After a long day of waiting, it appears that the Detroit Lions have finally decided on a new kicker. ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting that the Lions are expected to sign Matt Prater, who was one of three kickers scheduled to work out for the team on Tuesday.
As Tuesday progressed, it was unclear if the Lions would actually have a new kicker in place by the end of the day. Jay Feely and Connor Barth both worked out for the Lions earlier on Tuesday, and both players reportedly had impressive showings.
Ex-#Broncos PK Matt Prater _ off suspension _ has to outperform Jay Feely to be #Lions PK. Feely finished with FG from 58, 60, 60 and 61.— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 7, 2014
Sounds like Connor Barth had a real good workout for the Lions, too. His only miss was from 61. Made everything else, inc 55 and 60.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) October 7, 2014
The reason for the long wait on a decision had to do with the fact that Prater hadn't even started his workout as of 6:30 p.m., according to Josh Katzenstein. It's unclear if travel issues delayed the workout or if it was something else, but apparently Prater's workout has since taken place, and apparently he was even more impressive than Feely and Barth.
With Prater set to join the Lions, he's returning to the team that originally signed him as an undrafted free agent back in 2006. Prater was merely a camp body with Jason Hanson still serving as the main kicker, but Prater is much more than a camp body now. Last season with the Denver Broncos, Prater made 25 of his 26 field goal attempts, and he set an NFL record with a long of 64 yards. He also made all 75 of his extra points in 2013, and he's got a career mark of 81.6 percent on his field goals.
Prater was let go by the Broncos last week just as his four-game suspension was set to come to a close. His suspension stemmed from an alleged alcohol-related violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, and the Broncos decided to stick with the younger Brandon McManus. Their decision to let Prater go came at just the right time for the Lions, which released Alex Henery on Monday after a dismal 0-for-3 performance against the Buffalo Bills.
Prater is set to be the Lions' third kicker this season with Henery and Nate Freese already being released. Hopefully the third time will be the charm for the Lions and Prater will be their kicker for years to come.
UPDATE: It appears the deal is done.
Former Broncos K Matt Prater is signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2014