Detroit Lions Sign UFL Michigan Panthers Standout K Jake Bates

Detroit Lions Sign UFL Panthers Standout K Jake Bates

Now that the UFL Championship is in the rearview mirror, it’s time for Jake Bates to officially sign his NFL contract. As reported last week by Aaron Wilson and others, Bates will be signing with the Detroit Lions – sticking around in the state of Michigan.

UFL Success

Jake Bates burst onto the spring football scene as one of the unlikeliest of heroes. He hadn’t kicked a field goal in a game since high school, serving as a kickoff specialist in his college days. Jake was so efficient on kickoffs that it earned him an NFL opportunity with the Texans, where he did attempt a couple of PATs.

Then, Michigan Panthers General Manager, Steve Kazor, decided to give him a chance. This proved to be one of the greatest finds of the entire season. Bates went on to make a 64 yard game winner over St. Louis in week one, which saw him take the national spotlight by storm.

From there, Jake earned All-UFL honors as the kicker of the year. He was tremendous, with three kicks of over 60+ yards, and several kicks from 50+. He did struggle a bit outdoors, going 10-16 on the season in that category. This included a missed game-winner against Birmingham in week ten.

However, considering how consistent Jake Bates was for most of the year, it’s no surprise to see him land an NFL contract, after receiving interest from multiple organizations. Jake kicked at Ford Field all spring, so the Lions are playing chess – not checkers – bringing him in to compete this summer and fall.

Bates had two game winners at Ford Field. In week six, he hit the buzzer beater to top the Arlington Renegades in thrilling fashion. The fans in Michigan came to love Jake, cheering loudly any time he stepped on the football field.

Now, he’ll get to play for those same fans – and many more – with the Detroit Lions. Bates signed a two year, 1.98M dollar contract. You love to see it.

Final Thoughts

Had it not been for the national platform that the UFL provided him with, who knows if this NFL opportunity would have been possible. You can stay up to date on all UFL to NFL signings with our official tracker.

What are your thoughts on Jake Bates signing with the Detroit Lions? Who will the Michigan Panthers have to replace him with? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!