In eight seasons, the last seven with the Denver Broncos, Prater made 81.6 percent of his field goals. He went 25-26 last season, including an NFL record 64-yarder. For his career, he's 21 for 27 from 50 yards and beyond.
He was released by the Broncos last week, days before his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy was set to end.
Prater replaces Nate Freese and Alex Henery, who combined to go a league-worst 4-of-12 during the first five weeks of the season. Only one other team has more than two misses. Prater should be a very solid, weekly play as your fantasy kicker, especially with the Lions banged up on offense and possibly missing WR Calvin Johnson and RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
Henery was just 1-of-4 in his two games with the Lions, including an 0-of-3 performance Sunday in a 17-14 loss against the Buffalo Bills. That includes missing a would-be game-winner from 50 yards in the final seconds.
Caldwell said the process has already begun to find Henery's replacement. He'll value experience in the process, but won't rule out any options.
The Lions are expected to hold tryouts this week in Allen Park.
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:19pm
Matt Prater, who is serving the final days of his four-game suspension for violating the league's alcohol program, was notified around 11 a.m. Friday that he would be released.
"I'm a little surprised," Prater said from Florida. "The Broncos look like they're going to do some great things this year. It's too bad I won't be a part of it. I'm just going to concentrate on keeping myself in shape and hopefully I'll be kicking for someone this year."
McManus has only kicked three field goals through three games, but he should be a quality start on an every week basis given the strength of the Denver offense.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 6:08pm
Last month, Denver coach John Fox suggested K Matt Prater hadn't worn out his welcome in Denver, saying, "He's part of our family."
Then, a contrite Prater apologized and pledged to stay out of clubs to avoid the temptation to drink again, which could result in a yearlong ban. His suspension is costing Prater $750,000 of his $3 million base salary. There's the rub.
The Broncos are paying big bucks for their specialists — Prater will count $3.812 million against this year's cap and punter/holder Britton Colquitt another $3.25 million.
Current K Brandon McManus signed a deal that would pay him $420,000 this year and $510,000 in 2015, when Prater's base salary jumps to $3.25 million.
McManus wants to stay here with them. He sees Denver not as a stopover but as his destination.
So far he's turning this into a decision for the Broncos, but the life of a kicker can change with one missed kick. Prater has two more games to serve and the Broncos take on Seattle and Arizona, both teams with good defense that could keep those contest close - meaning McManus could have a chance to play a big role.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 5:55pm
“It’s been an honor to play for the Arizona Cardinals,” Feely wrote on Twitter. “Michael Bidwill, thank you for your leadership and friendship. AZ will still be home!”
Chandler Catanzaro, a rookie out of Clemson, has been competing with Feely through training camp and the preseason. Catanzaro has made all of his field goals in the preseason, while Feely missed a field goal in Sunday’s preseason game.
The violation was alcohol-related. Prater has been in the league's alcohol program since soon after he was charged with driving under the influence Aug. 12, 2011.
The four-game suspension, which is expected to be announced Monday, was part of an agreement reached between Prater's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, and the league, so an appeal is not expected. The NFL had initially threatened a one-year suspension.
Prater should return to be one of the best fantasy kickers in the league, but he won't be available for the first month of the seasons. Owners who have already drafted him should clear a roster spot for another kicker. He's still draftable, but owners would need to draft another kicker to fill in while Prater serves his suspension. If he's still lingering on the waiver wire in Week 2 or Week 3, he will be worth a pickup.
Friday, January 31, 2014, 6:32pm
Friday, October 11, 2013, 7:17pm
Thursday, October 10, 2013, 6:41pm
Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6:55pm
Friday, October 4, 2013, 6:03pm
Broncos K Matt Prater (right calf, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 5. Keep him in your lineups and consider the crisis averted.
Thursday, October 3, 2013, 6:32pm
Broncos K Matt Prater (right calf) was added to the injury report Thursday after taking limited practice reps. We'll see how Prater's calf responds on Friday. Owners should be ready to make a move if it looks like he might not kick. The Broncos play in the late round of games on Sunday.
Monday, July 2, 2012, 1:51pm
"Matt has developed into one of the NFL's elite kickers and is a big part of our team," Elway tweeted.
The Broncos' strong-legged kicker missed the team's entire offseason program in protest of his $2.654 million franchise tag, which was tendered in lieu of a long-term contract.
Prater is the most accurate kicker in NFL history for field goals of 50 yards or more, having hit 12 of 16.
- Page 1