It says a lot about the current state of the Packers' kicking game that a roster move from another team registers as big news, but that's exactly what happened today when the Dolphins released veteran kicker Dan Carpenter.
Carpenter has been one of the better place kickers since entering the NFL with a field goal percentage of 81.9%. He also possesses a strong leg as evidenced by his 60 yard career-long kick.
The writing was on the wall for Carpenter after the Dolphins invested a fifth round pick in Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis in April. While Carpenter performed well in camp, it wasn't enough to convince the front office to carry two kickers. By releasing Carpenter, the Dolphins save $2.675 million in cap space.
Because Carpenter has accrued five seasons in the league, he is not subject to waivers and becomes available immediately. Given that the preseason has started and most teams already have their place kicker lined up, it would seem likely that Carpenter would sign with Green Bay if they offered a contract.
On the surface, pursuing Carpenter seems like a slam dunk decision for the Packers, but it's worth noting that Miami is one of the easiest places to kick in the NFL. The weather stays fairly consistent, and kickers don't have to battle frozen balls and sharp winds. Such would not be the case in Green Bay even after the South end zone renovation.
That said, I'd support signing Carpenter. He doesn't suffer from the inaccuracy issues that have plagued Mason Crosby since last season, and there aren't questions about his length strength unlike Giorgio Tavecchio. He also played his college ball at Montana, so he should be no stranger to cold weather or wind, even if he hasn't kicked in those conditions in a while. If the Packers have questions about Carpenter's ability to kick at Lambeau, bring him in and let him compete with Crosby, Tavecchio, or both. If the Packers are indeed interested, it probably won't be long before a signing takes place.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn
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