It’s becoming increasingly clear that Jason Sanders is no longer the sure thing the Miami Dolphins signed an extension with. In fact, we have to assume he’s in the hot seat.
Sanders is now three years away from his All-Pro designation and he hasn’t been the kicker since. His value to the team is now more or less touchdown kickoffs rather than field goals.
Since being drafted by the Dolphins in 2018, Sanders has become less reliable than the 90% kicker he was in his rookie season.
- 2018 – 90% – 18/20 50 yards longest
- 2019 – 76.7% – 23/30 54 yards longest
- 2020 – 92.3% – 36/39 56 meters longest
- 2021 – 74.2% – 23/31 51 yards longest
- 2022 – 11/15 – 73.3% 49 yards longest
Dolphins fans have wondered if the drop from 2020 to 2021 was a problem with the starter but Thomas Morstead who replaced Matt Haack is one of the best starters in the NFL and has been doing so for years. Obviously, there is only the holder left.
So far this year, across nine games, Sanders has missed half of what he missed all season last year. The additional points are also the same. Sanders hasn’t missed more than one extra point in a full season, but this year he’s already missed a point in the first half of the season.
Sanders just isn’t reliable anymore. From inside the 30, Sanders was money, but this year he’s already missed from inside the 30 and he’s missed all of his attempts outside the 50, three of them, and those These have been critical failures setting up opposing offenses virtually in midfield.
So what’s wrong with Sanders? Is it just being in your own head or is there something else going on? Sanders just doesn’t play like the kicker we saw in 2018 and 2020, but you have to wonder, again, if those two seasons were the anomalies.
Sanders is making $3 million and switching this year but he’s under contract for the next few seasons. Here’s a look at the next four seasons and his cap vs dead money if he was released and capped savings. Does not take into account designations after June 1st.
- 2023 – $3.7 million – $3.6 million dead money – $95,000 saved
- 2024 – $4.1 million – $800,000 dead money – $3.3 million saved
- 2025 – $4.4 million – $400,000 dead money – $4 million saved
- 2026 – $4.25 million – $0 dead money – $4.25 million saved
Miami can eat $3.6 million if Sanders doesn’t get his act together, but in 2024 it will be surprising if he’s still at the current cap considering how much Miami can save. Maybe knowing he could lose money could motivate him to get back on track.
When Sanders are playing well, few kickers are better and that’s a catch because finding a new kicker might save the Dolphins money at some point, but will that kicker be better? At some point, the Dolphins will have to make that decision and if things are the way they are now, the answer will definitely be yes.