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Since 1996, the New England Patriots have started only two QB's, Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady. The team has also been consistent with its kicking game, employing only two in Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

When determining if a player stays or goes, the dreaded salary cap always comes into play. For the kicking position, the franchise tag is $4.12 million for 2015. Shalise Manza Young, Boston Globe:
However, under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, Gostkowski would receive more than that if he is franchised. In the CBA, it states that if 120 percent of a player’s total compensation, including salary and bonuses, from the previous season is above the franchise amount for his position, he receives that higher amount.

Gostkowski’s salary cap amount for 2014 was $3.805 million, including his base salary of $2.9 million, $800,000 from his prorated signing bonus, and a $105,000 workout bonus.

Since 120 percent of $3.805 million is $4.44 million, that is the amount Gostkowski would receive were he to play the 2015 season under the tag.

There are three potential landing spots for the all-time leader scorer in New England Patriots' history for 2015.

1. Detroit Lions

No team in the NFL struggled with the kicking game in 2014 as the Lions did. Detroit started the year with rookie Nate Freese who was successful on three of seven field goal attempts. Alex Henerey replaced Freese, but he made only one of five attempts. The third kicker was former Denver Broncos' K Matt Prater who was coming off a four game suspension for alcohol. Matt gave the Lions a steady effort with 21 field goals in 26 attempts. Prater is the favorite to return, but it surely wouldn't hurt to look around.

2. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are analyzing the kicking position looking for perfection. Kyle Rowland, The Journal Gazette:
“It’s a tough position to evaluate,” said Charlie Campbell, senior draft analyst for popular website WalterFootball.com. “It’s an inexact science at kicker as much or more so than any other position.
The Vikings have 25 year old K Blair Walsh in the final year of his contract making $689,483.00. Blair had an off year in 2014 making only 26 of 35 field goal attempts. In 2012, he was successful on 35 of 38 attempts. His point totals have fallen from 141 in 2012, to 121 in 2013, and only 107 points in 2014. Said Charlie Campbell: “Teams hold on to kickers like elite quarterbacks.”

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers It would be a slight upgrade if second year K Patrick Murray were replaced. After winning the job over Connor Barth, the rookie booted 20 field goals in 24 tries. He had a 55 yarder to his credit, but did have two kicks blocked including a 36 yard attempt in a 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams in Week 16.


With a possible Super Bowl berth on the line, "wide left" calls for a change of address.


The pain is excruciating. It can engulf an entire organization.

TotalQualityManagement::
1-10-100 Rule. The rule explains how failure to take notice of one cost escalates the loss in terms of dollars. This shows that one dollar spent on prevention will save 10 dollars on correction and 100 dollars on failure costs. As one moves along the streams of events from design to delivery or “dock-to-stock,” the cost of errors escalates as failure costs becomes greater.

There is a reason there's only one kicking specialist in the Hall of Fame: Jan Stenerud of the Kansas City Chiefs. The New England Patriots have a possible hall of fame kicker on their roster. The Patriots are really pushing the envelope if they think that they can find "lightning in a bottle," twice in a row.


Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 2/23/2015 10:56:00 AM Edit
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