Add kicker to list of things that will be different in Detroit in 2021.
Matt Prater, who has handled the kicking duties for the Lions since 2014, accepted a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.
Prater, 36, is coming off one of his worst professional seasons, which saw him miss seven field goals and three extra points. But his signature leg strength remained, with six makes from 50 yards or more, including a 59-yarder. He became the NFL’s all-time leader in 50-yard field goals with a 54-yard boot in the season finale.
Coincidentally, Prater also hit a game-winning field goal against the Cardinals in Week 3, sending the team to its first loss of the season.
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In Arizona, Prater will be reunited with special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, who served in the same role with the Denver Broncos from 2011-14, when Prater played for the franchise.
The Lions now must find a new kicker heading into the 2021 season. The team already has one contender, adding Matthew Wright to the roster on a futures contract in January.
Like Prater, Wright attended the University of Central Florida, where he finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer. After going undrafted in 2019, he spent the offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers, before briefly joined the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL.
Wright rejoined the Steelers’ practice squad last season, and made all four of his field goal attempts in spot duty during the year.