Caveat Emptor: LA Rams wise not to outbid Colts for Matt Gay

LA Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Matt Gay
LA Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Matt Gay / Eakin Howard/GettyImages
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When the LA Rams finished the 2022 NFL season with a record of 5-12, the Rams organization unilaterally agreed that the prudent strategy for the team would be to take salary cap hits in 2023, constrict free agency spending, and retrench the Rams roster with young less expensive football players. One the cap casualties of the Rams new direction was sure-footed placekicker Mat Gay. Gay had proven himself over 2.5 NFL seasons by his uncanny accuracy for the Rams at kicking field goals. But when the time came for him to sign a big contract for multiple years, the Rams thought otherwise.

So, he signed what turned out to be a record-setting contract with the Indianapolis Colts, a great deal for him, and at the time a great deal for the Colts. But Rams fans were left a bit confused and disappointed. After all, a trustworthy kicker is not easy to come by in the NFL.

The challenge of finding a suitable and trustworthy kicker lies in the assessment process itself. You can set up kickers on the practice field to kick seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and see no indication of a kicker who cannot perform well in the NFL. But from the moment that a kicker is subjected to NFL game-like scenarios, a different tale can be told.

Rams trialed a pair of rookie kickers for 2023

The Rams signed two of the most prolific kickers in college football to open OTAs. The Rams signed Christopher Dunn out of North Carolina State, as well as Tanner Brown out of Oklahoma State. While neither rookie heard his name called out in the 2023 NFL Draft, both kickers were considered among the Top 5 kicker prospects to be available to sign in the NFL.

Unfortunately, when the Rams put each rookie kicker through the paces, neither prospect was assessed to be worthy of starting for the Rams this season.

Fast forward to Week 15 of the 2023 NFL season. The LA Rams have seemingly scrambled all season to find a suitable kicker, and after signing five different kickers so far this season, believe that young kicker Lucas Havrisik may be the guy, at least through the end of the 2023 season.

Rams kicker concerns are not unique

  1. Comparative shopping for NFL kickers
  2. Opportunity costs