Patriots Quickly Sign Recently Released Veteran for Kicker Competition

The New England Patriots have signed a veteran player who was just released to add to their kicker depth.
Nov 23, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Washington Commanders place kicker Joey Slye (6) warms up
Nov 23, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Washington Commanders place kicker Joey Slye (6) warms up / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots entered the 2024 NFL Draft with a chance to put pressure on 2023 pick Chad Ryland following his unimpressive rookie campaign. Yet, the team didn't draft any kickers and only made one rookie invite, leaving Ryland mostly in the clear.

That safety didn't last long, however.

Patriots News: Joey Slye Signed to One-Year Deal

ESPN's Mike Reiss reported on Thursday that New England is signing veteran kicker Joey Slye to a deal. Slye was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday after they used a sixth-round selection on Arkansas' Cam Little over the weekend.

Slye has spent time with several teams since entering the league in 2019. He played his first two seasons for the Carolina Panthers before splitting the 2021 campaign between the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Commanders.

Slye's coming off of a down year in Washington, converting just 79.2% of his field goal 24 attempts. He struggled hitting from deep, missing a pair of times from both the 40-49 range and 50+. Slye also missed one from under 30 yards out, which simply shouldn't happen from an experienced leg like him.

On the plus side, Slye was stellar on extra points, nailing 32 of 35 (91.4%). His touchback percentage also went up from 77.9 to 88.9, so it's clear he's not lacking in leg strength. And his career FG average of 82.3% is much closer to league average.

The fact Slye has been a starter wherever he's gone makes him a legit threat to unseat the inexperienced Ryland, who converted a dismal 64% of his field goals in 2023.

This is New England's strongest move yet to up the heat on the young leg, and now it's time for him to prove his worth, or hit the road.

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