As he prepares for his ninth season in the NFL, Atlanta Falcons stalwart Matt Bosher continues to maintain his place as one of the league’s most consistent punters. While 2018 will go down as a disappointing campaign, finishing outside the playoffs with a 7-9 regular season record, Bosher ended the year, again, ranked in the top-10 in average punting distance. At 31 years old, Bosher still has a lot of punting left in him, especially when considering Matt Bryant, who was recently released by the Falcons at 43, has insisted he isn’t yet ready to hang up his kicking cleats.
Veterans Still Doing It
At 36-years old, Arizona’s Andy Lee and Baltimore’s Sam Koch are other examples of veterans still more than handling their own. Lee led the league in average punting distance at 48.6 yards, and Koch finished fourth on the list with an average 48.2 yards per punt. Just behind them in fifth sits 33-year old Brett Kern, another strikingly consistent punter for the Tennessee Titans.
The New (Australian) Wave
While Bosher is still relatively young, at 31 he is quite a bit older than the group of young punters who have caught the eye in 2018 – especially the trio of Australians that finished in the top-10. Finishing second in average punting distance and earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors was Michael Dickson – the first rookie punter to achieve the feat since 1985. Starting his life playing Aussie Rules, the 23-year old could be playing for his childhood team, the Sydney Swans, rather than the Seattle Seahawks. But while the Swans are battling it out to be crowned AFL champions, something they are a +2200 betting underdog to achieve with the bookmakers listed over on Oddschecker, Dickson is looking back at a breakthrough season in which he finished as the league’s best punter.
Dickson is by no means the only Australian punter catching the eye in the NFL. Cameron Johnston is another who harbored AFL ambitions before trying his hand, or foot, in the NFL. Another rookie, the 26-year old made the most of his opportunity, joining the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent and averaging 48.1 yards per punt – good for the third-best mark in the league. Ninth on that list sits another Aussie, Lachlan Edwards, who has now just finished his third season since being selected 235th overall in the 2016 draft, ending the 2018 regular season with an average of 45.9 yards for the New York Jets.
The Falcons signed Bosher to a 5-year contract worth slightly north of $12.5 million back in 2014, making next season the final year left on his deal. He will be owed $2.545 million in 2019 and can be cut without the Falcons having to eat any dead money. Considering the way Atlanta has penny-pinched with some questionable decisions early this offseason – à la cutting Matt Bryant and deciding not to retain Brian Poole – it should not shock anyone if the Falcons decided to move on from Bosher and draft a punter late in the draft.
With that said, Bosher has been a staple on this team since the Falcons drafted him in the sixth round back in 2011. He’s constantly in the top ten in terms of punting distance and net punting distance. Not to mention, he can deliver hits like these as well.
"HE IS BROKEN IN HALF!"
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 23, 2018
If they decide to move on from Bosher, they better be overly confident in their ability to find an equal or better replacement, which will be a tall task for a rookie.