While the kicking game might not be the most glamorous part of football – some wish it were not even a part at all – it is an important part of the game in terms of field position, salvaging points at the end of a drive, etc. For the Buffalo Bills, a mixup could take place in the near future at the punter position.
13-year veteran Brian Moorman has been with Buffalo off-and-on since 2001 and garnered Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2005 and 2006. After his strong play in those two years, he earned roughly $2 million per year, making him the second-highest paid punter at the time.
Despite these accomplishments, the 38-year-old’s career is reaching its twilight as the Bills may look for a younger, cheaper alternative.
Moorman is on the books for one year and $955,000. It is very possible that Buffalo could let Moorman walk off into the sunset and retire or find a new time next year, but it is also possible that they could shed salary immediately by cutting him.
Right now, the Bills also have 23-year-old rookie punter Jake Dombrowski, who is on the books for only $510,000 for three years. It would be an unprecedented move to keep a backup punter so the fact that the Bills signed Dombrowski (with no guaranteed money, albeit), leads me to believe he could be a future fix at the position.
Neither contract has any guaranteed money so the Bills could cut either one without much consequence, but not only would Dombrowski be more of an economical and long-term solution, he also could be a flat out upgrade in terms of skill.
In 2013, Moorman finished near the bottom of the NFL in average yards per punt (30th place at 41.2 yards per punt) and in punts inside the 20-yard line (31st place with 16). His average from 2012 to 2013 went down 3.6 yards and his punts inside the 20 fell by six.
Though in-depth statistics are not available for Dombrowski, I think he has the potential to reach the Pro-Bowl caliber play that Moorman once had in his youth. His 39.99 average at Harvard in his senior year in 2012 was enough to earn him All-Ivy League honors and an invite to Jacksonville Jaguars rookie mini-camp last season.
With professional coaching and experience that I would venture to guess would be quite a bit better than what he received at Harvard, I think Dombrowski could make the leap towards a coveted 45-yard average and could apply some pressure to Moorman as he fights to hang on to his job.