The 44-year-old kicker was invited in for a tryout on Friday and the Falcons clearly liked what they saw in Bryant, because, less than 24 hours later they signed him to a new deal. According NFL.com, Bryant is getting a one-year deal worth a total of $3 million.
The fact that Bryant is now going to be the Falcons kicker this year is a shocking turn of events, considering they cut him less than seven months ago. After the 2018 season ended, there was some speculation that the 44-year-old was going to retire, but he quickly shot that down.
Over this past year I’ve been asked numerous times about retirement and how I feel. Well, I’m not retiring and I feel fine and plan on feeling even better with some changes to my offseason program!— matt bryant (@Matt_Bryant3) February 6, 2019
Although Bryant made it clear that he wanted to return for another season in Atlanta, the team decided to move on, and they did that despite the fact that he was one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL last year.
One of the reasons the Falcons decided to get rid of Bryant is because he dealt with multiple injuries last season (back and hamstring) that caused him to miss a total of three games. Despite the injuries though, he was still Mr. Reliable for Atlanta.
In 2018, Bryant connected on 95.2 percent of his field goals (20 of 21), which ranked third in the NFL. Since 2016, Bryant has hit 90.7 percent of his field goal attempts, which ranks third in the NFL over the span for any kicker who has attempted 20 or more kicks. Bryant actually made the Pro Bowl as the NFC's kicker after hitting 34 of 37 attempts with the Falcons in 2016.
Bryant is also the Falcons' all-time leading scorer with 1,122 career points. The 17-year veteran is also the fourth most accurate kicker in NFL history.
When Bryant's healthy, he's one of the best kickers in the league, but due to the fact that he's been battling injuries, the Falcons had obvious concerns about his age. After all, he is set to be the second-oldest player in the NFL this year, behind only Adam Vinatieri.
The big reason the Falcons are turning to Bryant -- their kicking situation has gotten ugly during the preseason. In four games, Tavecchio hit just 4 of 8 on field goals, although three of those misses came from 50 or more yards. With Tavecchio struggling, the Falcons brought in Blair Walsh, but that quickly turned into a disaster when Walsh missed 4 of 9 kicks during his first practice with the team.
Although Tavecchio hit all five of his field goal attempts last season during Bryant's three-game absence, that wasn't enough to convince the Falcons to keep him around for the 2019 season.
Of course, this was probably the best-case scenario for Bryant. Not only does he now have a job, but he got to miss all of training camp, which is definitely a good thing when you're trying to play in the NFL at age 44.