To replace him, or at least to compete for the chance to, they brought back a familiar face in Chandler Catanzaro.
Let’s compare the career numbers of the two kickers to learn some more about what might have went into the Jets’ decisions.
To start, here is a comparison of some simple overall career numbers for Catanzaro and Myers. This is comparing their field goal percentage, extra point percentage, and clutch field goal percentage (kicks to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter or overtime).
Their field goal percentages look very similar, but as we’ll get into more later on, they aren’t necessarily as dead-even in field goal kicking production as it may seem.
In the extra point department, Catanzaro owns a decent advantage over Myers. Catanzaro has converted at a below-average rate, while Myers owns one of the worst extra point percentages in the league.
Among the 30 kickers with at least 80 extra point attempts since the rule change in 2015, Myers ranks 29th in conversion rate, while Catanzaro ranks 23rd (with a 91.7 percentage over this span).
The sample size on clutch kicks is small, but Catanzaro also takes the edge here. He’s converted 9 of 12 career field goal attempts to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter or overtime. Myers has converted only 7 of 11 kicks in that scenario. Among the 22 kickers to attempt at least 10 kicks in that scenario since 2014, Myers’ converstion rate of 63.6-percent ties him for the second worst mark.
Let’s dig deeper in the field goal percentages of the two players. Here is a breakdown of their conversion rates by field goal distance, compared to league average.
Here, we can see how Myers takes an edge over Catanzaro in the field goal department. While Catanzaro owns very slight advantages in three of the four ranges, Myers has been tremendously better in the 40-49 yard range - where he has been one of the most reliable kickers in the league.
Among the 30 kickers with at least 25 attempts in the 40-49 yard range since 2014, Myers’ conversion rate of 88.6-percent ranks fifth best. Catanzaro, on the other hand, checks in at 23rd in that range.
Both kickers saw their performances in this range accentuated even further during their years with the Jets. Catanzaro missed five kicks in the 40-49 yard range with the Jets, converting 12 of 17 attempts, a 70.6-percent rate. Myers made 11 of his 12 attempts in that range as a Jet.
Myers has always been more of a distance kicker. He has been relied upon to kick from further ranges, making his overall field goal percentage look worse. Conversely, Catanzaro has had a larger diet of close-range kicks to make his overall percentage look better.
Among the 28 kickers with at least 100 field goal attempts since 2014, Myers owns the second-highest average field goal attempt distance, at 39.84 yards. Only Sebastian Janikowski, who has a slight edge at 39.88 yards, has Myers beaten.
Catanzaro’s average attempt distance has been 37.37 yards, below the league average of 38.02 yards and ranking him 23rd of the 28 aforementioned qualifiers.
How have each of these kickers responded to the conditions?
Catanzaro’s field goal percentage has remained stable regardless of the stadium type, but Myers has performed significantly better when kicking outside versus inside. Of course, he was helped out a bit by playing in sunny Jacksonville for most of his career.
In sub-40 degree temperature games, Myers went 3 of 3 on field goals and 2 of 2 on extra points for the Jets in 2018. As a Jaguar, he had never appeared in a sub-40 game.
Catanzaro has slightly more experience kicking in cold weather, and has done a decent job handling it. For his career, he’s made 8 of 10 field goal attempts and 11 of 12 extra point attempts in sub-40 temperatures.
Ultimately, the Jets decided not to bank on Myers’ outlier 2018 season, instead opting for a cheaper option who has proven to provide similar reliability over the course of his career. Time will tell if that was the right call, but recent history suggests it could be the right one. The league’s richest kickers have not responded very well. Here is where the top twelve kickers in 2018 and 2017 salary cap hit ranked in field goal percentage that year.
Myers will only rank 15th among kickers in 2019 cap hit, at $2.5M, but his $7M in total guaranteed money ranks him seventh at the position. Seattle gave him a four year, $15.45 million contract with $5.5 million fully guaranteed at signing and $7 million guaranteed for injury.
Did the Jets make the right call?
How do you feel about the Jets letting Jason Myers walk and signing Chandler Catanzaro as his (presumed) replacement?
This poll is closed
Very smart decision, love it
Don’t care much either way
Would’ve preferred to pay for Myers, but not an awful decision
Absolutely brutal decision that I can’t stomach