Starting kicker for the Tennessee Titans may just be the least-envied position in the NFL right now.
The team is on the hunt for another kicker after cutting Michael Badgley on Monday following a 38-13 season opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Nissan Stadium the day prior. Badgley missed his lone field goal attempt — a 46 yarder — and one of his two extra points.
“[We’ll] determine who we feel like is going to make them,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said on Monday. “[We’ll] take a look at some of the guys working out; Randy (Bullock) is on the practice squad. Find somebody that we think is going to make them and protect for them, that is the plan.”
Over the last two seasons, plus the first game of the 2021 season, Tennessee is a combined 28 of 47 on field goal attempts (59.5 percent) and 101 of 107 extra point attempts. Badgley was the seventh kicker to attempt a field goal for the Titans during that span.
Since 2019, Tennessee has seen 13 different kickers on their roster at one point, including:
- Michael Badgley
- Randy Bullock
- Sam Ficken
- Stephen Gostkowski
- Blake Haubeil
- Greg Joseph
- Tucker McCann
- Cody Parkey
- Cairo Santos
- Ryan Santoso
- Sam Sloman
- Ryan Succop
- Giorgio Tavecchio
Bullock, who’s currently on Tennessee’s practice squad, seems the safest bet to be kicking for the team Sunday in Seattle. The 31-year-old made 21 of 26 kicks (80.8 percent) for the Cincinnati Bengals last season and he’s a career 83.2 percent kicker (168 of 202) during his nine-year NFL career.
Sam Ficken, who won the starting job during the preseason, is eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 4 against the New York Jets, but it is not known how much time he’s expected to miss. He will likely be given the job back once he returns to the active roster.
If the Titans aren’t satisfied with Bullock, they could look to a bare-bones free agent market. Of the kickers available, Dan Bailey, Stephen Gostkowski and Sam Sloman would make the most sense.
Gostkowski and Sloman have both kicked for Tennessee before. The 37-year-old Gostkowski had a disastrous 2020 season, making just 18 of 26 attempts and leading the NFL in missed field goals. However, he did settle in down the stretch and he made 7 of 8 from 50 yards or longer.
Sloman made both of his field goals and all five extra points in his lone game with the Titans last year, including hitting the AFC South-clinching field goal against the Houston Texans. In his career, he’s made 10 of 13 field goals and 23 of 26 extra points.
Bailey was one of the more accurate kickers in NFL history until his final year with the Dallas Cowboys. He converted on just 75 percent of his kicks in back-to-back seasons in 2017-18, and he made just 15 of 22 attempts for the Minnesota Vikings last season.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_