New team: Arizona Cardinals
2020 stats with Lions: 16 games played, 21/28 field goals (6/10 from 50+), 38/41 extra points
Through all of the Lions’ struggles over the better part of the last decade, Prater was generally one their steadiest performers. With plenty of pivotal kicks and long-range bombs on his resumé, Prater seemed like a good bet to remain with the team despite the turnover that comes with a regime change.
It wasn’t to be, however, with the Lions deciding to go cheaper at the position, bringing in veteran free agent Randy Bullock to take over. Bullock doesn’t have the range that Prater typically has boasted, but he’ll cost them $3.025 million less in guaranteed money. The Lions’ new decision-makers may have also been turned off by Prater’s 75% field goal conversion rate in 2020, his lowest mark since his first full NFL season in 2008.
Prater heads west hoping to provide some stability for the Arizona Cardinals, who have used five placekickers over the past five years. They have also converted over 80% of their field goal attempts in just one of those seasons.
Ironically, Prater has never missed a field goal or an extra point against his new team, going a perfect 11/11 in both situations. He has also excelled in indoor stadiums converting at a clip of nearly 87% on field goal attempts in his 79 career games under a dome or a retractable roof. This was likely a factor in his decision to head to the desert.
As has become almost a yearly tradition, the Lions and Cardinals will meet again in the regular season, this time in a Week 15 matchup at Ford Field. There’s no doubt that Prater would love to send some clutch kicks through the uprights against his former squad.
All salary cap figures courtesy of Spotrac.