Wil Lutz

Saints K Wil Lutz Receives Clearance To Return

Drew Brees‘ retirement led to four quarterbacks making starts for the Saints last season. Wil Lutz‘s injury produced similar instability. The Saints used four kickers in Lutz’s absence in 2021. Their 2022 outlook at the position appears clearer.

Lutz revealed on Instagram he has received clearance to return to workouts. This will be a welcome sight for the Saints, who used three kickers (Brett Maher, Brian Johnson, Aldrick Rosas) in at least four games, with Maher’s eight leading the way, and Cody Parkey in the other.

A groin injury led to Lutz’s absence. The veteran specialist had an opportunity to return near the midseason point, when the Saints opened his IR-return window. But a setback led to Lutz being shut down for the season. Lutz, 27, said he has undergone two surgeries in the past year.

While the Maher-Johnson-Rosas-Parkey quartet made 25 of 30 field goals, the hired legs combined to go 31-for-38 on extra points. Even while playing exclusively in the longer-range PAT era, Lutz has only missed seven (253-for-260) in his five-season run as New Orleans’ primary kicker. His return stands to help a Saints team that looks better than last year’s iteration — partially because of injured players’ returns. Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas are in line to join Lutz in reclaiming their previous roles with the team.

Lutz, who received a Pro Bowl invite in 2019, is still tied to the five-year extension he signed in March of that year. The Georgia State alum is under contract for two more seasons; he is set to count $5.57MM against New Orleans’ cap in 2022. The Saints’ coalition of 2021 kickers is gone, but the team did sign UDFA John Parker Romo this offseason.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/3/22

Here are Monday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OT Mike Remmers (remains on IR)

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Raymond Calais (remains on IR)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Saints’ Wil Lutz Done For Year

Wil Lutz will not return from the injured reserve list after all. On Tuesday, the Saints kicker announced that he has suffered a setback in his recovery that will shut him down for the rest of 2021.

2021 has been filled with adversity, personally, but with adversity comes an exciting challenge,” Lutz wrote (Twitter link). “Unfortunately I had a setback during the rehab process that has forced me to shift my focus to being 100 percent healthy for the long term and shut it down for the season. I want nothing more than to be out there with my teammates helping us win games, and I look forward to doing that when healthy! Thank you to the best fan base in the country for the support and well wishes, we’ll be back stronger than ever.”

Lutz has served as New Orleans’ primary kicker since 2016. All in all, he’s made 86.6% of his field goal tries across his five-year career, positioning him as one of the best kickers in the game. He’s also made 253 out of 260 extra point attempts in the elongated XP era. Unfortunately, he aggravated his groin injury in early August and hasn’t improved over the last ~10 weeks.

First, the Saints turned to Aldrick Rosas, who went 1-4 on field goal tries. He was later replaced by Cody Parkey, who missed two extra field goal tries. That led them to undrafted rookie kicker Brian Johnson, who joined the team two weeks ago and just sank both of his FG tries to beat the Seahawks.

Saints’ Wil Lutz Designated For Return

Wil Lutz has been designated for return from the injured reserve list (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). It’s not clear if he’ll be ready for this week’s game against the Seahawks, but the Saints expect to see him in the next 21 days.

[RELATED: Latest On Saints’ Michael Thomas]

Lutz has served as New Orleans’ primary kicker since 2016. All in all, he’s made 86.6% of his field goal tries across his five-year career, positioning him as one of the best kickers in the game. He’s also made 253 out of 260 extra point attempts in the elongated XP era. Unfortunately, he aggravated a groin issue in early August, leaving the Saints to scramble. First, they turned to Aldrick Rosas, who went 1-4 on field goal tries. He’s since been replaced by veteran Cody Parkey.

Lutz, 27, is still attached to a five-year, $20.25MM extension he signed in March 2019. He’ll aim to resume his post this week when the Saints face the Seahawks in Seattle.

Saints, K Cody Parkey Agree To Deal

The Saints are making another change at kicker. They are signing veteran Cody Parkey, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This would stand to signal the end of Aldrick Rosas‘ New Orleans run.

Rosas has made just 1 of 4 field goal tries this season, having missed his past three kicks. The most recent came Sunday in a loss to the Giants. Parkey has not yet kicked during the 2021 season.

This deal appears set to be temporary. Primary Saints kicker Wil Lutz is only expected to miss a couple more games while recovering from his groin injury, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets. Lutz aggravated a groin issue in early August. He has been New Orleans’ primary kicker since 2016.

Parkey has become a well-traveled specialist, having kicked for five teams as a pro. After two straight years as the Eagles’ kicker to start his career, which included a Pro Bowl nod in 2014, Parkey has not been with the same team in consecutive seasons since. He bounced to Cleveland in 2016, Miami in ’17, Chicago in ’18, Tennessee in ’19 and back to Cleveland last season. The Bears stint serves as Parkey’s most memorable stay, with the infamous “double doink” game spotlighting their kicker position throughout the following offseason.

The Saints have, in fact, cut Rosas. They initially signed the ex-Giants Pro Bowler as Lutz’s replacement during the preseason. Rosas, who kicked in six games with the Jaguars last season, continues to see his career trend in the wrong direction. While he missed a difficult field goal in the Saints’ loss to the Giants — from 58 yards out — he missed 36- and 52-yard tries in Week 3.

Parkey, 29, made 19 of 22 attempts to help the Browns to the playoffs. He did miss four extra-point tries in his second Cleveland stay and has not made a 50-yard field goal since 2019. The Browns placed him on IR earlier this year with a quad injury but reached an injury settlement in August, opening the door for Parkey to kick for another team this season.

Saints’ Wil Lutz To Miss Time?

The Saints might need a new kicker. Wil Lutz has aggravated a groin injury that may require surgery (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

Between this year’s numbers crunch, Drew Brees‘ retirement, David Onyemata‘s suspension, and Michael Thomas‘ ankle injury, the Saints could wind up with eleven new starters in their season opener, as ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett notes (Twitter link).

Lutz, 27, is attached to a five-year, $20.25MM extension he signed in March 2019. At the time of signing, that made him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history. He rewarded the team’s confidence early on in that deal, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2019. The Saints have him under club control through 2023.

Lutz has made 86.6% of his field goal tries across his five-year career, positioning him as one of the best kickers in the game. He’s also made 253 out of 260 extra point attempts in the elongated XP era.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/29/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans

  • Signed: WR Jordan Veasy

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: OT Chidi Okeke
  • Waived: OT Calvin Ashley

Tennessee Titans

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Bud Dupree; Dupree remains on Tennessee’s active/PUP list as well

Washington Football Team

Saints Restructure Wil Lutz’s Contract

The Saints continue to methodically move down toward the NFL’s projected salary cap. While they have a long way to go, the team made another move Friday afternoon on the path toward cap compliance ahead of the 2021 league year.

New Orleans will restructure Wil Lutz‘s contract, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This move will create $1.74MM in cap space for the team. Lutz is attached to a five-year, $20.25MM extension he signed in March 2019. The five-year Saints kicker is signed through the 2023 season.

Many more moves will be required over the next week and change. The Saints entered Friday just more than $60MM over the $180MM mark that represents the floor for the 2021 salary cap. They have begun doing work to clear space, though the lion’s share of this process has yet to transpire.

The Saints released veterans Thomas Morstead and Josh Hill this week and restructured David Onyemata‘s contract. Along with Friday’s Lutz restructure, this work week’s round of moves created upwards of $11MM in cap space. The team still has the most work to do on the cap front of any NFL team as the 2020 league year winds down.

Contract Details: Taylor, Wright, Harris, Lutz

Some assorted contract details from the around the NFL:

Saints Sign K Wil Lutz To Extension

Saints kicker Wil Lutz has inked a new five-year deal with the team, according to a team press release. Lutz was a restricted free agent, but he’s now signed through the 2023 campaign.

The total value of Lutz’s new five-year deal will make him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett tweets. Full terms of the deal are not yet known, but, for reference, the league’s top kickers make north of $4MM per year.

Lutz has been solid for the Saints since joining the club in 2016. He has connected on 87% of his field goal tries, including 93.3% accuracy in 2018. And, out of his 153 extra point attempts, he’s missed only five.

Lutz originally signed with the Ravens as a UDFA in 2016, but he never had a chance to beat out Justin Tucker and was cut before camp. One week later, he hooked on with the Saints and became their go-to guy.