Saints sign Northern Ireland goalkeeper Charlie Smyth to potentially compete for starting kicking job

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The New Orleans Saints are tapping into international waters to bolster its kicking depth. The club has agreed to terms on a deal with Charlie Smyth as a placekicker, his agent Paul Sheehy announced on social media. Smyth, a Northern Ireland native, becomes the first Irishman to sign a deal with an NFL team via the International Player Pathway. The 22-year-old had previously served as a goalkeeper for Down GAA.
This signing comes after Smyth attended the NFL Scouting Combine and visited with the Saints at the franchise’s training facility. He also participated at South Florida’s pro day along with other international prospects and was seen connecting on a 60-yard field goal attempt. At the combine, Smyth connected on 12 of his 16 attempts, via The Irish Times. He’ll now begin his work with the Saints when the club opens up its offseason program on April 15.
While he’s shown enough promise to get onto New Orleans’ offseason roster, Smyth is still quite green as a placekicker. Per The Athletic, Smyth has only been kicking an NFL football since August. Still, his soccer skills do seem to be translating quite well, as he’s also been spotted netting a 63-yard kick.
Smyth will come to New Orleans and compete with Blake Grupe, who was the team’s placekicker in 2023 after signing on as an undrafted free agent following a collegiate career at Notre Dame. In 17 games, Grupe converted 81.1% of his field goal attempts, which included six of nine attempts from 50-plus yards. He also netted all 40 of his extra-point attempts.
Because Smyth comes to the Saints via the IPP, he will not count toward the team’s 90-man roster for training camp, which should give him a better chance of sticking around through the summer at the least.

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