After we drafted Caleb Sturgis in the 5th round of the 2013 draft it was clear that Sturgis would need to battle it out with incumbent kicker Dan Carpenter for his roster spot. The message from Miami's front office was that the best kicker would stay on the roster. Of course, Carpenter's cap hit was about 10x what Sturgis was, so it seemed a foregone conclusion that Carpenter would be released. And he was.
But looking at their numbers from 2013, it doesn't seem that we made the right choice.
Carpenter went on to have the best season of his career. Missing only 3 field goals all season (1 from 40-49 and 2 from 50+) for a FG% of 91.7%.
Sturgis struggled for most of the season, finishing 29th in FG% at 76.5%. Sturgis missed 2 from 30-39, 2 from 40-49 and he missed 4 of 7 from 50+. In comparison, Carpenter missed only 2 of 6 from 50+.
Granted Sturgis did perform slightly better on kickoffs. 47.3% of Sturgis' kickoffs were returned compared to 59% for Carpenter... and Sturgis also had a slight edge on starting field position with 21.2 vs Carpenter's 23.1.
So, keeping Sturgis and letting Carpenter walk saved us a few mil $ against the cap and improved our kickoff performance slightly. The downside was that we had one of the worst field goal kickers in the league.
It makes me wonder how many more games we could have won if we could have consistently made field goals of 40+ yards in 2013?