The Seattle Seahawks have added another player to their roster when they announced they have signed kicker Blair Walsh. Yes, that Blair Walsh that missed a chip shot 27-yard field goal during the 2016 NFL Playoffs against these very Seahawks when he was a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The terms of the Walsh deal have not been announced.
Does this mean the end of Stephen Hauschka?
Stephen Hauschka has been a member of the Seahawks since the 2011 season. Until the 2016 NFL season, he was one of the most accurate kickers in the league. 2016 was a season to forget for Hauschka as he missed seven PATs and four field goals this season.
One of those missed field goals was from 28-yards out which would have given the Seahawks a win in overtime against the Arizona Cardinals. The game ended in a tie and ultimately cost the Seahawks a first-round bye in this past season’s playoffs.
Hauschka just completed a three-year, $8.5 million contract. He will be one of 14 unrestricted free agents for Seattle heading into free agency. The Seahawks could bring back Hauschka for the 2017 NFL season and have the two compete for the roster spot during training camp and preseason.
Walsh had a bad year in 2016
Walsh, 27, started trending downward after missing the potential game-winning field goal against the Seahawks in Minnesota. He is coming off of his worst season as a professional. The former sixth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Georgia, went 12-16 on field goals and 15-19 on PATs in nine games this season with Minnesota before being released in November.
Heading into the 2016 season, Walsh had converted 85% of his field goal attempts in his first five years in the league compared to just 75% last season. He converted 96.7% of his PATs before converting just 78.9% this past season.
Will Walsh resurrect his career in Seattle?
There is no telling if Walsh will be able to right the ship in Seattle. There are also no guarantees he will even make the team heading into next season. Regardless if Seattle brings back Hauschka or signs another kicker during free agency or after the 2017 NFL Draft, he should have a chance to win the roster spot during training camp and preseason games.
All Seahawks fans will remember right now is that he gifted Seattle a win in the NFC Wildcard Round in January 2016. He will hope that he can erase that memory from the 12s minds and prove he is a reliable, capable kicker that can help lead the Seahawks to another Super Bowl appearance.