New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
(Updated) Jets sign free agents Dimke, Quigley
A kicking competition is on the horizon for Nick Folk.
The Jets signed free agent Derek Dimke, according to his agent Paul Sheehy.
“Congrats to the newest member of #Jets, K @DDimke13 Derek Dimke! Perfect in camp w/ #Lions in '12,” Sheehy tweeted Thursday evening.
A few hours later, free agent punter Ryan Quigley, 23, tweeted that he's been signed as well: "Proud to be apart of Jet nation!" he wrote. "Blessed for the opportunity and all the support! #JETS #BC”
Quigley, a Boston College alum, joined the NFL after he signed with Chicago as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. He made the Bears final roster and was inactive for the season opener, before he was waived that September. In four 2012 preseason games, Quigley punted 16 times for a 41.4 average. As a senior at Boston College in 2011, he finished fourth in the nation with 28 punts downed inside the 20.
He'll compete with incumbent Robert Malone, who replaced T.J. Conley last year.
Dimke, who turns 23 on April 16, was on the Lions' roster last offseason, but didn’t make it past the initial roster cut-downs – namely because he was stuck behind Detroit's longtime kicker Jason Hanson. (Coincidentally, Hanson recently announced his retirement after 21 years.)
Dimke had just two attempts during his brief preseason stint in Detroit: a 41-yard field goal and a 31-yarder. He made both of those FGs and also made all extra-point attempts. He finished his college career as Illinois’ all-time leader in field goal and PAT accuracy, converting 39-of-46 field goal attempts and hitting all 89 of his extra point tries.
His arrival shouldn’t be a surprise to Jets fans, considering kicking competitions are nothing new for this team. Former special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff often called the training-camp battle last season between Folk and Josh Brown (who recently signed with the Giants) a “dogfight.”
Folk, an unrestricted free agent, re-signed with the Jets last month. The 28-year-old, who beat out Brown at the end of training camp, has spent the past three seasons with the Jets after joining the team as a free agent in February 2010. In 2012, Folk kicked in 16 games and hit 21-of-27 field goals (77.8%) and all 30 of his PAT attempts. In six career seasons, he’s appeared in 94 games and has converted 134-of-172 field goal attempts (77.9%) and all 242 PAT tries.
Dimke, an Illinois teammate of tight end Jeff Cumberland, was signed by the Lions last offseason and kicked behind Hanson during OTAs and training camp.
“Jason has been doing this longer than anyone out there,” Dimke told the Rockford Register Star newspaper in Illinois after he was cut by the Lions. “It was just great to be able to learn from him. This was a great opportunity for me. Now I’ve got to see what else comes my way.”