Over the better part of the last 25 years, the New England Patriots’ place kicker position has been as steady as any in the NFL — first manned by Adam Vinatieri, and since 2006 by Stephen Gostkowski. When the latter was placed on injured reserve because of a hip injury earlier this season, however, the Patriots had to find a replacement. They first went with a Mike Nugent, but he was replaced by Nick Folk after a string of inconsistent performances.
Folk started his Patriots tenure solid, by making his first nine kicks before missing two field goal attempts last Sunday in less-than-ideal conditions. Despite going just two-of-four on field goals against the Dallas Cowboys, however, Folk’s spot on the team seemed to be rather safe — until now: as reported on Thursday, the 35-year-old underwent an appendectomy and will likely miss the upcoming game against the Houston Texans.
The Patriots are therefore expected to sign another kicker in order to fill Folk’s spot at least this week, and the team has already found a target: according to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots are expected to bring Kai Forbath in to replace Folk — making him the third man to kick for New England since Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve on October 2.
Forbath is no stranger to the Patriots: he already was brought in for a workout when Gostkowski was originally placed on IR, but ultimately not signed as the team went with Nugent. Now, however, it appears that he will get his chance — if potentially only temporarily. Either way, New England will likely become the seventh team with which the 32-year-old has spent time over the course of his career.
Forbath did start the 2019 season unsigned after getting released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in February, after appearing in three games for the team last season and making four of five field goal attempts as well as all three of his extra points. His last full season — 2017, which he spent with the Minnesota Vikings — saw him hit 84.2% (32 of 38) on field goals and 87.2% (34 of 39) on PATs.