4 veteran kickers Detroit Lions could pivot to before the 2023 season starts

If the Lions want a more experienced kicker before the season starts, the free agent market could still offer a solution.

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The Detroit Lions thought they had an answer at kicker when they re-acquired Riley Patterson this offseason. But an erratic preseason finale has called that into question.

With the regular season looming, the Lions have a choice. Do they ride it out with Patterson, whom they surrendered a draft pick to acquire, or do they find a more stable veteran option entering a season with high expectations?

Detroit's special teams were solid in the preseason, but the kicking hasn't matched the punting, return and coverage units with such overall consistency. XFL standout Parker Romo hasn't made his presence felt, and the team likely would have preferred Patterson take earlier command of the job.

That leaves the Lions with the chance at an upgrade before the season at a key position on the roster. There are many experienced names on the market that could give the team a veteran presence at the position and alleviate some of the potential worries a more inexperienced kicker brings to a team.

Which players could make the most sense for an addition to the Lions? Here's a look at some of the kickers the team could target in the days ahead to provide the roster with a significant boost.

4 kickers Detroit Lions could sign before the season

Ryan Succop
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4. Ryan Succop

It can be hard to find a player with a combination of (relative) youth and experience at kicker, but Succop provides that given he has played in the NFL for 14 seasons and is still only 36 years old.

Succop was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, After five years there, he went on to kick with the Tennessee Titans for six seasons and he spent the last three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Overall, Succop has made nearly 83 percent of his field goals in his career, with a long of 54 yards. He has plenty of playoff experience, going 16-for-17 on field goals and 28-for-29 on extra points over 10 postseason games. He of course was part of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl-winning squad in 2020.

Succop could give the Lions a veteran kicker who has experience with playoff pressure.

3. Michael Badgley

Ner the start of training camp, the Lions released Badgley to reduce their kicker battle to Patterson and Parker Romo. Perhaps Brad Holmes would like a mulligan on that decision.

After his release in Detroit, Badgley was signed by the Washington Commanders. After being let go by them, he quickly signed with the Tennessee Titans. But the Titans then released him over the weekend, putting him back to the free agent market.

Last season, Badgley stabilized the Lions' kicker situation. He went an impressive 20-24 on kicks with a long of 53 yards, including a solid 33-33 on extra points over 12 games. If a kicker pivot comes, it could very well be back to a familiar face.