Chargers 2018 free agency: Should team re-sign Nick Novak?
By Travis Wakeman
The Los Angeles Chargers experienced a season full of poor kicking the likes of which the league may have never seen before. All of the botched kick attempts may have cost the team a playoff spot.
Be sure to visit our other free-agency previews at the links below.
2018 free agency: OL Matt Slauson & Kenny Wiggins
2018 free agency: TE Antonio Gates
2018 free agency: FS Tre Boston
2018 free agency: RB Branden Oliver
2018 free agency: QB Kellen Clemens
2018 free agency: DE Jeremiah Attaochu
Most teams would like to start with a clean slate after a situation like that, right? But the Chargers had so many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Five kickers (of them a punter) attempted field goals last season. Of those, it’s tough to put a finger on which guy was worst.
But Nick Novak actually wasn’t that bad and when put up against the likes of Travis Coons, Nick Rose and Younghoe Koo, he’s likely the best of the bunch.
His season was cut short due to injury and the team had to turn to the next man up. However, he could still be brought back on a new deal next season. Set to become an unrestricted free agent, Novak appears to at least have a chance to be in the fold again next season.
Chargers informed K Nick Novak that they are keeping door open to re-signing him, but he will be hitting the market first…
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 22, 2018
At 36 years old, Novak would be entering his 11th season in the league. He’s kicked for five teams during that time, including two stints with the Chargers. According to Pro Football Reference, he ranks No. 31 in NFL history in terms of field-goal accuracy at 81.9 percent. He went 9-for-13 last season but one of those misses, which came against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, was clearly due to his ailing back.
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There will be plenty of options available to the Chargers and it’s likely that Novak won’t be at the top of that list. Veteran kickers Graham Gano, Matt Bryant and Sebastian Janikowski will all be available on the free-agent market. The team also brought in Roberto Aguayo, a kicker who has struggled mightily since being chosen in the second round of the 2016 draft.
It would seem like a good move for the Chargers to have two or even three kickers in camp this summer. The team needs to get a long look at these guys and make a sound decision. Last summer, Josh Lambo was let go in favor of Koo. That backfired in a big way.
This summer, Aguayo, Rose and either a free agent or a draft pick need to be in camp. Could one of those guys be Novak? It’s entirely possible. However, the team should make a push to bring a guy like Gano or Janikowski into the fold. Both of those guys have made pressure kicks in the league and could fill one of the Bolts’ biggest holes heading into next season.