NFL

Nick Folk? Wes Welker? Bill Belichick to 'see how it goes' as Patriots consider kicker options

By Sports Desk December 06, 2019

Bill Belichick jokingly suggested he may try to tempt Wes Welker out of retirement as the New England Patriots continue to search for a solution to their kicking issues.

The Pats boast a 10-2 record this season despite having to chop and change the identity of their kicker, using four different players in the role so far.

Stephen Gostkowski was the starter before being placed on injured reserve and, after Mike Nugent failed to successfully fill the void, Nick Folk's spell with the team was cut short when he had an appendix operation.

Kai Forbath was on duty for the Week 13 defeat to the Houston Texans, kicking a field goal while landing one of his two extra-point attempts, but he was subsequently released on Monday.

While there are reports Folk may return to New England in time for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, they had still yet to have a recognised kicker on their roster early on Friday.

Asked about the situation in his news conference, Belichick said: "We will just have to see how it goes. We will go with what we've got, or… I don't know, see how it goes."

The Patriots head coach was then questioned over reports Folk is set to return, though when asked if an announcement was expected, he simply replied: "Nope".

Punter Jake Bailey is an option having accepted the added responsibility of kick-off duties in Gostkowski's absence, though Belichick seemed relaxed over the situation as he proposed the idea of a familiar face coming back to the team.

Welker's name cropped up during the media session as the wide receiver was occasionally utilised as an emergency kicker during his NFL career – including slotting over an extra point for the Pats in 2010.

"We were talking about him the other day – maybe we can see if we can round him up," Belichick jokingly said of Welker, who is now on the coaching staff at the San Francisco 49ers.

On a more serious note, he added: "If we lost three guys in any position it would be a problem."

Related items

  • 'Let me borrow $5' - LeBron congratulates Mahomes on record-setting contract extension 'Let me borrow $5' - LeBron congratulates Mahomes on record-setting contract extension

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James congratulated Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes on his record-setting contract extension.

    Mahomes will remain in Kansas City through the 2031 season after signing a mammoth new deal reportedly worth up to $503million, including $477m in guaranteed mechanisms.

    The contract is the largest in North American professional sports history, surpassing the 12-year, $426.5m deal Mike Trout signed with MLB franchise the Los Angeles Angels in 2019. 

    Mahomes – the 2018 NFL MVP – had two years remaining on the rookie contract he signed after being taken by Kansas City with the 10th overall pick of the 2017 draft. 

    James, who has won three NBA championships and four MVP awards, used social media to congratulate the 24-year-old star.

    "Congrats brother!!!! Let me borrow $5," James wrote in an Instagram story on Monday.

    After sitting behind veteran Alex Smith as a rookie in 2017, Mahomes took the NFL by storm the following year in his first season as a starter.

    The Texas Tech product threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, tied for the second-most in a single season in league history, while leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and earning NFL MVP honours. He joined Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players with 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes in a season.  

    Mahomes followed up by leading the Chiefs to their first NFL championship in 50 years with a 31-20 come-from-behind victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in February.

    The 24-year-old threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as Kansas City scored 21 unanswered points to overturn a 20-10 deficit, and was selected as the youngest MVP in Super Bowl history. 

    Mahomes, who is 24-7 as a starter in regular-season games and 4-1 in the postseason, currently owns league records for passer rating (108.9) and passing yards per game (302.4) among quarterbacks with at least 25 career starts.

  • Mahomes' unique talents make him worth giant price tag Mahomes' unique talents make him worth giant price tag

    The Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to a record-setting 10-year contract extension worth over $500million on Monday.  

    The deal will keep Mahomes, arguably the NFL's brightest young star, in Kansas City through the 2031 season. According to Spotrac, the contract is the richest ever both in terms of total value and average annual salary at a reported $503m – including $477m in guaranteed mechanisms.

    Going forward, the Chiefs' front office will be tasked with surrounding the reigning Super Bowl MVP and 2018 NFL MVP with cheaper talent as Mahomes' average salary skyrockets.

    While some pundits have questioned the ability of teams to win Super Bowls with a quarterback on a massive contract, the torrid start to Mahomes' career indicates he may be the exception.  

    When the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in February, he became just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to be named league MVP, win a Super Bowl and be named Super Bowl MVP in a two-year span.  

    All the other five quarterbacks to accomplish that feat – Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Kurt Warner – are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  

    Despite all that he has accomplished, Mahomes' career is still in its infancy with the former first-round pick set to turn 25 in his third full year as a starter in 2020.  

    Mahomes' 9,412 passing yards, 76 touchdown passes and 108.9 passer rating are all the best in league history for a quarterback in his first 31 games. His 17 games of at least 300 passing yards are the second most through 31 games, trailing only Kurt Warner's 20.  

    While Mahomes' numbers last season were not quite as gaudy as they were in his 50-touchdown 2018 campaign, an argument can be made that he improved in his second year as a full-time starter.  

    The biggest concern teams had with him in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech was his aggressiveness leading to too many turnovers. While his 50 touchdowns in 2018 more than made up for the 12 interceptions he threw, Mahomes cut his interception total to just five last season. His 2019 interception rate of just over 1.0 percent is among the 10 lowest ever in a season with at least 25 touchdown passes.  

    While head coach Andy Reid's system has proven to be the perfect incubator for Mahomes early in his career, last season he showed the ability to be productive despite some attrition around him.  

    The departure of Kareem Hunt left a rotating stable of running backs in 2019 with no top-level producer emerging as the leader. Injuries to Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins led to Mahomes working with a variety of unexperienced receivers throughout the year. 

    Mahomes himself suffered an injury that cost him two games, yet the Chiefs still finished the regular season 12-4 with a division title.  

    But perhaps no ability makes Mahomes more unique – or worthy of a record-breaking contract – than his ability to score in bunches.  

    Three times since becoming the Chiefs' starter, Mahomes has thrown at least three touchdowns in a single quarter, more than any other NFL quarterback since 2018. On September 15 last season, Mahomes threw four scores in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders, the first time that had been done in nearly five years.  

    Mahomes threw for the first postseason four-touchdown quarter since 1988 in last season's playoffs when he helped Kansas City turn a 24-0 deficit into a 51-31 blowout win over the Houston Texans.  

    He went on to throw two touchdown passes and led the Chiefs to 21 straight points in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, giving Kansas City their first Lombardi Trophy in 50 years.  

    Fast-forward five months and Mahomes now has the richest contract in NFL history as his storybook career continues.  

    Some will still argue that the price tag is too high – that history shows the Chiefs will struggle to field a balanced team around their superstar quarterback.  

    But history has never seen a quarterback quite like Patrick Mahomes.  

  • Chiefs sign Super Bowl MVP Mahomes to record 10-year extension Chiefs sign Super Bowl MVP Mahomes to record 10-year extension

    The Kansas City Chiefs signed star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a record 10-year contract extension that will keep the reigning Super Bowl MVP under team control through the 2031 season. 

    Financial terms were not disclosed, though NFL.com reported the mega-deal to be worth $503million and includes $477m in guarantee mechanisms.

    The contract is the largest in North American professional sports history, surpassing the 12-year, $426.5m deal Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2019. 

    Mahomes – the 2018 NFL MVP – had two years remaining on the rookie contract he signed after being taken by Kansas City with the 10th overall pick of the 2017 draft. 

    "This is a significant moment for our franchise and for the Chiefs Kingdom," Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a team statement. "Since he joined the Chiefs just a few years ago, Patrick has developed into one of the most prolific athletes in all of sports.

    "With his dynamic play and infectious personality, he is one of the most recognised and beloved figures to put on the Chiefs uniform. 

    "He's an extraordinary leader and a credit to the Kansas City community, and I'm delighted that he will be a member of the Chiefs for many years to come." 

    After sitting behind veteran Alex Smith as a rookie in 2017, Mahomes took the NFL by storm the following year in his first season as a starter.

    The Texas Tech product threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, tied for the second-most in a single season in league history, while leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and earning NFL MVP honors. He joined Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players with 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes in a season.  

    Mahomes followed up by leading the Chiefs to their first NFL championship in 50 years with a 31-20 come-from-behind victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in February.

    The 24-year-old threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as Kansas City scored 21 unanswered points to overturn a 20-10 deficit, and was selected as the youngest MVP in Super Bowl history.  

    "I've had the privilege of coaching a lot of incredible athletes and special people in my career, and Patrick is without question on that list of players," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "The best part is he's still early in his career. 

    "He makes us all better as an organization and we are blessed he's going to be our quarterback for years to come." 

    Mahomes, who is 24-7 as a starter in regular-season games and 4-1 in the postseason, currently owns league records for passer rating (108.9) and passing yards per game (302.4) among quarterbacks with at least 25 career starts.  

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.