Detroit Lions re-sign K Michael Badgley; is drafting a kicker still a possibility?

Detroit Free Press

Michael Badgley helped stabilize the Detroit Lions‘ woeful kicking game last season, and on Friday the Lions rewarded him with a new one-year contract.

Badgley made all 33 of his extra point tries and 20 of 24 field goals for the Lions last season with a long of 53 yards.

He signed with the team in October, after the Lions had cycled through nine other kickers in their attempt to replace Matt Prater.

Austin Seibert won a camp battle with Riley Patterson and opened as the Lions kicker last season, but aggravated a groin injury while missing two field goals in a Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, including a 54-yarder wide right with 1:14 to play that set up Minnesota’s game-winning touchdown.

Dominik Eberle replaced Seibert in a Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but was cut after he missed two extra points and sent a kickoff out of bounds.

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In 2021, after letting Prater walk in free agency, the Lions tried out three potential replacements (Randy Bullock, Matthew Wright and Zane Gonzalez) in training camp and used four more kickers — Seibert, Patterson, Ryan Santoso and Aldrick Rosas — in games. They also had Sam Ficken on their practice squad last year.

Badgley was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week in December after he made four field goals (45, 47, 38 and 44 yards) and four extra points in a 40-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and earned praise from Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp for his poise and consistency.

“He’s been great for us,” Fipp said last season. “I got no reservations about him going forward or any of that stuff. He’s very consistent, calm.”

The Lions still are expected to bring in competition for Badgley this spring, perhaps in the form of a draft pick.

Fipp spent time interviewing all six kickers invited to the NFL combine — Michigan’s Jake Moody, Maryland’s Chad Ryland, North Carolina State’s Chris Dunn, Clemson’s B.T. Potter, Georgia’s Jack Podlesny and Auburn’s Anders Carlson — and said there are pros and cons to going with a rookie at the position.

“There’s benefits to really all the above,” Fipp said at the combine. “I personally have never shied away from a younger player. I think there’s a lot of young talent out there. As long as you believe in them and help them, we had Jake Elliott. We took him when I was in Philly now. The Bengals had drafted him and they put him on their practice squad, ironically to keep Randy Bullock, and then we had pulled him off the practice squad and he was my top kicker coming out of that draft process that year, and he was a young, talented player and I thought he had a chance to be a good player and it kind of worked out for him.”

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Moody, a Michigan native who is considered one of the top kickers in the draft, said Friday he’s had minimal contact with the Lions during the pre-draft process.

Moody has a handful of private workouts scheduled with teams, but none with the Lions, though he could attend the team’s local workout day. He made 12 of 13 field goals at pro day Friday, with a long of 63 yards and his only miss coming wide left from 57 yards.

“I haven’t (talked to the Lions much), which I mean, that’s fine,” Moody said. “I don’t care where I go. Obviously, it’d be nice to stay here but I’m happy anywhere I go.”

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

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