Raiders should add Stephen Gostkowski to challenge Daniel Carlson
By Brad Weiss
Daniel Carlson struggled as the Las Vegas Raiders kicker last season, and they should bring in a veteran to challenge him this offseason.
The then-Oakland Raiders added Daniel Carlson during the 2018 season, picking him off the scrap heap after he was released by the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie. During the 2018 campaign, Carlson proved to be automatic for the Raiders, showing the kind of talent that enticed the Vikings to select him in the fifth round.
During his career at Auburn, Carlson did not miss a single extra point, going a perfect 198-for-198. In addition, he connected on over 80 percent of his field goals, proving to be one of the better college kickers in recent memory.
He struggled immediately with the Vikings, and was released after only two games. After signing with the Raiders, Carlson was perfect on his extra points, connecting on 24-of-24, and nailed all but one of his 17 field goal attempts.
In 2019, with the starting job in hand, Carlson entered camp ready to improve on a wild rookie season. Instead of being automatic again, Carlson missed seven of his 26 attempts, connecting on 73.1 percent of his kicks, and missed two extra points as well.
Heading into 2020, the Raiders have to bring him in some competition, and while undrafted rookie Dominik Eberle could challenge him, a veteran is what could end up bring out the best in Carlson. One name to keep an eye on is Stephen Gostkowski, who saw a hip injury end his 2019 campaign, but still has some left in the tank.
Gostkowski is a proven commodity at the NFL level as a four-time Pro Bowler, and a three-time Super Bowl Champion. His 87.3 percent field goal rate is good for fifth all-time in league history, and after 14 seasons with the New England Patriots, he was released this March.
Before his injury last season, Gostkowski had connected on 87.5 percent of his field goals, though he did struggle with extra points.
Of course, the Raiders need to make sure Gostkowski is healthy enough to challenge Carlson, but he has already said he is, and that he is not ready to retire. This guy is one of the more accurate kickers in NFL history, and if he is healthy, why not kick the tires (pun intended) on him?