It was a bit strange how long Stephen Gostkowski lasted on the free-agent market.
The longtime New England Patriots kicker was unsigned for almost a month, despite what he has meant to the Patriots and the fact that good kickers are hard to find in the NFL. But the wait is over. Gostkowski has a two-year deal from the Patriots, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Once the San Francisco 49ers were reportedly showing interest, Gostkowski was signed quickly by the Patriots after weeks of waiting. Funny how that works.
49ers had interest in Stephen Gostkowski
The 49ers’ reported interest in Gostkowski and the Patriots suddenly signing him to a deal can’t be a total coincidence.
Early on Tuesday, NBC Sports Bay Area reported that the 49ers were interested in Gostkowski. Before that report, there had been practically no news about Gostkowski. Even though some teams seem to annually be searching for an upgrade at kicker, there was not much speculation about other teams calling. There didn’t seem to be much movement between the Patriots and Gostkowski either.
The 49ers’ interest could have been a message to Robbie Gould, their own kicker who hasn’t signed his franchise tag tender. It seems to have worked as some leverage for Gostkowski.
Gostkowski waited a long time to sign
The Patriots often move on from longtime veterans right before their play falls off. As time passed on Gostkowski, it was at least worth wondering if the Patriots were having questions about his value.
Gostkowski has been fantastic, a four-time Pro Bowler who has been reliable for most of his 13 Patriots seasons. Yet, he hasn’t been as automatic lately. He missed five field goals last season, and he missed five in 2016, as well. That’s not egregious, and Gostkowski is still one of the best kickers in the NFL, but he is 35 years old.
If there were any concerns, they weren’t strong enough for the Patriots to let him go. New England has its kicker back, for a couple more years at least.
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