6 kickers the Commanders could target to replace Brandon McManus

Could the Commanders be forced into kicker shopping?
Brandon McManus
Brandon McManus / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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When the Washington Commanders opted to part ways with kicker Joey Slye this offseason, those in power believed they had a more reliable veteran option in Brandon McManus. He's had a productive 10-year career in the NFL, mostly with the Denver Broncos, so this was an undoubted upgrade.

In 2023, he performed reasonably well for the Jacksonville Jaguars, converting field goals at an 81 percent clip, which is consistent with his career numbers. Though his long-range accuracy dipped a bit last year, McManus still showed enough leg to boot a 56-yarder.

The Commanders have not indicated that they are unhappy with the decision to sign McManus. On Monday, news broke that the kicker is being sued by two women who have accused him of sexual assault. The women worked as flight attendants on a trip carrying the Jaguars to London last September. The alleged assault occurred on the flight.

McManus’s representatives have vowed to fight the allegations and deny any wrongdoing. The Commanders have issued a statement saying they are aware of the situation. No further information is currently available.

We have no way of knowing how this will play out. But we can assume that Adam Peters and his staff have lists of available players at every position should a sudden change become necessary.

Kickers occupy one of the most volatile positions on an NFL roster. Most teams only carry one placekicker and except for several well-established veterans, most of those are only a few bad games away from facing potential replacement.

If the Commanders decide to look at other kickers, here are five to keep an eye on.

Commanders could target Jake Bates

Jake Bates is a 24-year-old graduate of Arkansas who was signed as an undrafted free agent last year by the Houston Texans. He never saw the field, but he has become something of a sensation in recent months based on his performance for the Michigan Panthers.

He has converted three field goals this season of more than 60 yards. Bates also nailed a 64-yarder to win a game for the UFL outfit. All-world kicker Justin Tucker is the only player who has made a longer attempt during a professional game.

Bates is under contract to the Panthers until the end of the UFL season in mid-June. He cannot negotiate with NFL teams until then.

When he is eligible, expect multiple teams to vie for his services. Fans of the Detroit Lions, whose kicker position remains unsettled, are chomping at the bit to get Bates onto their roster.