Longtime Patriots kicker Gostkowski fell to injury after just four games into the season. Since then, the kicking position was occupied by three other players, one even getting released and re-signed shortly after. Here is a recap, and grade, of each kicker’s season in New England.
4. Kai Forbath – C
Forbath easily takes the last place out of the group, after playing only one game for the Pats. He has spent most of his career as a replacement guy, getting signed whenever a team’s kicker was injured or didn’t meet team standards. This was the same for his time with the Pats, as Kai was signed following Nick Folk’s emergency appendectomy.
Forbath played his one game on December 1, 2019, against the Texans in Week 13. He went 1-for-2 on extra points in addition to a 23-yard field goal. He failed to make a great enough impression to steal the job from the returning Folk, greatly due to that missed extra point. The Patriots waived Forbath a day after the game and he has not been signed since.
3. Mike Nugent – C+
Nugent was the first guy the Pats went to following Gostkowski’s injury. Up to that point, he hadn’t been signed since the 2018 season where he played for the Raiders. He was solid for them in three games, so the following season he was one of the many kickers the Patriots considered for the job.
Nugent beat out all of the competition and won the starting job, with another kicker getting signed to the practice squad. He began his career in New England quite strong, going two-for-three on extra points and two-for-two on field goals in his first game. But that play did not last, as he was released after four games. His final appearance consisted of missing two field goals, with the Patriots beating the Browns despite the six missed points. In his games with the Patriots, Nugent went 5-of-8 on field goals and 15-of-16 on extra points.
2. Stephen Gostkowski – B-
As was just said, Gostkowski fell to injury after just four games into the season. Prior to that, he was actually having arguably his worst season on record. In only a quarter of the season, he had missed as many extra points as he had the prior two seasons combined! In fact, in his career prior to this season, he had only missed seven ever. In those four games, he increased that total to 11.
Despite this, while Stephen wasn’t a good kicker he still wasn’t terrible. He managed to make seven of his eight field goals, which is 1% better than his career average. But this doesn’t make up for obvious deficiencies in his game, and the Patriots have to make a big decision this offseason on if they will keep Gostkowski or sign another kicker. Heck, they could even re-sign the guy that’s number one on the list.
1. Nick Folk – A-
After the release of the Patriots first replacement kicker, Nugent, Folk was signed shortly after. He produced solid numbers, only missing two out of nine field goals (78%) in the three games of his first stint at New England along with never missing an extra point. But of course, he had to get emergency surgery on his appendix, causing him to miss a game.
Forbath, of course, failed to replace Folk, so the Pats brought him back once he became healthy. He played even better upon return, only missing one field goal in the final four games of the season. He finished with an extra point percentage of 100%, which would be tied with only five other kickers for best in the league if he had more opportunities. This, along with the 16th best field goal percentage in the league, combines to make an impressive kicker. Some people may doubt his leg power, but he went 1-for-1 on 50+ yard attempts while going a solid 4-for-7 on 40-49 yarders. The Patriots could certainly do worse than re-signing Folk this offseason.