The New England Patriots went through four kickers in 2019. Stephen Gostkowski started the year just like he had the previous 13, but a season-ending hip injury forced the club to look for outside help. Neither Mike Nugent worked out as a replacement, though, nor did Kai Forbath. Nick Folk, meanwhile, did a solid job: he appeared in eight games for the Patriots and made 16 of 19 field goal attempts as well as all 13 of his extra point attempts.
Following the season, however, New England’s kicking situation changed once again. Not only was Folk not retained in free agency, the team also parted ways with Gostkowski and invested a fifth-round draft pick in Marshall’s Justin Rohrwasser. Rohrwasser is projected to become the Patriots’ place kicker of the future, but his career in the NFL is off to a quiet start after he attempted only a handful of kicks so far during training camp.
Whether or not an injury might be the reason for his comparatively limited workload can only be speculated at this point in time, but the team is apparently still looking for a potential Plan B. Re-enter Nick Folk: the 35-year-old, visited New England for a free agency workout on Sunday and is eventually expected to sign a new contract with his former team on Monday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Folk originally entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2007 and was voted to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. He was let go again in 2010, however, and went on to join the New York Jets with whom he spent a combined six seasons. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017, but ended his season prematurely due to injury before spending 2018 out of football. A stint in the short-lived AAF was finally followed by the Patriots picking him up as a free agent midway through last season.
While the veteran should not necessarily be expected to become a long-term solution at the kicker position due to his age, adding him will give the team more flexibility with Rohrwasser’s status uncertain. At the very least it will add even more intrigue to the special teams operation this summer and Year One after the still unsigned Stephen Gostkowski.