Lions adding kicker Randy Bullock, re-sign Don Muhlbach

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions have fielded a terrific special teams unit over the years. And 2020 was no exception as their second-year punter, Jack Fox, earned his first Pro Bowl nomination and second-team All-Pro honors.

If the Lions did have a weak link on special teams last year, it was likely kicker Matt Prater. The 36-year old had a down season, connecting on just 21 of his 28 field goal attempts. That 75% field-goal percentage was his lowest since 2008. Prater also missed three extra-point attempts, his most in five years, and tied for the most in his 14-year career.

As a free agent this offseason, Prater was allowed to leave the Motor City and signed a two-year deal worth a base of $7 million plus incentives to join the Arizona Cardinals. That left the Lions without a kicker, but not for long.

Late Thursday night it was reported that the Lions were finalizing a deal to sign free-agent Randy Bullock. The 32-year old kicker has played the last four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Bullock was originally a fifth-round selection out of Texas A&M by the Houston Texans in 2012.

Last year, Bullock actually posted only a slightly better field goal percentage than Prater, connecting on 21 of his 26 field goal attempts. That 80.8% field goal percentage was his lowest since 2013. But Bullock also went 24 of 25 on extra-point attempts in 2020.

Pro Football Focus highlighted the main difference between Prater and Bullock as being on long field goals hit from the 50-yard line and beyond. While Prater connected on six field goals of 50+ yards just last season, Bullock has hit only six field goals from that same range since 2018.

But Randy Bullock should benefit from having two-time Pro Bowl long snapper Don Muhlbach hiking to him. The 40-year old Muhlbach was re-signed on Friday by the Detroit Lions for his 18th season. He’s played an amazing 260 career games, which is second all-time in franchise history.

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