Green Bay Packers have 3 Kickers on Roster–For Now

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) kicks the game-winning field goal in overtime of a Week 5 NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Green Bay Packers won, 25-22.Green Bay Packers At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 10
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) kicks the game-winning field goal in overtime of a Week 5 NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Green Bay Packers won, 25-22.Green Bay Packers At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 10 /

Even the reliable Mason Crosby wasn’t immune to the Green Bay Packers special teams woes in 2021.

Crosby ended the season hitting just 73.5% of his field goal attempts–his lowest hit rate since 2012 when Crosby made only 21 of his 33 attempts.

In addition to missing in general, Crosby really struggled from attempts over 40 yards and was unable to consistently kick the ball through the end zone on kickoffs. This led to Green Bay’s struggling kick coverage unit having to defend more often than what we would have liked to see.

While ultimately Crosby is the one kicking the ball, he wasn’t the sole reason for the issues that the field goal team experienced either. Along the way, there were poor snaps, bad holds, and inconsistent blocking as well.

Although many thought that Crosby could have been a salary cap casualty earlier this offseason, he is still a member of the Packers, along with two other kickers, giving Green Bay three in total on the 90-man roster–which is quite a few.

In addition to Crosby is JJ Molson, who signed with the Packers in December of 2020 and has since been on the practice squad. He currently has no career field goal attempts.

The other kicker is Dominik Eberle, who has experience playing under now special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia and was signed this past February. Eberle has three career field goal attempts, in which he made two of them as a member of the Houston Texans in 2021. He is also five-for-five on extra point attempts.

It would certainly appear that there is going to be competition this summer at the kicker position–although it’s hard to envision Crosby losing that battle based on his experience alone. With that said, I’ll mention that the Packers can create $3.4 million in cap space by moving on from him after June 1st, but for a veteran team with Super Bowl aspirations, relying on either the inexperienced Molson or Eberle comes with obvious risks—which is why I expect Crosby to be the Week 1 kicker.

It also doesn’t look like Bisaccia is going to wait until training camp or the preseason for this competition to begin either.

When speaking with reporters for the first time in April, Bisaccia mentioned that he would be evaluating the kickers during OTAs. The other important caveat — and the reason I’m writing this article — is that Bisaccia also added that he doesn’t expect to go into training camp with three kickers on the roster.

"“We’re fortunate, we’re going to have OTAs, and some of those practices where we get the chance to evaluate the different kickers as we go through–and I don’t think we will go to training camp with three (kickers), I think we will go to training camp with two after I visit with Brian (Gutekunst) and Coach LaFleur to see how that goes. I’d like to see all three before we make a decision.”"

Currently, the Green Bay Packers roster is at max capacity with 90 players, but if or when they do make a subtraction at the kicker position, they’ll have room on the roster to make an addition.

Now, they can add another training camp body to fill that roster spot, or perhaps they look to bring in a veteran presence who can potentially contribute this season at a position of need. Two positions that Green Bay should consider adding to are edge rusher and cornerback.

When Rashan Gary and Preston Smith weren’t on the field last season, there was a significant lack of impact plays from the edge rusher position–against both the run and passing games. Those same question marks and concerns still remain. There’s a reason the team signed Whitney Mercilus in the middle of last season.

Meanwhile, at cornerback, as good as Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, and Eric Stokes can be, there is quite a bit of inexperience and unknowns on the roster behind them. A veteran presence as that fourth option would provide some much-needed stability.

Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that one position I didn’t mention was wide receiver–and the reason being that I believe Green Bay is done adding to that position. For one, not that the Packers can’t roster seven receivers, but six of those 53-man roster spots are already accounted for.

In addition, Julio Jones could very well be out of the Packers’ price range with their limited cap space, and it is unknown when Odell Beckham will be available–not to mention that this was his second ACL injury since 2020.

If the Green Bay Packers do go the route of adding a veteran presence, regardless of what position they choose to address, more than likely, this player will receive a veteran minimum contract or something close to it.

As of now, Over the Cap has the Packers with $10.8 million in available cap space–however, once you take into account other expenses such as the members of the draft class who are unsigned, the salaries for the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster, the eventual practice squad, along with cap space for any in-season spending, Ken Ingalls projects that Green Bay’s effective cap space is actually $1.2 million over.

With that said, there are still a few cap creating moves available, including an extension for Alexander and the opportunity to add voided years to Allen Lazard’s RFA deal once that is signed–which is why I believe that Green Bay will have room to make an inexpensive addition if the right player is available.

Before I get too far ahead of myself — and maybe I already have — the Green Bay Packers still have to figure out if they are going to head into the summer with two or three kickers on the roster. But if things play out as Bisaccia expects them to — which there is no reason to believe that they won’t — then keep in mind that there may be a cut coming over the next month along with another addition.