The New York Jets had been searching for a new kicker for much of training camp when they picked up Kaare Vedvik prior to Week 1, and the situation remained an evident problem for the team when Vedvik missed both a field goal and extra point during Sunday’s 17-16 home loss to the Buffalo Bills
On Tuesday, the Jets waived Vedvik and instead placed their trust in a Green Bay Packers preseason standout: Sam Ficken.
Ficken, who was signed Tuesday as a free agent after the Jets held tryouts to replace Vedvik, lost a kicking competition to Packers veteran Mason Crosby — a job that was his to lose — during training camp and was cut from the initial 53-man roster despite strong outings.
The decision thus far has not come back to bite the Packers, as Crosby nailed a 39-yarder along with his extra point in the Packers’ season-opening win at the Chicago Bears.
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A Chance to Shine
The third go-around could be the charm for the third-year pro kicker after a quiet first few seasons in the NFL.
Ficken made all five of his extra-point attempts as well as knocking through a 41-yard field goal during preseason action for the Packers. Beyond that, he also got a chance to shine in front of the roaring crowds of Lambeau Field during Packers Family Night ahead of the preseason.
But how will he do in the spotlight now for the Jets? Ficken played in just four career games for the Rams, missing half of his six attempted field goals with the makes coming under 40 yards. He was steadier at hitting his extra-point tries, making 14 of 15 PATs before departing L.A.
What he finds in New York, though, is his first real opportunity to hold — and, with consistently good play, keep — a starting job in his pro career.
Question Finally Answered for Jets?
Ficken is the answer, so their announced signing Tuesday would indicate. But the Jets have seen the answer chance so much during the offseason and preseason that it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes.
It started with Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers, the team’s 2018 starter, departing in free agency on a four-year, $15.5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets instead gave Chandler Catanzaro a one-year, $2.3 million contract to fill the void.
Then, unexpectedly after a rocky start to training camp, Catanzaro announced he was retiring from the league at 28. His departure left Taylor Bertolet as the lone kicker on the Jets roster, but going five for eight on field goals and two for four on extra points in the preseason forced the Jets to consider more options — included a tryout for much-maligned former Bears kicker Cody Parkey.