All right, we won’t have to worry about the punter position for a few more years. The Seahawks announced in the last week that they extended Michael Dickson for 4 years, $14.5 million. This is on top of his 2021 season that sees him making over $3 million, so we’re looking at one of the highest-paid punters in the NFL.
By the looks of it, I’m pretty sure Dickson – by total value and dollars per year – is second only to Johnny Hekker of the Rams, which feels about right. At the time of his next deal – assuming he’s still kicking ass and taking names – I would expect Dickson to be #1 overall. This is the price you pay for elite punting. And, as a guy who witnessed some atrocious punting by the Seahawks at times in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I can tell you this isn’t necessarily a place you want to skimp.
The Seahawks play a particular style of football that lends itself to rely on the punter more than, say, the Kansas City Chiefs. On top of this, as the Seahawks’ defense has trended steadily downward since the L.O.B. glory days, punting becomes quietly critical. The more field a mediocre defense gets to defend, the higher the likelihood that we turn touchdowns into field goals and field goals into punts by the other team. So, the more often a punter can help a defense – by booting the ball inside the 20 and 10 yard lines – the better the outcomes the Seahawks will have as a result. It’s all very scientific and analytical, I don’t want to bore you here.
The cool thing about having an elite punter is when the defense isn’t mediocre any longer. If everything happens as it’s supposed to – guys stay healthy, certain guys improve more to their potential, Jamal Adams signs his extension and plays this season – then the difference in yardage an elite punter can squeeze out of the Special Teams is enormous. That’s not just turning touchdowns into field goals and field goals into punts, but more drives into safeties and turnovers. Pinning a team deep in its own end – combined with the advantage of having fans in the stands again – can elicit at least comparisons to the glory days of Seahawks defense. Again, it’s all very technical and complex.
Anyway, I’m a fan. I’m a fan of this deal and I’m a fan of Big Balls Dickson. We got to enjoy Dickson for three years on a rookie deal, and he was set to get a huge raise anyway in 2021 since he made an All Pro in that time. The difference between a rookie deal and what he’s making now is about $3 million per year. In NFL parlance, that’s peanuts. I’m fine paying that figure if it means we get the best punter in the game through the majority of his prime punting years.