Detroit Lions long-time kicker Jason Hanson has stated his desire to stay in the game and continue kicking with the Lions, but the free agent kicker and the team haven’t made progress in contract negotiations. Hanson’s future with the Lions is reportedly far from a guarantee, but I would be surprised to see somebody else taking kicks for the Lions in 2013. I also don’t want to see that happen, because I love it when kickers are able to stick with a franchise the way Hanson has. Often times, a kicker can become one of the faces of a franchise.
Anyway, the Lions are looking at other options just in case, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that the Detroit Lions will bring in former Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers for a visit next week. Akers was once one of the best kickers in the league and had an incredible 2011 season, but the lefty was horrendous in 2012 and nearly lost the kicking job to Billy Cundiff (who lost kicking jobs with the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins in the same year) last season. Akers turned it back up in the postseason and has the track record, but he was dropped by the 49ers due to a bloated contract.
The Lions are likely just bringing in Akers as a last-second option, and the furthest I can see this going is as somebody to push Hanson. There is no doubt that the Lions would rather keep Hanson, especially after he hit 32 of 36 field goals in another great season. His field goal percentage was, in fact, 20% higher than Akers’s last year.
Lions president Tom Lewand said via the Free Press, “It’s not a system that provides for a lot of allowance for sentimentality. We have the utmost respect for Jason and want to have him back, but it’s a situation where everything has to fit. The salary cap is a real restraint for all 32 clubs and we have to operate within that and within our plans. So we’ve had our discussions with Jason and like I said we have the utmost respect for him personally and professionally which is why we want to have him back.”
I’m sure both sides and, especially, the fans would love to see something get done. But for now, the Lions seem content with working out Akers to put some pressure on Hanson and perhaps give the team some leverage going forward.
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