Lions make questionable move that doesn’t make a ton of sense with latest release


The Detroit Lions made the big signing that everyone hoped they would make this week. Michigan Panthers kicker Jake Bates is now officially Detroit Lions kicker Jake Bates. But that’s not all the Lions did on Tuesday. They also made a questionable move that doesn’t make a ton of sense.

The Lions released undrafted rookie kicker James Turner. Normally the release of an undrafted rookie wouldn’t be such a confusing thing. The problem is that before the Bates signing, there was very real belief that Turner could get the Lions starting job over Michael Badgley. 

All that we had heard coming out of OTAs and minicamp was that Turner had a big leg and that he wasn’t missing while Michael Badgley was missing a lot. It’s fair to note that the media didn’t get to see every kick that was made during this time frame, but every Turner kick they did see went in and some went in from distance. Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp even raved about his leg. 

What was expected to be a triple threat kicking competition is now a one on one and both the combatants give some concerns. We’ve seen Badgley miss and we’ve seen that he has some trouble with distance. Enough for the Lions to opt to go for fourth-down conversions in the biggest game of the year instead of trotting him out to kick. 

Bates can hit from distance and has a powerful leg, but there’s accuracy issues that led up to seven missed kicks in 11 games this past season. Plus he has a lack of experience when it comes to kicking field goals. He hadn’t really done it since 2017 before this UFL season. 

Things might be just fine, but it seems like the Lions may have parted with the most accurate kicker here from what’s been seen. It wouldn’t have hurt to have that extra guy out there. 

From a roster spot, there is now one spot open. We’ll see soon enough what the Lions do to fill that spot. They might do something that very quickly makes you forget about waiving Turner.

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