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Lions Sign Kicker Jake Bates

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter shared that the Detroit Lions signed placekicker Jake Bates to a two-year, $1.98 million contract. The deal includes $150,000 in guaranteed money and a $100,000 signing bonus.

Bates will also get a $75,000 workout bonus and a $50,000 roster bonus. He will earn a $795,000 base salary in 2024 and $960,000 in his second year.

It would be a great bargain if he could also deliver on the NFL stage, as in the United Football League. However, the Lions won’t easily hand him the kicker role because he must compete with Michael Badgley.

Bates was included in the All-UFL Team after hitting 17 of 22 field goal attempts in ten regular season games for the Michigan Panthers. He added four field goals in six attempts during their postseason game against eventual UFL champions Birmingham Stallions.

Bates caught the football world’s attention after connecting on a 64-yard game-winning field goal during their season opener against the St. Louis Battlehawks. It’s the longest field goal in the UFL and its previous iterations.

In addition to that conversion, Bates had two more field goals of at least 60 yards. He connected on a 62-yarder the following week against the Stallions and a 60-yarder in Week 6 versus the Arlington Renegades.

The former Texas State and Arkansas standout will have another shot in the NFL after going undrafted last year. The Houston Texans signed him during the 2023 offseason, but he was released nearly a month before the 2023 NFL season started.

Bates was a First-Team All-SEC member in 2022, his lone year with the Razorbacks. Meanwhile, the Lions waived kicker James Turner to make room for Bates. The Lions hope that Bates can be a difference-maker for a team that reached the NFC Championship Game last season.

-Lance Fernandez

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