It’s been a tumultuous few years for the Chargers and their special teams positions. Whether it’s been the kicker, punter, or the guys returning the kicks, the Bolts haven’t had a ton of stability.
With Michael Badgley looking like the long-term answer to the team’s kicking woes, and Desmond King showing-out as the answer at kick/punt returner, the punter position is the last area the Chargers have to sure-up before they can feel 100% confident in their special teams unit.
Earlier this year on January 14th, the team signed former CFL standout Ty Long, who was named a CFL All-Star the previous two years in 2017 and ‘18. During the 2017 season with the BC Lions, Long converted 39/44 field goals while maintaining an average of 47.9 yards across 116 total punts. Following his 2018 season, where he converted 43/49 field goals and averaged 48.8 yards per punt (on 120 punts), Long was the Lions’ nominee for CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player of the Year and overall Most Outstanding Player of the Year.
College: University of Alabama-Birmingham
Years with team: 0
“Ty Long signed a 1 year, $495,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $495,000. In 2019, Long will earn a base salary of $495,000, while carrying a cap hit of $495,000.” - Spotrac.com
The acquisition of Long from the CFL gives the Chargers a younger talent at the position that already has a ton of experience while showing it wasn’t just a one-year wonder situation.
Not much to argue about since he’s a punter but I guess one could worry that he wasn’t able to make an NFL team right out of college but sometimes progress and improvement isn’t linear.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019
Unless UDFA punter Tyler Newsome out of Notre Dame surprises, I believe Long will win the starting job outright. With both guys new to the team, in general, I think the coaching staff will shy on the side of overall experience, and that arrow points to Long and his success n the CFL.
Fun Fact: Long holds the school record for converted field goals in a career (59) and longest field converted (54 yards, 2012 @ Ohio State).