The Patriots have a serious battle brewing at kicker this preseason. While they already have Pro Bowler Nick Folk on the roster, they appeared to draft his replacement when they took kicker Chad Ryland in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
While Folk’s done an admirable job as the team’s kicker for the past four years, it might be time to move on. He’s 38 now and saw his field-goal percentage dip to 86.5% last year after being over 92% in 2020 and 2021. Folk also missed several kicks during crucial games down the stretch when New England was fighting to make the playoffs.
As Belichick proved with Tom Brady, he’d rather move on from a player before he potentially declines rather than wait until it’s too late. Ryland will be on the roster regardless due to his draft status, and his presence suddenly makes Folk expendable. Belichick has said he’s open to carrying two kickers on the roster, but Folk could get the axe if he isn’t up to par during training camp.