Lions Announce Last-Minute Trade to Bring Back Kicker

Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell

Getty Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell acquired a new kicker on May 25.

NFL kicker Riley Patterson was about to be a free agent. But then the Detroit Lions entered the picture.

The Lions announced on May 25 that they acquired Patterson in a trade for an undisclosed draft pick. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the pick was a 2026 conditional seventh-round choice.

Patterson, though, was nearly a free agent. The Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they were waiving the 24-year-old kicker to sign veteran Brandon McManus. But minutes later, Pelissero reported the Lions agreed to a trade in order to bring the kicker back to Detroit.

“The Jaguars aren’t releasing kicker Riley Patterson after all: They traded him to the Lions,” Pelissero wrote on Twitter. “Patterson kicked in seven games for Detroit in 2021.”

Patterson kicked for the Lions in seven games during 2021. He made 13 of 14 field-goal attempts and all 16 of his extra-point tries in Detroit.

The Lions waived undrafted free agent wide receiver Keytaon Thompson to make room for Patterson on the roster.

Kicker Riley Patterson Returning to Lions

Through the trade, Patterson will return to where he received his first chance to appear in an NFL regular season game.

The Lions claimed Patterson off the New England Patriots practice squad in November 2021. Detroit had placed its regular kicker Austin Seibert on injured reserve, and the team brought in Patterson to replace Ryan Santoso, who missed an extra point and field goal in a Week 10 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Patterson kicked admirably for the Lions as their midseason replacement. He didn’t miss an attempt until his sixth game with the team.

In seven games, Patterson went 13-for-13 from inside the 50-yard mark. His lone miss came on his only attempt from beyond 49 yards.

In a larger sample with the Jaguars last season, Patterson wasn’t quite as accurate but still serviceable. He made 30 of 35 field goals, including a 2-for-3 effort from 50 yards or longer. From inside 50, he went 28-for-32 (87.5%).

Unlike with the Lions, Patterson also kicked off for the Jaguars last year. Exactly half of his 88 kickoffs went for touchbacks.

The Jaguars, though, elected to replace Patterson with the more experienced McManus. Jacksonville made that decision despite Patterson making 85.7% of his field goals last season. McManus posted a 77.8% field-goal percentage for the Denver Broncos in 2022.

Before joining the Patriots practice squad, Patterson signed as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings following the 2021 draft. The Vikings waived him through an injury settlement in August 2021.

The first field goal Patterson made for the Lions came against the Vikings.

Lions Gearing Up for Kicker Competition

With the acquisition of Patterson, the Lions have three kickers on their roster — Patterson, Michael Badgley and John Parker Romo.

The Lions re-signed Badgley in March after he made 20 of 24 field-goal attempts in 12 games. He also made all four of his tries in his lone appearance for the Chicago Bears during 2022.

Badgley has kicked for five NFL seasons. He owns an 81.7% field-goal percentage and 96.9% success rate on extra points.

Romo kicked for the San Antonio Brahmas in the XFL this year. He made 17 out of 19 field goals during the 2023 season. The Lions signed him on May 15 after a tryout.

Romo spent time in training camp with the New Orleans Saints last year. He signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 draft.

Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp was pleased with the team’s kicker situation even before the team traded for Patterson.

“I feel really good about the two guys we got right now,” Fipp told the media OTA practices. “You know, Badgley obviously played well for us a year ago. He’s a very accurate kicker. He might not have some of the leg strength and all that as some of these guys.

“But then, the guy we brought in, (John) Parker Romo, he’s got a big leg. He’s talented. He’s been really good for us. So, I think it’ll be a good competition, and (I’m) excited to see how it plays out.”

With those three kickers on the roster, the Lions will likely have a fierce preseason competition for the place-kicker role. Detroit hasn’t had a kicker appear in every single one of the team’s games since Matt Prater did it in 2020.

Read More