Moving extra points to the 15-yard line is starting to cost kickers their jobs. Don't be surprised if it starts costing owners more money.
In some ways, it's not much different than what has happened at the quarterback position. Some franchises have quality quarterbacks, and some don't. Those that don't are at a loss to acquire them.
That reality became apparent last week when the Steelers lost to the Ravens. Pittsburgh was on its third kicker, Josh Scobee, because it lost Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley for the season with injuries. Scobee missed two field goals that allowed Baltimore to hang around and win in a comeback. Scobee, who also missed an extra point earlier in the season, was released.
The Ravens have Justin Tucker as their kicker. He's 10-of-11 on field goals and flawless on extra points. New England's Stephen Gostkowski took place-kicking salaries to the $4.3 million level this year, and Tucker, a free agent after the season, could take it higher unless no deal gets done and he's franchised.
Moving extra points to the 15-yard line gives more leverage to the veteran kicker at the top of his game.
The league goes through this usually once a decade when they change kicking rules. In the mid-2000s, the league opted to use K-balls on kicks because too many teams were doctoring footballs to aid their kickers. Veteran kickers had been around long enough to figure out adjustments in their techniques to make it work with harder footballs that weren't as worked up.
What we are seeing with the rule change is how it affects the mentality of kickers. They now have to treat extra points with a field goal mentality. Kickers have to figure they now have to mentally prepare for 70 to 90 field goal situations instead of having 30 to 35 field goals and 40 to 50 extra points under the old rules.
That's more significant than you would expect. Kickers need time to loosen up and prepare for field goals. You see them along the sidelines kicking into a net to loosen their leg and get into the mental preparation for the play.
With extra points being moved back, kickers young and old have to react fast. A pick-six or a 60-yard touchdown pass might catch a kicker unprepared and not warmed up to make the correct swipe of the ball. While the veteran kicker can compensate because they have been through just about any experience, the young kicker isn't seasoned enough to know exactly how to handle each changing situation.
That's why you see the young kickers -- Kyle Brindza and Randy Bullock -- hit the waiver wire. Zach Hocker is on notice in New Orleans. Don't be surprised to see the Jaguars bring back Scobee, who was with the team from 2004-2014, if young Jason Myers continues to struggle with short field goals and extra points. The Bucs went back to Connor Barth after releasing Brindza.
There are currently 13 kickers in their 30s or 40s. They've been around long enough to adjust to change. The problem facing teams that release young kickers is they are scrambling around to find replacements and left with kickers who were let go by other teams.
Commissioner Roger Goodell wanted the conversion change to create drama on extra points. This has created a trauma in which fans want to run out of town the kicker who misses a short field goal or extra point.
The consistent, veteran kickers are coming out of this a little more valuable.