Buffalo Bulletin: Picking A New Punter
Well then. This is a position we, as Buffalo Bills fans, didn’t expect to find ourselves in a week ago. I could discuss everything that happened, and the implications of it all. We could go over the facts of what we know. We could praise the actions of the organization in response to the situation. Yes, we could be doing a million different things, but that is a much bigger topic and beyond the purview of this piece.
The Buffalo Bills Punter Situation
With only 10 days until the season opener against the L.A. Rams, we’re running out of time. This issue may be unexpected, but when a team has only a single player at a position, they always have names on the backburner in case of emergency. A shortlist of long snappers, kickers, punters, and more are readily available.
Whilst not the best time to be in search of new players, it’s also not the worst. With cutdowns happening all around us, the market is about to see an influx of talent. We can look at players not only in the free agent pool, but ones who may not be making the roster they’re currently on.
The most likely date to sign a new punter will be Wednesday, September 1st; one full day after the league-wide roster cutdowns. The Bills are the only team actively looking for new punters. They will have a wider assessment of the market and can use that time to transfer any necessary players from the active roster to the injured reserve or PUP list. They would still have one week to get the new punter into the lineup and ready for the season opener.
Possible New Punters
The Buffalo Bills have a few options at punter rolling right now. They’ve already hosted several visits, per Mike Garafolo. Let’s start there, shall we?
The first visitor, Michael Palardy, might be our new punter in part because he was McDermott and Beane’s old punter. Another former Carolina Panther, Palardy isn’t ancient history. Last season, whilst playing for the Miami Dolphins, he won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for pinning three punts inside of the 20-yard line against the New York Giants. The Dolphins won that game 20-9. He put several other punts at the 1-yard line throughout the season as well.
The next option is a reasonable one: Ty Long. Long has had an interesting story so far, traveling through the CFL to get to the L.A. Chargers, where he’s made his name. Long was also a two-time CFL All-Star during his two seasons in Canada. In the NFL, he’s served well as an emergency kicker, making 9-of-9 extra point attempts, and 7-of-9 field goals, with a long of 51. Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane love versatility, and Long just might be their guy. The team brought him in and they made the right call.
Tyler Newsome wouldn’t have been on my list. The Buffalo Bills have already brought him in for a workout, so he needs to be mentioned, but has no actual NFL experience to speak of. Offseason/Preseason stints with the Chargers, Chiefs, and Cardinals are all on his resume, but it would be a surprise if he added Buffalo to the list as well.
Joseph Charlton was just waived by the Cleveland Browns a week ago. Only two years ago, in 2020, he had a great rookie year, but 2021 was rough. After being released from the Panthers, he bounced off practice squads before spending the 2022 offseason in Cleveland. He has great tape from that rookie year, but he’d be a big swing for this front office. They had to see him in person to know.
The Buffalo Bills also reportedly reached out to former Raiders All-Pro Marquette King. King is a controversial figure in recent NFL history. Be it his celebrations after each punt or just his general quality of play, he was a household name for NFL fans in the mid-2010s. He’s been blackballed from the league, according to himself and multiple supporting opinions, citing discrimination for his lack of opportunities.
We don’t know the facts there, but we do know that it’s odd for a player of his calibre to get so little interest. He hasn’t kicked in the NFL since 2018, but he’s in shape and was elite when he played. Currently, he’s ranked tied-fifth all-time in punting average, with 46.7 yards per attempt. If King is the Buffalo Bills new punter, it could be significant.
A three-time consecutive Pro Bowler, Brett Kern would be a phenomenal grab as the Buffalo Bills’ new punter. He’s a two-time All-Pro, most recently given First-Team honours in 2019. Kern was just released by the Tennessee Titans. And their loss could be our gain.
His strengths are different from the punting archetype we just left behind, however. He is a grizzled directional punter with a knack for slotting it right inside the 10-yard line. The Bills could sign him right away though, as the 15-year NFL vet is a free agent and, as such, not subject to waivers.
There is public support for Jake Schum to make his NFL return, playing for his hometown team. It’s a longshot, but he’s all for it, and in phenomenal shape. He may not be on the short list right now, but his fans are unrelenting.
And, if all else fails, there’s always the legendary Brian Moorman.
The Buffalo Bulletin on Buffalo Fanatics is a weekly editorial by Iestyn Harris. Check back regularly for hot topics, riveting discussion, and, occasionally, some actual insight.
Featured Image: Tennessee Titans (TennesseeTitans.com)