Wednesday 7 March 2012

Medlock Signs With Carolina

The long and winding road that is Justin Medlock's career took another turn today as the Kicker signed with the Carolina Panthers.

Last season – his one and only with in Hamilton – Medlock was superb for the Cats. He finished second in points, second in field-goal percentage and his accuracy from long distance (50-plus yards) was unparalleled. Medlock was twice named Special Teams Player of the Week (Weeks 3 and 17) and was the Special Teams Player of the Month for July.

Losing Medlock is a blow to the Tiger-Cats, as they once again have to start over at Kicker. Whoever takes the reins in 2012 with be the fourth Kicker in four years for the Tabbies.

That "whoever" looks to be Josh Maveety. Maveety spent all of last season on the Hamilton's Practice Roster.

The team will likely need to acquire a Punter, and the belief was that the team would go after Burke Dales in free agency if Medlock left. Dales, however, is already off the market, having signed in Edmonton.

That doesn't leave the team with a lot of options, but they do have a few. They could let Maveety punt, as they did Medlock, but most who have seen Maveety punt have said it is not his strong suit. They could draft a Punter in May, but there is no guarantee that would work out (remember the Justin Palardy fiasco back in 2010). They could also make a trade, and if the team goes that route, both Calgary and Montreal look like potential trade partners. Each team has multiple Canadian Kickers on their roster, with Calgary having Rene Paredes and Rob Maver, and Montreal having Sean Whyte and Brody McKnight.

Regardless of what the team does in the kicking game, whoever fills in at Kicker and Punter will have big shoes to fill. Medlock was the best Kicker in the CFL last season (sorry, BC Lions fans, but Medlock was just as good as, and maybe even better than, Paul McCallum) and it will be hard to replace his production. Hopefully the Cats can do so adequately.

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