Special teams remains one of the most underrated parts of the NFL. A reliable punter can turn a good team into a great team, while an unreliable punter can make a negative impact on a team's chances of winning. There's not many positions that have that impact on a week-to-week basis in the season.
Front offices have become aware and have started to pay up for the top talent on special teams, both in free agency and the NFL Draft. Whether your team is looking for the next breakout star or a temporary option, here's a look at the 10 best free agent punters available in the 2023 NFL offseason.
10 Best Free Agent Punters 2023
1. Tommy Townsend, Kansas City Chiefs
It's important to note right off the bat that Tommy Townsend is a restricted free agent. That means the Chiefs will have an opportunity to match any offer thrown the 26-year-old's way. They'd be smart to keep him around considering he posted a net average of 45.6 yards in 2022, which ranked first among NFL punters. He also allowed only 176 return yards on 53 punts (3.3-yard average).
2. Thomas Morstead, Miami Dolphins
Thomas Morstead has seen his fair share of NFL action, playing in 14 seasons and winning a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints. He spent this past campaign with the Miami Dolphins and finished with 45.9% of his punts being downed inside the 20-yard line. That was the second best mark of his storied career and makes him an intriguing free agent option.
3. Andy Lee, Arizona Cardinals
There's no one else on this list that has gotten the recognition Andy Lee has. The 40-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler and a three-time all-Pro selection. He has topped the NFL in punt yardage three times in his career, too. Lee's best days are behind him, but he still averaged over 47.0 yards per punt for the sixth time in the last seven years in 2022. His consistency cannot be overlooked.
4. Blake Gilikin, New Orleans Saints
It'd be a shock to see Blake Gilikin punting anywhere but New Orleans in 2022. That is because as an exclusive rights free agent, Gilikin cannot negotiate with other teams if the Saints offer him a one-year deal at the league minimum. Gilikin finished tied for fourth in the NFL with 32 punts inside the 20-yard line and is only 24 years old. His upside remains sky-high.
5. Bradley Pinion, Atlanta Falcons
Bradley Pinion is the second Super Bowl winner on this list as he punted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. He joined the Falcons on a one-year deal last offseason and went on to average a career-high 45.9 yards per punt in 2022. Pinion also tallied less than three touchbacks for the third straight season.
6. Matt Haack, Indianapolis Colts
Matt Haack is making his way all around America. He has spent the past three seasons in Miami, Buffalo and most recently Indianapolis. The former Arizona State standout logged only three touchbacks on 70 punts (4.3%) and saw 40.0% of his punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He remains an underrated option for team's in need of a punter.
7. Sam Martin, Buffalo Bills
Punting in harsh weather conditions is not easy, but Sam Martin has proven he has what it takes to get the job done. He kicked in Denver for two years before joining Buffalo on a one-year deal last offseason. In 2022, the Appalachian State product averaged over 42.0 net yards per punt for the fourth straight year and allowed only 151 return yards on 45 punts (3.4-yard average).
8. JK Scott, Los Angeles Chargers
After only tallying 50 punts during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, JK Scott logged 73 punts in 2022 and averaged a career-best 41.1 net yards per punt. A respectable 38.4% of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, which was also a career-best mark. Scott isn't the most experienced option on this list, but there's a chance his best football is yet to come.
9. Riley Dixon, Los Angeles Rams
It was an up-and-down campaign for Riley Dixon in 2022. The 29-year-old averaged a career-high 48.4 yards per punt, but saw a career-worst 26.8% of his punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He has the leg talent to stick around in the NFL and needs the right coaching staff to help him corral it.
10. Jamie Gillan, New York Giants
Jamie Gillan is best known for his rugby style of punting and his tendency to get blown up on fake punt plays. The "Scottish Hammer" averaged 40.2 net yards per punt and logged 26 punts inside the 20-yard line in 2022. Both of those marks were his best since 2019. Gillan tallied 9 touchbacks as well, though, which was far above the league average.
The Duel also ranked the 10 best NFL free agents for each position group:
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-10 Best NFL Free Agent Tight Ends in 2023
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-10 Best NFL Free Agent Defensive Linemen in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Edge Rushers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Linebackers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Safeties in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Punters in 2023
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.
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