Jake Bates could offer Lions perfect solution for their kicking woes

Michigan Panthers standout Jake Bates could represent an ideal solution for the problem the Detroit Lions have had a kicker.
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Heading into next season, the Detroit Lions have kicker Michael Badgley under contract. But the opportunity exists for viable competition to be added, and general manager Brad Holmes has promised it.

During the 2023 season, Badgley didn't inspire unlimited confidence. While he was a perfect 4-4 during the regular season after taking over for Riley Patterson and 3-3 in the playoffs, it's clear he also has severe distance limitations in

Badgley has connected on 82.4 percent of his field goals in his career, but he's only 37-48 from 40-49 yards, and a 5-13 from 50-plus yards put. Those numbers make it easier for Dan Campbell to gamble on fourth down. In the NFC Championship, this culminated in the Lions passing up a pair of long field goals that could have proven vital amid a second half meltdown.

For months, many have been clamoring for another addition to the room with a stronger leg. Instead of recycling a league veteran, good fortune may have struck the Lions in the form of UFL standout Jake Bates.

Bates has been a revelation thus far for the Michigan Panthers. Through two weeks, he has 64 and 52 yard field goals to his credit. This past weekend, he drilled a 62-yarder with room to spare.

In the aftermath of the kick, it's become clear that the NFL is going to come calling for Bates sooner rather than later and the Lions reportedly have interest. Given he is currently operating in their own backyard, the Lions have a unique opportunity to add a player who could help a big roster flaw.

Jake Bates represents ideal new kicking option for Detroit Lions

The best part about what Bates is doing? He's doing it at Ford Field, the Lions' home field.
The Lions play the majority of their games indoors, and Bates is building some confidence.

Detroit's major problem at kicker is exactly what Bates could help remedy. The Lions need someone they can depend on to give them a shot at long-range field goals, albeit with a nod to long-range kicks outdoors; where Badgley's track record is poor.

Bates can't sign with an NFL team until the UFL season is over. The regular season ends June 2, and the playoffs end on June 16. But it feels certain the Lions will want to have him in for a tryout, and that perhaps yields a training camp/preseason battle between he and Badgley.


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