Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Could Prater deal help AFC North kickers?
By Jamison Hensley
The Denver Broncos signed kicker Matt Prater to a four-year, $13 million contract that includes a $3 million signing bonus, according to the Denver Post. That leaves three kickers with the franchise tag, two of which reside in the AFC North: the Browns' Phil Dawson and the Bengals' Mike Nugent.
Does Prater's deal help those kickers get closer to signing one of their own? I'm not sure that it does. The Browns have placed the tag on Dawson for two straight years and could be content with going short-term with the 37-year-old kicker even though he has expressed an interest to end his career with the Browns. And the Bengals might like to see Nugent put together a complete season and finish strong before committing a long-term deal with him.
The sides already had the contract parameters for a kicker based on the five-year, $14.7 million deal that the Ravens gave to Billy Cundiff only 17 months ago. It included a $3 million signing bonus. Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth signed a similar deal ($13.2 million over four years) this year despite the fact that he doesn't kick off. So, the market had been established that a kicker is going to average around $3 million per season even before Prater agreed to his deal.
Dawson and Nugent won't be skipping training camp like Baltimore running back Ray Rice, the other franchise player in the division, is expected to do. Dawson signed his $3.81 million tender in March, and Nugent signed his $2.645 million franchise tender in April.
The sides have until July 16 to reach a deal or Dawson and Nugent will play this season under the tag.