The San Francisco 49ers are hosting their Pro Day on Friday, and the event includes two kickers and two punters. Kickers James Langord and Jordan Williamson, and punters Trevor Pardula and Ben Rhyne will get a chance to show their stuff on Friday.
The odds are pretty high the 49ers head into the 2015 season with Phil Dawson and Andy Lee as their kicker and punter, respectively. Lee remains a top notch punter, and while Dawson's kickoffs are a bit inconsistent, he remains a solid kicker. He got off to a slow start at Levi's Stadium last year, but settled in for a fairly solid season. There was room for improvement, but it was better than numerous kickers.
Dawson is a free agent after the coming season, while Lee is signed through the 2018 season. Lee took a bit of a discount on his contract, but it will be interesting to see if he makes it to the end of this deal. His cap numbers the next four seasons are $2.55 million, $3.333 million, $3.433 million and $4.134 million. Lee has $500,000 in prorated signing bonus each of the next two seasons, and then would not cost any dead money if released or traded.
I don't see Lee going anywhere anytime soon, but Dawson is another question entirely. He is getting up there in age, and entering the final year of his deal. Could the 49ers invest a draft pick in a kicker, or maybe find a UDFA that can supplant Dawson? They made the move at long snapper when they found Kevin McDermott to replace Brian Jennings, and then followed that with Kyle Nelson.
ESPN has Concordia-St. Paul kicker Tom Obarski and Penn State kicker Sam Ficken listed in their Top 350 overall prospects. CBS Sports has Louisiana-Monroe kicker Justin Manton as a potential fifth or sixth round pick, and then Ficken and Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza as seventh round or UDFA options.
What do you think? Do the 49ers just ride it out with Dawson and replace him with another free agent next year? Or do they invest in a rookie?