Stephen Gostkowski is going on injured reserve, and the New England Patriots are now looking for a replacement for their longtime kicker which could come in the form of the recently retired Sebastian Janikowski.
On Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported that the Patriots would be placing Gostkowski as he deals with his hip injury. While the specific injury and its severity are not yet known — and the Patriots are notoriously tight-lipped with regard to information about injuries — there are reports indicating that his season will be over.
Still, some hope that Gostkowski could return at some point later in the year, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late on Wednesday that Gostkowski would require season-ending surgery.
In his 14th season with the team, the kicker has struggled this year with extra points, already missing four. He missed one on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, though it did not end up hurting the Patriots as they won the game 16-10.
Gostkowski had opened up about his struggles, hinting that he didn’t feel right.
“Obviously, I’ve hit a little bit of a skid here,” Gostkowski said after the Patriots win over the Jets in Week 3, via Ben Volin. “It can be frustrating at times, but I’m just glad that I’m on a team that we’re winning and it’s not really hurting anybody.”
There had already been some indication that Gostkowski could be on the way out, as the Patriots worked out some free agent kickers on Wednesday before reports emerged that Gostkowski would be out for the year.
As NBC Sports Boston noted, it is not clear where the Patriots will turn for Stephen Gostkowski’s replacement as the free-agent market for kickers is thin. Despite his troubles with extra points, Gostkowski’s 87.4 field goal percentage was good for third in the NFL, and the Patriots will now need to find a replacement from a group of kickers who couldn’t hold onto roster spots with other NFL teams.
The report noted that the available free agents include Cody Parkey, Blair Walsh, Phil Dawson, Mike Nugent, and the recently retired Sebastian Janikowski.
Bill Belichick neither confirm nor denies working out kickers to possibly replace a struggling Gostkowski. pic.twitter.com/wby9QlnesU— NESN (@NESN) October 2, 2019
The former Oakland Raiders kicker could prove motivated to come out of retirement for the 4-0 Patriots. While Janikowski said he was ready to leave the NFL back in April, he mentioned that the Oakland Raiders Super Bowl loss was one of his biggest regrets.
“It was a good run,” Janikowski said at the time of his retirement announcement in April, via NFL.com. “I still think of the Super Bowl — it still hurts.”