With some down time before training camp, we’re inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the special teams.
Stephen Gostkowski (K), Joe Cardona (LS)
Ryan Allen (P), Jake Bailey (P, rookie)
Both Gostkowski and Allen were allowed to test the free agent market this offseason, but neither man appeared to receive much attention from other clubs. After a relatively lengthy delay, the two eventually re-signed with New England. Even in his 14th season, all of them as a Patriot, Gostkowski is still as solid a kicker as you’ll find in the NFL. He’ll face no competition this summer in camp.
Allen, on the other hand, had enjoyed a relatively safe NFL career since winning the Patriots’ punting job as a rookie in 2013, until last summer, when undrafted rookie Corey Bojorquez provided his first serious competition. Allen responded by winning the job in camp and Bojorquez wound up with Buffalo.
However, Allen once again faces a legitimate challenge to his job in the form of 2019 fifth-round draft choice Jake Bailey. The Stanford man is not only a punter, but also has considerable experience as a kickoff specialist, which could give Gostkowski’s right leg some much needed rest. Furthermore, the Patriots seldom draft specialists, and the ones they do normally wind up making the team, at least in the short term. Allen could have a tougher time staying in Foxborough this year if Bailey lives up to his billing.
Long snapper Cardona, like Gostkowski, remains secure in his spot after the Navy Reserve officer inked a four-year contract extension in June of last year and proceeded to enjoiy a solid 2018 campaign.