The New England Patriots brought a total of seven kickers in for tryouts over the last two days in order to find a replacement for Stephen Gostkowski. The starter, who has appeared in 232 of a possible 241 regular season and playoff games since the team drafted him in 2006, will of course miss the remainder of the season because of a hip injury that will require surgery. Gostkowski has already been placed on injured reserve.
Now, the open spot has been filled: as first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport, and since confirmed by the team, the Patriots have signed veteran Mike Nugent — one of the players to come to Foxborough on Wednesday. The most experienced of the kickers to get worked out by the club, Nugent has kicked a lot of footballs in his career for a lot of different teams: New England is the ninth station in his 15 years in the NFL.
Recently, however, the 37-year-old has only seen irregular action and has not held a full-time kicker job since the 2016 season when he played for the Cincinnati Bengals. Since then, Nugent has appeared in only 11 games in the league and has made 17 of 19 (89.5%) field goal attempts as well as 19 of his 22 extra points (86.4%) — none of which coming in 2019. He also has experience working kickoffs.
All in all, the move appears to be a solid one for the Patriots. Nugent has plenty of experience not just of playing in the NFL but also of kicking in inclement weather: he started his career with the New York Jets before joining the Bengals in 2010 (via short stops in Arizona and Tampa Bay). And even though he ended 2018 on injured reserve and has not kicked since, he could very well turn into a serviceable stop-gap option.
[UPDATE 10/03/2019 10:38 am ET] In addition to signing Nugent, the Patriots are also bringing in Younghoe Koo: according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the former Los Angeles Chargers kicker joins New Engalnd’s practice squad. Koo was in town for a tryout on Thursday morning and will add further depth at the position.