In 2011, just before the NFL and its players went their separate ways for five months, the New Orleans Saints signed kicker Garrett Hartley to a long-term, $10.3 million contract.
And then in August, the kicker injured himself on a routine kick, an extra point that proved anything but routine.
So in came veteran kicker John Kasay, a 41-year-old veteran whom the Carolina Panthers believed was past his prime.
All Kasay did for the Saints was finish with the most points he has ever had. His 34 field goals was 10th-most in the NFL and tied for third-most in his career.
He went 28-for-34 in his first year with the Saints, including 2 of 5 from 50-plus yards. The Saints rewarded his consistency this offseason with another contract.
The question now is what the Saints do with the position. Carrying an extra kicker isn’t out of the ordinary for New Orleans. But it is a luxury, one most teams can’t afford.
The youngster is likely the first-team kicker heading into camp. But Kasay is there nipping on his heels. If the Saints can afford the roster spot, we see both at least starting the season with the team.
Kicker by committee? Let's hope this gets situated before drafts, because any Saints kicker given the starting job will have value in this high-scoring offense.