Ex-Lions Kicker James Turner Acquired by NFC North Adversary

The Detroit Lions released undrafted rookie kicker James Turner on Tuesday, but he hasn’t strayed far from the NFC North. By Thursday, the Green Bay Packers secured Turner through a waiver claim, as noted in the official transaction log. This was facilitated by the Packers’ 25th position in the waiver wire order, determined by last year’s standings, indicating that at least 24 teams opted not to claim Turner.

Detroit’s decision to cut Turner came after they signed Jake Bates, a standout kicker from the Michigan Panthers following his impressive season in the UFL. Reports had indicated the Packers’ interest in Bates, making their subsequent acquisition of Turner less surprising as a sort of contingency plan.

Despite his release, Turner displayed significant potential during OTAs and minicamp with the Lions. The former Michigan Wolverine showcased his powerful leg by successfully making several kicks from distances of 55 to 60 yards, often with room to spare. Turner will now compete in Green Bay with veteran Greg Joseph and Anders Carlson for a spot on the roster.

As for the Lions, they head into training camp with Jake Bates vying for the starting kicker position against last year’s incumbent, Michael Badgley. In a recent roundtable discussion, opinions varied on who might emerge victorious in this competition. While Bates offers a higher potential upside, his lack of experience at the collegiate and high school levels makes him a wildcard. Conversely, Badgley brings a reliable track record, having converted 24 of 28 field goals for the Lions over the past two seasons, and boasting an 82.4 percent accuracy rate throughout his six-year NFL career, including a near-perfect record on kicks within 39 yards.

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