8. Nick Folk
Nick Folk has spent the last three and a half seasons kicking for the Patriots, providing some much-needed stability at the position once it became clear in 2019 that Stephen Gostkowski didn’t have anything left in the tank.
Folk was never going to be the super long-term answer that Patriots fans had become accustomed to having at the position though. He wasn’t our next Gostkowski and he wasn’t our next Adam Vinatieri. He was just a short-term solution who happened to stick around longer than many expected.
But it’s time to move on, because we’ve hopefully found our next decade-long kicker.
Or at least, we better have to justify spending an early fourth-round pick on Chad Ryland. The writing was on the wall for Folk when we made the pick, but Belichick is not afraid to admit mistakes quickly, and Ryland still needed to earn his roster spot.
Ryland didn’t get many chances in preseason game action to prove himself, but he did show out for long stretches at training camp. He had some off days, but so does everybody. Overall he outperformed Folk, and even if the two had put up identical stats then Ryland’s youth and potential would have made him the easy choice.
We’ll be saying goodbye to Folk.