Gostkowski signed a two-year deal to stay with the Patriots in 2019 but is coming off an injury-marred season. He has been New England’s kicker since 2006, taking over after the Pats let Adam Vinatieri walk in free agency. A Gostkowski release will save the Pats nearly $3.5MM. They entered Monday with less than $5MM in cap space.
Gostkowski spent a few days as the Patriots’ longest-tenured player, rising to that position after Tom Brady defected to the Buccaneers. That distinction now belongs to 12th-year special-teamer Matthew Slater. Gostkowski’s 204 regular-season games played ranks fourth in Patriots history. When postseason contests are included, his games-played total ranks only behind Brady’s.
New England used four kickers last season, with Kai Forbath, Nick Folk and Mike Nugent taking turns replacing the injured Gostkowski. While Folk finished the season as the Pats’ kicker, he is currently a free agent. Gostkowski, 36, is coming off hip surgery. This marks another big change for the Pats, who last week saw the most decorated player in franchise history opt to leave.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Gostkowski resides as one of this era’s best kickers. He landed on the 2008 and 2015 All-Pro first teams as well. The former fourth-round pick’s 87.4% career field goal success rate ranks fifth in NFL history, and his 39 career playoff field goals rank behind only Vinatieri’s 56 in playoff history.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.