Fri. Nov 27th, 2020

Chandler Catanzaro retires as Jets sign Taylor…

3 min read
Chandler Catanzaro retires as Jets sign Taylor...

The Jets’ issue at kicker took an interesting turn over the weekend when Chandler Catanzaro retired.

The struggling kicker told coach Adam Gase that he was done on Friday morning, just hours after missing two extra points in the preseason opener against the Giants.

“He came in Friday morning and told me that he was done, he was retiring,” Gase said.

Gase said he told general manager Joe Douglas, who then lined up free agent kickers for tryouts on Saturday. Out of that group, the team signed Taylor Bertolet, who has familiarity with special teams coach Brant Boyer after spending the 2018 training camp with the Jets.

Bertolet, who most recently kicked for the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football, practiced with the Jets on Sunday and made 5-of-7 field goal attempts. Bertolet, 26, has never kicked in a regular-season NFL game. Gase did not rule out the team bringing in another kicker, but they are going to try Bertolet first.

“This is where we’re at right now,” Gase said. “We’ll kind of see how everything goes. What I saw today, I was pretty impressed. It sounded good coming off his foot.”

The 28-year-old Catanzaro had been struggling during training camp practices and that continued Thursday night against the Giants. It is possible the Jets may have brought in another kicker anyway, but Catanzaro made the decision easy for them. He must return the $500,000 signing bonus he received in March from the team.

“I appreciate the fact that he came in there and did it,” Gase said. “He could have easily rode it out and seen what happened. I appreciate him doing it at that time and being straight with me.”

Catanzaro posted a message on his Instagram account.

“When I finished my career at Clemson, playing in the NFL was just a dream,” he wrote. “After five years in the league, it’s time to move on. I can’t say I ever thought I would have been a kicker, but I’m thankful that kicking chose me.”

Catanzaro kicked well for the Jets in 2017 but left as a free agent and signed with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay released him in the middle of last season after he missed four extra points and 4-of-11 field goals. He ended the season with the Panthers.

Jason Myers made the Pro Bowl for the Jets last season, but the team let him walk in free agency after his price tag climbed too high for them. He signed a four-year, $15.5 million deal with the Seahawks that includes $5.5 million guaranteed. The Jets, under former GM Mike Maccagnan, went the cheaper route with Catanzaro, giving him a one-year, $2.3 million contract.

They may regret that now.

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