Catanzaro’s job was clearly in jeopardy after he missed a pair of extra points in the Jets’ preseason opener. It was reported yesterday that New York would be bringing in kickers Blair Walsh and Chris Blewitt for tryouts, and the Jets are said to still be interested in Ravens’ kicker Kaare Vedvik, who also caught their eye last summer.
In addition to his difficulties in the first preseason game, Catanzaro had apparently struggled in camp as well. Perhaps he saw the writing on the wall and elected to leave the game on his terms rather than being cut.
Catanzaro, a Clemson product, signed with the Cardinals as a UDFA in 2014 and won Arizona’s kicking competition that year. His first two seasons in the league were quite promising, as he nailed 87.9% of his kicks in his rookie campaign and 90.3% in 2015. But his success rate dipped to 75% in 2016, and he signed with the Jets in March 2017. He experienced something of a bounceback in his first stint with Gang Green, converting 83.3% of his kicks and all of his PATs, and he signed a three-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason. Tampa Bay released him after he missed two field goals in a loss to the Redskins last November — he ultimately made just 73.3% of his kicks with the Bucs — and he caught on with the Panthers for the last few games of the season.
The Jets saw Jason Myers turn in a Pro Bowl effort last year, but they lost Myers to free agency in March and hoped that Catanzaro would be an adequate replacement. Obviously, that did not turn out to be the case, though as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets, the Jets could at least recoup Catanzaro’s $500K signing bonus if they so choose.
Bertolet was with the Jets last summer and performed well, but he has no regular season experience.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.