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.