The New York Jets surprised some by keeping Chandler Catanzaro on the 53-man roster over youngster Ross Martin after a disappointing preseason from the former Arizona Cardinals place kicker.
Catanzaro made the most of the opportunity and had a strong season for Gang Green, who cut longtime kicker Nick Folk the offseason prior.
But Catanzaro’s deal was only for one year, meaning the Jets face a small quandary at an important position. Did Catanzaro do enough to earn a longer stay in New York?
What he did in 2017
Catanzaro had an impressive rebound from a dismal 2016 season, during which he missed seven field goal attempts in Arizona. He converted 25 of his 30 field goal attempts, went 2-for-2 on kicks longer than 50 yards and actually set a franchise record when he booted a 57-yard field goal Week 5 against the Browns.
Catanzaro was also one of seven NFL kickers who was perfect on extra point attempts, a feat that is becoming uncommon since the league moved the PAT to the 15-yard line.
What’s he worth
We’ll skip discussing what Catanzaro’s role would be in 2018 because that’s wholly obvious. A better question is where Catanzaro’s worth ranks among the rest of the league. His $900,000 salary ranked 20th among kickers in 2017, and he’d likely be due for a raise.
Stephen Gostkowski, the league’s highest-paid place kicker, makes $4.3 million annually. There are a slew of veteran kickers who made $3 million last year. Catanzaro probably won’t crack that group. A two-year deal worth $5 million would serve as a substantial raise for Catanzaro, while avoiding committing too many years or assets to a kicker who isn’t far removed from a shaky season.
Should he stay or should he go?
Kicking is an odd commodity in the NFL. At times, it’s so pertinent to have a great one. At others, it seems all kickers are the same. The Jets certainly shouldn’t overpay for Catanzaro like they did when signing Folk. But there probably aren’t many upgrades available. Catanzaro has earned a short-term deal and the Jets would be wise to keep him.