JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After losing Shaun Suisham and Graham Hartley in the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers needed another kicker.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had one to spare.
So the Jaguars traded longtime placekicker Josh Scobee to the Steelers on Monday for a sixth-round draft pick in 2016.
The swap gives the Steelers a capable — and expensive — replacement. Scobee is a 12th-year player who ranks eighth in field goals made and ninth in points among active kickers. He is in the final year of his contract, which pays him $3.4 million.
“Unfortunate for Pittsburgh, they had a need. Fortunate for us, they did,” Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said on a conference call.
“It was a win-win. For Pittsburgh, they got a veteran kicker and a very good kicker, and we got a pick that we can use to build this franchise with.”
Scobee had been the longest-tenured and most popular player on Jacksonville’s roster, having joined the franchise as a fifth-round draft pick in 2004.
He has appeared in 168 regular-season games and connected on 235 of 291 field-goal attempts (80.8 percent) and 317 of 322 extra points.
“This was easily the toughest decision that we’ve had to make in our time here,” Caldwell said. “Whatever you think of Josh as a kicker, which he is very good at, he’s even a better person and a tremendous leader.”
Although Caldwell said he never reached the point of having to decide which kicker to cut, he made it clear that he didn’t want to lose first-year player Jason Myers. The Marist graduate spent time with Arizona and San Jose of the Arena Football League last year. He signed with the Jaguars in March and was impressive during organized team activities as well as training camp and the preseason.
Myers has made four of five field goals in the preseason, including a 55-yarder. His only miss was from 58 yards. He also has put seven of eight kickoffs in the end zone.
“Jason has done a great job here,” Caldwell said. “The only thing that he’s missing is the experience, and he’s going to get that through this process. We said that this is a young guy that we can grow with as a team and as a franchise.
“At the end of the day, there was a resounding feeling that whatever happened we did not want to lose Jason for the future. Part of the deal was, to be brutally honest, a year from now, if we had to address the kicker situation, we didn’t know if we would find somebody equally as good as what we had in Jason at this point in time.”