Or Does He?Conflicting reports surfaced Tuesday with the Boston Globe reporting early that Patriot free agent placekicker and local deity Adam Vinatieri was changing agents, effective putting negotiations on hold.
Late in the afternoon, WEEI reported that Vinatieri had agreed in principle to a contract with one of New England's fiercest rivals, the Indianapolis Colts. ESPN's Len Pasquarelli was among several to confirm the agreement and said that the deal would be multiyear with a $3.5 million signing bonus.
If the reports are accurate, Vinatieri will replace Mike Vanderjagt, the most accurate placekicker in NFL history. Meanwhile, Vinatieri is regarded as possibly the most clutch kicker in NFL history, a crucial and a game-winning kick in the Snow Bowl -- the latter already regarded one of the greatest kicks in NFL history -- and two Super Bowl-winning kicks in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII.
Update [2006-3-22 8:49:38 by tommasse]:
Vinatieri dropped his agent, the Neil Cornrich Group, which had represented Vinatieri for many years, and hired Gary Uberstine. Cornrich was suspended by the NFL Players Association for a year, but Vinatieri stuck with the agency for some time. Cornrich?s Jonathan Hurst had been marketing Vinatieri, but the kicker switched to Uberstine apparently at the suggestion of Willie McGinest, according to the Globe.
The Colts deal was apparently the only concrete offer other than the Patriots, which was in their usual style of take-it-or-leave-it. The Green Bay Packers made only promises of making Vinatieri the highest paid kicker but would not offer numbers, and the Dallas Cowboys had been known to express an interest.
Vanderjagt remains available, and the Patriots had former Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings kicker Paul Edinger in for a visit Tuesday.
Kickers have notoriously been second-class citizens in the NFL until recently when Vinatieri and Vanderjagt, among others, have reminded many people of the difference a good kicker and a clutch kicker can make in a team?s fortunes. Still, many coaches and executives have been reluctant to spend big dollars on the position.
Vinatieri, 33, is 263 of 321 (81.9 percent) in field goals in his career. He was 20 of 25 (80.0 percent) last season. Broken down, he is 6 of 6 from within 20 yards, 103 of 107 (96.3) from within 30, 76 of 92 (82.6)within 40, 70 of 99 (70.7) within 50, and 8 of 17 (47.1) from 50 and beyond. He is 367 of 374 in extra points.
Vinatieri is 37 of 41 in his career in FGA in domes. His only misses are in Reliant Stadium in Houston (3 of 5 against Houston, 1 of 3 in Super Bowl XXXVIII against Carolina -- the 1 was the game-winner). He is 10 of 10 in Indianapolis home RCA Dome. He was also 2 of 2 in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans against the St. Louis Rams.
On Dec. 4 in a 16-3 win over the New York Jets, Vinatieri passed legendary Patriots placekicker Gino Cappelletti to become New England?s all-time leading scorer last season. He currently has 1,156 points to his credit. Cappelletti has 1,130 points. He is one of only two kickers (Jason Elam) to score 100 points or more in each of his first 10 seasons.
Vinatieri becomes the latest in a growing line of core players to leave the Pats following David Givens and McGinest, not to mention a few role players like Andre Davis and Tim Dwight, the latter of whom signed with the Jets on Tuesday, agreeing to a four-year deal which includes a $750,000 signing bonus.
The loss of Adam Vinatieri is ...
This poll is closed
devastating! What in the world are Belichick and Pioli doing?
not deadly, but pretty stunning. This is the end of the rope!
not the end of the world. There are more fish in the ocean.
insignificant. Just another day in the Belichick/Pioli Dynasty.