Kai Forbath has signed his contract with the Redskins, and will return for another year. Forbath made the announcement on twitter and instagram.
Forbath was reportedly tendered by the Redskins over a month ago, and here is what we wrote then:
Last year, the Redskins used a 7th Round pick on a kicker, Zach Hocker, to compete with Forbath. The Redskins had a new Head Coach in Jay Gruden, and a new Special Teams Coordinator in Ben Kotwica, and neither of them had any history with Forbath who was coming off of an injury-filled year. He was able to win the kicking competition and entered the year as the starter. Forbath has been the most accurate placekicker in Redskins team history, but his kickoffs have been an issue that he was working to improve. Forbath had a nagging groin injury in 2013 that some people attributed to his attempts to improve his kickoff distance. Last season Forbath was 24 for 27(88.9%) on field goals, and the league average was 84%. But on kickoffs, he only got a touchback 33% of the time, and still ranks in the bottom third of the league. Punter Tress Way had 18 kickoffs this year with 9 touchbacks for a 50% TB rate. The Redskins special teams unit continues to struggle with field position, and Forbath contributes to the problem.
At the time, it was reported that the team was not discussing a long-term deal with Forbath. The team has been hesitant to commit long-term to Forbath, and will definitely bring in competition at the position again this year. Last season they used a draft pick, and while it seems unlikely they would go that route again, anything is possible. Forbath is a very accurate kicker, but the team still wants a more consistent, stronger leg for kickoffs. Forbath has also dealt with groin injuries over that last several years that have limited his range, and caused him to miss games and split his duties with other kickers/punters. Here is a quote from the NFL Owner's Meetings where head coach Jay Gruden is talking about the kicking position.
"I think moving forward, with our punter and kicker situation, our punter is as good as any punter in the NFL, I believe," Gruden said. "Our long snapper is excellent. Now we have to make sure we continue to add our depth. If you're not a starter on our football team, you have to be very active on special teams, and that's the approach we have to take."
Don't tell Kai, but he wasn't held in the same high regard as Tress Way and Nick Sundberg there. Forbath was able to hold off the competition last season, will he be able to do it again this year? And how important is consistently getting touchbacks, compared to having a very accurate kicker for field goals?
[UPDATE: 4/16/15 9:30 am] The Redskins have made it official