The Buffalo Bills were ready to enter the 2022 NFL season putting all of their punting hopes on rookie Matt Araiza. In the aftermath of a civil lawsuit alleging that he took part in the gang rape of a minor, however, the team has now replaced the disgraced player.
Four days after releasing Araiza, the Bills have signed former Denver Broncos punter Sam Martin to a one-year deal. The team moved wide receiver Marquez Stevenson to injured reserve to accommodate for space on their roster.
Martin had been released by the Broncos on Monday after two seasons with the franchise. He was with the Detroit Lions for seven seasons before that. The 32-year-old was drafted in the fifth road of the 2013 NFL Draft after a college career with Appalachian State. Last season, Martin had the third-highest net yards per punt average in the NFL and placed 41.8% of his kicks inside the 20-yard line.
The Bills scrambled for a punter replacement after releasing Araiza just a few days after the allegations went public. While his parents and the accuser have released dueling statements in the days since, Buffalo appears ready to move forward and try to distance themselves from the disgraced “Punt God.”