Every good football team has a kicker who is trustworthy and accurate while under pressure. Last season, the New York Giants could trust in Josh Brown, the 36-year-old veteran who had a fantastic 2015 campaign. However, the G-men may have to find another placekicker as Brown currently sits in free agency limbo awaiting a new contract.
Brown was one of the best at his position in 2015 as he missed three total attempts, two field goals and one extra point. His 30-32 field goals made included a perfect 3-3 from over 50 yards as well has knocking home three points for the Giants on every attempt under 40 yards. The most significant statistic was his field goals made streak at 29 that now stands as a franchise record.
The Nebraska alumni has shown nothing but consistency since joining the Giants in 2013, which is why the team has expressed major interest in returning him to the roster in 2016. The most feasible to assure Brown’s spot would be to use the franchise tag. It wouldn’t break the bank at $4.5 million for one-year, and as the Giants didn’t use it on Prince Amukamara or Rueben Randle, it makes even more sense to use it on a player that has had a major impact in tight games.
If Brown doesn’t return, GM Jerry Reese will be looking to free agency once again to fill the position. The Baltimore Ravens tagged Justin Tucker as he was the clear front-runner within free agent kickers. The next best option for the Giants would most likely be the Green Bay Packers Mason Crosby, who hasn’t been out of the green and gold since entering the league in 2007.
At the age of 31, Crosby has also been very reliable especially last season converting on 24 of 28 attempts including 4-5 from beyond 50 yards. Crosby has a long, precise boot that would be an equal, if not better replacement for Brown considering his age.
If longevity is what the team is looking for, Greg Zuerlein of the Los Angeles Rams could be another free agent on the list. Zuerlein has tremendous skill when he is on as he went 26-28 in 2013. However, last season didn’t go as planned. He finished 20-30 and now stands a 78.6 percent in his career.
At the end of the day, team chemistry is key when it comes to kickers as the trust factor plays a major role in respect. Brown has earned that respect since joining the Giants. Crosby may be an appealing option, but with his consistent track record on the field and respect among his teammates, Brown should be the top priority in the kicking department for Big Blue prior to the 2016 season.