I grant you that it's a strange time to talk about 2013 free agents, so I won't belabor the point. However, I did want to bring up something interesting in regards to St. Louis Rams punter Donnie Jones. We opened up the community stats predictions for Jones, so this seems like an appropriate enough time to bring up the rising cost of punters in the NFL.
St. Louis plunked down a hefty contract offer to sign Jones in 2007, a five-year, $5.59 million. Jones' free agency experience was one of those rare examples of another team signing away a restricted free agent. Miami tendered him an offer, but refused to match the deal the Rams gave him. It cost St. Louis a seventh-round pick, meh, but netted the team one of the league's best punters...and one of the few bright spots for those woeful years between 2007 and 2009.
Punters are again a hot commodity, with Tampa Bay signing Michael Koenen to a $19 million deal. Agent Jack Bechta talked about punters and the high cost of good legs at the National Football Post earlier this week.
One position that is finally getting recognized as a weapon after being taken for granted for a long time is the punter. A good punter can significantly dictate field position throughout a game and get his team out of trouble when backed against the opponent's goal line. And of course, since they can't tackle to save their own life, they have long careers. The five million dollar a year punter is just around the corner. The APY salary for punters is $2.7 million.
Jones makes $1.1 million this year, his last season under contract with the Rams. His agent no doubt sees the Koenen contract as an important negotiating point; Koenan isn't nearly the punter that Donnie Jones is.
Yes, two punter posts in a 24-hour span, clearly, we're making a big play for traffic.