ESPN: The Buffalo Bills will swap kickers this offseason. After releasing Dan Carpenter on Tuesday, the team is expected to sign free-agent kicker Steven Hauschka, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Here is more on the move:
Terms: 4 years, $12.4 million
ESPN 150 ranking: No. 116
Grade B: More terms on the contract will be needed to gauge this move. If there is a significant amount of guaranteed money, it could be too rich of a deal for a kicker whose performance the past two seasons was lacking. Hauschka has missed 10 extra points, only one fewer than Carpenter has missed (11).
What it means: The Bills surely are hoping that Hauschka can overcome his struggles on extra-point attempts and regain his field goal form from 2015, when he ranked third in the NFL by converting 93.5 percent of field goals. In that case he would be an upgrade over Carpenter, whose field goal conversion rate last season was 76 percent — one of the worst in the NFL. Hauschka also has a strong enough leg to kick off; the Bills opted to use a kickoff specialist, Jordan Gay, the past three seasons because of Carpenter’s struggles in that area.
What’s the risk: The Bills could have opted to draft a kicker, sign a free agent at a lower cost or otherwise fill that hole with a cheaper option. Hauschka’s deal averages more than $3 million per season, which will put him among the 10 most expensive kickers in the NFL. For the Bills, who are generally tight on salary-cap space, that is a risk.