The New England Patriots roster took another big hit on Wednesday afternoon as Jim McBride reported that the team will be placing Kicker Stephen Gostkowski on Injured Reserve. Further reports from Adam Schefter have confirmed that Gostkowski will be getting season ending surgery on his left hip. While it is easy to have recency bias and point to Gostkowski’s struggles, it is important to remember that no Kicker besides Gostkowski has been active for the Patriots since Shayne Graham filled in for injury in 2010.
Gostkowski was 7/8 on field goals this season, but much to the dismay of Patriots fans, he was an ugly 11/15 on extra points. He will obviously need to be replaced right away as the Patriots do not have another place kicker on the roster. The Patriots have immediately began holding kicking tryouts on the Gillette Stadium game field Wednesday afternoon in hopes of filling the void quickly. Whoever it ends up being, will be in uniform kicking for the Patriots on Sunday against the Redskins.
Gostkowski who is a 3 time Super Bowl Champion, 4x Pro Bowler, and 2 time All Pro has spent his career with the Patriots since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 draft. Despite a few bumps in the road over the years, Gostkowski’s 87% career success rate on field goals has been about as consistent as can be in a league that fluctuates kickers in and out so often.
The injury occurred on Sunday afternoon against Buffalo, but the severity was initially unknown as it took until Wednesday for the Patriots to move on it. The reports coming in Wednesday afternoon indicate that Gostkowski still intends to kick next year in 2020 and will start his rehab process after receiving his left hip surgery. The Patriots will have to move on for the season and find a kicker that they can trust in the big games that they will inevitably be playing in.
The Patriots Injured Reserve is continuing to grow, and the talent lost is nothing to scoff at. The list now features a group of 4 key players including LT Isaiah Wynn, FB James Develin, and WR N’Keal Harry who are all eligible to return, and now Gostkowski who will not be eligible to return this season. Due to NFL rules, the Patriots will only be able to bring back two of these players this year, meaning that beyond Gostkowski, one more of these players will be done for the season.
When it comes to who the replacement may be, it is hard to speculate. As seen around the league, good kickers are hard to come by and it is hard to imagine the Patriots can find a perfect replacement overnight. Some of the names in the free agent pool that are believed to be in Foxborough today include veterans Kai Forbath and Mike Nugent. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots fill this void, and it seems safe to assume that more news will be coming soon with a game to be played in four days.
Photo: Elise Amendola - Associated Press