Sticking with Crosby has paid off

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Admit it, you chuckled when you read the details of the pay cut Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby accepted in August.

No way, you surely thought, would Crosby make 85 percent of his field goals -- the mark he would need to hit in order to earn back all of his money through incentives.

Well, Crosby might be laughing all the way to the bank.

With three games remaining, Crosby has made 29 of 33 field goals, or 87.9 percent. On the same number of attempts last season, he made only 21 to finish with a league-worst 63.6 percent conversion rate.

Last season’s struggles ultimately led the Packers to approach Crosby’s agent, Mike McCartney, about a pay cut over the summer. What they settled on was a $1.6 million reduction in 2013 pay that would allow Crosby to earn every dime of it back. He already has made back $800,000 of it just for being on the roster to this point. He will get the other half back as long as his conversion rate stays above 85 percent.

That might not be easy considering Crosby still has two potential bad-weather games remaining -- Dec. 22 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dec. 29 at the Chicago Bears.

But if Crosby can made all three of his kicks in the cold, snowy, windy conditions that Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons presented, then it’s hard to imagine him getting derailed at this point. On a day when Falcons kicker Matt Bryant looked confused by the conditions during pregame warmups and came up well short on his only attempt, a 52-yarder, Crosby knocked in field goals of 40, 33 and 25 yards.

“Mason’s always had very good talent, that’s why he’s in the National Football League,” Packers special teams coach Shawn Slocum said Monday. “That’s why he’s on the same team he came into.”

How many of you thought that was possible last year or even this summer, when Crosby missed five of his eight kicks during the team’s annual August scrimmage?

“The easy thing to do is to change personnel,” Slocum said. “That’s not always the right thing to do. He’s having a good year. That’s a credit to him and his work ethic.”