Rams 2023 free agency preview: LA shouldn’t let Matt Gay get away

Kickers aren’t always viewed among a team’s most important players, but Matt Gay has been incredibly valuable to the Los Angeles Rams the last three years, particularly in 2021 during their Super Bowl march. After three seasons with the Rams, Gay will now become a free agent and have the chance to test the waters next week.

The Rams could have used the franchise tag on him and prevented Gay from hitting the market, but they opted not to and will instead try to work out a long-term extension. That could be difficult if Gay wants to see what other teams will offer.

Even if Gay wants to become the highest-paid kicker in the league, the Rams should consider making that happen because there are few better at his position.

2022 stats

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

17 games

  • 28-for-30 on FG attempts

    • 9-for-9 from 20-29 yards

    • 8-for-8 from 30-39 yards

    • 4-for-4 from 40-49 yards

    • 7-for-9 from 50+ yards

  • 31-for-32 on PATs


(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

It was always going to be tough for Gay to follow up the near-immaculate season he had in 2021 en route to the Rams’ Super Bowl win, but he did everything right last season. He only missed two field goal attempts all year, and both of them were from 50-plus yards: one from 51 yards and the other from 61. So really, he only missed one reasonably makeable kick.

Gay proved he’s one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL from any distance, matching his well-known leg strength with remarkable accuracy, too.

Positional need: Medium

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams found out in 2020 what it’s like to struggle through a kicker search, cycling through players after Greg Zuerlein left. Fortunately, they landed on Gay as their primary kicker during the season that year and haven’t looked back.

Kicker isn’t a position teams keep multiple players at so there isn’t exactly depth to choose from. That makes this an important spot for the Rams to address in the offseason because kickers win and lose you games in the NFL.

Prediction: Signs 3-year, $15 million deal with Rams

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Rams didn’t tag Gay, which could wind up being a mistake, but that doesn’t mean he’s certain to leave. The team would still like to bring him back, it’s just that now he can shop around the market to find his best (and most lucrative) landing spot.

In the end, the Rams should be the ones to sign him, knowing there won’t be a single better player out there for them to replace Gay with.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire