The Detroit Lions are wasting little time securing Matt Prater’s replacement. According to the NFL Network, the Lions were nearing a deal with veteran kicker Randy Bullock Thursday evening.
Bullock reacted to the news on Twitter just before midnight.
“We are incredibly excited and thankful for the opportunity to join the Detroit Lions organization!,” Bullock wrote. “I can’t wait to work with Dan Campbell, (special teams coordinator) Dave Fipp, and the entire Detroit Lions staff.”
A fifth-round draft pick in 2012, Bullock, 31, spent his first four years with the Houston Texans. After short stints with the Jets, Steelers and Giants, he landed in Cincinnati in the late stages of the 2016 season and stuck the next four years.
In Cincinnati, Bullock was highly accurate, converting nearly 85 percent of his field-goal attempts. He doesn’t possess Prater’s elite leg strength, but still managed to make half of his attempts from 50 yards and beyond, including a career-long of 57 in 2019.
Once the deal is finalized, Bullock would enter the offseason as the front-runner for Detroit’s job, but will have to fend off Matthew Wright, who signed with the team earlier in the offseason. The University of Central Florida’s all-time leading scorer, he appeared in three games for the Steelers last season, making all four of his field-goal attempts.
Whoever wins the job, they’ll be the first kicker to start a game for the Lions other than Prater since 2014. Signed in the middle of that season after being released by the Denver Broncos, he provided much-needed stability to the position following Jason Hanson’s retirement at the end of the 2012 season.
In parts of seven seasons with the Lions, Prater made 84.4 percent of his field goals. In his final game with the Lions, he set the NFL record more most 50-yard field goals in a career. He also holds both the NFL record for longest field goal, a 64-yard boot when he was with Denver, and Detroit’s franchise record with a pair of 59-yard makes.
Prater agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.