On Sunday, Kai Forbath will become the fourth kicker to see the field for the New England Patriots this season.
On Friday, his signing became official.
“We’ll do introductions so he can get to know everybody,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in his press conference. “We’ll see how it goes. Worked Kai out earlier this fall, three or four weeks ago, whatever it was. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
The Patriots released Nick Folk as the corresponding move to make room on the 53-man roster for Forbath.
Folk had an emergency appendectomy on Thanksgiving. The 35-year-old had gone 7-of-9 on field goals and 3-of-3 on extra points since replacing Mike Nugent the end of October.
“We were making progress, in terms of the timing and overall operation,” Belichick said of Folk, who spent last spring with the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots.
But the short turnaround for Sunday’s 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff at NRG Stadium now brings more turnover at a position the Patriots have seldom had it. Incumbent Stephen Gostkowski went to injured reserve to undergo hip surgery after four appearances this campaign. Prior to then, the franchise’s all-time scoring leader had missed just eight appearances dating back to his arrival in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft.
“Other teams in the league have gone through it,” Belichick said. “We’ve gone through it at other positions. It’s not what you want. It’s not ideal. But we’ll keep going.”
For this week, the Patriots will keep going with Forbath.
Forbath, 32, kicked in three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. He served as the full-time kicker for the Minnesota Vikings the previous season, going 32-of-38 on field goals and 34-of-39 on extra points. Forbath has also been a member of the New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys since entering the league out of UCLA.
The 2009 recipient of the Lou Groza Award is in the immediate plans.
“Right now we’re just going to go down and play Houston,” Belichick said, “trying to go down and beat Houston. That’s the intention right now. That’s our goal.”
Those introductions with long snapper Joe Cardona and rookie holder Jake Bailey will play an integral part in it.
“I think those guys are doing a great job in minimizing, I’d say, the amount of movement and change,” added Belichick. “Certainly, those guys being consistent makes it a lot easier for the kicker to come in and execute it.”