Adam Vinatieri

Adam Vinatieri To Remain Colts’ Kicker

Adam Vinatieri has struggled to start his 24th NFL season, missing three extra points and two field goals in the Colts’ two games. Rumors of a possible Monday retirement announcement surfaced, but that will not take place.

The 46-year-old kicking icon will remain the Colts’ kicker for Week 3, Frank Reich confirmed. “Adam’s our kicker. … He’s an instrumental leader on our team,” Reich said, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter).

Reich and Vinatieri met Monday, and the future Hall of Famer will be given another chance. Jim Irsay expressed concern about Vinatieri on Sunday, but the Colts are standing by their kicker of the past 14 seasons. The Colts lost 30-24 in overtime to the Chargers in Week 1, after Vinatieri’s three misses, and narrowly edged the Titans 19-17 after Vinatieri’s two PAT misfires.

Last season, Vinatieri hit 23 of 27 field goals and 44 of 47 extra points. He will need to bounce back quickly to head toward those benchmarks (or finish the season as a Colt). Reich said Chris Ballard will decide whether or not additional kickers are brought in to work out, per Erickson (on Twitter).

Latest On Adam Vinatieri, Colts

Following an uncharacteristically-poor performance in Week 1, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri struggled again during today’s win over the Titans. Following the game, owner Jim Irsay acknowledged that the team’s struggles at kicker are a concern.

“Breaks my heart to see it because I know how hard (Vinatieri) works,” Irsay said (via ESPN’s Mike Wells). “Of course it’s a concern. I can’t lie to you guys. Anyone would tell you it’s a concern. Adam, coach (Frank Reich), (general manager) Chris (Ballard), me. Yeah, I mean, in this league, it’s professional football. We all have to produce.

“The expectation is to win when you’re a professional. So we have to figure out where we’re at there and see what coach and Chris think is the best direction. And I know Adam will be the most self-honest person of all, so we’ll see where we’re at.”

Meanwhile, while Vinatieri didn’t say much following the victory, he did indicate that we’d hear from him on Monday. When told by reporters that tomorrow was a day off, the veteran had the same response: “Yeah, you will (hear from me).”

We’re all familiar with the future Hall of Famer’s accolades. Vinatieri made a name for himself by converting game-winning field goals during Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, and he’s earned another two rings during his career with the Patriots and Colts. He currently holds NFL records for most points scored (2,600) and most field goals made (582). He also holds the distinction of being the oldest active NFL player at 46 years old.

While Vinatieri’s field goal percentage dropped each year between 2015 and 2018, he was still more-than-reliable. However, the 24-year veteran has struggled mightily in 2019. He missed a pair of field goal attempts and one extra point attempt in Week 1, and he followed that up by missing a pair of extra point attempts today.

While Reich seemed to place Vinatieri’s struggles on the “snap and hold,” there’s no denying that the veteran may simply be ready to call it a career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Lock, Texans, Colts, Vinatieri, Assistant Coaches

The 2019 NFL Draft is less than three months away, with the combine right around the corner. Draft buzz is starting to heat up, and one team in a particularly interesting situation is the Broncos. Denver has the tenth overall pick, and has been looking for a new franchise quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired. While the team has Case Keenum under contract for one more year, it seems like there’s a very good chance the Broncos take a quarterback early yet again.

Adding fuel to that fire, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post hears that Broncos GM John Elway is “smitten” with Missouri signal caller Drew Lock, and that Elway’s infatuation with the quarterback was “the worst-kept secret at the Senior Bowl.” Lock seems like a real possibility to go to the Broncos at ten, and could be the first quarterback taken if Dwayne Haskins slips a little bit. If the Broncos do draft a quarterback, they could get out of Keenum’s contract relatively easily, or choose to keep him on for one year as a bridge quarterback/mentor.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Texans made a front office move today, bringing in former Jets executive Clay Hampton to be their new director of football operations, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). McClain notes that Hampton was in the Jets’ front office for 17 years, working his way up from being a ball boy to become their director of football operations. McClain also writes that Hampton will report directly to GM Brian Gaine who worked for the Jets at the same time as Hampton.
  • Adam Vinatieri officially signed on for a 24th season a few days ago, and now we have the details on his new contract with the Colts. Vinatieri signed a one-year $3.875MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Vinatieri turned 46 in December but showed no signs of slowing down this season, even though he did miss two kicks in Indianapolis’ divisional round playoff loss to the Chiefs.
  • Speaking of the Colts, the team made a couple of new additions to Frank Reich’s staff today. They hired Jason Michael as their tight ends coach and Chris Strausser as their offensive line coach, the team announced in a tweet. The Colts’ offensive line had an amazing turn around in 2018, but they fired Dave DeGuglielmo after the season so Reich could bring in one of his own guys, and he apparently settled on Strausser, who was with the Broncos last season. Strausser reportedly was also drawing interest from the Browns.

 

Colts Re-Sign Adam Vinatieri

Adam Vinatieri will return for a 24th NFL season. The Colts inked a new one-year deal with the kicker, the team announced.

Vinatieri owns four Super Bowl rings and is the league’s all-time leading scorer, so he has nothing left to prove. Still, Vinatieri’s love of football has not waned, so he is eager to return for his age-46 season. Should the Colts reach the playoffs in 2019, Vinatieri will be booting kicks as a 47-year-old.

“If they’re wanting, I can’t imagine (I’d) not keep playing, you know?Vinatieri said earlier this month.

Vinatieri nailed 85% of his field goal tries (23-for-27) for a second straight year and connected on a 54-yard field goal for a third straight season. He made four 50-plus-yard field goals — the fourth straight year he has connected on at least four from beyond 50 yards. He did miss an extra point and a field goal inside of PAT distance in the Colts’ divisional round loss to the Chiefs, but he’s still one of the league’s most reliable legs.

I will say this: do I think he can still kick in this league and be a really good kicker? Absolutely I do,” GM Chris Ballard said recently. “He is as important a guy in that locker room. I don’t know if I have been around a special teams player that has as much impact as Adam (Vinatieri) does in the locker room. From a positive standpoint, all of our young guys that come in get to see Adam Vinatieri work, rehab, prepare his body every year, be a pro, handle the hard times, handle the good times. I mean all of that, what Adam brings, brings a lot of value to this team.”

Only two players — kicker Morten Andersen and quarterback/kicker George Blanda — have played either a 24th season or past their 47th birthdays. Once again, Vinatieri has his eye on smashing a new record.

The deal was first reported by Zak Keefer of the Indy Star (on Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reported the length of the contract. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Vinatieri, Foles, Eagles

The Colts were one of the best stories of the 2018 NFL seasons. After starting the season 1-5, Indianapolis went on a miraculous run to the divisional round, where their season was finally ended by the Chiefs. Colts fans have a lot to be excited about now that Andrew Luck is finally fully healthy, but GM Chris Ballard still has a lot of work to do. The team is still missing some pieces, and former NFL agent and current CBS Sports Analyst Joel Corry recently broke down what their offseason might look like.

Corry, who knows a thing or two about the cap, writes that the Colts are “the envy of the NFL from a salary cap standpoint”, and that Ballard will have a lot of flexibility to do whatever he wants this spring. He writes that the Colts are in a “position to make a splash in free agency”, which is interesting considering the team has been linked to Le’Veon Bell in the past. Corry also thinks the Colts will be looking for a secondary receiver to pair with T.Y. Hilton as well as a pass-rusher to bolster the defensive line. Whatever Ballard does, the Colts will be one of the most interesting teams to monitor this offseason.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the Colts, we heard last week that they were interested in bringing back kicker Adam Vinatieri, and now we know the interest is mutual. Vinatieri had previously been noncommittal about his status, but the 46-year-old does indeed plan to play a 24th season next year, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Vinatieri had a disappointing end to the season, missing an extra point and 23-yard field goal, but he was still one of the best kickers in the league throughout the year.
  • We’ve heard a lot about how it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Nick Foles won’t be back in Philadelphia next season, but there’s one scenario that hasn’t been getting much attention. The conventional wisdom has been that the Eagles will pick up his 2019 option and then Foles would pay the $2MM buyout to become a free agent, but the Eagles could choose to decline the option, then franchise tag and trade him, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN (Twitter link). Mortensen thinks the Eagles will want to avoid Foles signing with a rival like the Redskins, and would prefer to control where he lands in addition to landing some potential draft compensation. The Eagles have until February 11th to pick up the option, so we should know more within the next couple of weeks.

Colts Want To Bring Back Adam Vinatieri

It seems neither party involved wants Adam Vinatieri‘s ineffective performance in Kansas City to be his final NFL act.

After the 46-year-old kicker expressed interest in playing at least one more season, the Colts also want to have their longtime kicker back for the 2019 season, Mike Chappell of CBS 4 tweets.

Another Vinatieri deal would mean a 14th season with the Colts and a voyage further into rare NFL territory. Only two players — kicker Morten Andersen and quarterback/kicker George Blanda — have played either a 24th season or past their 47th birthdays.

“If they’re wanting, I can’t imagine (I’d) not keep playing, you know?” Vinatieri said (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star). “I haven’t made the decision yet. I’ll spend a week or two and just kind of see where we’re at.”

Vinatieri made 85 percent of his field goal tries (23-for-27) for a second straight year and connected on a 54-yard field goal for a third straight season. He made four 50-plus-yard field goals — the fourth straight year he has connected on at least four from beyond 50 yards. However, he missed an extra point and a field goal inside of PAT distance in the Colts’ 31-13 loss to the Chiefs.

Last year, Vinatieri earned $3.625MM on a one-year deal with the Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Adam Vinatieri Wants To Re-Sign With Colts

Adam Vinatieri hasn’t made a firm decision either way, but the kicker seems to want to continue his career with the Colts. The 46-year-old kicker has pretty much done it all, but he says he’d have a hard time saying no to a new deal. 

If they’re wanting, I can’t imagine (I’d) not keep playing, you know?” Vinatieri said (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star). “I haven’t made the decision yet. I’ll spend a week or two and just kind of see where we’re at.

Vinatieri could certainly pack it in now and be proud of his career. He’s spent more than two decades in the league, collected four Super Bowl rings, and eclipsed Morten Andersen for the league’s all-time records in key kicking categories.

Then again, he still has plenty in the tank after a strong 23rd season in the NFL. In 2018, the old man nailed 23 of 27 field goals, giving him an 85.2% conversion rate that is clip that is higher than his career average of 84.3%. He also sank four field goals from 50 yards or more, so his power hasn’t gone anywhere either.

Last year, Vinatieri earned $3.625MM on a one-year deal with the Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Bucs, Colts, Vinatieri, Jaguars

Although the Buccaneers ultimately stood pat prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline, they did inquire on available cornerbacks, tweets Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Only one cornerback — former Giant/current Saint Eli Apple — was traded near the deadline, but others, including Janoris Jenkins (Giants), Chris Harris and Bradley Roby (Broncos), and Gareon Conley (Raiders), were thought to be available. Tampa Bay has already lost corners Vernon Hargreaves and Marcus Williams for the season, and are currently fielding the NFL’s worst pass defense by DVOA, so adding help in the back end was certainly a priority. The Buccaneers reportedly also targeted Giants safety Landon Collins but weren’t able to come to an agreement with New York.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, now the NFL’s all-time scoring leader, has no interest in playing for any team besides Indianapolis, according to Mike Chappell of FOX59 (Twitter link). Although he’s now 45 years old, Vinatieri intends to play beyond the 2018 campaign, and the Colts would have interest in re-signing him if he keeps producing at his current level. As Chappell notes, Vinatieri and his family have settled in Indianapolis — he’s now been with the Colts for longer than he played for the Patriots — and the Colts should be contenders in 2019. Vinatieri, who signed a one-year, $3.625MM deal in the spring, has converted 14-of-16 field goals and 21-of-23 extra points this season.
  • Both the Jaguars and the Rams believed that moving Dante Fowler out of his home state of Florida would be beneficial to the young pass rusher, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com writes. Fowler, who was traded to Los Angeles on Tuesday, played collegiately at the University of Florida, and there’s a feeling that relocating — be it to California or anywhere that is not Florida — will be a positive. Additionally, Jacksonville has several looming defensive extensions on the horizon, including deals for stars Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue, so keeping Fowler around wasn’t a must. Plus, as Breer details, Fowler wasn’t exactly a key cog on the Jaguars’ defense, as he’d played on only 32% of the club’s defensive snaps to this point.
  • In case you missed it, Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport — whom New Orleans traded up to select in the first round of this year’s draft — is expected to miss a month or so after suffering a toe injury. Here’s how the Saints intend to replace the rookie pass rusher.

Extra Points: Peterson, Jets, Vinatieri, Giants

Since we learned that Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson asked for a trade, we’ve heard that both the Eagles and Saints have inquired on the Pro Bowl cornerback. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has a new name to add to the list of suitors: the Jets. The reporter tweets that the Jets reached out to the Cardinals about Peterson, but New York isn’t expected to pull off a trade.

There’s obviously plenty to like about the veteran, who has made it to seven-straight Pro Bowls. In seven games this season, the 28-year-old has compiled 35 tackles, three passes defended, two interceptions, and one sack. Pro Football Focus ranks Peterson fourth among 112 eligible cornerbacks.

On the flip side, the Jets may not need to overpay for the cornerback, as Pro Football Focus has been fond of Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson‘s performance this season (along with top backup Darryl Roberts).

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Albert Breer of SI.com doesn’t believe the Cardinals are motivated to move Peterson, and the recent trade request won’t force their hand. The veteran is still one of the top coverage cornerbacks in the NFL, and his salary over the next two seasons doesn’t break the bank. If the team were to make a move, Breer points to the Saints and Chiefs as logical landing spots.
  • Earlier today, the Colts worked out a trio of kickers in Kai ForbathCairo Santos, and Taylor Bertolet. However, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets that the team won’t be signing any of these options since they’re holding out hope that Adam Vinatieri will be ready to go for this weekend’s matchup with the Raiders. Today’s workouts were solely a contingency in case the future Hall of Famer doesn’t suit up. The 45-year-old is currently dealing with a groin injury, and it could force him to miss only his second regular season game since the beginning of 2014.
  • Despite the Giantstrade of Eli Apple earlier today, head coach Pat Shurmur wanted to make it clear that the team wasn’t giving up on this season. “We’re not throwing in the towel,” Shurmur said (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY on Twitter). “This will give an opportunity for some young players and newer players to have an opportunity to play.” The Giants sent the cornerback to the Saints earlier today, receiving a 2019 fourth-round pick and 2020 seventh-round pick in return.
  • Shurmur was also adamant that the Giants wouldn’t be trading franchise quarterback Eli Manning. When asked if the veteran would still be on the team after the trade deadline, the head coach gave a simple answer. “Yes, I do,” he said (via Vacchiano). “I think Eli will be our quarterback. He has been, and he’ll continue to be here.” The 37-year-old has completed 69-percent of his passes for 2,061 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Colts To Work Out Kickers

Kai Forbath, Cairo Santos, and Taylor Bertolet are among the kickers working out for the Colts on Tuesday, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). One of these players may wind up filling in for Adam Vinatieri as he recovers from a groin issue.

Vinatieri’s status for Sunday’s game is murky, so the Colts want to have a kicker at the ready in case he is unable to suit up. After Vinatieri missed two extra point tries against the Bills – something he hadn’t done before in his 23-year career – the Colts probably don’t want to trot him out there if he’s still hurt.

We just know he felt a little something on the first PAT, so we are just going to see how the week progresses,” head coach Frank Reich said this week (via Michael Marot of The Associated Press). “We’re going to bring in some kickers, just so you guys know, but we are not going to make any decisions until later.”

Forbath and Santos offer extensive NFL experience, while the 25-year-old Bertolet is still waiting for his first kick in a real NFL game.