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Comparing Wil Lutz’s stats to Brandon McManus’ stats in 2023

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton made a somewhat surprising move last May when he released veteran kicker Brandon McManus.

McManus ranked second on the club’s all-time scoring list and he was the last remaining member from the Super Bowl 50 squad before being cut. The kicker was coming off a down year, however, and releasing him saved the Broncos $3.75 million in 2023 salary cap space.

McManus signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars a few days later.

Denver then had a kicker competition between Brett Maher and Elliott Fry last summer, but neither of them ended up winning the job. Before the start of the season, Payton traded a seventh-round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for Wil Lutz, his former kicker.

The switch from McManus to Lutz saved the Broncos $2.05 million in 2023 cap space, so it made sense financially. In hindsight, it also made sense from a football perspective.

Lutz converted 88.2% of his field goals this season, better than the 81.1% conversion rate that McManus posted. Here’s a quick look at a few more of their stats.

Wil Lutz: 30-of-34 on field goals (88.2%)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Brandon McManus: 30-of-37 on field goals (81.1%)

(Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports)

Wil Lutz kickoffs touchback percentage: 87.7%

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Brandon McManus touchback percentage: 75.6%

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Wil Lutz extra points: 29-of-31 (93.5%)

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Brandon McManus extra points: 35-of-35 (100%)

(Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
(Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

Will Lutz long: 52 yards (career long: 60 yards)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Brandon McManus long: 56 yards (career long: 61 yards)

(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports)
(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports)

So, who had the better season? Lutz had better field goal and touchback percentages, but McManus was better on extra points and he converted a longer field goal. At the very least, Lutz was not a big downgrade. Considering that he was a cheaper option, switching to Lutz seems to have been the right move by the Broncos.

Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire