Ammendola converted 13-of-19 field goal attempts over 11 games
Per Jeane Coakley of SNY, the New York Jets have released kicker Matt Ammendola, ending the first-year man’s metropolitan tenure.
Sources tell me the #Jets are cutting kicker Matt Amendola.
— Jeane Coakley (@JeaneCoakley) December 4, 2021
Ammendola’s departure paves the way for practice squad rep Alex Kessman to make his NFL regular season debut on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Jets have since confirmed the move.
We’ve signed K Alex Kessman and released K Matt Ammendola.
We’ve also elevated DE Ronnie Blair, TE Dan Brown and RB Austin Walter.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 4, 2021
Ammendola was the sixth kicker the Jets have used in the regular season since Pro Bowler Jason Myers absconded for Seattle after the 2018 season.
After beating out Chris Naggar during training camp, Ammendola became a bit of a folk hero for the Jets when he took over for injured punter Braden Mann during the 2021 opener in Carolina. The Oklahoma State alum averaged 48.5 yards per punt in his NFL debut, helping New York keep pace in what eventually became a 19-14 loss.
Alas for the Jets, Ammendola was unable to solve their long-standing kicking conundrum. He successfully converted six of his first seven attempts but has gone 6-for-12 since then.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh declared an open kicking competition this week after Ammendola missed three field goals over the last two games, including two in the team’s Nov. 21 loss to Miami. His conversion rate of 68 percent currently ranks 31st in the NFL and he was particularly costly from deep, missing all three of his attempts from at least 50 yards out.
In Ammendola’s place comes Kessman, who converted 79 percent of his attempts during his final collegiate season at Pittsburgh. He briefly spent time with the Los Angeles Chargers during the preseason though he did not appear in any games. Kessman established himself as a reliable long-range kicker with the Panthers, as his percentage of 66.7 (12-of-18) from 50 yards or more is the best NCAA history amongst kickers with at least 15 tries.
In addition to Kessman, the Jets also promoted Ronnie Blair, Dan Brown, and Austin Walter to their active roster. Blair and Walter each played sizable roles in last week’s win over Houston, as the former earned one of the Jets’ five sacks while the latter earned a rushing touchdown in his regular season debut. Brown is back in New York after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs, who acquired him in exchange for current Jets starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags