New England Patriots Release Three-Time Champion Stephen Gostkowski

Stephen Gostkowski was released yesterday by the New England Patriots. It is yet another significant change on the Pats’ roster, which already saw one multiple champion leaving the crew.

Pats’ Salary Cap Making Problems

Gostkowski spent his entire career with the team from Foxborough and became one of the most important pieces in Bill Belichick’s machinery. He was one of the most reliable kickers in the entire league and, throughout his career, often saved his team in times when needed the most.

Currently, the Patriots are having difficulties with the salary cap and are trying to find out the best possible way to clear enough space for the future moves on the free agency market. Gostkowski’s contract was about to take $4.8 million of NE’s salary cap, and even though they released him, the Pats will save just $1.6 million due to dead money.

For some time, rumors were circulating that the kicker might leave, as he began to struggle with injuries throughout the previous season. The 36-year old played just four games in 2019, converting 11 of his 15 extra points and seven of eight field goals.

In his 14 seasons with the Patriots, Gostkowski became the franchise leading scorer with 1,775 points. He made 374 field goals in 428 tries and missed only 11 of his 664 extra-point attempts, four of them being in the last year, as said previously.

Gostkowski was picked as the 118th overall choice in the 2006 NFL draft and became the only rookie kicker who made it to the roster that season. Ever since, Belichick saw him as one of the most reliable weapons his team had. With 87.4% of FG accuracy, he is the No.1 in franchise history and the fifth on the all-time list. With 28 games, he sits fourth on the all-time list of playoff appearances behind Brady, Adam Vinatier (whom he replaced in the Pats) and Jerry Rice.

In the meantime, Gostkowski won three Super Bowl titles, became 4-time Pro Bowl, and 3-time All-Pro. With 479 consecutive extra-points, he holds the NFL record. In the Super Bowl LIII against the Rams, he would hit the game-winning field goal, sealing the fate of the team from LA.

New England’s Problems With Dead Money

The Pats are trying to clear the cap space, which is currently the second-lowest among all teams in the NFL. The only worse team that NE in this category is Kansas City. However, the reigning champs already have a formed squad, while on the other side, the Pats are about to enter the process of reconstruction after a long time.

Dead money takes away more than $26 million of Pats’ cap space, and that is a massive problem for Belichick, who will now have to perform a financial gymnastic and seek some solutions he hadn’t been used to do before.

Here is the allocation of those dead money per player.

  • Tom Brady, $13.5 million
  • Antonio Brown, $4.75 million
  • Stephen Gostkowski, $3.2 million
  • Michael Bennett, $2 million
  • Duron Harmon, $1.5 million
  • Duke Dawson, $765,410
  • Mike Pennel, $250,000

Indeed, the Pats might have a clear path for bringing one superstar in 2021, but now, they will see a lot of problems in keeping a respectable squad.