Lions sign All-UFL kicker Jake Bates from Michigan Panthers to 2-year deal

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MAY 05: The Detroit Lions logo is seen as Jake Bates #38 of the Michigan Panthers runs back to the locker room after defeating the Arlington Renegades at Ford Field on May 05, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/UFL/Ge

From Panther to Lion, Jake Bates is staying at Ford Field this fall.

Bates has signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions, the United Football League announced Tuesday.

Bates starred for the Michigan Panthers this spring making 17-of-22 field goal attempts including 3-for-4 from 60 yards or more.

The All-UFL kicker broke out in Week 1 by making a 64-yard field goal with three seconds left to beat the St. Louis Battlehawks. He later would kick the 42-yard game-winner with two seconds left in Week 6.

During the 2024 season, he made 7-of-11 from 50+ yards while his longest of 64 was the longest field goal in the league.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MAY 05: Jake Bates #38 of the Michigan Panthers looks on during the second quarter against the Arlington Renegades at Ford Field on May 05, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rick Osentoski/UFL/Getty Images)

The Tomball, Texas native was previously a collegiate soccer player at Central Arkansas before taking the leap to college football, making stops at Texas State and Arkansas as their kickoff specialist.

Bates was also a kickoff specialist in high school, making his 64-yard boot the first converted competitive field goal of his career.

The team's incumbent kicker, Michael Badgley, will compete with Bates for the kicking job.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA - JUNE 08: Brock Miller #41 holds as Jake Bates #38 of the Michigan Panthers attempts and misses a 51 yard field goal against the Birmingham Stallions in the second quarter during the USFL Conference Championship game at Protectiv

This will be Bates’ second NFL stint, as he was with the Houston Texans during the 2023 preseason.