Last offseason, one move that was pretty notable within Broncos Country was the team parting ways with long-time kicker and Super Bowl 50 champion, Brandon McManus. After cycling through a couple of kickers during the 2023 offseason, the Broncos settled on Wil Lutz, a kicker who played with Sean Payton in New Orleans for years.
Broncos fans may also remember Brett Maher, who was the Broncos' kicker during most of last offseason. The decision to not bring McManus back was not something that should have come as a surprise. McManus is simply not a good kicker, and he made just 77.8% of his field goal attempts for the Broncos in 2022.
His 28/36 field goal numbers was a decline from his 26/31 year in 2021. McManus was never really a great kicker. He had two decent seasons in 2015 and 2019, making over 85% of his kicks, but other than that, he was consistently average until the last couple of years, as he's not made over 80% of his kicks since 2021.
Well, he started the year on a great note with his new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he's really hurt the team lately. McManus has, since November 26th, gone just 4/9 on his field goal attempts, and over the entire 2023 NFL Season, has gone 24/31, which is good for 77.4%. Well, Payton trading for his old kicker in Wil Lutz has been a great decision. Lutz has gone 27/30 on field goals this year, which is 90%.
The Denver Broncos have not had this efficient of a kicker in years. And funnily enough, Lutz only made 74.2% of his kicks in 2022, so this was a huge gamble by Payton. The Saints also decided to roll with a kicker named Blake Grupe to take over for Wil Lutz beginning this year. Grupe has gone 25/32 on his field goals this year, which is good for 78.1%. And oh yeah, there is this bit of news, too:
The Jaguars recently worked out a free agent kicker, perhaps to replace the struggling McManus. Overall, Sean Payton's decision to pick Wil Lutz over Brandon McManus seems to be a very good one.