Matt Prater remaining with the Cardinals for 2022 would be surprising
Arizona Cardinals kicker Matt Prater could end up being a salary-cap causality during the 2022 offseason after an underwhelming 2021 campaign.
After the disaster that was Zane Gonzalez in 2020, the Arizona Cardinals decided to use some of their spending money during the 2021 offseason on veteran kicker Matt Prater.
Prater was a longtime member of the Detroit Lions and the Cardinals were hoping that he could come in and help get their kicking game back on track.
A few games into the 2021 season, Arizona realized why the Lions didn’t mind letting the veteran kicker walk out the door. Prater ended up finishing the 2021 campaign with an 81.1 field-goal percentage, his second-lowest conversion rate since 2014.
Expect the Arizona Cardinals to consider cutting Matt Prater during the 2022 offseason
Even though he made 15 of his 17 field-goal attempts during the Cardinals’ final six games of the regular season, his overall performance in 2021 is something that could result in the team moving on from him this year.
For 2022, Prater has a $4.5 million cap hit, which is currently set to be the ninth-highest among all kickers in the NFL. Arizona is projected to have just over $5 million in cap space when the new league year begins in March, and if they release the veteran kicker, they’ll free up almost $3.6 million.
For the performance that Prater provided the Cardinals during the 2021 season, he’s just not worth the kind of money he’s set to make in 2022.
Of the kickers who finished among the top-six in field-goal percentage during the 2021 campaign, four of them had cap hits of less than $1 million.
For the 2022 season, Arizona is likely better off without Prater at the amount of money that his contract is set to command. Investing in a rookie or another free-agent kicker that doesn’t cost as much is a decision that seems like a better idea for the Cardinals this year.