Chargers sign former Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis to two-year contract
A blocked kick in Denver and two missed kicks against Miami, including a potential game-winner, helped the Chargers lose their first two games of the season — losses that would eventually keep them out of the playoffs.
It also set the tone for a season of field-goal folly, with kickers from Younghoe Koo to Travis Coons, from Nick Novak to Nick Rose, all taking turns firing kicks on the wrong side of the uprights. No team in the NFL was shakier at the position.
It had to be fixed, and Friday the Chargers took a swing at getting it right.
The team agreed to a two-year deal with 28-year-old Caleb Sturgis, who most recently kicked for Philadelphia.
Sturgis entered last season as the Eagles kicker before injuring his hip in the opening week, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.
In 20 games over three seasons with Philadelphia, Sturgis had made 56 of 66 field-goal attempts and all but four of his extra point attempts. With the Eagles, Sturgis made seven of 11 attempts from 50 yards or beyond, giving the Chargers a strong-legged weapon they lacked last season.
The Chargers signed Sturgis a day after hosting ex-Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski for a visit.
“We have some pretty good options moving forward for this year,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said at the NFL combine earlier this offseason. “We have a number of different options. I think where we are right now, I don’t think we can say, ‘Hey, this is the way we’re going to go.’ We’ve got to look at everything.”
They also have former second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, who made 22 of 31 field goals in 2016 with Tampa Bay.
Last season, the Chargers went with Koo, an undrafted rookie, after he beat out incumbent Josh Lambo for the job. Lambo would later become the kicker for the playoff-bound Jacksonville Jaguars, even hitting a game-winner in overtime against his former team.
After Koo, the Chargers brought back the man Lambo beat out two seasons ago, Novak. He missed four field goals in just seven games before getting injured, opening the door for Coons and Rose to score auditions.
None of the options worked.
“In the moment we made those decisions; you think that you’re making the right decision all the way through for all the right reasons,” Telesco said. “But it doesn’t always work out the way you planned. Obviously, that one didn’t work out the way we planned.
“… We’ll get that fixed.”
And with Sturgis, the Chargers hope they have.
Follow Dan Woike on Twitter @DanWoikeSports
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