Ex-Detroit Lions K Matt Prater signs 2-year deal with Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions are in the market for a kicker once again.

Matt Prater, the Lions kicker the past seven seasons, signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.

Prater, 36, was considered the top kicker available in free agency, even though he was coming off a down season in which he missed seven of 28 field goals, all from 40-plus yards, and three extra points.

In Arizona, Prater will reunite with his former special teams coach with the Denver Broncos, Jeff Rodgers.

The Lions signed Prater early in the 2014 season, after he played the eight previous seasons with the Broncos.

NFL free agency Day 3: Detroit Lions giving Michael Brockers a new contract ]

He was a model of consistency during most of his time in Detroit, where he twice earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Month honors and set an NFL record for most field goals made of at least 50 yards.

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The Lions signed former Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Matthew Wright to a futures deal this offseason and are expected to have a training camp battle for the job. Wright was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts and made all seven of his extra points last season.

More: Free agency preview: Detroit Lions next kicker might already be on their roster

The Lions have expressed interest in several other free agent kickers, but also could look to address the position in the draft. The Tennessee Titans’ Stephen Gostkowski and the Cleveland Browns’ Cody Parkey are the best kickers left in free agency.

Asked what he values most in kickers, new Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said a strong mind.

“I think probably the most important thing really is upstairs,” he said. “The ability to forget a kick and let those things go. It’s obviously, a high-pressure position on a football team. These guys win and lose football games. It comes down to them. But I would say consistency and just a really strong mindset is probably the two most important things.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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