In a somewhat surprising move, the Chargers have cut kicker Nick Novak.
Novak was competing with former Major League Soccer goalkeeper and undrafted free-agent Josh Lambo.
The Chargers told Novak at the end of last season that the organization wanted him to improve on his kickoffs. Novak did just that, adding roughly five yards and more hang-time on his kicks but, clearly, it wasn’t enough.
Lambo has big shoes to fill.
Novak made a franchise record 91.9 percent of his field goals in 2013 (34 of 37), and tied John Carney’s franchise single-season record of field goals made with 34.
Over 2013 and 2014, the San Diego native made a franchise-record 32 straight field goals.
Lambo did have an impressive preseason. He kicked three field goals, including 53-yarder and a game-winning 47-yard field goal at the end of regulation against the Cardinals in the Chargers second preseason game, and showed a strong leg on kickoffs throughout.
Novak converted two 52-yard field goals this preseason.
It’s a gusty move for the Chargers, weighing potential and inexperience versus age, price, and consistency. The Chargers figure to save about $1.5M total by cutting Novak and keeping Lambo.
Two week ago, I spoke with Novak and he had this to say about the kicking competition:
“I’m not taking this lightly. I know that this is a competition. I have to approach it as if, this is my job, I’m the starting kicker for the San Diego Chargers and every single day I go about my business trying to get better.
“As a kicker, it’s black and white. You look at the numbers. I know when it comes down to the fourth quarter, in December or whenever, that matters too.”
The Chargers will now count on a rookie kicker with one preseason under his belt.
Here’s a complete list of the Chargers final roster cuts:
LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (injured)
CB Richard Crawford
CB Greg Ducre
WR Javontee Herndon
G Michael Huey
S Johnny Lowdermilk
CB Jordan Mabin
LB Ryan Mueller
TE Brian Parker
S Adrian Phillips
CB Lowell Rose
RB Dreamius Smith
QB Brad Sorensen
DT Damien Square
LB Colton Underwood (injured)
G Kenny Wiggins
K Nick Novak
WR Austin Pettis
TE John Phillips
G Jeremiah Sirles (to Minnesota for sixth-round selection in 2016 draft)
TE Antonio Gates
G Craig Watts