Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas (2) attempts a field goal while punter Brett Kern holds during the first half against the New York Jets at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans must address several issues when free agency begins in 2013. The Titans need to add veteran leadership to their young roster. They’ll decide on which players will remain with the organization. Should they use the franchise tag on Jared Cook or somebody else?
Rob Bironas is one player who is scheduled to become a free agent. With a reported $19.4 million in cap space, the Titans have enough money to meet his demands. However, are they willing to meet the demands of a kicker who had his worst season since 2006?
In 2012, Bironas made 25-of-31 field-goal attempts. That’s a success rate of 80.6 percent. Bironas’ success rates have dropped in each of the last three seasons. Those percentages have gone from 92.3 to 90.6 to 80.6. Bironas was 5-of-10 from 40-49 yards.
Why did Bironas miss so many kicks in 2012? Two of his misses came when he injured his ankle against the Detroit Lions. One of his misses came on a 57-yard attempt against the Indianapolis Colts. That accounts for three of his six misses. His other three misses came from 42-46 yards.
Rob Bironas didn’t have his best season. However, let’s not get carried away. When he’s healthy and kicking from reasonable distances, Bironas is still one of the NFL’s most-reliable kickers.
What kind of money will Bironas demand? Connor Barth, Matt Prater and Josh Scobee all signed extensions before the 2012 season started. Their contracts were eerily similar: about four years, $13-14 million.
Barth is the only kicker who was anywhere near as consistent as Bironas. In 2011, Prater made 19-of-25 attempts (76.0 percent). Prater has made 79.1 percent of his career attempts. Compare that to Bironas, who has made 85.6 percent of his career attempts.
Don’t expect a discount because of one off-year. Several playoff teams would love to rent Bironas. Afterward, they wouldn’t mind signing him.
The question is whether this franchise will give a kicker up toward $5 million per season. How much guaranteed money? Probably nothing longer than three years.