In the slow news that has been the off season in football, the Ravens finally did right by Undrafted Free Agent pick up Justin Tucker. I know, it’s just a kicker, so how important could that possibly be? You might think they’re not worth much, but let me offer a few stats for you.
In 2015, Justin Tucker had the highest percentage of touchbacks of any kicker with more than 2 kicks. He was a 85.1%. The second best was at 69.7%. That means that Tucker was roughly 16% better than his counterparts. That’s pretty incredible- for reference Devonta Freeman was about 18% better than Doug Martin last year. Tucker only allowed 11 return men to make a play on the ball last year. That’s .68 returns per game !
In regards to actually kicking field goals, wasn’t his usual self as he hit 82% of his kicks in 2015. Tucker is still second all time in career FG% (87.838). However, Tucker was still perfect (19-19) from inside 40 yards. His real struggle was that he was only 4/10 from 50+. That being said, only 6 players had more 50 FG than Tucker in 2015.
It’s tough to predict what a kicker will do from year to year. After all, Rob Bironas made 22 FG in 2006, 35 in 2007, 29 in 2008 and dropped to 24 in 2010. Kicker may be the most volatile position in the NFL, so when you can lock someone up for the long term, why not.
In the end, the Ravens agreed on 4 years, $16.8 million with $10.8 guaranteed. In all reality, they didn’t spend too much, given that they could have used the franchise tag on Tucker again next year, and would have payed him $9 million anyway. In essence, they’ve got Tucker for an extra 2 years by adding $1.8 million in guarantees. That’s a deal that is reasonable for both sides; especially for a guy who has hit 94% of his FG attempts under 50 yards.
What do you think about this deal? Tucker is one of the elite kickers in the NFL, but are kickers worth the money? I’m sure the Patriots (and Adam Vinatieri) would argue that a kicker is worth every penny.