Broncos must be kicking themselves for gifting Brandon McManus to Jaguars

• The Jags got a pretty good kicker in Brandon McManus

• The Broncos should regret making him available

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with place kicker Brandon McManus (10).
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with place kicker Brandon McManus (10). / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a fine kicker in Riley Patterson but they wasted no time to dump him in favor of Brandon McManus when he was released by the Denver Broncos. While McManus has proven to be his reliable self during his short stint with the Jags, the Broncos might be having second thoughts about moving on from the veteran kicker after Brett Maher's dreadful performance in the preseason.

McManus didn't seem to fit Broncos head coach Sean Payton's culture, so he was given the boot after the draft. To replace him, Denver signed Brett Maher and Elliot Fry to compete for the kicking job. However, neither one is inspiring confidence.

Against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of this year's preseason, Maher missed field goals from the 47 and 52 yards while Fry failed to make one from the 50-yard line. The silver lining is that Fry nailed a 55-yard attempt but the Broncos should be most definitely feeling fidgety about the kicker position when you take into account that Maher missed four extra points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round of last year's playoffs and another one against the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round.

After the bout, Payton says that Denver must get better production from the kicker position and he's right. Going 1-for-4 won't help them win many games in the future and it's something that could potentially come back to haunt them if they don't address it before the start of the season.

Then again, the Broncos wouldn't have to trust either Maher or Fry if they hadn't parted ways with McManus. And here's something to think about, the Jags actually brought in Fry last year during training camp to address the kicker position but his stint with the team lasted just a couple of weeks.

The Jaguars aren't having second thoughts about pursuing Brandon McManus

Riley Patterson came through for the Jaguars last year. Although he had a rookie stretch at the midpoint of the season, missing two field goals against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10, he went 14-of-15 in the last eight games. Moreover, he nailed the field goal that put Jacksonville on top of the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend.

However, Patterson's limited leg strength made the Jags go for it on fourth downs more than they would've liked in 2022. McManus, on the other hand, has a wide range and can consistently make field goals of 50 yards or more.

Now, there's a chance the Broncos will figure out the kicker position this upcoming season but they should definitely have second thoughts about letting McManus walk. Conversely, the Jags should be thrilled they don't have to worry about the kicker position for the foreseeable future. And the fact that they managed to acquire a seventh-round pick along the way should make them feel good about moving on from Patterson and landing McManus.

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