Tom Brady persuaded Bill Belichick to let Stephen Gostkowski kick the game-clinching field goal in Super Bowl LIII. Was that kick the last field goal of Gostkowski’s tenure as a Patriot?
It could be. Gostkowski becomes a free agent in March, and it’s easy to see Belichick deciding to let him walk.
In fact, the 35-year-old Gostkowski probably has to agree to less money than he made in 2018 for Belichick to even consider keeping him. Gostkowski had a $5 million cap hit in 2018, which was the third-highest for a kicker in the NFL last season. And Gostkowski did not play like a Top 3 kicker. He was a mediocre 27-for-32 with a long of 52 yards in the regular season, and his ability to boot the ball high and deep on kickoffs has declined with age. The Patriots can probably find a kicker to play as well or better than Gostkowski at a fraction of the cost.
When Belichick let Adam Vinatieri walk, people were surprised, but Belichick knew what he was doing: Gostkowski has been a very good kicker in New England. Now no one should be surprised if Belichick lets Gostkowski walk, and finds another kicker who can do the job, while Vinatieri keeps going with the Colts and Gostkowski finds somewhere else, having played in six Super Bowls with the Patriots.