Another long-time Patriot is moving on as New England has released veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski after 14 seasons with the team, the team announced on Monday.
After he went down in 2019, the Patriots filled the void by using a combination of Kai Forbath, Mike Nugent and Nick Folk.
Gostkowski and the Patriots agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract last year that included $3.7 million in guarantees; he was due to earn $3.5 million in base salary this season.
The 35-year-old has been New England's kicker since 2006 but played just four games in 2019 before having season-ending hip surgery.
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Additionally, he hit 39 of 44 career field goal attempts in 28 postseason games. With the team entering a transitional period now in 2020, and with an aging kicker coming off a significant injury to his lower body, now is as good a time as any to look for a new kicker of the future. Former Tennessee Titans kicker Ryan Succop and former Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein are the only other free agent kickers that were with a team last season.
Here's an updated look at the longest-tenured Patriots players following the departures of Brady and Gostkowski.
Gostkowski had the unenviable task of replacing Vinatieri, a franchise legend, but the club never missed a beat, and Gostkowski (who also was a scholarship pitcher at Memphis) rarely missed a kick.
Along with quarterback, kicker has been the most stable position on the Patriots roster during the Belichick era, with the team seamlessly transitioning from Vinatieri to Gostkowski.