After Chris Boswell agreed to terms on a new four-year extension that tacks on new money to his second-round restricted free agent tender value and puts him under contract through the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl kicker said that he would be a member of the team for life.
One would hope that his career goes beyond the eight seasons this contract would put him through as he heads into year four, but as we look into his future, let’s take a look back to how we got here and how it was a product of desperation spurred on by sudden chaos.
Most of you probably remember much of what happened, if not all the details, but the Steelers believed themselves to be rock solid at the kicker position heading into the 2015 season with veteran Shaun Suisham locking things up, whom they had recently signed to a long-term extension.
Suisham, signed off the street in the middle of the 2010 season after veteran Jeff Reed was unceremoniously dumped mid-season, would play about four and a half seasons for the team before suffering what proved to be a career-ending ACL tear attempting to make a tackle on a kickoff on a terrible Hall of Fame game turf field that was hardly fit for play.
That sent the Steelers scrambling for options, first going out and signing veteran kicker Garrett Hartley off the street after trying out a few options. He seemed to be a suitable option before he suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason finale significant enough to send him to injured reserve.
On the eve of the regular season, Pittsburgh had to make a move, so they sent a sixth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for former Pro Bowl kicker Josh Scobee, a big-legged weapon who was in a training camp battle.
He seemed like he would be the solution. I certainly thought he would be. But then he missed four of eight field goals attempts in his first four games, and an extra point, and was released. Scobee, who officially retired last year, later admitted that he played with an injury prior to his final game in which he missed two potential game-winners, which he didn’t tell Pittsburgh about.
After his release, the Steelers were forced to bring in another group of kickers to try out for them, this time in the rain. Boswell seemed to handle it best. A first-year player who was undrafted in 2014, he was the least experienced of the group, but showed the most poise, and he has continued to prove that in his three years since, as Suisham was before him.