Former Patriots Legend Linked to Key Roster Vacancy

Getty Adam Vinatieri

The New England Patriots released both of the placekickers they had in camp to get down to the 53-man limit on Saturday. With neither Nick Folk nor talented, but inconsistent rookie Justin Rohrwasser making the cut, the speculation is on about a potential replacement at this position.

In the past, the Patriots organization has had some legendary performances from kickers including the recently released Stephen Gostkowski. He just signed with the Tennessee Titans, so a reunion with him is off the table. However, the legend Gostkowski replaced is a free agent, and despite being 47 years old, he hasn’t officially retired from the game.

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Adam Vinatieri is One of Several Free-Agent Options Mentioned As a Potential Replacement

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Would the Patriots really consider bringing Adam Vinatieri back? His named was mentioned as a potential replacement by NBC Sports who listed the following notable free agent kickers: Matt Gay, Graham Gano, Stephen Hauschka, Kai Forbath, Chase McLaughlin, Cairo Santos, Giorgio Tavecchio, Matt Bryant, Adam Vinatieri, Aldrick Rosas, Lirim Hajrullahu #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #PatrickChung #BrandonBolden #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesHarris #LamarMiller #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #DariusKilgo #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #MohamedSanu #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL #JustinRohrwasser

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NBC Sports listed Vinatieri as one notable free-agent kicker, but let’s be honest, as great as he was during his time with the Patriots, and with the Indianapolis Colts, Vinatieri is pushing 50 and coming off the worst year of his NFL career. He made just 68 percent of his attempts and was extremely shaky beyond 40 yards.

It would be hard to understand how Folk or even Rohrwasser would be incapable of producing at least that sort of effort had they been kept on the roster. Folk outperformed Rohrwasser, but for unknown reasons, he still didn’t make the final cut.

With all due respect to Vinatieri and his Hall-of-Fame-worthy career and near-unprecedented longevity, it would be an unwise move to bring him back to Foxborough for anything more than a celebration of a past Super Bowl team.


The Most Intriguing Other Option

Among the other options mentioned, former CFL star and Los Angeles Rams training camp participant Lirim Hajrullahu is a one that opens some eyes. The 30-year-old from Kosovo looked strong in camp with the Rams, but despite shining in a three-way competition for the kicking job, he was still released.

If the Patriots do anything besides bring Folk back on Monday and place Rohrwasser on the practice squad, they should be bringing Hajrullahu in to see if he is the answer at kicker.


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