This time last year Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell was in danger of losing his job.
Boswell was coming off a subpar 2018 season in which he made only 65 percent of his field goals and less than 90 percent of his extra point attempts. But he agreed to delay payment of a $2 million bonus he was due last spring, which gave the team the entire 2019 preseason to determine whether he had regained his form.
Long story short: Boswell did regain his form and had a career-best year in 2019, converting 93.5 percent of his field goal attempts and 28 of 28 extra points, one of just three kickers with 25 or more attempts to convert every attempted PAT.
That explains how Boswell has regained his status as one of the best kickers in the NFL.
Chris Boswell No. 6 in the NFL: CBS Sports.com
For one, CBSSports.com has Chris Boswell as the sixth-best kicker in the NFL in its ranking of the Top 10 kickers entering the 2020 regular season, writing: “No one would have blamed the Steelers if they moved on [after 2018], but the team decided to stick with their beleaguered kicker and the gamble paid off…. Not only did he hit every extra point he attempted, but he also ranked third in field goal percentage.”
The most notable stat of all, though? Despite his subpar performance in 2018, “Boswell still ranks as the seventh-most accurate kicker in NFL history, which tells you how good he has been in every other season of his career.”
Indeed, Boswell has made 87 percent of his field goals—127 of 146—during his five-year career, not to mention 95.5 percent of his extra points.
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Steelers Punter Jordan Berry Not on Any Top 10 List
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s punter, Jordan Berry, isn’t on CBSSports.com’s list of the 10 best punters entering 2020, and the team is no doubt keeping an eye out for a potential replacement, as this is the last year Berry is under contract with the Steelers.
According to overthecap.com, Berry is scheduled to earn a salary of $1.8 million this season, with a total salary cap charge of $2,175,000. In other words, if Berry fails to make the roster this year, $375,000 of “dead money” would count against Pittsburgh’s salary cap. That’s a high enough number that the cap-strapped Steelers will stick with Berry for one more season unless his performance completely falls off a cliff.
Anyway, Berry’s only competition is undrafted free agent Corliss Waitman, who punted for the South Alabama Jaguars, posting a career average of 42.7 yards per punt. His best season came in 2017 when he had a 45.2 yard average.
Waitman went on to enroll at Mississippi State as a graduate transfer but was denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA so he never punted for the Bulldogs. As a result he did not play football during the 2019 season.
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