The Detroit Lions have only seen the Brad Holmes era for less than a week, but already, the new general manager is making some key moves for the roster.
One of his first big moves is getting a young kicker into the mix in Matthew Wright. Wright has been officially signed to a reserve/future contract by the team. It’s possible he would be a player in the mix to replace Matt Prater on the roster next season given Prater is slated to be a free agent this offseason.
Wright coming to the team could now assure that the Lions don’t have to spend big money on a kicker this offseason if they feel confident in the youngster. The signing could be sending a message that Wright is the kicker of the future in Detroit.
Matthew Wright Stats
The Steelers signed Wright as an undrafted free agent out of UCF last year, and he pitched in when regular Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell was not able to go. Wright was pretty impressive when he did see NFL time, going 7-7 on extra points and 4-4 on field goals, with a long of 46 yards on the season. Boswell isn’t likely to be going anywhere in Pittsburgh, but Wright could have a chance to be the kicker of the future for the Lions given the fact that the team would seem to have a direct need at the spot this offseason
At UCF, Wright was one of the most accurate kickers in school history having made 153 extra points in a row, and is the record holder for most points in a carer with 375. He also has a record for most field goals made at the school with 55. All this is notable because UCF also put Prater into the league and he was no slouch there either.
Many young kickers struggle when they get their first taste of action, but Wright was equal to the challenge which could speak to his abilities at the NFL level moving forward. Clearly, Detroit must have liked what they saw when Wright did play late this past season.
Lions Could Replace Matt Prater
In spite of the record that he set late last season for most accurate kicker from distance in NFL history, Prater has been far from consistent this past season, only connecting on 20 of 27 kicks for a 74% conversion rate in 2020. He also has only connected on 36 of 38 extra points, missing a pair coming into Week 17, That’s lower than his normal percentages. Even such, Prater has been good overall, hitting four kicks from 50 yards or more this season and also nailing the game winning extra point against the Atlanta Falcons earlier this year. Though Prater hasn’t been as consistent, he is still good and remains one of the NFL’s best kickers.
None of that could mean that the Lions want to bring him back for another year with a new front office and coach, however. By signing Wright, they could be sending the message they’re prepared to go young at the kicker spot and use the money they would be spending there elsewhere.