Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
The San Francisco 49ers signed kicker Phil Dawson to a one-year contract this offseason, and the most interesting part of the contract was the decision to fully guarantee his $3,134,000 salary. Dawson is 41 and nearing the end of his career, but he remains a very solid kicker. It is no surprise the 49ers would just guarantee the deal and go from there.
And then they signed kicker John Lunsford. The 49ers likely needed a camp leg to spell Dawson during the preseason, so it is not surprising they signed a kicker. However, they also gave Lunsford $10,000 in guaranteed money. That was sixth among their 12 undrafted free agent additions. It’s not a lot of money, and they have a ton of cap space, but it's interesting to see the guarantee for Lunsford.
The rookie kicker brings a big leg to the 49ers. He is the FCS career record-holder with 12 field goals of 50+ yards. In his final season, he converted a 60-yard field goal with 1.8 seconds remaining to tie a game. He also had two makes from 57 yards and one from 56 yards. Shorter accuracy has been an issue for him. He is 8 of 23 in the 40-49 yard range, and has only made 75.7 percent of field goals inside 40. He forced touchbacks on 60 percent of kickoffs during his college career.
Here is the 49ers PR bio release when they announced the Lunsford signing. That is followed by scouting reports.
Finished his career at Liberty as the NCAA record holder for 50-or-more yd. FGs by an FCS kicker with 12 and ranks second in school history in career scoring (294 points), FGM (48) and PATs (150). As a senior, was named First-Team All-Big South for the second consecutive season after converting 13-of-24 FGAs and 32-of -32 PATs. In 2014, converted 19-of-24 FGAs and 43-of-44 PATs to earn First-Team All-Big South honors. As a sophomore, converted all 53 of his PATs in addition to 8-of-19 FGAs. In 2012, named Big South Second-Team All-Conference as a freshman after converting 9-of-12 FGAs and 22-of-25 PATs. Attended Evangelical Christian (Fort Myers, FL) HS, where he was a two-time all-area selection and named to the all-state team as a senior. Born 11/14/93 in Fort Myers, FL.
Age: 22 (23 in November)
Signed three-year rookie UDFA contract. If he makes the 49ers roster, his base salary will be $450,000. He received $10,000 in guaranteed money, including a $5,000 signing bonus, and a guarantee on $5,000 of his base salary. His cap hit for 2016 would be 451,666. If he is released, his dead money would include the $10,000 in guaranteed money, pending any practice squad decision.
What to expect in 2016
The most likely scenario is Lunsford ends up on the practice squad. A few years ago he would have made some sense as a kickoff specialist, but with the kickoff line moved up, and now touchbacks coming further out, a big leg does not make as much sense any more.
Odds of making the roster
They are pretty slim. He did get his share of work in the offseason workout program. During the final practice session, he was 6-of-6 during basic drills, including hitting from 60+. However, he missed during an end-of-game drill. I would imagine he gets a decent amount of work in the preseason before being cut late in the preseason. Lunsford could very well be a practice squad candidate, but if Dawson does not show any signs of slowing down, maybe the veteran sticks around for another year in 2017.