For around the past decade, the Falcons have been blessed with consistency at the kicker and punter positions. Matt Bryant was brought in back in 2009 and offered them one of the best legs in the NFL until father time finally caught up with him. And in 2011, the team drafted Matt Bosher in the sixth round, who developed into one of the best punters in the league.
However, all good things eventually come to an end, and while Bosher still has time ahead of him, he will be a free agent this offseason, and the Falcons are going to have to do some cap maneuvering to give Dan Quinn the best team possible in his make it or break it season.
Bosher’s abilities when healthy shouldn’t be questioned, but his 2019 was riddled with injuries. He had to be placed on IR with a groin problem, and although he was reactivated shortly after, he reaggravated the injury and was shut down after playing in just three games. Bosher will have time to recover, and in all likelihood, it won’t affect his long-term outlook by much. But groin injuries tend to linger, and it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why that could be of concern for a punter.
Now, the Falcons will have to decide whether they should offer the 32-year old punter what will likely be a top 10 cap figure at the position with tight cap space, on top of those injury concerns.
This is not merely about pinching pennies. We will see if the Falcons re-sign Austin Hooper, but there is something to be said of them holding onto him at the trade deadline. If they do bring Hoop back, they will have to find savings somewhere, and it also may just be time to go younger.
As I mentioned, Bosher was a 6th round pick. The Falcons can find some talent late in the draft or take a look at some less expensive options on the market. Ryan Allen was a veteran fill-in but was among the worst in terms of average punt distance. If they do let Bosher go, they will likely seek a long-term replacement. Drue Chrisman is a quality prospect out of Ohio State with a boot, and I’d bet the Falcons have been keeping tabs on him and others.
If they go that route, they could save around $2 million in cap compared to last season, considering the AAV on Bosher’s deal that just expired was $2.9 million, and they had to compensate Allen as well due to the injury.
The other side of this argument is the Falcons want to win after a disappointing season, and though Younghoe Koo looked promising, they are still bringing in alternatives at kicker. Letting Bosher walk may create too much uncertainty on special teams for the Falcons.
There are pros and cons to re-signing Bosher, but he does not seem like a lock to return to his long-time team, unlike most punters with such an excellent track record. It may be a situation where the Falcons have a maximum amount they are willing to spend on the position, and they say take it or leave it.