The Detroit Lions officially signed John Parker Romo to their roster Monday after extending a camp invite to the All-XFL kicker a couple weeks prior. It was a significant move for a team that has otherwise remained stagnant at the position all offseason.
At this point in the offseason, it’s usually slim pickings as far as upgrading any position, let alone kicker. However, as the developmental XFL intended, the Lions were presented with the option of a talented, game-proven kicker who may legitimately challenge for the starting spot.
Parker Romo was arguably the XFL’s best kicker, and has a much bigger leg than Badgley. I still think Badgley has a slight edge but I think this invite is more than just for a camp leg. https://t.co/d67jLKoQRE— Hamza Baccouche, Bengals Fan (@HamzaPOD) May 2, 2023
Question of the day: Who will be the Detroit Lions’ starting kicker in 2023?
My answer: I stand by my earlier tweet that 2022 Lions kicker Michael Badgley currently has the edge, but this could really be anyone’s game.
John Parker Romo has NFL experience with the New Orleans Saints prior to his stint in the XFL. Once in the XFL, he quieted any questions about his ability to perform on the big stage.
Very important XFL note: The record for longest field goal in the history of the Seahawks' stadium doesn't belong to an NFL kicker, it belongs to the XFL's John Parker Romo (@Romo_HKA), who drilled a 57-yarder for the @XFLBrahmas over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/3MqZo5Pvnw— John Breech (@johnbreech) March 13, 2023
Romo finished the season 17-of-19 on field goals, with one of those two misses coming from 50+. Similarly, Badgley finished his 2022 season 24-of-28, with three of his four misses coming from 40+.
I think the notion of having a huge leg, while helpful, is often overrated when considering Dan Campbell’s aggression on fourth down. With that being the case, I give the edge to Badgley because he’s the incumbent. The Lions liked him enough to sign him to a new contract and not make any notable kicker moves prior to May, and that says a lot.
READ MORE: 2023 Lions free agent profile: Michael Badgley’s under-appreciated year
Likewise, chemistry is a non-negligible factor. Romo will have plenty of time to get up to speed with the Lions’ field goal unit in the coming months, but Badgley has had most of last season as well as this full offseason to train with Jack Fox as his holder.
Ultimately these factors carry little weight without Badgley and Romo showing up to practices and playing the way they both did in their previous respective seasons. However, all else equal, I don’t see the Lions unseating Badgley from his starting spot just yet.
Who do you think will be the Detroit Lions’ starting kicker in 2023? Was Romo’s XFL performance enough to sway you? Vote below and let us know your thoughts.
Who will be the Detroit Lions’ starting kicker in 2023?
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John Parker Romo