As you've probably heard by now, the Patriots made a splash last night by signing kicker Stephen Gostkowski to a four year contract extension.
The extension will run through 2014, and will pay Gostkowski a total of $14 million, with an annual average of $3.5 million. There is a total of $5 million guaranteed, plus the $1.79 guaranteed to him under his restricted free agent tender in 2010. While the numbers indicate the deal is for four years and $14 million, the deal is essentially for five years and $16 million.
This is a great deal for Gostkowski, who by all accounts is one of the all-around best kickers in the game today. For argument's sake, compare Gostkowski's deal to that of Sebastian Janikowski. Early this year, Janikowski signed a contract worth $16 million over four years, with $9 million in guarantees. While Janikowski is the most powerful kicker in the league, Gostkowski is nearly 10% more accurate on his kicks over his career, and also has a powerful leg (and is a threat on kickoffs, which means bad field position for opponents).
Back in early July, here's what I had to say on the Gostkowski situation:
My feeling is that Patriots fans have been spoiled by having good kicking for the past 15+ seasons. The team went straight from Adam Vinatieri to Stephen Gostkowski, two Pro Bowl level kickers. It's easy to forget what having bad kicking is like. If you need to know what it's like, just ask any New York Jets fan.
Stephen Gostkowski is a top 5 kicker in this league, that is a fact. It's also a fact that kickers as good as Gostkowski are hard to find. With all of the drama that has been caused by Logan Mankins, Gostkowski, who certainly deserves a long term extension, has remained content with his one year tender. While he could complain and hold out like Mankins, he has remained a good citizen.
In my opinion, Gostkowski deserves a deal in the 4 year, $12 million range, or 5 year, $15 million. Obviously, we don't know what is going on with negotiations behind closed doors, but if one player deserves an extension, it's Stephen Gostkowski.
While the numbers are slightly richer than I originally predicted, there's no doubt that this is a great deal for both New England and Gostkowski.
Not to mention, Gostkowski handled the situation the right way. While it probably didn't see fair that he had to accept a restricted free agent tender, Gostkowski accepted it without any complaints or pissing, all in good faith that he would get a good contract. Gostkowski was a true professional about the situation, and got rewarded because of it.
Logan Mankins, take a hint.
And on a side note, isn't it nice to know that the Patriots don't even need to think about kicking until 2015, at the earliest?