who came into the league as an undrafted free agent. If the Saints don’t sign him to a long-term deal, New Orleans will have a decision to make for the tender they offer him. If it’s an original round tender, projected at about $2 million by Over the Cap, any team would have a chance to make him an offer that the Saints would be allowed to match. New Orleans may just want to put a second round tender on Lutz, which would most likely deter a team like the Seahawks from making an offer.
Kai Forbath, Jacksonville Jaguars
In terms of career field goal accuracy, Forbath is in the top 10 among NFL kickers. He was let go from the Jaguars after Josh Lambo, who is tied with Forbath at number 10, signed a 4-year, $15.5 million extension. In 2018, he only missed the longest of his five attempts, which was a 56-yard attempt to close out the first half of a game.