One of the under the radar story lines in free agency would be whether or not the Patriots would elect to re-sign kicker Stephen Gostkowski or let him walk. It was reported earlier today that the San Francisco 49ers expressed interest in the 13-year veteran place kicker. Gostkowski is 3rd all time in FG% with 87.3% of his career FG attempts being successful, including 71% from 50 yards or more, although he’s also missed some notable kicks in the postseason the past four seasons. Ghost was 2 out of 3 in the Super Bowl, including a nailing a 41-yarder to ice the game with 1:12 left. The Patriots have decided to bring him back in the fold.
Patriots are re-signing kicker Stephen Gostkowski to a two-year deal, source tells ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 9, 2019
This deal would cover Gostkowski’s 14th and 15th seasons with the Patriots (Age 35-36), making him one of the longest tenured players in franchise history. Ghost was one of the top kickers in the NFL from 2013-2017, successfully converting 90% or more FG attempts in 4 of 5 seasons. His success rate dropped to 84% in 2018 overall and only 2 of 5 from 50+ in the season, which is probably why he was on the market for so long. Ghost had a similar drop in production in 2016, but was able to bounce back with a stellar 2017 campaign. It will be interesting to see how he performs in 2019, whether it’s a return to being an elite place kicker or ultimately perform badly enough to set the wheels in motion for Belichick to start looking for a replacement.
UPDATE: The two year deal is worth up to $8.5M according to Schefter.
Patriots are giving kicker Stephen Gostkowski a two-year, $8.5 million deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 10, 2019
That pays Gostkowski an average of $4.25M, which is slightly lower than the $4.3M average he got in his 4/$17.2M deal signed after the 2014 season. It’s a pretty solid indication that the Patriots still see Ghost as one of the top kickers in the NFL and that he’ll bounce back like he did in 2017.