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Cardinals Bring In Kicker Matt Prater On 2-Year Contract

Veteran won a game for Lions at State Farm Stadium last season

Matt Prater (5) is congratulated last season after kicking a game-winning field goal against the Cardinals.
Matt Prater (5) is congratulated last season after kicking a game-winning field goal against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have a kicker.

After an emotional roller-coaster of a season with Zane Gonzalez and then fill-in work by the ageless Mike Nugent, the Cardinals turned to another veteran Wednesday when they agreed to a two-year deal with Matt Prater.

The Cards last saw Prater last season, when he was kicking a game-winning 39-yard field goal for the Lions on the final play of the game at State Farm Stadium in Week 3.

Prater, who was a rookie in 2007, did have his lowest field-goal percentage last season, converting 21-of-28 field goals. But he made 38-of-41 extra points, and in his career Prater has made 83.2 percent of his field-goal tries and made 54-of-63 the previous two seasons before 2020 while in Detroit.

Prater, 36, made 4-of-7 between 40 and 49 yards last year, and 6-of-10 from at least 50 yards. He is the most accurate kicker on field goals from at least 50 yards in NFL history at nearly 75 percent, and owns the NFL record for longest field goal with a 64-yarder in 2013 while playing for the Broncos.

He is reunited with assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, who coached Prater previously in Denver.

The Cards are also reportedly going to re-sign veteran punter Andy Lee for another season, which would solidify their specialists.

Last season, Gonzalez came into the year after an excellent 2019 looking to build on his career in Arizona. But Gonzalez struggled in some big moments, missing key late field goals against the Dolphins, Patriots and Seahawks. (In the latter game, the miss, in overtime, was sandwiched around a last-second kick to get the game to overtime, and he later kicked the game-winner in overtime.)

Gonzalez then developed a back issue that kept him out of the final month. Nugent filled in. Gonzalez was set to become a free agent, but the Cards sped up the process a bit by releasing him on March 5.