Brett Maher

Saints Sign K Brett Maher To Practice Squad

Having used three Wil Lutz replacement kickers this season, the Saints might be preparing to try a fourth. Brett Maher is back on the team’s practice squad, as of Tuesday.

While Maher has not been one of the kickers the Saints have tried this year, he was with the team during the preseason. New Orleans had Maher on its roster for a week in August but moved on before the regular season began. A Maher groin injury led to his quick New Orleans departure. With yet another kicker scuffling, the Saints may be set to give Maher his first game action in nearly two years.

[RELATED: Saints’ Lutz Done For Year]

The Saints have tried Cody Parkey, Aldrick Rosas and Brian Johnson this season. Johnson has been the team’s kicker for the past four games. He is 8-for-8 on field goal tries but has missed three extra points in eight attempts — including two misfires that made a big impact in Sunday’s loss to the Titans.

Maher, 31, has not kicked since the Cowboys cut him late in the 2019 season. He has been through numerous workouts and non-game-day stays with teams since. Between his Dallas exit and Saints signing in August, Maher was with the Jets, Washington, Texans and Cardinals. He has not been on a team this season.

Although Maher has limited experience for a 2013 UDFA, he was the first kicker in NFL history to have made three 60-plus-yard field goals. The Nebraska-Kearney alum and ex-CFL leg missed 10 field goals prior to the Cowboys cutting him in 2019. However, despite having spent his entire career kicking from the NFL’s modern PAT distance, the veteran kicker is 68-for-69 on extra points.

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Colts Working Out 4 Kickers

Rodrigo Blankenship‘s hip injury played a role in the Colts’ collapse Monday night, and the team is looking into temporary replacements. Michael Badgley and Brett Maher are working out for the Colts on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Indianapolis might not stop with just these two for workouts, Rapoport notes, with Blankenship in jeopardy of missing time. But for now, these are the free agents the Colts have identified as their top fill-in options. Blankenship, who arrived in Indy as a UDFA last year, has not missed a game yet as a pro.

The Colts are expanding this workout, with Tom Pelissero of NFL.com adding that Aldrick Rosas and Riley Patterson are also part of the audition (Twitter link). The Saints released Rosas earlier this month, while Patterson — a four-year kicker at Memphis — is a rookie UDFA who has yet to make his NFL debut.

The team gave Badgley a physical, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter), potentially a sign he won the competition. But no signing has as of yet taken place.

Badgley, 26, kicked in one game for the Titans this season but could not hold the job. Tennessee cut him after he missed a field goal and an extra point in a Week 1 loss to Arizona. While Badgley is best known for his three-year run as the Chargers’ kicker, he entered the NFL in 2018 as a Colts UDFA. The Colts waived Badgley after his rookie training camp, with Adam Vinatieri still going strong at that point.

Maher, 31, has not kicked in a regular-season game since the Cowboys cut him late in the 2019 season. The former CFL specialist has, however, caught on with several teams in the many months since. Maher has made stops with the Jets, Washington, Texans, Cardinals and Saints but did not make his way onto any of the teams’ regular-season rosters. Maher, whom New Orleans released with an injury settlement in August, has made three 60-plus-yard field goals during his short NFL career (29 games from 2018-19).

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49ers Work Out Kickers

The 49ers are looking at a group of kickers to potentially fill in for Robbie Gould. Michael Badgley, Brett Maher, and Joey Slye are among those auditioning while the team awaits word on Gould’s groin injury (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero).

[RELATED: 49ers Meet With Mychal Kendricks]

Badgley kicked in 34 Chargers games over the past three years but could not beat out the younger Tristan Vizcaino, in training camp. He had a recent cup of coffee with the Titans but that only lasted for a few days. He made nearly 94% of his attempts as a rookie in 2018 — including a 59-yarder — but saw that number dip to 72.7% in 2020.

Slye saw a brief stint as the Texans’ kicker this year, going 4-for-5 on field goals in three games. He was later released as Ka’imi Fairbairn‘s returned to action.

During his time in Dallas, Maher became the first kicker in NFL history to make three 60-plus-yard field goals, accomplishing this feat during the 2018 and ’19 seasons. However, after he made more than 80% of his field goals in 2018, Maher was just 20-for-30 a year later. He did not kick in 2020 and he did not make the Saints’ cut this summer, but he could have a chance to return in SF.

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Saints Working Out K Aldrick Rosas

Having included Brett Maher in their recent cuts, the Saints continue to search for Wil Lutz replacement options. They are working out a former Pro Bowler.

Aldrick Rosas auditioned for the Saints on Thursday, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter). A 2018 Pro Bowler with the Giants, Rosas has been unattached since the Jaguars cut him late last month. The Saints also worked out kickers Alex Kessman and Dominik Eberle.

Rosas, 26, is the only one of these three with NFL experience. Kessman kicked at Pitt, while Eberle played at Utah State.

The Giants placed a second-round RFA tender on Rosas last year but cut him soon after the young specialist was arrested following a hit-and-run incident. After serving a four-game suspension, Rosas landed in Jacksonville and kicked in six Jags games. The Southern Oregon product’s 2018 season, when he made 97% of his field goal tries (32-for-33), has thus far been an aberration. Rosas did not clear the 73% barrier in his other three seasons.

The Saints signed Maher last week but waived him days later; Maher sustained an injury in the Saints’ first preseason game. Lutz is expected to miss extensive time due to a groin injury, forcing New Orleans to search for a kicker for the first time in five years.

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Saints Waive K Brett Maher

Cornerback Prince Amukamara and defensive end Noah Spence weren’t the only players let go by the Saints today. The team also made a notable special teams move, as they waived/injured kicker Brett Maher (via The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell on Twitter). The team also placed offensive lineman Kyle Murphy on injured reserve and waived running back Stevie Scott.

[RELATED: Saints Cut Prince Amukamara]

The Saints brought in Maher earlier this month after starter Wil Lutz suffered a groin injury. According to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football on Twitter, Maher suffered his own groin injury while warming up for New Orleans’ preseason opener. That injury ultimately led to his release.

Maher was looking for an opportunity to relaunch a career that paused when the Cowboys cut him late in the 2019 season. Maher, 31, did not kick in 2020. A two-year Dallas kicker, Maher had spent time with five franchises since, including stints with the Jets, Washington, Texans, and Cardinals. Arizona retained Maher via reserve/futures contract in January but cut him in March.

During his time in Dallas, Maher became the first kicker in NFL history to make three 60-plus-yard field goals, accomplishing this feat during the 2018 and ’19 seasons. However, after he made more than 80% of his field goals in 2018, Maher was just 20-for-30 a year later. Maher first broke into the NFL as a UDFA in 2013, but after failing to secure a role, he moved to the CFL for a four-season run.

Murphy, 27, joined the Saints earlier this offseason. The former sixth-round pick has seen time in six career games (three starts). Scott was a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Indiana University.

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Saints To Sign K Brett Maher

The Saints have moved quickly to land a Wil Lutz replacement. After their kicker suffered a groin injury, the Saints agreed to terms with Brett Maher, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets.

Maher worked out for the Saints on Monday. He will have the opportunity to relaunch a career that paused when the Cowboys cut him late in the 2019 season. Maher, 31, did not kick in 2020.

A two-year Dallas kicker, Maher spent time with four franchises since. He went to camp with the Jets last year but bounced to Washington, Houston and Arizona. The Cardinals retained Maher via reserve/futures contract in January but cut him in March.

While the Cowboys parted ways with Maher late in 2019, moving to Greg Zuerlein the following offseason, he displayed historic long-range accuracy during his short stint in Dallas. Maher became the first kicker in NFL history to make three 60-plus-yard field goals, accomplishing this feat during the 2018 and ’19 seasons. However, after he made more than 80% of his field goals in 2018, Maher was just 20-for-30 a year later. Maher first broke into the NFL as a UDFA in 2013, but after failing to secure a role, he moved to the CFL for a four-season run.

Lutz has been New Orleans’ kicker for the past five seasons. He is likely to undergo core muscle surgery, and the procedure would sideline him for a few months. An IR move before the season starts would knock Lutz out for the year. If the Saints want to use Lutz this season, they would need to carry him onto their 53-man roster before placing him on IR ahead of Week 1.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 3/20/21

Here are the minor moves from Day 4 of official free agency:

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

 

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/6/21

We’ll keep track of the latest reserve/futures deals here:

Arizona Cardinals

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Bucs Place Donovan Smith On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Buccaneers have placed starting LT Donovan Smith on the reserve/COVID-19 list, per a team announcement. As a result, Smith will miss Tampa’s matchup with the Falcons on Sunday.

The 27-year-old blocker released a statement saying that he had close contact with a family member who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Per league protocols, Smith must self-quarantine for at least five days.

Smith has never been a world-beater, but even an average blindside protector is a valuable commodity in the NFL, as evidenced by the three-year, $41.25MM contract Smith signed with the Bucs in 2019. He has been entrenched as the Bucs’ starting LT since Tampa selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft, and this Sunday’s contest will be just the second missed game of his career.

2020 has actually been a solid year for him relative to his usual performance, at least if you believe the advanced metrics. Pro Football Focus thinks favorably of both his run-blocking and pass-blocking this season and considers him the 39th-best tackle in the league out of 80 qualified players. Josh Wells will likely get the start in Smith’s absence.

There is some good news to pass along, however. Specialists Bradley PinionRyan Succop, and Zach Triner, who all found themselves on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, have been activated. According to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, one of those three players tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, and the other two were placed on the list as close contacts. However, it appears that the positive test was a false one.

In order to guard against the possibility of losing their primary punter, kicker, and long snapper, the Bucs brought in free agent P Dustin Colquitt, K Brett Maher, and LS Garrison Sanborn for visits, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets. It doesn’t sound like there is a need to sign those players now, but Tampa may be keeping them on speed dial just in case.

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