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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Only a kicker? Seattle to find out on Mare

By Mike Sando

NFL teams tend to think they can replace specialists somewhat easily.

Often, they are right.

When they're wrong, the money they saved seems trivial in retrospect.

The Seattle Seahawks went through quite a few punters and snappers after letting Jeff Feagles and J.P. Darche get away years ago. They're taking a risk this offseason after watching kicker Olindo Mare agree to terms with Carolina on Wednesday. Mare set a franchise record for consecutive field-goal attempts without a miss after then-coach Jim Mora ripped him for an "unacceptable" performance against Chicago.

Mare has made 88.0 percent of his field-goal attempts over the last three seasons, the third-highest percentage among players with at least 20 attempts. Only Neil Rackers (90.7) and Ryan Longwell (90.0) have higher conversion rates during that time, according to Pro Football Reference.

Rackers' appearance atop that list affirms the first sentence of this blog entry. The Cardinals parted with Rackers and came out just fine with Jay Feely.

One other consideration: Mare has been strong on kickoffs, but strong legs might carry less value now that the league has moved up kickoffs to the 35. As Mare told Dave Mahler of Sports Radio 950 AM in Seattle via Brian McIntyre, the change should extend careers for kickers.