Will the Detroit Lions let Matt Prater walk in free agency?

Matt Prater, Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Prater, Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

It feels that letting fan favorites leave has been a constant theme for the Detroit Lions in the past few years. It started with safety Glover Quin. Next was safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback Darius Slay followed. The hardest pill to swallow, quarterback Matthew Stafford, is moving to Los Angeles.

However, kicker Matt Prater’s case happens to be more complicated. Last season might have been one of his worst. Here’s a breakdown.

Field Goals from the 50-yard line or more

  • Career: 59 for 79, 74%
  • Best Season(2016):  7 for 7, 100%
  • Worst Season (2020): 6 for 10, 60%

Field Goals from the 40-49-yard line

  • Career: 78 for 112, 70%
  • Best Season (2013): 8 for 8, 100%
  • Worst Season (2011): 3 for 7, 42%
  • 2020 Season: 4 for 7, 57%

The Entire Field

  • Career: 321 for 369, 87%
  • Best Season (2013): 25 for 26, 96%
  • Worst Season: (2008): 25 for 34, 73%
  • 2020 Season: 21 for 28, 75%

Extra Points

  • Career: 491 for 503, 98%
  • Best Season (2013): 75 for 75, 100%
  • Worst Season (2015): 36 for 39, 92.2%
  • 2020 Season: 38 for 41, 92.7%

Rankings against the league last season 

  • 50+ yard-line: 11th
  • 40-49 yard line: 22nd
  • Entire field: 27th
  • Extra points: 14th

Should the Detroit Lions let Matt Prater walk?

It was Prater’s worst season kicking from beyond the 50-yard line. His second-worst from the 40-49-yard line. Also, one of his worst on extra points. Some could point to his age as a factor, which could be correct, but 36 years isn’t necessarily old for a kicker.

It might have been an off-year for Prater. And there isn’t a way of knowing for sure. I’d recommend signing him to a one-year deal, especially since this season might be more of an evaluation year anyways. If things start to turn bad, they could take some fliers on un-drafted/free agent kickers throughout the season.

Although, Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo is an unrestricted free agent and arguably the best kicker in the NFL. If there was any way to bring him on board, I don’t see the reason to give Prater another year.

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Koo, in my opinion, would be the only kicker on the free-agent market that would be 100% an upgrade over Prater. Otherwise, the Lions should bring him back. Unless Prater wants to leave Detroit on his own accord.