When free agency begins, the Arizona Cardinals will find themselves in a pickle when it comes to dealing with kicker Neil Rackers' contract. He's set to become an unrestricted free agent and some already believe the Cardinals will not look to re-sign him. If that is the case, they'll need to fill another void through free agency or draft. They could however, re-sign the 10-year veteran and maintain stability on special teams.
Rackers spent the first three seasons of his career with the Bengals, and the past seven seasons have all been with the Cardinals. He was signed in 2003 when the Cardinals couldn't find a reliable kicker, bouncing from Bill Gramatica and Tim Duncan(not the basketball player). He only played half of 2003 but was able to impress the coaches enough stay with the team the following year. In 2004, Rackers' shoes from a game against the New York Giants were sent to the Hall of Fame for nailing three kicks from beyond 50-yards. In 2005 he made 40 field goals in one season and was selected to the pro bowl for the first time. From 2006-2010, he's been a versatile - reliable kicker, when he's not kicking in clutch situations.
Let's take a look at reasons for and reasons against after the jump...
He has a strong leg. If Rackers is called to make a kick from beyond 50-yards, the Cardinals can depend on Rackers to stand a chance.
He's perfected and tuned his onside and pooch kicks. The multiple abilities that Rackers display are rare to find in a kicker, and they are something that the Cardinals rely heavily on, on gameday.
He helps with kickoff coverage. Unlike other kickers, Rackers isn't scared to dive into a pile. More often then not, he'll be one of the first to contact and it could be the primary reason the Cardinals had so much success on special teams this past year.
There won't be a huge market for kickers this year. The Cardinals may consider bringing Mike Nugent back but his lack of leg strength isn't assuring.
To be frank - he chokes in clutch situations. Although it would be nice for the Cardinals to never find themselves in a clutch situation - they do happen. Rackers has already proven that he will struggle when the game is on the line. How much longer can the Cardinals deal with this?
He's dealt with injuries the last few seasons. His fearlessness on kickoff coverage may be the direct reason behind the injuries that Rackers has faced.
Stay or Walk: Stay
When it's all said and done, the Cardinals can't afford to fill another need this offseason. Rackers has had his problems, but he's also been one of the classiest and well-rounded players the Cardinals have had. What are your thoughts and should the Cardinals re-sign Rackers or let him walk?