Denver Broncos would be fools not to bring in the Punt God for a tryout
Former Buffalo Bills draft pick Matt Araiza was cut last offseason after being accused of a heinous crime. The Bills let him go and as the legal process played out, Araiza's innocence was proven. Now that his innocence has been proven, the "Punt God" can get back to doing what he does best, which is launching footballs into orbit with his foot. It's not hyperbole to say that, coming out in last year's draft, Araiza was inarguably the most exciting punter prospect to come along in decades, if not ever.
He's a free agent, and can sign wherever he wants. Despite the acquisition this offseason of Riley Dixon, the Denver Broncos would be fools not to see what Araiza can do, at least calling him in for a tryout. The Punt God with the advantage of Mile High altitude?
Forget about it, those footballs might never hit the ground.
The Broncos signed Riley Dixon to a two-year deal worth $3.5 million in total money with $1 million in guarantees. While it would be tough to "waste" that $1 million, it might be worth the investment if you bring in Araiza for a competition and he's able to win and be a long-term option, and a better one at that.
Last year, Dixon was around the middle of the pack among NFL punters with a net average of 42 yards per boot, but he was near the bottom of the league with just 19 punts inside the 20. Coverage units have something to do with it, but it's not overly encouraging that Dixon ranked 4th-worst in the NFL in punt return yardage against with 372 punt return yards allowed on his kicks.
Perhaps worst of all, Dixon was one of just two punters in the NFL last season to have two punts blocked.
I'm not saying the Riley Dixon move was a bad one. The Broncos needed an upgrade over Corliss Waitman and I think they got it. But now, an even better upgrade has become available and he's also a younger option with better overall talent.
I'm sure the Broncos will stand pat and go with Riley Dixon, but if Matt Araiza is lining up workouts for teams, they would be insane not to try and bring him in. The New York Jets have already done exactly that.
If you are an NFL team and you're constantly looking to get better, I don't see any way you can justify not giving Araiza's agent a call, bringing him in for a visit, giving him a workout, and making a decision from there. Sean Payton was preaching earlier in the offseason about all of the "hidden yardage" on special teams and it would be ridiculous to think that Araiza couldn't help in that regard.
The former San Diego State star averaged over 50 yards per punt in college and also made 50 field goals. He was no. 1 in the entire NCAA in 2021 with 51.2 yards per punt.
I'd say there's a lot of hidden yardage there.