By Dianna Russini, Jeff Howe, Chad Graff and Joe Rexrode
The New England Patriots have traded kicker Nick Folk to the Tennessee Titans, according to league sources. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Patriots will receive a 2025 seventh-round draft pick in the deal, the sources said.
- Folk, 38, spent the past four seasons with New England. He made 86.5 percent of his field goal attempts (32 of 37) in 2022.
- New England selected Maryland kicker Chad Ryland in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Why New England made the move
Bill Belichick has raved about Folk and the steadiness he has brought to a phase of the game the Patriots care about so deeply. He’s still so consistent inside 45 yards.
But the Patriots were hurt last season by the lack of a strong-legged kicker, namely when they couldn’t boot the ball through the end zone in Buffalo in Week 18 as the Bills returned two kicks for touchdowns. So the Patriots drafted Ryland, arguably the rookie kicker with the strongest leg, in the fourth round. He may not be as consistent as Folk, but offers more distance. The Patriots hope he’s the next in an (indirect) line of great kickers from Adam Vinatieri to Stephen Gostkowski to Folk. — Graff
How Folk fits with the Titans
The Titans have been searching aimlessly for a long-term kicking solution since letting Ryan Succop go after the 2019 season — a season that saw him struggle after he was activated off IR — and watching him return to excellence and win a ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Folk, the Titans are settling for another short-term fix, but that’s the right play given the “one last run” theme of this season.
Randy Bullock was decent the past two seasons but was not reliable beyond 50 yards. Folk was 4-for-5 beyond 50 last season and 12-for-17 in four excellent seasons with the Pats. The Pats are upgrading on leg strength in moving on from Folk, but so are the Titans in acquiring him. — Rexrode
Folk began his career with the Dallas Cowboys after they selected him in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and earned a Pro Bowl nod during his rookie year. He went on to play seven seasons with the New York Jets and had a short stint with the Buccaneers in 2017 before joining the Patriots. He owns an 82.9 field goal percentage across his 15-year career.
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)