According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online, placekicker and unrestricted free agent Mason Crosby has agreed to a new 5-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. The deal is reportedly worth $14.75 million, which includes $3 million in guaranteed money.
“The contract puts Crosby in the upper echelon of kickers in the National Football League,” noted Silverstein, “just below top-paid kicker Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders.”
Silverstein also reminds fans that post-lockout rules prevent teams from signing unrestricted free agents until Friday a 6 p.m. Teams are, however, able to negotiate terms with free agents prior to that time.
This news will probably be received differently depending on which Packers fans you talk to.
Mason Crosby has spent his entire 4-year NFL career in Green Bay. Taken in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, he was widely considered the best college kicker that year. His main selling point has always been his strong leg, having a reputation for forcing touchbacks against his collegiate opponents.
The past few years with the Packers, however, have left something to be desired. Though some still consider his kickoff skills an essential part of his abilities, he has yet to break an 80% success rate in field goal attempts. His first two seasons in the NFL were his best in regards to his accuracy, but they have since dipped, with 2009 being Crosby’s worst season at only a 75% success rate.
This past season also saw a significant drop in the number of touchbacks by Crosby and the Packers; however, it’s unclear how much of that was due to special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum’s play calls.
It’s no secret that the Packers like what they have in Crosby despite the sometimes-overwhelming criticism from fans. They haven’t given him much (if any) competition in training camp outside of his first season, and their current lack of undrafted free agent signings at the position this year will seem to continue that trend.
Some had hoped Ted Thompson would try to sign placekicker Kai Forbath from UCLA, but a report indicates Forbath won’t be signing until healthy. Besides, it’s likely Thompson had planned to re-sign Crosby since the lockout began.