The Green Bay Packers and kicker Mason Crosby have agreed to a five-year contract, agent Mike McCartney told Packer Report on Wednesday morning.
Contracts can’t be signed until 5 p.m. (Central) on Friday.
A source confirmed what the Journal Sentinel reported this morning, that Crosby’s deal is worth $14.75, including $3 million guaranteed.
Signing Crosby was the Packers’ highest priority. There were no other kickers on the roster, including among the 16 undrafted free agents known to have agreed to terms with the Packers over the last couple of days. One of the top available rookies, however, was lined up to sign with the Packers had Crosby gone elsewhere, according to a source.
Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski is the NFL’s highest-paid kicker, at four years and $16 million. While Crosby’s contract isn’t at that level, the franchise number for kickers in 2010 — the average of the five highest-paid kickers — was $2.8 million. Crosby’s five-year average, if he plays out the contract, is $2.95 million.
Crosby hit 22-of-28 field goals last season, good for 78.6 percent — right in line with his career mark of 78.1 percent. All kickers in the NFL last season combined to convert 82.8 percent of their attempts. Lambeau Field, however, is one of the tougher stadiums to kick in, coach Mike McCarthy isn’t shy about using Crosby from long distance and he’s had a revolving door of holders, though that should be solved with a second year of punter Tim Masthay.
Where Crosby figures to make huge gains is on kickoffs, now that the starting point has been moved up 5 yards to the 35. Crosby averaged 14.3 touchbacks per season during his first three years but had just three last year as he was used to cover up the many flaws on the coverage unit.
“We tried to manipulate the ball a lot last year in terms of putting the ball on a specific point on the field, kicking with great hang time, hitting that hook shot down there that looks like a squib,” special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum told Packer Report during one of our lockout exclusives. “It was all about disrupting the rhythm and timing of the return. Our average starting point for opponents was not near what we want — the 29-yard line. The average kickoff return against us, we were 13th in the league. I think the starting point to me is very important and I would like to kick the ball deeper and try to move that starting point back 5 yards or 4 yards.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.