Veteran kicker Jason Elam has been cut loose by Atlanta. Elam, 39, who enjoyed fifth-teen seasons in Denver was in his second season with the Falcons but had connected on just 12 of his 19 attempts this season.
With 1,983 career points Elam figured to be either the fifth or sixth player (depending on what happens with Matt Stover in Indianapolis) in NFL history to top 2,000. Now he’ll have to wait by the phone to see if there are any teams interested in his services.
Elam’s biggest struggle this season were kicks from 30-39 yards where he was 4-for-8. From 40-49 yards Elam connected on 3-of-5. Over Elam’s last three games he’s connected on just 5-of-8 and had a miss in each game. Over his last five games he’s had five misses.
Matt Bryant who was cut by Tampa Bay during the preseason has been signed as the replacement. Bryant lost his job in Tampa in part due to a hamstring injury and in part due to his complaining that Mike Nugent, his competition for the kicker job, was offered $2.5 million compared to his $1.2 million.
As for Elam there is no market for him at the moment.
It’s tough to see a guy like Elam get the boot after being such a good kicker for so many seasons but the Falcons are making the right choice here. He’s had plenty of opportunity to turn things around this season but having an unreliable kicker and teetering on being a playoff team is not a combination that goes together well.