Jan 3, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo (7) makes a field goal as punter Sterling Hofrichter (4) holds bathe ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
#2: PK Younghoe Koo
It’s hard to believe, isn’t it Falcons fans?
After arguably the greatest span of kicking in the league under Matt Bryant, in 2019 the team had to part ways with him, albeit better than how those lowly Buccaneers did.
Perhaps that’s why, unlike how they meddled in mediocrity at this position, Atlanta made a seamless transition to the newest member, Younghoe Koo.
Koo’s career is a very interesting one, that’s for sure. After being an initial member of the Chargers, in which he missed a few game-winning kicks, he was almost ready to give up the sport.
However, the ability to kick for the now-defunct Atlanta Legends in the AAF gave him a chance for some game tape to send to NFL squads. It wouldn’t be until the second half of the season until he was tabbed as the replacement for a player many referred to as “Money Matt”.
And what did Koo accomplish in the second half of that 2019 season for the Falcons? Nothing special, just going 23/26 on his field goals, with his two largest games ironically coming against the Saints.
In that first game (the 26-9 drubbing), Koo earned Special Teams Player of the Week. And do we remember that Thanksgiving night game three weeks later?
To quote legendary wrestler Booker T, with a caveat: “Not one, not two, but three onside kick recoveries?”
For the NFL, kickers appear to be a priority. With the Miami Dolphins recently signing their kicker, Jason Sanders, to a five-year deal, it stands to reason that Koo might look for something of this nature.
At a base salary of $750,000 (Koo’s number in 2020), the Falcons could keep him around for this and ensure security at the position, though, this is wishful thinking. The Falcons will more than likely sign him to a contract worth upwards of $2 million annually.