In a somewhat surprising move, the San Diego Chargers decided to effectively cut ties with kicker Nate Kaeding by placing him on the injury reserve list. The team will release Kaeding when he is healthy enough to return to action and he will likely be kicking for another team soon. While the timing of this move is a bit unexpected, the decision itself shouldn’t really catch anyone off guard.
Kaeding is the most accurate kicker in NFL history in the regular season converting on 87.0 percent of his attempts, but there is no doubt that he is best known for his misses rather than his makes. In the playoffs, Kaeding missed several crucial kicks for the Chargers including a complete meltdown against the New York Jets during which he missed three times in January of 2010.
This move may have more to do with how well Nick Novak has fared as Kaeding’s replacement both this season and last year. After Kaeding was lost for the year with a torn ACL in week one of 2011, Novak was strong making 27 of his 34 attempts. He is already five-for-six this season and proven himself worthy of the full-time starting gig.
These two did have a competition in training camp which was very fierce and came down to the end, but Kaeding’s tenure with the club won out. Now that he is injured again and out of action, the Bolts had the door opened to make the switch and did so gracefully.
Parting ways with a locker room favorite like Kaeding is a tough decision for management to make, but it seems like this whole team may be undergoing some serious change sooner or later. Hopefully Kaeding lands with another team soon and Novak can continue splitting the uprights with the Bolts for years to come.
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