One question looming over the San Diego Chargers' offseason is at Placekicker. Nate Kaeding held the job as one of the most accurate Kickers in the league for seven seasons after being drafted by the Bolts in the 3rd round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
After his rookie season, in which he made 80% of his FG attempts (and 60% of FG attempts from 50+ yards), Kaeding stayed about 82% in terms of FG accuracy ever season. His career FG accuracy is 86.5%, making him the most accurate FG kicker in the history of the NFL
Nick Novak has had an up-and-down career after signing with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent following the 2005 NFL Draft. After Nate Kaeding was injured on the first play of the season, and Mike Scifres filled in for the rest of the game, Novak was signed off the street by the Chargers and started what would be the best season of his career.
After getting off to a fast start and not missing a FG until mid-season, Novak regressed back to the shaky Kicker that he's been and finished the season with 79.4% of his kicks going through the uprights (including 57% on FG attempts from 50+ yards).
With the Chargers missing the playoffs, Novak never got a chance to prove that he could be better than Kaeding where the long-time Chargers Kicker has struggled. After missing all 3 of his FG attempts in his last playoff game (2009 vs the Jets), Kaeding's postseason FG accuracy is just 53.3%. Nick Novak has yet to attempt a FG in the playoffs.
Next season, Nick Novak is under contract for $700,000 while Nate Kaeding is owed $2 million as the last year of a seven-year deal.
So, which would you rather have on the Chargers in 2012? The most accurate FG Kicker in history, who has had some bad playoff experiences, or the inconsistent FG Kicker that had a very good first-half of 2011 but has never kicked in the playoffs before?