DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins might have done Dan Carpenter a favor.
He wasn’t going to beat out rookie Caleb Sturgis at kicker. But instead of making Carpenter a late cut, the Dolphins terminated his contract Wednesday. That gives Carpenter more of a chance to find another job before the NFL season starts in three weeks.
“On behalf of the Miami Dolphins, I would like to thank Dan for his contributions he has made as a member of the organization,” Dolphins general manger Jeff Ireland said in a statement. “For the past five seasons, Dan has been a tireless worker on the field while devoting countless hours of his time off the field to the betterment of the South Florida community. He has been a productive player and an outstanding citizen and we wish him and his wife Kaela all the best.”
Carpenter made the Pro Bowl in 2009, his second season in Miami, but he has been going downhill since then.
Carpenter has made 79.4 percent of his kicks the past three seasons after converting 86.8 percent in his first two years. That has dropped his career percentage to 81.9, 16th among active NFL kickers.
After the Dolphins drafted Sturgis in the fifth round last April out of Florida, it became apparent Carpenter would have to easily beat out Sturgis to keep his job. Sturgis is making $441,000 this season, nearly $2.3 million less than the $2.7 million Carpenter was due. In fact, Sturgis’ entire four-year contract of $2.3 million is $400,000 less than what Carpenter would make this season.
Carpenter has had problems with his long-range kicking. And he appeared doomed after Strugis, in his NFL debut last Friday at Jacksonville, made both his field-goal attempts, one a 58-yarder.
Carpenter has been on the hot seat since Week 3 of last season against the New York Jets. In a 23-20 overtime loss, Carpenter missed a 47-yarder late in regulation and a 48-yarder in overtime, each that would have won the game.
At least now Carpenter has some time before the season to find a team that might need a new kicker.