Anders Carlson is on thin ice after Packers free agency update

Green Bay Packers, Anders Carlson
Green Bay Packers, Anders Carlson / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

The Green Bay Packers have a big decision to make regarding second-year kicker Anders Carlson.

Carlson missed 13 kicks in his rookie season, including putting a field goal wide left in the divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers were willing to live with the ups and downs, but Carlson's struggles ultimately hurt their chances of advancing in the playoffs.

Expectations have changed in Green Bay—no longer is this young team playing with house money. Fans have high hopes after the Packers showed they could compete with the NFC's best in last season's playoffs.

To go a step further and make a Super Bowl run, the Packers need a reliable kicking game, which puts Carlson's future with the team in doubt.

Packers reportedly tried to sign veteran kicker in free agency

At the very least, Carlson will have to overcome tough competition for the kicking job this summer. According to Sports Illustrated's Bill Huber, the Packers came close to signing a free agent who has been a "full-time kicker for multiple seasons." Huber reports the kicker had agreed to a deal with Green Bay but had a "change of heart."

It's unclear who the kicker was, but only four have signed deals in free agency: Wil Lutz, Nick Folk, Brandon McManus, and Joey Slye.

It's not surprising the Packers are considering a kicking change. General manager Brian Gutekunst gave a blunt answer when asked about Carlson at the NFL Combine in February.

"There's gonna need to be a curve of getting better if that's gonna continue," Gutekunst said about Carlson, per The Athletic's Matt Schneidman.

Green Bay still could add a veteran. Free agents Greg Joseph and Randy Bullock are among the available options who could compete with Carlson for the job.

Whether Carlson improves or the Packers replace him, they need far more consistency from the kicking position to reach their potential in 2024. Carlson missed at least one kick in 11 of the Packers' final 14 games last season, a trend that can't continue.

Gutekunst knows this team has a chance to make a run in 2024, requiring more consistency at kicker. Even after missing out on their top free-agent target, changes could be coming.

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