When you sign a kicker to a long-term contract that pays him very near the top of the market, you have more expectations than you do hopes. That was the case when the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to a new deal with Chris Boswell this offseason heading into only his fourth year after he made the Pro Bowl in 2017.
It seemed pretty close to a no-brainer and nobody really questioned it at the time, but just a few months into that new contract, the majority of the more vocal fans have already seemingly decided that it’s time for him to go.
What about now? On the day, he made both of his point after attempts, but missed a field goal. He made a big 48-yarder with under three minutes to play that gave the Steelers a seven-point lead. It’s hard to know what to make of it, but the fact that they gave him the opportunity to go out there and attempt that last field goal suggests he lives another week.
It’s not as though there isn’t a good argument for moving on though. Boswell has missed seven out of 18 field goal attempts and another five extra point attempts. It’s hard to imagine the season going much worse for him, which is all the more surprising given that he was coming into this year as the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin felt he had no choice coming into yesterday’s game to challenge Boswell, bringing in two kickers to try out for the job along with him, but as he told Bob Labriola before the game, “we were hopeful that Boz would deliver”.
One would hope so, after all, but it’s hard to have anything more than hope when you have a kicker who has missed in each of this past three games. There are only a few games all year in which he hasn’t missed at least one type of kick or another, which is made all the more startling by the fact that he has never been asked to attempt more than two field goals in any game.
Needless to say, things didn’t go as smoothly as one would hope. He had the opportunity to put the Steelers put by two scores on their opening drive of the second half only to push his first field goal attempt of the game wide of the right upright from extra point range.
His completion percentage for the year is now just hovering north of 60 percent. But the problem is, as Tomlin said, at this time of year “if someone is unemployed they’re unemployed for a reason”. And the kicker that they already liked last week, Kai Forbath, already signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.