There was a span from 2017 to 2018 where the Chargers were seemingly cursed when it came to their kicker position. Prior to the 2017 season, the Chargers decided to commit to rookie UDFA Younghoe Koo over incumbent Josh Lambo. After Koo missed multiple kicks leading to the teams 0-4 start to that season, Anthony Lynn moved on to another kicker. From then on, the Chargers led the NFL during that timespan in different kickers with seven total. After Lambo and Koo, the Chargers also employed the likes of Nick Rose, Nick Novak, Travis Coons, and Caleb Sturgis before finally finding former UDFA Michael Badgley.
But before we go farther, let’s rewind and look back on Badgley history prior to becoming the “Money Badger.”
Badgley was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey where he starred for local Summit High School. Besides excelling as the team’s kicker, Badgley showed some real athletic ability while playing running back, receiver, defensive back, kick/punt returner, and in emergencies, quarterback. As a senior, he helped lead his team to a 12-0 season and a New Jersey state championship.
He finished his prep career with 3,198 yards from scrimmage and 31 total touchdowns: 17 receiving, seven rushing, two kickoff returns, four punt returns, and one pick-six. He left Summit with the school record for longest field goal (49), most kicking points (84), and most consecutive PATs (67), among others. He was also named the Star-Ledger Player of the Year in Union County.
After graduating high school, Badgley spent a single season as the kicker for Fork Union Military Academy. He recorded the longest field goal in program history (58 yards) and was ranked as the No. 1 kicker in the country by 247Sports. Also a fun fact, former NFL players Vinny Testaverde and Eddie George also both spent time at Fork Union.
Badgley committed to play at the University of Miami where he spent four seasons as the team’s starting kicker and left as the program’s all-time leading scorer.
He converted 172 out of 179 total extra points and made 77-of-91 field goals. As a senior, Badgley converted 45-of-46 extra points and 17-of-23 field goals en route to being named to the All-ACC First Team.
Badgley went undrafted during the 2018 draft and initially signed with the Indianapolis Colts. He made all five of his field goal attempts during the preseason before being waived in favor of veteran Adam Vinatieri. On October 11 of the 2018 season, the Chargers signed Badgley to start their week six matchup against the Cleveland Browns in which he made all five of his extra points and his lone field goal. In 10 games, the rookie made 27-of-28 extra points and 15-of-16 field goals with a long of 59 yards which set the franchise record for longest field goal.
Since the start of 2017:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 26, 2019
Most field goals made:
1. Robbie Gould: 72
2. Justin Tucker: 69
3. Greg Zuerlein: 65
Best field goal percentage:
1. Robbie Gould: 96.0%
2. Michael Badgley: 93.8%
3. Graham Gano: 93.5%
After running away with the starting job as a rookie, Badgley’s sophomore campaign was cut in half due to a sudden groin injury that lingered for over half the season. In eight games, he made all 19 extra points and 13 of his 16 field goal attempts with a long of 49.
Years with team: 2
“Michael Badgley signed a 3 year, $1,710,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $570,000. In 2019, Badgley will earn a base salary of $570,000, while carrying a cap hit of $570,000.” - Spotrac.com
Badgley came in and was lights out for the Chargers as a rookie. He was seemingly the answer to numerous prayers from fans for a kicker that could finally just take the job and run away with it. He only missed a single field goal and extra point as a rookie, including that incredible 59-yard kick against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Fan were ecstatic to see Badgley in action again in 2019 but a sudden “minor” groin injury somehow turned into a multi-month recovery period. Punter Ty Long took over kicking duties for the first half of the season but he ended up missing a number of kicks that led to some early losses.
Badgley wasn’t as efficient when he finally returned from his injury, missing his only attempt from 50+ yards and two of his tries from 40-49.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
Of course, Badgley is going to make this team. There’s no doubt about that. He’s still the best kicker this team has had in quite some time and he will likely be this team’s kicker of the future for years to come barring some catastrophic meltdown between his ears.