Chris Boswell was the light at the end of the tunnel in 2015 when he came in and saved the Pittsburgh Steelers’ kicking problems that season. Since making his first appearance for the Steelers in a Monday Night Football game in Week Five of the 2015 season the Steelers have been in good hands kicking wise. However, this past season for Boswell wasn’t the best. He struggled with a groin injury and converted his field goal attempts at only a 71.4% clip.
However, Boswell has had rough seasons when injured before. Look back to 2018 when he connected on only 65% of his field goals and cost the team a few games because of his misses. Boswell bounced back the next season after getting fully healthy, returning to his usual reliable self as he converted on 93.5% of his field goals. With a full offseason to heal there is no reason to not expect Boswell to return to the elite status of NFL kickers.
This offseason the Steelers have brought in a kicker to help out in training camp in Clemson’s B.T. Potter. While theoretically the undrafted free agent could challenge Boswell for the job, the odds are low of him winning it. But, even the mere idea of a “competition” in camp is good as it pushes players to be better. Although it is highly unlikely Boswell loses his job to Potter it is not impossible, and Steelers.com writer Bob Labriola wrote on Asked & Answered that he believes Boswell could be more “vulnerable” to losing his job than in years past.
“I see Chris Boswell as being more vulnerable than at any time to this point in his Steelers career,” Labriola wrote in response to a reader who asserted that Boswell is a lock to make the team this year. “He’s 32 years old, and over the last three seasons, he has missed 8 games because of injury. In 2022, Boswell missed 8 field goal attempts for a percentage of 71.4, which was the second lowest of his career and his lowest since 2018. I’m not predicting Boswell is going to continue to backslide, either from a health or performance standpoint, but I disagree with your assessment of the situation as a waste of time because the outcome is already assured.”
The odds of Boswell not making the team next year are extremely low and given his track record you have to expect him to bounce back. But, due to the fact he struggled last year and has dealt with some injuries the idea of bringing in another kicker for training camp is smart.
Financially, it doesn’t make much sense to cut Boswell unless his play truly warrants it. Cutting him this summer doesn’t save a ton of cap space while leaving a $4.8 million dead money hit on the team’s 2024 cap.
Not only is it smart having Potter on the offseason roster because it will push Boswell to be even better than before, but also because you don’t want to burn your kicker’s leg out during training camp. Every season the Steelers bring in another kicker for training camp to take some reps off of Boswell; this is nothing new. The only thing new is that Boswell didn’t have a great year last year so the signing of Potter is a bit more noteworthy than it would have been last offseason.
While I would put the odds of Boswell making the team at 98% it would be a blatant lie to say head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers won’t give Potter a fair chance to make the team. If he performs incredibly well throughout training camp and the preseason and Boswell sttruggles, then Potter might beat Boswell out. It is just very unlikely for that to happen. A healthy Boswell is one of the best kickers in the NFL, and I expect that to continue next season.