This is a rehashing of the discussion from my cap casualty article linked here.
The last remaining link to the SB50 team, Brandon McManus, will make five million in 2023 and would provide a cap savings of 2.5 million if the team parts ways with him. His cap hit for 2023 would be 8th among NFL kickers.
McManus had his worst career season since his rookie year by overall accuracy - he hit on 77.8 percent of his FGs. He only hit on 69.2 percent as a rookie in 2014. His accuracy for his career is 81.4%. His 2022 record by distance is shown below:
- 6 of 7 from 20-29 (that miss was blocked) - 86%
- 4 of 6 from 30-39 - 67% - tied for career worst from this distance (one of those misses was blocked)
- 10 of 10 from 40-49 - 100% tied for career best. McManus has not missed from 40-49 since the 2019 season.
- 8 of 13 from 50 or longer. This masks the fact that he can’t seem to hit from beyond 53.
The league hit 154 of 224 (69%) from 50 or longer this season so McManus was a little below average from long distance. McManus is now 21 of 47 from 53 or longer in his career, but he only hit two of seven in 2022. Additionally if you move that to 54 yards, he has only hit three of his last eight and five of his last 14.
I found it interesting that of McManus’ 33 career attempts from 54 or longer, more have come on the road (18) than in Denver (15). He is six of 15 in Denver (40%) and seven of 18 on the road (39%). Three of his 33 attempts from 54 or longer have been blocked.
If we look at kickers with ten or more attempts from 54 or more during McManus’ career, he is second worst in terms of accuracy. Only Greg Zuerlein has a lower success rate on extremely long FG attempts. I point this out, because the Denver Broncos could easily move on from McManus with a much cheaper place kicker in the same way that we moved on from Sam Martin with a much cheaper punter in Corliss Waitman for 2022 (actual results may vary).
If we lower that bar to five attempts from 54 or longer, McManus starts to look a lot worse. Two kickers from the AFCW have hit all of their attempts from 54 or longer; Harrison Butker and Daniel Carlson are both seven for seven.
FWIW opposing FG kickers have hit 5 of 6 from 54 or longer in Denver since 2014 inclusive. The lone miss was Michael Badgely from 55 in 2019.
So to recap McManus is 6 of 15 from 54 or longer in Denver while opposing kickers are 5 of 6 since 2014.
I should also note that McManus was hurt by our OL’s inability to block on FG attempts that season. He has only had seven FGs blocked during his career and two were this season (from 34 vs IND and from 25 vs LVR).
McManus also missed two extra points and neither is shown as being blocked in the gamebooks. He was 25 of 27 on XPs this season (92.6%) which was below average for the league which hit 94.6% of extra points (unless your name is Brett Maher).
In terms of accuracy and distance accuracy, McManus had the worst year in 2022 that he has had since his rookie season. With a 3.75 million dollar cap savings and the 8th highest cap hit among kickers in 2023, the front office decided to move on from McManus.
Given how average his performance was in 2022, I am certain that the Broncos can find a kicker that can at least match that for a fraction of the cap hit. There are currently five free agent place kickers listed at overthecap.com who attempted at least one NFL FG last season (FG accuracy in 2022). McManus hit 28 of 36 last season. https://overthecap.com/free-agency
- Mason Crosby (25/29)
- Ryan Succop (31/38)
- Robbie Gould (27/32)
- Brett Maher (29/32) - if only he could hit extra points
- Taylor Bertolet (3/3)
Maher has always had a leg for distance FGs. He hit 9 of 11 from 50 or longer in 2022. That’s a lot better than McManus who hit 8 of 13. McManus is 42 of 70 in his career from 50 or longer (60%), but McManus has always struggled on kicks from longer than 53. Maher is 19 of 27 (70%). Maher is 7 of 14 in his career from 54 or longer with a career long of 63. McManus is 13 of 33 from 54 or longer (39.4%). In fact, over the last seven NFL seasons, Brandon McManus ranks 31st in accuracy on FGs from 54 or longer (min 5 attempts). Only Ryan Succop, Nick Folk and Dustin Hopkins have been worse.
Do you think it wise of the Broncos to have released Brandon McManus?