Sam Ficken

Jets To Sign K Sam Ficken

The Jets are set to sign kicker Sam Ficken, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Ficken will replace Kaare Vedvik, who missed a field goal and an extra point in the team’s 17-16 loss to the Bills on Sunday. 

Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering. Ficken’s brief trial period ended after he missed two of three field goal tries between Weeks 3 and 4 last season. This offseason, he had stints with the Seahawks and Packers, but wound up back on the free agency pile when he missed the cut in Green Bay.

Vedvik, a hybrid kicker/punter specialist, has had a rough offseason. After being traded from the Ravens to the Vikings for a fifth-round pick, he was hoping to fill the Jets’ void at kicker. Instead, he’s now looking for his fourth team in four weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Hold Kicker Tryout

While the Bears this offseason garnered more publicity than just about any kicker-seeking team ever has, the Jets are entering that realm. They are almost certainly set to move to a fourth kicker in less than a month.

The Jets will hold a kicker tryout on Tuesday, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. Sam Ficken, Greg Joseph, Elliott Fry, Younghoe Koo, and Tristan Vizcaino will vie to replace the struggling Kaare Vedvik, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News.

Adam Gase‘s official word has not yet sealed Vedvik’s fate, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes the first-year Jets coach was “fuming” regarding the recently acquired kicker on Sunday night (Twitter link). Vedvik missed an extra point and a 45-yard field goal in what became a one-point Jets loss to the Bills. The hybrid specialist is 1-for-5 on field goals since being traded from the Ravens to the Vikings in the second week of the preseason.

Vedvik loomed as a Ravens trade chip for two offseasons, and after spending the 2018 season on Baltimore’s IR list, the Ravens acquired a fifth-round pick for him. The Vikings were set to offer a practice squad spot to Vedvik before the Jets made a waiver claim. The Vikings have another kicker, Chase McLaughlin, on their P-squad.

The Jets opted to let 2018 Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers defect to the Seahawks in free agency. Replacement Chandler Catanzaro retired in mid-August, and the team added AAF alum Taylor Bertolet. The Vedvik claim sent Bertolet back to the waiver wire. Despite a versatile skill set that stems from extensive punting experience as well, Vedvik looks set to head there again soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Reach 53-Man Max

The Packers have released the following players to reach the 53-man limit:

G Dejon Allen
TE Evan Baylis
FB Tommy Bohanon
RB Tra Carson
G Anthony Coyle
T Gerhard de Beer
CB Kabion Ento
K Sam Ficken
LB James Folston
RB Keith Ford
S Natrell Jamerson
LB Markus Jones
CB Jocquez Kalili
WR Allen Lazard
DL James Looney
S Tray Matthews
TE Pharoah McKever
WR J’Mon Moore
T Yosh Nijman
G/T Adam Pankey
CB Jackson Porter
LB Randy Ramsey
WR Teo Redding
CB Nydair Rouse
DL Olive Sagapolu
LB Brady Sheldon
DL Deon Simon
WR Malik Taylor
QB Manny Wilkins

The Packers’ previously announced release of DeShone Kizer leaves the club with just two quarterbacks – Aaron Rodgers and Tim Boyle – on the roster. Meanwhile, they’ll carry six wide receivers on the initial 53: Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis, Jake Kumerow, and Darrius Shepherd.

Equanimeous St. Brown, meanwhile, is not on that WR list. He was initially thought to have suffered a mild ankle sprain, but now, he’ll be out for the season.

Packers Claim K Sam Ficken

The Packers have claimed kicker Sam Ficken off of waivers from the Seahawks, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Ficken now appears poised to compete for the club’s kicking job alongside Mason Crosby

Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering. Ficken’s brief trial period ended after he missed two of three field goal tries between Weeks 3 and 4.

Crosby, meanwhile, has been the Packers’ kicker since entering the league in 2007. On the whole, Crosby has been very solid, but he had some shaky moments last year, including four missed field goals in a 31-23 loss to the Lions in October.

For his career, Crosby has converted on 80.4% of his field goal tries and 98% of his extra point attempts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Work Out Caleb Sturgis, Chandler Catanzaro, Others

Graham Gano has been the Panthers’ kicker since 2012, and he’s made 13 of 15 field goal attempts this season. But he’s run into trouble recently, and those issues have overlapped with Carolina’s three-game losing streak.

The Panthers are exploring other options. They brought in kickers Chandler Catanzaro, Caleb Sturgis, Sam Ficken and Matt McCrane for workouts Tuesday, Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan tweets.

Gano missed a go-ahead 52-yard field goal in Carolina’s loss to Seattle on Sunday and missed an extra point, one of the three he’s misfired on this season, in a one-point loss in Detroit in Week 11. For the season, the 31-year-old specialist is 28-for-31 on PATs. He missed three extra points in each of the past three seasons.

Sturgis and Catanzaro saw the Chargers and Buccaneers, respectively, replace them midway through this season. Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering; Ficken missed 2 of 3 field goal tries. McCrane went to camp with the Cardinals and received a four-game opportunity with the Raiders. Said opportunity included four missed field goals.

Carolina and Gano agreed to terms on a four-year contract in March. It would cost the Panthers more than $5MM in dead money to cut Gano now. At $4.25MM AAV, Gano is the second-highest-paid kicker in the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Work Out 5 Kickers

Dustin Hopkins‘ availability for Week 11 appears to be in question, so the Redskins are getting an early start on examining replacement help.

With Hopkins “a bit banged up,” per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter links), Washington brought in several kickers for a Tuesday workout.

Blair Walsh, Roberto Aguayo, Kai Forbath, Sam Ficken and Jon Brown participated, Yates reports. Of the quintet, only Ficken has kicked in a 2018 game. Walsh and Forbath had gigs last season, with the Seahawks and Vikings, respectively, while Aguayo has not kicked in a game since his rough 2016 season.

Forbath has a history with Washington, having been Hopkins’ predecessor. The UCLA product served as the Redskins’ kicker from 2012-14 before moving on to roles with the Saints and Vikings. The latter cut him this year, giving the job to rookie Daniel Carlson, whose grip on it lasted two games.

The Redskins went through this with Hopkins last season. He missed eight games in 2017, and Washington used Nick Rose as its kicker during that time. Rose is not believed to have been among today’s tryout contingent. Also perhaps soon to be available is Chandler Catanzaro, whom the Buccaneers sent to waivers on Monday. But his two misses Sunday helped the Redskins pick up a road win.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/5/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links go to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Extra Points: Harbaugh, Browns, Packers, Chiefs

Earlier today, it was reported that Ravens coach John Harbaugh was on the hot seat. It was reported Harbaugh was under “mounting pressure” to turn his team’s season around, and things didn’t get any better today. The team lost to the Steelers and slipped below .500, but despite the loss Harbaugh wasn’t sweating the media reports after the game.

Harbaugh “certainly didn’t act worried” during his post-game press conference, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Harbaugh didn’t sound like he was worried about his job security even though the team dropped its third straight game today. Harbaugh has had a ton of success during his tenure in Baltimore, but things have been rocky the past couple of years and the Ravens reportedly considered parting ways after last season. Despite his defiant tone today, it certainly seems like the 11-year Harbaugh era in Baltimore could be coming to a close. The Ravens are heading into their bye week, so it’s possible we hear news of a switch as early as this week.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Browns haven’t been able to get any consistency in the kicking game all season, and worked out a slew of specialists Saturday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Schefter notes that the team worked out kickers “Sam Ficken, Marshall Koehn, Younghoe Koo, Jon Brown and Tyler Rausa.” It wouldn’t be surprising if the team moved on from current kicker Greg Joseph soon.
  • Speaking of specialists, the Packers made the unusual move of adding a second punter earlier this week, and nobody really knew why. There’s more clarity on the situation now, as they only signed Drew Kaser because incumbent punter J.K. Scott’s wife was due to have a baby tonight, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. It sounds like the team isn’t planning on making a change, and Kaser’s stay on the roster should be short-lived.
  • The Chiefs are clearly a Super Bowl contender and are in win-now mode, so plenty of people were surprised when they didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline to boost their defense. The team had reportedly been interested in trading for Earl Thomas earlier this year, but stood pat at the deadline, and now we know why. The Chiefs did try to trade for Landon Collins close to the deadline but weren’t able to strike a deal, according to Albert Breer of SI.com, who also writes that Kansas City’s coaching staff “has faith” that the team’s group of young defenders will continue to “improve as they go along.”