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Look, I hate to do this to you on a Friday, but we’re talking about kickers.
Listen, kickers score points, and that’s the name of the game, right? Well, football is the name of the game, but the OBJECTIVE in that game is to score points. Last year, kickers accounted for 22 of the top 24 overall scorers in the NFL (see if you can guess the two non-kickers without looking; I’ll have the answer at the bottom of this post). Jason Myers was 7th on that list with 129 points. Kickers generally score anywhere from a quarter to a third of a team’s total points. So, you know, you can’t say they’re not important.
I would also point you to Exhibit B: the Seattle Seahawks. You know, the team we all love, for better or for worse? The team that loves to slow the game down, run the ball, and grind out victories? Last year, all but 5 of our games (including the playoffs) were one-score games (and those 5 games were all blowout victories by the Seahawks). Meaning, obviously, all of our losses were one-score games at the end. 8 of those games (including the playoffs) were by 3 points or less.
Now, I don’t remember offhand how many of those losses we could’ve blamed on the kicker, but I feel safe in saying the Seahawks did have a mediocre one in Sebastian Janikowski. He wasn’t terrible, but we definitely could’ve used an upgrade.
Of course, we can’t talk about the Jason Myers signing – 4 years, nearly $15.5 million, with $7 million guaranteed – without mentioning that the Seahawks had him in camp LAST year, on a much more team-friendly deal, and cut him in favor of the veteran. That doesn’t necessarily amount to a hill of beans, as that deal was still of the 1-year variety, so if he did just as good last year, we very well may have had to pay him a mint to keep him anyway. But, it does speak to the organization realizing their mistake and not compounding it with more bad decisions.
What the contract looks like, in reality, is a 2-year deal for $8.1 million and $2 million in dead money, as he’ll be set to earn $3.35 million and $4 million respectively in 2021 & 2022. A lot can happen in the next two seasons, but if he manages to earn that money through his elite play, then ranking him as the 9th most important Seahawk after Russell Wilson might be too LOW!
Also, if I may show you Exhibit C: Blair Walsh. You want to know what happens when you undervalue and underestimate the importance of a kicker? You get a mentally defective head case who actively costs you enough games to keep you out of the playoffs.
Now, I can’t really guarantee you Myers will be great. But, compared to the rest of the league, it’s not like the Seahawks are OVER paying this guy. Indeed, if he turns out to be one of the best in the league, then his contract is a bargain (you could even say we’d be playing with Hausch Money!!!). But, his career has been a little rocky to date. You might argue the Jags gave up on him too soon after some misses in 2017, as his first two seasons prior to that were pretty solid. He followed that up with a Pro Bowl 2018 with the Jets, where he made 33/36 field goals (including 16/18 from 40 yards or more) and 30/33 extra points. You could sign me up for that RIGHT NOW and I would gladly accept!
I love the fact that he’s got a booming leg and he’s fairly accurate from 50+. You know how conservative the Seahawks can get at the end of a game, when we just need a field goal to win it (or put it into overtime). It seems like once we get to midfield with 60-90 seconds left, we’re doing everything in our power to get into “field goal range”. As an aside, you know what’s also in field goal range? THE ENDZONE!
Anyway, while I can’t guarantee he’ll be great, I CAN guarantee that he’ll be important. Whether that’s “Bad Important” or “Good Important” is all up to him.
(also, in case you were playing along, the two non-kickers were Todd Gurley (5th in total points with 132) and Alvin Kamara (tied for 13th in total points with 114).)