The Jets have signed unrestricted free agent placekicker Cairo Santos, who arrives after Chandler Catanzaro, the Jets' kicker last season, signed Wednesday with Tampa Bay.
"The moment I stepped in the door, I was sold," Santos said. "I wanted to sign here because what a beautiful complex. It just keeps getting better as you meet the people from top to bottom. I'm so excited to be a part of it and where the program is headed."
Santos, born in São Paulo, Brazil, was unfamiliar with American football until he came to St. Augustine, FL, as a foreign exchange student. He took to placekicking at St. Joseph Academy and then at Tulane, and became the first Brazilian to play in the NFL when he entered the league an undrafted free agent with Kansas City in 2014.
In his first three seasons with the Chiefs, Santos (5'8", 160) converted 86 of 102 field goal attempts (84.3%), including 7-of-12 from 50-plus yards, and 113 of 118 extra points (95.8%).
Last season was a painful transition year. Santos suffered a groin injury in training camp, sat out the preseason, then kicked in the Chiefs' first three regular-season games. But he was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 26 and four days later was waived by KC. Chicago signed him in November and he kicked in two games for the Bears before reinjuring his groin and again going on IR.
"I still believe I'm the same successful kicker I was when I was playing in Kansas City," he said. "I needed a franchise that would believe in me that I will be that same kicker. By the way I've been treated by the New York Jets, that's how they see me. Those are my goals — to come in, have a good year and hopefully remain here for a long time. I think we're aligned in those goals and one step at a time I pray that we'll get there."
Despite the injury, Santos did remarkably well, converting four of five field goal tries — his only miss was from 54 yards out for the Bears — and all 14 extra point tries, including 6-of-6 for the Chiefs in their season-opening 42-27 win at New England.
For his NFL career, Santos has converted 84.1% of his field goal tries and 96.2% of his PATs, and has produced touchbacks on 46.5% of his kickoffs.
Top Images of the Newly-Acquired Kicker