The Arizona Cardinals have not had any major punting issues since signing Andy Lee in 2017.
He averaged 47.3, 48.6, and 47.8 yards per punt in his first three seasons with the Cardinals before seeing a dip in his production with a 44.8 average last year.
Although Lee has been a quality punter in the desert for nearly half a decade, there has been signs of his decline last season and he is certainly getting up their in age. He turns 39 in August and there were speculations that he would retire after the 2020 season.
Cardinals had a number of punter options to choose from in free agency, including former Raiders’ punter Marquette King who was training in Arizona, but opted to bring Andy Lee back on a one-year deal.
The return of Andy Lee addressed a need considering there were no other punters on the roster at the time of his signing.
Not many punters in the NFL can execute a fake punt and complete a 26-yard pass as perfectly as he did last season.
Although Lee is expected to retain his starting role, could Tyler Newsome potentially take over as the Cardinals’ punter of the future?
The 25-year-old signed with the Cardinals early June and though he was thought to just be a camp body, he might be something more. Newsome put up an impressive hang time during his training with One On One Kicking Camps.
How about this 6.0 hang time punt from Arizona Cardinals Punter, Tyler Newsome! I sent this film out to everyone! Got numbers between 5.96 and 6.03. Take a look for yourself and see what you get!!! Let’s see your numbers!! @OneOnOneKicking @PatMcAfeeShow pic.twitter.com/SMdbdCPQdZ— One On One Kicking Northeast (@OneOnOneNJNYPA) July 5, 2021
Hang time is how long the punted ball is airborne. The higher the hang time, the closer the special teams gunners will be to the returner. Newsome’s hang time of 6.0 seconds would be an NFL record today. Time it yourself and see what you get. Chiefs’ punter Tommy Townsend recorded a 5.71-second hang time against the Raiders in 2020 in what probably is the current record. Some of the best punters in NFL history in Pat McAfee and Marquette King both put times as high as 5.6.
Maybe emphasizing Newsome’s hang time is a bit much but it is eye catching.
He did this last year as well:
If this video isn’t doctored at all.. this might be the largest ball ever recorded.— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 30, 2020
Tyler Newsome with a damn near 6 second hang time... DAMN
Ball got absolutely SLAUGHTERED #ForTheBrand pic.twitter.com/oRAZIFl6X6
Although Lee will likely remain as the Cardinals’ punter in 2021, Newsome could very well take his place when the veteran decides to hang up the cleats. He has no shortage of strength either.
Newsome averaged 44.0 yards per punt at Notre Dame while Lee averaged 42.6 at Pittsburgh. Look at how Lee turned out.
Lee averaged 41.6 punting yards in his first two seasons in the NFL with the 49ers before becoming a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro selection in his 17-year pro career.
The 25-year-old could have that same kind of career trajectory but will need to impress the Cardinals during training camp and the preseason to have a legitimate shot.
Until then, Lee is the guy at punter right now but could have their future at the position in Newsome.