Packers Invite UFL Breakout Star for Workout

Jake Bates

Getty The Green Bay Packers have requested to host UFL kicker Jake Bates for a workout.

The Green Bay Packers continue to do their homework on kickers, and are hoping to secure a tryout with UFL breakout star Jake Bates ahead of training camp.

Bates was one of the biggest stars of the inaugural UFL season. The Michigan Panthers kicker is now drawing significant interest from NFL teams. According to NFL insider Aaron Wilson, the Packers are one of four NFL teams who have requested a workout with Bates.

The interest from the Packers indicates that they’re not satisfied with their current kicker situation. Bringing in Bates could be one of the more interesting storylines of training camp.

Who Is Jake Bates?

NFL teams didn’t give a second thought to Bates last season. Now, he might be the most sought-after specialists on the market ahead of training camp.

Bates is coming off of a tremendous 2024 campaign with the UFL’s Panthers. He made 17 of 22 field goals in 2024, including a game-winning 64-yard field goal in Week 1. Justin Tucker is the only NFL kicker to have converted a longer field goal in a professional game. Bates was named to the All-UFL Team for his impressive season.

Prior to being a breakout UFL star, Bates was on the Houston Texans training camp roster in 2023. He was an undrafted free agent for Houston, but was cut before the start of the season.

Bates didn’t see many opportunities at the NFL, but that’s mostly because he didn’t see many in college either. He was originally a soccer star at Central Arkansas, but operated as a kickoff specialist at Texas State. He assumed a similar role for the Razorbacks, earning first-team All-SEC honors.

Although he was a strong kickoff specialist, Bates wasn’t given opportunities to kick field goals in college. However, after such a strong performance in the UFL, he may finally get to prove himself as a placekicker in the NFL this season.

The Packers Already Have Kicker Competition

Regardless of what happens with Bates, the Packers already have some kicker competition heading into training camp.

Anders Carlson comes into camp after starting the 2023 season as a rookie. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for him in his first NFL season. Despite showing a strong leg, Carlson led the league with 13 missed field goals in 2023.

To make matters worse, he also missed a crucial 41-yard field goal against the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs that would have given the team a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The Packers weren’t willing to let Carlson come into 2024 without competition. They signed veteran kicker Greg Joseph earlier this offseason as additional competition during training camp. The 29-year-old from South Africa currently holds the NFL record with five game-winning field goals in a single season.

Jack Podlesny will also get an opportunity to prove himself in training camp. An undrafted free agent in 2023, he was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year after a strong 2022 season with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Any of these players could end up being the starting kicker in 2024. However, the Packers still seem interested in adding another kicker to the competition by taking a look at Bates.

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