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By: Erik Schlitt
The quest to find a kicker rolls on.
The Detroit Lions announced that they are signing kicker Zane Gonzalez and waiving Matthew Wright in an effort to shake up their kicking competition.
#Lions have signed free agent K Zane Gonzalez and waived K Matthew Wright.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 10, 2021
The Lions’ kicker battle has been lackluster at best. Ten-year veteran Randy Bullock has been consistent from short distances but has struggled with the lengthier kicks, missing most of his attempts from beyond 50 yards. Wright struggled with consistency in both areas.
Gonzalez was a seventh-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2017 (pick No. 224 overall), but after a rookie season that saw him connect on just 75 percent of his kicks, his status was vulnerable. In 2018, he missed three of his first five attempts and was released after just two weeks.
Two months later, the Arizona Cardinals needed a replacement kicker after starter Phil Dawson was injured. The Cardinals signed Gonzalez and he would successfully connect on seven of his nine attempts to close the 2018 season. In 2019, Gonzalez found his groove and nailed 31 of his 35 attempts, and earned a second-round RFA tender from the Cardinals. 2020, was a bit rockier and a back injury landed him on injured reserve after 12 games.
At just 26 years old, Gonzalez has struggled with consistency, but he has successfully made field goals longer than 50 yards (56 is career-high) recently, including six of his nine attempts while in Arizona.
Gonzalez will now enter the kicking competition against Bullock, who was signed this offseason in an effort to replace veteran kicker Matt Prater. Prater, coincidentally, signed with the Cardinals back in March to replace Gonzalez.