There was a time recently where it looked like the Miami Dolphins would bring in a kicker to compete for the job with Dan Carpenter, but I now think it looks like Carp will be the Dolphins field goal kicker for the sixth straight season.
I understood the desire to create competition to see if a better option exists as Carpenter missed a few key field goals in 2012 (game changing FGs) plus only Sebastian Janikowski and Phil Dawson will cost their teams more money in 2013.
I think if Miami was in a scenario where they needed to create salary cap space, then we would surely see at least one guy legitimately compete with Carp. Since they have money to spend, it does seem like they will stick with the $2.7 million man.
David Akers, Billy Cundiff, and Jason Hanson are all veterans who can still produce, and all of them would be better at generating touchbacks on kickoffs than Carpenter. Steven Hauschka is potentially available, and he may be the best kicker who is up for grabs. Shayne Graham, Ryan Longwell, and Lawrence Tynes are also free-agent veterans who could be on Miami’s radar, but it seems like they are not. There are even ex-‘Phins like Olindo Mare and Nate Kaeding available.
I would say that the above mentioned players offer competition at best for Carpenter (none are really that much better, some likely even not as good as Carp), but any of them would be legit targets for the Dolphins if they felt the need to get better bang for their buck at the kicker position.
Carpenter has averaged a whopping seven misses over his past three seasons (yikes) and if his 2013 is anything like that, then I would think the 2014 free-agent will be allowed to pursue employment elsewhere. I do think he will get one more chance to prove he is a high-end kicker in 2013, but he is at the point in his career where the results have to be on-point. The Dolphins feel that they are significantly improved on offense, but a drive that ends with a missed FG is a sure fire way to douse any in-game momentum for a second year quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) with a second year running back (Lamar Miller).