The Jets hope their kicker situation is finally settled.
They signed former Ram Sam Ficken on Tuesday and waived Kaare Vedvik. Ficken is the fourth kicker the Jets have had on their roster since August.
The Jets held a kicking tryout at their facility after Vedvik struggled in his NFL debut Sunday. His only field goal attempt missed wide right and his lone extra point try doinked off the upright in the Jets’ 17-16 loss to the Bills.
"I know this first week wasn’t ideal,” coach Adam Gase said on ESPN Radio on Tuesday. “Hopefully we get this thing straightened out and it becomes a non-issue.”
Ficken was with the Packers in the preseason, and hit his only field goal attempt (41 yards) and made all five of his extra points. He has played four NFL games — all with the Rams — in 2017 and 2018. Ficken, 26, went 3-for-6 on field goals and 14-for-15 on extra points.
The Jets have had a kicking carousel since opting not to re-sign Jason Myers, who made the Pro Bowl last season.
Chandler Catanzaro started training camp as the Jets’ kicker, but he retired after the first preseason game. The Jets replaced him with Taylor Bertolet. They gave him every opportunity to make the team, but Bertolet missed 3 of 5 field goal attempts in the last preseason game.
The Jets cut Bertolet after claiming Vedvik off waivers from the Vikings.
Shepherd suspended six games for PEDs
Nathan Shepherd has been suspended for the next six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
Shepherd knew the suspension was coming and admitted to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com that he took a banned substance to help him recover from injuries so he could impress Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
The report said Shepherd had a shoulder issue that may require surgery and a groin injury that led to sports hernia surgery. The second-year lineman subsequently suffered a herniated disc in his back. Shepherd failed drug tests on June 27 and July 25, NFL.com reported.
“All that was going on, I was coming off a subpar season and a new coaching staff, new playbook, new everything,” Shepherd said. “In my mindset, I didn’t feel very confident with how everything had gone thus far. In my mind, I was so prepared to come into this offseason and have a successful offseason and train very hard. I felt that because of these limitations, I wasn’t going to be able to do that.
“I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go.”
Shepherd, a third-round pick last year, appeared in all 16 games in 2018 and started five. He didn’t make much of an impact. Shepherd finished with 15 total tackles and no sacks. He was inactive this past Sunday because of what was looming, but Shepherd was low on the depth chart on the line.
“The only competitive advantage I was really looking for was being able to come to camp healthy and having an opportunity to compete,” Shepherd said. “I’m grateful to the league for showing some understanding, leniency and fairness, and I appreciate them dealing with it in a timely manner.”
The Jets were prepared for the suspension. They ended up keeping nine defensive linemen on their 53-man roster. Shepherd is eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Monday, Oct. 28, after their Week 8 game at Jacksonville.
“We had an idea that was coming,” Gase said on ESPN Radio. “Everybody makes mistakes. I feel like he’s handled everything the right way. We talk about owning things and stepping up, and if you make a mistake just understand it can’t happen again. I feel like he’s done that.”