NFL writer think former Virginia Tech kicker is a threat to win job with Patriots

Can Joey Slye win the kicking duties for the New England Patriots?
Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders
Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Earlier this month, former Virginia Tech kicker Joey Slye agreed to a free-agent contract with the New England Patriots. This week the team will begin OTAs and mini camp and things could get interesting for the former Hokie.

Slye, who has kicked for the Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, San Francisco 49ers, and Houston Texans, was brought in to battle with current Patriots' place kicker Chad Ryland and after his struggles last season, one NFL beat writer thinks Slye could push the fourth-round pick, 112th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Boston Herald reporter thinks Joey Slye is "direct competition" for Chad Ryland

New England Patriots beat writer Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald placed seven Patriots under the most pressure during OTAs and minicamp and Ryland was one them after New England brought in Slye three weeks ago.

"The most obvious name on the list (Chad Ryland). Ryland's rookie campaign was an unmitigated disaster, save for his game-winning kick at Denver last Christmas Eve. He went 16-of-25 on field goal attempts and made just half of his tries beyond 40 yards. Ryland has direct competition in veteran journeyman Joey Slye, who signed late this offseason. The leg strength isn't a question, and neither is the work ethic, but Ryland's future as an NFL kicker has never been cloudier."

Andrew Callahan

Last season Slye was better than Ryland when he kicked for the Commanders. He was 19-for-24, going 7-for-7 from 30-39 yards, but was much better than Ryland, going 10-for-14 from 40 yards or longer. His longest field goal was from 61 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 29 in a 38-31 loss.

You have to think that this move by the Patriots to bring in Slye is nothing more than to send a message to Ryland, but it would not be surprising to see him win the job if he is just the better kicker than Ryland. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.