Proposed Trade Sends Broncos a Former Pro Bowler to Replace Brandon McManus

Wil Lutz

Getty New Orleans Saints K Wil Lutz walks off the field after kicking a 58-yard field goal to beat the Houston Texans.

One of the biggest storylines for the Denver Broncos this season has been their kicking battle.

Back in May, the Broncos released their longtime kicker Brandon McManus after he missed eight field goals and two extra points last season.

With former Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher as the only kicker on Denver’s current roster, NBC’s Peter King proposed that there could be a chance for the Broncos to add another kicker to compete.

“(Saints) GM Mickey Loomis may be able to trade the loser of Wil Lutz/Blake Grupe (free agent, Notre Dame) for a sixth-round pick just before roster cutdown. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Sean Payton show interest in Lutz in Denver,” King said in his Football Morning in America piece.

Jeff Duncan of tweeted that he’s “heard similar stuff about Wil Lutz to the Broncos.”

Lutz’s Career in the NFL

After going undrafted in 2016, Lutz signed with the Baltimore Ravens in May, but was waived just three months later.

In September of 2016, the New Orleans Saints signed Lutz and there was no looking back. Lutz has spent the past seven seasons with the Saints and has kicked well for them, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2019.

In 2021 Lutz was placed on injured reserve after suffering a core muscle injury forcing him to have season-ending surgery.

During his six playing seasons, Lutz has made 84.6 percent of his field goals and 97.6 percent of his extra points. Over the past four seasons, the former Georgia St. Panther has missed a combined three extra points and hasn’t missed multiple in a season since 2017 when he missed three.

In his career, Lutz has only attempted 29 field goals from at least 50 yards or more. Over the last three seasons with Denver, McManus has attempted 37 because of how bad the Broncos’ offense has been getting into the red zone.

Lutz’s field goal percentage has gone down each year after making a career best 93.3 percent of his field goals in 2018. Last year, Lutz had a worse field goal percentage (74.2%) than McManus (77.8%).

While Lutz is in a kicking battle with Grupe, neither kicker has missed a kick during their two preseason games. Lutz is 4/4 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points.

Sean Payton Hasn’t Dismissed Adding a Kicker

After the Broncos released McManus, Denver went out and signed journeyman kicker Elliot Fry and Maher. Payton made it known that there was going to be a kicking battle after making multiple remarks that the kicking game had to be better in 2023 than it was in 2022.

On August 15, the Broncos waived Fry after he suffered a lower body injury that wasn’t considered serious.

“With Elliott, it was just a pull,” Payton said. “It’s nothing significant. We’ll go day-to-day with where we’re at with the kickers.”

This meant that Maher, who is most famous for missing four extra points in a Cowboys playoff victory last season, is the lone kicker for the orange and blue for the time being.

“I’ve said this to you guys before, Brett had a good day today, he’s competing,” Payton said. “He’s competing with himself because he’s got 31 other teams. There are probably seven teams that have a real kicking battle, so he’s competing with those guys that come out of those clubs. That doesn’t discount us, possibly, if we wanted to bring in another player.”

It’s safe to say that if Maher doesn’t kick well during joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams this week and kick well in the final preseason game, Payton and general manager George Paton won’t be scared to make a move for another veteran kicker.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments