In 2008 place kicker Dan Carpenter joined the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Montana. For the second straight season he has a groin issue. He has been placed on IR and his 2012 season is over. There is a school of thought that would suggest he may be done as a Dolphin too.
Carpenter is just 27 years young. In his 76 career games he has attempted 155 extra points, and 155 field goals. He has missed just one extra point, and he is 127 for 155 on field goals. This season he was 10 for 15 on field goals of 40+ yards.
There is one year left on Carpenters contract. The sum is just under $3 million. There will be other options available so we may see Miami cut ties with Carp.
One thing that potentially hurts Carpenters chances to remain a Dolphin is that he missed three field goals in Miami’s two overtime losses this season. Those missed kicks/losses happened early on in the season when Miami required wins to get a strong start in order to be a team that was going to exceed most peoples expectations for 2012.
There are several veteran options available for Miami in free-agency…
Phil Dawson (37) is 26 for 27 on field goals, and an impressive 11 for 11 on field goals of 40+ yards. He made just under $4 million this season so he may be too pricey, but he is kicking very well these days.
Rob Bironas (34) is 24 for 30, but just five for 11 from kicks longer than 40+ yards. Bironas makes the same amount of money that Carpenter makes so he would need to take a pay cut to make this work. He may be a guy better suited elsewhere, but that means one less team competing with Miami for a kicker they may covet.
I am intrigued by a guy like Shayne Graham (35). Graham is 26 for 32 on field goals, and nine for 15 on kicks of 40+ yards. Any offer north of $1 million would likely land Graham.
Steven Hauschka (27) is one of the younger options available. He is 22 for 25 so far on the season, and four for seven from 40+.
Nate Kaeding (30) will get a Dolphins audition at Miami vs the Buffalo Bills, and at New England Patriots as Miami has signed him to finish this season. On the season Kaeding is seven for seven (he played three games for the San Diego Chargers) and three for three on 40+ yarders.
Even if Miami can find a one-year option they will have guys like Dan Bailey, Jay Feeley, Sebastian Janikowski, and Adam Vinatieri. If Miami can find a suitable kicker for the 2013 season they can save money on Carpenter’s contract and then there are great 2014 options.
Most Dolfans would be fine with keeping Carpenter for the final year of his contract, but his important misses in 2012 plus his salary number for 2013 may make the management consider other options.
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