The Jacksonville Jaguars have brought back kicker Riley Patterson after trading him to the Detroit Lions last May. With incumbent Brandon McManus set to hit the open market, they might've wanted to add insurance in case they leave. But if the Jags re-sign McManus, could a kicker competition be on the way?
Jacksonville claimed Patterson off waivers just before the 2022 season began, putting an end to the revolving door they had experienced throughout most of the year. While Petterson had a rough stretch midseason, he bounced back, going 15-of-16 in the last eight weeks. Then in the playoffs, he nailed the game-winning field goal to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
However, Patterson lacked the strength for kickoffs and long field goals. Neither was an issue for McManus, so the Jaguars wasted no time to scoop him when the Denver Broncos released him. To make room for him, they traded Patterson to the Detroit Lions. He was waived in December and then claimed by the Cleveland Browns. Not long after his contract with the Browns expired, the Jags signed him to a reserve/future contract.
What to make of the Jacksonville Jaguars signing Riley Patterson?
All things considered, this is a low-risk move for the Jaguars. Last year, they signed Brandon McManus to a $2.35 million deal and if they want to re-sign him this offseason, a similar deal will most likely get it done. Although the veteran kicker was generally reliable in 2023, he also struggled at different points of the season, missing two attempts against the Houston Texans in Week 3 and later failing a combined three field goals in losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Keep in mind that McManus is 32 and he completed 77.8 percent of his kicks, the third-lowest figure of his career in 2022, so the Jaguars may want to have a backup plan in case he's declining. On the other hand, Patterson is far from perfect. After his stint with the Jaguars, he spent time with two teams. Heck, the Detroit Lions, had previously released him, claimed him again, and moved on from him a second time.
For that reason, it wouldn't be shocking for the Jaguars to keep McManus and Patterson in training camp, have them compete for kicking duties, and stick with whoever did the better job.
Maybe the Jaguars the Jaguars brought back Patterson because they weren't overly thrilled with this year's kicker market. The likes Wil Lutz, Greg Zuerlin, and Nick Folk are scheduled to become free agents but none of them would represent an upgrade in Jacksonville. It's possible that the Jags wanted to go with a familiar face instead of going with an unknown commodity.
From an outside perspective, it's hard to tell if the Jacksonville Jaguars will re-sign Brandon McManus in the offseason. But by bringing back Riley Patterson, they're keeping their options open.