Inside The Bills

Kicker market already set for Carpenter?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2013 – 9:09 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley made it clear on Monday that kicker Dan Carpenter is a free agent that the Bills will be pursuing moving forward. Carpenter’s 2013 season is admittedly very hard to ignore after he tied Steve Christie’s franchise record for makes in a season with 33, and set the record for most 50-yarders in a season with four. So what would it cost to retain the kicker by way of contract extension? To a certain extent the bar on the kicker market has already been set.

The Bills can thank the Chicago Bears. They re-signed K Robbie Gould last week. The third-most accurate kicker in NFL history despite kicking on grass in Chicago his whole career, just signed a reported four-year $15M extension with $9M guaranteed.

Gould was 26-29 on field goal attempts this season for a success rate of 89.7 percent. He also had hit 12 straight from 50-yards plus over the past couple of seasons before a 66-yard attempt at Minnesota in Week 13 broke the streak.

Carpenter meanwhile had a higher success rate in 2013 at 91.7 percent, the second-best in Bills team history.

Both kickers had a comparable number of attempts from between 20 and 40 yards (Carpenter – 19, Gould – 18) so the percentages aren’t skewed in favor of either kicker.

Gould is 32-years old, Carpenter is just 28, but Gould has a longer and more proven track record. He’s an 86 percent kicker for his career. Carpenter isn’t far behind at almost 84%, but he has 81 fewer attempts. He’s also just a 53.8 percent kicker from 50-yards plus where Gould is an impressive 76.2 percent kicker.

Touchback percentage could be a sticking point for Carpenter. Over the past three years, with the kickoff line up at the 35, Gould has had touchback percentages of 54.4, 58.5 and 45.2 percent. League touchback percentage was down this season. Gould’s ranked 15th in the league.

Carpenter’s touchback percentage the past three seasons was 57.4, 47.6 and 41.5 percent, with the first two figures coming from his days of kicking in Miami. Carpenter ranked 21st in the league in touchback percentage this season.

Buffalo does have a kickoff specialist on the roster in Dustin Hopkins, but the groin injury that landed him on I-R was a significant one.

The Bills intend to make Carpenter a competitive offer, but it’s unlikely that it will be close to Gould’s deal ($3.5M per season). Knowing the Bears far exceeded the 2013 franchise tag for kickers and punters ($2.977M) it’s hard to see the Bills even reaching that territory for a kicker that simply doesn’t have the same track record.

Carpenter said Monday he’s keeping all his options open and would not rule out a return to Buffalo.

“I’m open to anywhere,” he said. “I haven’t even spoken with my agent yet about it. My wife and I are going to sit down and have a talk after we start finding out what’s going to happen and make the best decision for my playing days and also our family.”

And for those who might think that kicking in Buffalo could be a deterrent for Carpenter remember he kicked at the University of Montana in college.

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