Jason Myers is going to get a heck of a lot better chance to make this Seahawks team than the last.
In fact, the Pro Bowl selection in 2018 with the New York Jets is just about a lock to be Seattle’s new kicker for 2019, and beyond.
A league source confirmed to The News Tribune Wednesday the Seahawks are expected to sign Myers to a four-year contract.
The deal was to become official Wednesday afternoon after the official 1 p.m. start to free agency and the new league year. It is worth up to $15.5 million with $7 million guaranteed, according to the New York Daily News.
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That’s what a Pro Bowl season just before eligibility for the NFL’s wild free-agency frenzy can do. Last season Myers earned $705,000 with the Jets
Myers, 27, is the first addition of an unrestricted free agent this week for Seattle, after six Seahawks departures. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas agreed to a new, $55 million deal with Baltimore on Wednesday. Justin Coleman is reportedly getting the richest deal for a nickel back in league history to sign with Detroit. Guard J.R. Sweezy is headed to Arizona on a new deal. Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen agreed to a new contract to return to Minnesota. Running back Mike Davis has a deal with Chicago. And backup quarterback Brett Hundley is reportedly leaving after one year in Seattle to sign with the Cardinals.
The Seahawks originally signed Myers, 27, in January 2018 to a futures contract. That was months after Jacksonville cut him in the middle of the 2017 season for missing too many kicks. Months after signing Myers the Seahawks signed 40-year-old Sebastian Janikowski after his 18 seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Janikowski basically won the job by the start of training camp last summer, after he had showed the Seahawks he was recovered from a back injury that ended his last year in Oakland.
Seattle released Myers on Aug. 20, even before the 2018 preseason was over. It was never really a competition. The Jets then signed him, and throughout last season were thrilled they did.
Janikowski made 22 of 27 field goals last season for the Seahawks, including last-play game-winners at Arizona and Carolina. But he also missed three extra points, the most of his career. His kickoffs were shorter than his career average. And by December he was hurting again. At the end of the first half of the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff loss at Dallas Jan. 5, he injured his hamstring trying to boom a 57-yard field goal. He limped off the field needing help from teammates.
It was the last thing he’d do for Seattle.
All-Pro rookie punter Michael Dickson practiced at the end of halftime to do placekicks, as he had for parts of two weeks back at team headquarters. It was shaky, to say the least. The Seahawks went for 2-point conversions following their two touchdowns in the second half that night. And Dickson failed in his attempt to drop pick an onside kick over the first line of Cowboys in the final seconds of the game. That sealed Seattle’s 24-22 loss and end to its season.
The Seahawks signed free agent Sam Ficken, 26, to a futures contract in January. But now Myers is their guy.
Almost $4 million per year is indeed steep for a kicker. But consider this:
The Seahawks have tried Blair Walsh, Myers (briefly) and Janikowski since they let Steven Hauschka leave for Buffalo in free agency following the 2016 season. They kept Walsh for 2017 and saved $2 million at the position, but then Walsh missed eight of 29 field goals. That included two misses that would have won games that 2017 season. Seattle went 9-7 and missed making the playoffs for the only time in the last seven years, by one game.