It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Rams currently do not have a stable solution at the kicker position. It’s possible that some relief could be on the way, as the Detroit Lions waived Riley Patterson this afternoon in order to make room for rookie QB Hendon Hooker. Patterson will hit league waivers and teams can submit a claim for his services—though the pecking order will be established similar to that of the NFL Draft. Effectively, those lower in the standings are rewarded with a high position on the waivers so they have an opportunity to improve their rosters and instill parity across the NFL.
The Lions have waived K Riley Patterson and activated QB Hendon Hooker to the 53-man roster.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 19, 2023
How did the Rams get here?
LA signed two undrafted free agent kickers shortly after the draft concluded this spring: Tanner Brown of Oklahoma State and Christopher Dunn from NC State. Dunn was released at the conclusion of organized team activities and never even made it to training camp. He’s now in the XFL as a member of the San Antonio Brahmas.
While Brown stick around for training camp and the preseason, the Rams released him prior to Week 1 and signed veteran Brett Maher as the Denver Broncos traded with the New Orleans Saints for Will Lutz. Maher only lasted seven games in Los Angeles before the team replaced him in favor of former Cleveland Browns kicker Lucas Havrisik.
But the carousel keeps spinning and is in danger of flying off the rails.
Havrisik has struggled for most of his time with the Rams—making only 12 of his 16 field goal attempts and 14 of his 15 extra point tries. The miss that stung this most came this past weekend while LA was trying to put away the Washington Commanders. Havrisik missed a kick in the 40-49 yard range that could have extended the Rams’ lead to two possessions.
Why Patterson can bring stability to LA:
Patterson spent his rookie season (2021) with the Lions. He was active for seven games and he converted 13 of 14 field goals with a long of 49-yards. He made 100% of his 16 point after tries.
The following offseason Patterson signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he started every game. He put 33 of 38 field goal tries through the uprights (including playoffs), including two of three from more than 50-yards out. His longest make came from 53-yards, though he seemingly struggled in the 40-49 yard range and made only 12 of his 15 attempts. Patterson missed two of 39 extra points.
Patterson reunited with the Lions for the 2023 season and has been battling Michael Badgley of late. In this weekend’s game against the Broncos, Detroit activated Badgley from the practice squad and made Patterson a gameday inactive prior to subjecting him to waivers on Tuesday.
Campbell said Riley Patterson and Michael Badgley have been competing in practice for the last 5 weeks.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) December 17, 2023
Badgley won the competition this week.
Still, Patterson has gone 15 of 17 on field goals in 13 games. More concerning is that the Lions don’t seem to trust him from 50-yards out, as he has only two attempts so far this year. He should still be more reliable than Havrisik for the Rams in the shorter and intermediate portions of the field.
The Rams can make a claim for Patterson if they wish, but there will be teams in front of them in the draft order that can also make a move for the kicker. LA is currently in the NFC playoff picture so they are no better than 19th on the waiver wire.