It appears that last year’s pickup of Zane Gonzalez has more than likely solidified the Arizona Cardinals placekicking situation
Back in 2017, the Arizona Cardinals acquisition of Phil Dawson appeared to be a good one. Finding a dependable placekicker became a priority after Chandler Catanzaro botched seven field-goal attempts and four PATs the season before. Replacing the “Catman” with one of the NFL’s all-time best seemed like a perfect solution for what had suddenly become a problem for the Cards.
Ten games into the 2018 campaign, the union between Dawson and the Cardinals ended. The 43-year old had struggled during his stint in the desert before a hip injury essentially put the kibosh on the veteran’s career. Arizona suddenly needed a new kicker, and the club just happened to have a replacement for Dawson waiting in the wings.
In a stroke of good luck, a second-year pro named Zane Gonzalez had been signed to the Cards practice squad just days before Dawson was sidelined. The Cleveland Browns had given up on the 23-year old, but the Cardinals saw something that they liked in the youngster. Gonzalez was promoted to the active roster in late November, and would assume the squad’s placekicking duties for the remainder of the season.
In five contests last year, Gonzalez converted seven out of nine field-goal attempts and five out of six PATs for Arizona. Those numbers apparently convinced the organization that the former Arizona State Sun Devil was the right man for the job. As a result, Gonzalez has been the only kicker on the Cards roster throughout the entire 2019 offseason.
Management’s decision to put all of their eggs in Gonzalez’s basket is looking like a brilliant one. The former seventh-round draft pick of the Browns has been perfect for his new team during the preseason. In the Cardinals four matchups in August, Gonzalez has made good on all six of his field-goal tries and all five of his PAT attempts as well.
As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Cleveland obviously felt that Gonzalez had nothing more to offer the league. Kudos to Arizona’s front office for believing that there was still a bright future ahead for the talented placekicker.