Falcons Decide on Kicker Younghoe Koo’s Future & Contract

Younghoe Koo

Getty Younghoe Koo #7 of the Atlanta Falcons kicks a field goal as Ryan Allen #9 holds.

According to a report yesterday by The Athletic Jason Butt, the Atlanta Falcons plan on tendering kicker Younghoe Koo, who is set to become an exclusive-rights free agent in March.

More Koos Less Boos

Koo joined the Falcons in the middle of the 2019 season. The beginning of the season was a little messy for the Falcons. They cut Matt Bryant for not doing his job and handed it over to Giorgio Tavecchio. Tavecchio couldn’t handle the job either, so what did they do? They went back and tried Bryant one more time. Clearly, it didn’t work out and they parted ways. The End (for Bryant and Tavecchio at least).

When Koo came on board, he did nothing but help the team. In just eight games Koo attempted a total of 23 field goals and made 23 of them. Eight of his attempts made were from 40-plus yards back. He also was 15 for 16 on extra-point attempts.

Humbly, Koo was named NFC Special Teams Player of the week last season, not once, but twice. The first time was in Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints and then again in Week 14 when he recovered a fumble against the Carolina Panthers.

Some might call it luck, others say it’s a pure talent but the Falcon’s successfully recovered four onside kicks since Koo joined the team. However, two of those recoveries were called off due to penalties. Either way, luck or talent, you don’t see many kickers that successful onside.

At the end of the season, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn said they want to look into bringing another kicker to train against Koo during the offseason just so they don’t repeat the same mistake twice—the one where they hand the bad mojo off back to the one who started the bad mojo.

The Falcons are known in past seasons for investing in players within the “family” already. Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett’s contracts are reportedly already set. Thomas Dimitroff did make it clear that they will need to get creative with their salary cap. But to their benefit, Koo won’t cost an arm and a leg, just a leg.

Right Place Right Time

Koo moved to the United States in sixth grade having no idea what football was until he joined in on kids playing touch football during recess. He punted the ball incredibly far and shocked the kids who then convinced him into playing organized football. That’s where it all began.

By 7th grade, Koo was kicking on the football team. He had already come to the U.S. as an experienced soccer player, so it was just a different type of ball he was working with.

Koo told AJC in an interview that he had no clue being good at football could lead to a scholarship and eventually the pro league until his middle school coach explained it to his parents.

At Ridgewood High in New Jersey, Koo caught the attention of former Georgia Southern coach, Jeff Monken who recruited Koo. Koo became the first kicker in Georgia Southern’s history to be named a finalist for the Lou Graza Award. He set a school record making 31 attempts out of 35 and was added to the All-Sun Belt team.

Koo graduated and went undrafted in the NFL in 2017, but continued to practice his techniques in San Diego. After a few short-term yeses and a lot of nos, Koo came to workout in the right place, at the right time—with the Falcons who signed him the same day.

If Koo continues to rise up through the offseason, which there is no doubt he will, we’ll see him on the field this season.

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