Lindell spent ten of his 13 seasons with Buffalo. The 36-year-old had a career 83.3 percent conversion percentage, the most accurate in team history. He was also second in franchise history with 980 points, only 32 behind leader Steve Christie's 1,011. His 1,250 career points (he spent his first three seasons in Seattle) are 31st in league history.
But his leg strength had been a concern in recent seasons. He was not allowed to attempt a field goal of at least 50 yards in 2011. John Potter was brought in last season as a kickoff specialist, and the Bills passed on several seemingly makable long-range field goal chances, which some fans attributed to former coach Chan Gailey's conservative nature but others figured was a sign of Lindell's loss of range. He did attempt two 50-yard-plus field goals in 2012, making one.
And then there's salary. Lindell signed a four-year, $11 million contract in February 2012. The Bills didn't want to keep paying a player of diminishing strength $2.75 million each of the next three seasons. Hopkins, meanwhile signed a four-year, $2.214 million after being picked in the sixth round.
So the job is now Hopkins'. He's made all four field goals he's tried in the preseason, but none have been longer than 39 yards. Coaches have praised his leg strength, but he's struggled with accuracy. He pooched one kickoff in the preseason opener against Indianapolis out of bounds but has also put three of eight kickoffs out the back of the end zone.
Buffalo's kicking situation has now been totally overhauled over the past 12 months. The Bills released Pro Bowl punter Brian Moorman partway through the 2012 season in favor of Shaun Powell, who was drafted in 2012. Like Hopkins, Powell went to Florida State.
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