Jets Should Pounce on 2019 NFL Kicking Leader After Unexpected Release

Josh Lambo

Getty Former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo warms up his leg on September 26, 2021.

After an impressive preseason, the New York Jets finally found their 2021 kicker in Matt Ammendola.

The strong-legged 24-year old has been solid so far for Gang Green, draining six of his first seven NFL field goals and three of his first four extra points. The only FG miss was from 50-plus yards. Ammendola even doubled as a punter in Week 1 after an injury to Braden Mann, and he stepped up to flourish in that role.

Still, the first-year starter leaves a lot to be desired with his accuracy. As someone who’s watched every game, the eye test has made me nervous as several kicks have sliced through narrowly. The Jets shouldn’t release Ammendola based on near-misses, but they should think about grabbing some veteran insurance.

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Jaguars Cut Seven-Year Vet

The Jacksonville Jaguars are now 1-5 after a game-winning field goal from Matthew Wright in London. Apparently, that clutch kick was enough for Urban Meyer to move on from veteran Josh Lambo.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero announced the decision to release the seven-year vet.

Now 31, the Jaguars’ former five-year rock at kicker is a free agent. Lambo dealt with a hip injury in 2020 and he’s yet to truly regain his old form since returning, but he was one of the best in the business before that.

From 2017-2020 (before his injury), Lambo was one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL with a 95.0% conversion rate on field goals. His leg strength was never an issue either with a 59-yard make in 2020 and only one miss from 50-plus over that four-year span.

His 97.1% accuracy in 2019 (33 of 34) ranked first in the NFL. Lambo is an experienced veteran with a proven track record.

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Why Lambo Might Make Sense for the Jets

Joe Douglas has yet to find a long-term answer at kicker since taking over. He didn’t pass up re-signing Jason Myers in free agency — that was Mike Maccagnan in one of his dying acts — but he hasn’t come up with a solution either.

Now, maybe Ammendola is the guy. He’s only 24 and his leg power cannot be taught. At the same time, his accuracy and clutch factor are still unproven.

Lambo is 0 for 3 on field goals in 2021 and 5 for 7 on extra points. Clearly, he’s still a bit off right now. That’s why this makes sense for the Green & White.

Sign Lambo to the practice squad and help him work his way back from injury. This would allow Douglas time to see if Ammendola can secure the starting job while also supplying a darn-good backup plan in case he falters.

It would be an insurance policy, plain and simple, and with the struggles that the Jets have had at kicker over the past few seasons, Douglas could use all the added security that he can get.

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