New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 15: Nick Folk #6 of the New England Patriots looks on in the rain against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A strong 2020 season wasn’t enough to lock Nick Folk into a spot on the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster. But the relationship between the sides is still very much alive, as the veteran kicker will begin the 2021 season on the team’s practice squad.

The 36-year-old Folk’s move to the practice squad comes following a 2021 preseason that saw Folk limited with a back injury and on the field for just one field goal attempt (a successful 41-yard boot in last Sunday’s finale) over three games.

That limited showing paved the way for undrafted free agent Quinn Nordin to seize a job on New England’s roster out of the gate, even with an up-and-down preseason showing that included misses on three of his seven extra-point attempts. Nordin was a touch more consistent in the field goal kicking game, however, with makes on six of his eight field goals, including a preseason-high kick from 50 yards out that connected dead center through the uprights.

But Folk’s aforementioned success in 2020 certainly gives the Patriots a more than capable backup option should Nordin struggle out of the gate with his first NFL gig. One of the Patriots’ top talents in an otherwise down season in Foxborough, Folk connected on all but two of his 28 field goals tries last year, and didn’t have a single miss to his name after Week 2. Folk also converted on all but three of his extra-point tries in 2020, with a 30-for-33 mark.

Signed by the Patriots in 2019, Folk has connected at an 88.8 percent success rate (40-for-45) with the Patriots.

There’s a definite element of potential roster manipulation at play with Folk’s move to the practice squad, too, as the Patriots could activate Folk for up to two games without him occupying a spot on the 53-man roster. That would also give Bill Belichick & Co. ample time to see if Nordin can handle full-time kicking duties and if Folk’s health can improve.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.