The LA Rams created an open roster slot in their practice squad on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. The very next day, Rams fans learned why. The Rams' plan to find a formidable place kicker has taken one more step towards fruition as the Rams have signed a veteran placekicker, formerly the kicker of the Green Bay Packers of 16 NFLO seasons, Mason Crosby.
The LA Rams have not exactly had a great deal of luck at finding their placekicker for 2023. The Rams trialed two rookies this season, setting up a competition between former Oklahoma State kicker Tanner Brown and former North Carolina State Christopher Dunn. That competition was over quickly, as the Rams waived Dunn in the summer.
But Tanner Brown's exit was soon to follow, as he did not give a great performance for the Rams in preseason games. And so the Rams signed veteran kicker Brett Maher to the team. That also did not last long, as Maher played just seven games. The Rams replaced him with kicker Lucas Havrisik, but he proved to be even less reliable. Maher was 10 of 16 from 40+ yards. Havrisik was just three of six from 40+ yards.
Rams kicker slump impacting other teams as well
So the LA Rams are trying out their fifth placekicker of the year. While Crosby has signed to the Rams practice squad, the sense is that he will become the LA Rams new kicker with just five games remaining on the Rams schedule.
While the Rams did not make a counter offer to keep former kicker Matt Gay, even he is not quite the same this season. Gay, who averaged nearly 94 percent of his kicks for the LA Rams, is only making 85.2 percent of this field goals this season.
The San Francisco 49ers, who used a Top-100 pick to draft former Michigan kicker Jake Moody, have to settle for no better than an 85 percent success rate from their kicker. Moody has only made four of 7 attempted field goals from a distance of 40+ yards this season.
Mason Crosby was available because he is 39 years old, and the frequency of his touchbacks at kickoffs was declining. And in his final two seasons with the Packers, Crosby kicked just 14 of 23 of 40+ yards for the Packers. But he did rebound in 2023, kicking eight of 11 field goals of 40+ yards. In 2022, Mason was able to kick 86.2 percent of his field goals. The Rams have used punter Ethan Evans to kick off, negating Crosby's shortcomings at kicking off.
The Packers allowed Crosby to leave at the end of his contract this season, drafting his replacement in rookie kicker Anders Carlson. Carlson is making just 81 percent of his kicks this year for the Packers, including just five of nine from 40+ yards.
The move sets up Mason Crosby to get revenge on his former team, as he could end up kicking a game winning field goal to send the LA Rams into the NFL playoffs, and subsequently his former team, the Green Bay Packers, home.