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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Commanders could target Andre Szymt

Andre Szmyt’s career at Syracuse got off to a spectacular start. After a redshirt season in 2017, he was a unanimous All-American and Lou Groza Award winner during his first full season in 2018. That is a very rare accomplishment for a freshman kicker.

He struggled in subsequent seasons, before recording a very good final campaign. That drew the interest of NFL teams, and Szmyt signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears before the 2023 season. He was released soon after.

Szmyt has performed extremely well with the St. Louis Battlehawks. Jake Bates may be grabbing all the headlines, but he's converted more field goals at a higher percentage. He also has booted a long of over 60 yards.

In all, Szmyt has made 17 of 19 attempts in the UFL. Part of that may be due to the comfortable rapport he has developed with the holder from his Syracuse days, Sterling Hofrichter. It’s further evidence of how much kickers - especially younger ones - need to be in a comfortable environment to succeed.

Bates will certainly draw interest, but Szmyt may well turn out to be just as good if not better down the road.

Commanders could target Will Reichard or John Parker Romo

Greg Joseph has been the Minnesota Vikings kicker for the last three seasons, but they opted to move on this year. He is now with the Green Bay Packers along with two other kickers competing for the job.

Meanwhile, the Vikings drafted Will Reichard - the NCAA all-time leading scorer - in the sixth round. He is the presumed frontrunner for the job. Last year at Alabama, he was excellent, making 88 percent of his attempts and all five of his kicks from more than 50 yards.

However, they also have the former Virginia Tech kicker John Parker Romo (no relation to Tony) in camp. He has not kicked in the NFL, but like Bates and Szmyt, he performed very well in the XFL (the precursor to the UFL) back in 2022.

He made more than 89 percent of his kicks with a long of 57 yards. He was selected as the kicker on the 2023 All-XFL team. Last year, Romo had brief stints on a couple of practice squads before signing with the Vikings as a free agent this year. If he is unable to beat out Reichard for the job, he is another young kicker the Washington Commanders might have their eye on.

At this point in the offseason, there are no magic bullets out there. Randy Bullock is the only proven veteran free agent, and his best days are probably behind him. He might serve as an emergency solution should one become necessary.

However, even if Bullock, or some other veteran who becomes a surprise release before the season, is brought to Washington, Adam Peters might be looking for a young guy ready to explode.

If you find the right kicker who has figured out how to handle NFL pressure, he can become a mainstay for the next 10 years.