Eagle Eye: Biggest free-agent need?
Including the playoffs, Steven Hauschka made 41 of 43 field goals for the Seahawks this past season. (USA Today Images)
Each day from now until March 7, the day before teams can talk to agents for free agents, Geoff Mosher and Reuben Frank will profile some of the NFL’s top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Eagles.
Steven Hauschka, kicker
Last team: Seattle Seahawks
The Super Bowl champion comes off his best season, making a career-high 94.3 percent of his attempts. He went 3 for 3 from at least 50 yards, including a 53-yarder. He made all eight of his attempts in the playoffs, including five against Denver in the Super Bowl. He’s 11 for 11 career in the postseason. After an awful 2009 season with Baltimore (69.2 percent), the Massachusetts native didn’t become a full-time starter again until 2011, when he signed with Seattle. He made 83.3 percent of his attempts in his first year with the Seahawks and improved to 88.9 percent in his second season. He’s 23 of 25 in attempts between 40-49 yards with Seattle, and 28 of 29 on attempts between 30-39 yards. He made $715,000 last year after signing a one-year deal in April.
Super Bowl champion? Check. Perfect on postseason kicks? Check. Kicked for an outdoor team that often plays in gusty, inclement weather? Check. Has enough leg for the long ball? Check. OK, I’m convinced. Don’t see a reason not to sign him. There’s a chance Alex Henery develops into a more reliable kicker with a better leg, but the Eagles can’t be in wait-and-see mode for another season, not while they’re trying to win the Super Bowl. If the Eagles sign just one guy in free agency this year, and it’s Hauschka, I’d considered it a productive offseason.
Looks like an upgrade, but is Hauschka really an upgrade from Henery? Let’s figure this out. Hauschka has made 86 percent of his career field goals, Henery has made 86 percent of his career field goals. Dead heat. Hauschka is 84.8 percent in the crucial 40-49 range, but Henery is 84.6 percent -- almost a dead heat. What about kickoffs? We know that’s Henery’s true weakness. What about touchbacks? Henery was among the league’s worst at 37 percent, and Hauschka was significantly better, at 48 percent -- eighth-best in the NFL. Is it enough of a difference to give up on a fourth-round pick? You know what? Yeah. Let’s go get him!