Jay Feely (AP Photo)
For the first time in seven seasons, Neil Rackers will be kicking somewhere outside of the desert. Rackers won’t be returning to Arizona and the team has moved on with the signing of Jay Feely. Rackers has since caught on with the Houston Texans, cashing in on a $4 million contract over the next two years. Brad Wilbricht breaks down the addition of Feely and how he stacks up against Rackers.
While Neil Rackers was certainly an accurate kicker during his tenure with the Arizona Cardinals, the team’s newest addition of Jay Feely could wind up as an upgrade at the position. Despite kicking in ideal home conditions for the majority of his career, Rackers has connected on just 78 percent of his attempts opposed to Feely’s 82 percent. Feely’s accuracy is even more impressive considering he spent four of the past five seasons with the New York Giants and New York Jets often kicking in blustery conditions.
Rackers experienced three wildly successful campaigns in Arizona but also struggled during extended periods of time. Rackers hit on at least 89 percent of his kicks in three of his seven seasons in the desert but converted under 76 percent in his remaining four years. One particular rough stretch occurred from 2006-2007, where he converted just 73 percent of the time. Meanwhile, Feely has been a model of consistency, connecting on at least 83 percent of his kicks in each of the past five seasons.
Feely may provide Cardinals fans with less uneasiness from field goals ranging from 30-39 yards. Feely’s been impressive from that distance as he’s made 86 percent of those attempts during his nine-year career. In comparison, Rackers managed to hit on less than 75 percent from the same range. Furthermore, Feely is coming off a 2009 campaign in which he booted a career-best 14 field goals from 40-49 yards. Rackers had only made 13 kicks from that distance over the last two seasons combined.
Although the end between Rackers and the Cardinals may leave somewhat of a bitter taste, both parties have already moved on. Rackers agreed on a two-year, $4 million contract with the Houston Texans, a team poised to make a playoff run in 2010. Back in Arizona, Feely joins a team that has won two consecutive NFC West titles with an opportunity to win at least one playoff game for the third straight year.
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