49ers’ Controversial 3rd-Round Pick Already on ‘Roster Bubble’

John Lynch took a risk by drafting the 49ers' Jake Moody.

Getty John Lynch took a risk by drafting the 49ers' Jake Moody.

Mapping out the rookie season of the 49ersJake Moody is not an easy task. The kicker started the year well enough, had a midseason blip in which he missed three field-goal tries in two games, but was in the process of closing strong, with an NFL-record run of 60 straight made extra points and no misses inside of 40 yards all season. And then came the season finale, in which Moody missed an extra point and a 38-yard try, raising a red flag about his reliability entering the playoffs.

He was 20th in the NFL in field goal percentage (84.0) and ninth in extra point percentage (98.4).

Kyle Shanahan waved off concerns about Moody after the game, saying, “It’s never good when you miss them, especially having two like that. But he’s had a hell of a year, he’s done a hell of a job up to this point and had a rough day today.”

Still, Moody missed two field goals in the playoffs and had a key extra point blocked in the Super Bowl loss to Kansas City. It’s fair to say his status is at least shaky heading into 2024—and according to the contract site Spotrac, Moody is on the 49ers’ “roster bubble” as the team moves forward.

49ers Jake Moody Pick was Widely Criticized

Now, it would be a shocker for the 49ers to give up Moody after one year. In last year’s draft, he became only the second kicker in the last 15 years to be chosen in the Top 100, when the 49ers pulled a surprise–they were roundly criticized for it–and made him a third-round pick.

But, as Spotrac noted: “Will the Niners front office give up on a 2023 3rd round pick this quickly? In most cases this answer would be no, but San Francisco’s reluctance to utilize Moody in big spots down the stretch has to be a factor in how they feel about him long-term. None of the $3.7M due over the next 3 seasons is guaranteed.”

Of all the spots on an NFL roster, kicker is the one with which teams have very little patience. A bad stretch costs games. The 49ers have a short championship window that they’re in right now, and they can’t risk Moody blowing it for them—you could argue that his missed extra-point in the Super Bowl was at least a major factor in their overtime loss to Kansas City.

Of course, Moody also made two 55-yarders in the game—he does have a good leg, clearly.

GM John Lynch: ‘He’s Very Steady’

There may be some pride at stake in bringing back Moody, too. Remember, general manager John Lynch does not have a great track record in the NFL draft, especially when it comes to picks in the first three rounds. He has not hit on a third-rounder, really, since Fred Warner in 2018.

Dumping Moody now would be admitting that the team has another third-round bust on its hands, like Tyrion Davis-Price, Danny Gray, Trey Sermon and a host of others before him.

Heading into the Super Bowl, Lynch told reporters (via The Athletic): “I think a lot of people want to talk about some challenges that he’s had. But I like to look at how he responds to those. And he’s very steady. He really is. And we felt very convicted (during the draft). We had a lot of confidence in Jake and we still have a lot of confidence. Because we see him day in and day out. I think he’s ready for the moment and really proud of the season he’s had.”

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