The Seattle Seahawks have responded to Steven Hauschka’s struggles during 2016, but is signing Blair Walsh the right move?
Hauschka will be the first to admit he struggled during 2016, which including missing a career-high six extra points. However, Walsh has had his own issues, and is best known for missing a 27-yard field goal in the 2015 playoffs, against the Seahawks.
Admittedly, any opinion of Walsh is influenced by what happened in that playoff game, but I was still surprised by the signing. After all, this is the same kicker who the Vikings released midway through last season, after missing four of 19 extra points and four of 12 field goal attempts (including three from inside 49 yards).
In addition, Hauschka was pretty damn reliable for the Seahawks during his first five seasons with the team. However, the team may have lost confidence, best highlighted by the 28-yard field goal he missed in overtime against the Cardinals, which effectively cost them the opportunity to host the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Regardless, there is an understanding that money plays a part in this whole scenario. Hauschka has just completed a three-year deal worth $8.3 million, whereas Walsh will likely play for somewhere around the league minimum of $775,000 next season.
You also have to figure this move was made by the Seahawks, after failing to come to terms with Hauschka. The Needham, Massachusetts native will become an unrestricted free agent as of March 9th.
Not that it matters as much for kickers, but age could be another factor – no matter how minor. For what it’s worth, Walsh is 27 and Hauschka is 31.
From the Seahawks’ perspective, while they may or may not have lost faith in Hauschka, they are essentially relying on Walsh to regain his own. Prior to last season, he was considered one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL.
However, at the risk of playing devils advocate, you have to wonder how much of any belief in Walsh comes down to living in the past? More specifically, what he did during his rookie year.
There is no denying the Boca Raton, Florida native was sensational in 2012, after missing no extra points and only three field goals. He also went 10-10 on field goals of 50 yards or longer, to set an NFL single-season record.
As a result, Walsh was selected to the Pro Bowl and named First-team All-Pro. His second season was productive as well, but since then he has been on downward trajectory.
Overall, it will be interesting to see if Walsh can be galvanized by a fresh start in Seattle. Certainly, the kicking situation could have a significant impact on the Seahawks’ fortunes, as they’ve discovered these past two season.
While understanding money plays a big part in any decision, what’s your take on the Seahawks’ kicking situation? Do you have a preference for either Hauschka or Walsh, or do you not particularly care who is the main guy moving forward? Share your thoughts in the comments section.