3. Nick Folk, K
The pressure is on for Nick Folk to prove himself when he suits up for the Patriots this weekend.
The 38-year-old veteran kicker’s roster spot was put in jeopardy the second New England used a fourth-round pick to draft Chad Ryland out of Maryland earlier this year. If the Pats didn’t envision a future where Ryland plays a key role, chances are they wouldn’t have selected him.
Folk has enjoyed a solid career thus far, suiting up in 211 games across 15 seasons with a Pro Bowl appearance in 2007. Unfortunately, he isn’t exactly the kicker that he once was, highlighted by an 86.5% field-goal success rate and 9.1% touchback percentages in 2022 — both among the worst marks of his career.
He’s looked decent so far in the preseason, connecting on both extra-point attempts while also nailing a 44-yard field goal. At the same time, he’s going to need more than that to convince the Patriots that they should carry two kickers this year.
It doesn’t help that Folk’s contract is also working against him. The Pats can save $2.2 million by either cutting or trading him (per Spotrac) in favor of Ryland.
Long story short, Folk needs to have a terrific performance if he hopes to have a future in New England. If not, he better pray that one of the kicker-needy teams out there is desperate enough for his services.
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