Ranking the 49ers' Best Options to Replace Kicker David Akers
The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows is reporting that the search has begun for a new kicker to replace Akers, who was a miserable 2-of-4 in Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals. It only tacked on to his already subpar year.
The 49ers have the option to keep Akers aboard, though. Jim Harbaugh hinted at Monday's press conference that the team could keep two kickers. However, Barrows is reporting that Billy Cundiff is on his way to Santa Clara for his second tryout with the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Here are the 49ers' best options at kicker if they do, in fact, replace Akers.
5. Jeff Reed
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Jeff Reed had a brief stint with the 49ers in 2010 after being released by the Steelers. He essentially came in to replace Joe Nedney, who was battling a right knee sprain that season.
If the 49ers take a chance on Reed, it would be because he is comfortable with the 49ers franchise and had a decent run with them while he was there—9-of-10 on field goals over 20 yards in 2010-11. However, he has not played since a nine-game stint with the Steelers in that same year.
4. John Kasay
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John Kasay is 43-years old, but he has the experience needed to play in the playoffs.
Kasay last played for the Saints last season, where he struggled from 40 yards or further—going 7-of-13 in 2011-12.
40-plus yards seems to be Akers' problem, as well, which is why a move to acquire Kasay would be unnecessary at this point.
3. Ryan Longwell
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Ryan Longwell made a name for himself with the Green Bay Packers, and then again with the Minnesota Vikings, but he has not played since the end of last season. It would make for another very gutsy move for Harbaugh & Co. to replace Akers, who has been working throughout this season to get back on track.
At his peak, Longwell was a sure-footed kicker from nearly everywhere on the field, but the 38-year-old struggled last season from 40 yards and further, making him the wrong move for the 49ers at this time.
2. Neil Rackers
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Neil Rackers is one of the better options the 49ers have to replace Akers at kicker. Rackers has playoff experience after being a part of the Arizona Cardinals' 2008-09 run to the Super Bowl. In the second round against the Panthers, Rackers had 15 points by himself in Arizona's 33-13 victory.
If the 49ers are looking for playoff experience and the mindset for what it takes to succeed in the clutch, their best bet would be to go with Rackers.
1. Billy Cundiff
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The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows is reporting that the 49ers have brought in Cundiff for his second workout with the team this season. He will most likely be competing with Akers this week for the starting spot in the playoffs in two weeks.
Cundiff has playoff experience, albeit not with great results.
He is the best kicker available on the free-agent market, but he comes with some playoff disappointment, and that may be concerning for the 49ers. Everyone now remembers the 32-yard chip shot against the Patriots in the 2012 playoffs that would have sent the game into overtime. Cundiff missed, and there went his job.
Cundiff was picked up by the Redskins at the beginning of this season, but his 7-of-12 spell was less than satisfactory, and Washington cut him.
He is a risky choice for the 49ers, but he provides the team with the best chance of success in the free-agent kicker market.
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