Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: K Chris Boswell
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The veteran kicker had one of the worst seasons of his career during the 2022 season, finishing last in field goal accuracy among all qualifying kickers. He also missed several games due to injury, though it’s not immediately obvious that his status as the team’s kicker is in serious jeopardy.
Unlike offensive linemen, it’s not necessarily a rarity for a kicker to be featured in a positive way in this column. Making a game-winning field goal or kicker a couple from distance in the same game can get you here more easily than a handful of nice blocks.
This isn’t one of those times, unfortunately, for veteran kicker Chris Boswell, whose poor showing in 2022 knocked him out of the ranks of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. In fact, he fell all the way to ninth after having previously been in the top three. But that’s what happens when you go 20-for-28.
Granted, one of his eight misses ended up being a block by Calais Campbell, who has had quite a few blocked kicks over the course of his lengthy career. And granted, the vast majority of his misses have come from 40-plus yards, with several of them 50-plus.
But for somebody who more often than not has a field goal percentage of 90 or better to dip near 70%, it’s simply out of character. There were some elements factors involved in some of the misses, and half of them came after he returned from a lengthy absence due to injury as well, but there are only so many excuses you can make.
Especially considering he is the third-highest-paid kicker in NFL history, having signed an extension this past offseason that is paying him $5 million per season. It was the biggest kicker contract ever at the time, but two—including for the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker—have since surpassed it.
Now 32 years old, Boswell is under contract for four more seasons, and kickers can certainly play into their 40s. It’s also not terribly expensive, relatively speaking, to keep an elite one employed. But after a shaky year, perhaps the Steelers are questioning if he still is. It will be interesting to see what kind of kicker they bring into training camp this year.