The Tennessee Titans have decided to release longtime kicker Rob Bironas as the organization looks to move in a younger and cheaper direction at the position.
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean broke the news Wednesday:
The #Titans are releasing kicker Rob Bironas today, per sources— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) March 19, 2014
He also noted the Titans are hoping to create a competition for the vacant kicker spot among several younger options. Maikon Bonani, who is already on the roster, will be part of the battle heading into next season:
The #Titans want to get younger at the position, and create competition, per sources. Maikon Bonani will among those in the mix— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) March 19, 2014
Bironas bounced around several teams across different leagues for a couple years before finally landing a steady kicking job with the Titans in 2005. He proceeded to connect on nearly 86 percent of his field goals over nine seasons.
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His best seasons came in 2010 and 2011 when he connected on better than 90 percent of his field-goal attempts. The percentage dropped 10 points in 2012, and although it rebounded a bit in 2013 the Titans decided to move in another direction.
John Glennon of The Tennessean noted there were some signs of aging from the 36-year-old kicker over the last few years. Combined with his sizable contract, it forced the Titans to make a tough decision:
Bironas was showing slight signs of age last couple yrs, but still made 25 of 29 FGs last year. He was due big money -- $2.875 mil base.— John Glennon (@glennonsports) March 19, 2014
Wyatt provided remarks from general manager Ruston Webster thanking Bironas for his service:
#Titans GM Ruston Webster: "We want to thank Rob for his nine years of service to the Titans. He has been an outstanding kicker ..."— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) March 19, 2014
Based on kicking ability there's no doubt Bironas is still capable of holding down a starting job. The question becomes what type of contract he will be able to find on the open market with many teams opting to take the same route as Tennessee at kicker.
As for the Titans, Bonani will have to prove himself if he's going to stick as the starter. He converted on less than 76 percent of his field goals at the collegiate level with South Florida and only hit one attempt of 50 yards or more in seven tries.
Despite that uncertainty, the Titans still decided letting Bironas go was the best course of action.