Justin Tucker

Ravens, Justin Tucker Agree To Extension

The Ravens are giving kicker Justin Tucker a four-year, $23.05MM extension, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will also include an $8MM signing bonus and $12.5MM fully guaranteed in the first two seasons. The mammoth deal sets new records in each of those categories for kickers. 

With the new deal, Tucker goes from uncertainty beyond 2019 to a deal that will keep him tied to Baltimore through the 2023 season. As he looks ahead to his 30th birthday in November, the new contract could secure him for the rest of his playing days. Then again, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, so he could go the Adam Vinatieri route and play well beyond this deal.

Last year, Tucker nailed 89.7% of his field goal tries, including 5 of 7 attempts from 50+ yards. For his career, Tucker owns a 90.1% field goal percentage with a 99.6% success rate on extra points.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Brown, Steelers, Broncos, Ravens

While the Antonio Brown saga might seem like it’ll never end, a resolution could actually be forced relatively soon. “The Steelers will try to trade Brown sometime during a five-day window that begins March 13, when the new NFL season opens, and March 17, the date on which the Steelers would have to pay him a $2.5 million roster bonus”, writes Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

It makes sense why the Steelers have no interest in paying him the roster bonus, and if that’s the case we should know where Brown will be playing next year within the next couple of weeks. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert confirmed yesterday that three teams have inquired about a trade for Brown. Having a set date they need to trade him by would seem to reduce Pittsburgh’s leverage in trade talks. League executives are already saying they don’t expect the Steelers to fetch more than a third round pick.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Broncos won’t be re-signing cornerback Tramaine Brock this offseason, according to Mike Klis of Denver 9 News. Klis also writes “the odds aren’t great for” fellow cornerback Bradley Roby being brought back, so Denver’s secondary will be undergoing a significant amount of turnover this offseason. Denver’s once vaunted ‘No Fly Zone’ is a thing of the past, and the team needs a young cornerback to develop next to Chris Harris Jr. Brock is 30, and coming off a down year, he could struggle to find a ton of interest on the open market. Roby was Denver’s first round pick back in 2014 and started 15 games last year, but has mostly been a disappointment and fallen out of favor with the front office.
  • The Ravens signed cornerback Tavon Young to an extension a couple of days ago, and they might not be done handing out new deals just yet. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, outside linebacker Matt Judon, and kicker Justin Tucker are all “logical candidates” for extensions as they prepare to head into the last years of their contracts, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tucker remains the league’s best kicker, so the team will almost certainly prioritize a new deal for him that should break records.
  • In case you missed it, the Patriots’ McCourty twins have both announced they plan to continue playing in 2019.

Ravens, Sign Justin Tucker To Extension

2:53pm: The Ravens have formally announced the deal.

2:31pm: And then there were five. The Ravens have struck a long-term extension for kicker Justin Tucker, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Tucker’s new deal is worth $16.8MM over four years, including $10.8MM guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Justin Tucker (vertical)

Tucker is now the highest-paid kicker in the NFL in terms of guaranteed money, topping Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots. However, he is still second to Gostkowski in terms of average annual salary.

[RELATED: Details On Von Miller’s Record-Breaking Contract]

Tucker, one of the league’s best kickers, already signed his franchise tender earlier this offseason, guaranteeing himself $4.572MM for the upcoming season. Talks appeared to be amicable until recently when Tucker was apparently offended by what was offered to him and said that he would not remain in Baltimore in 2017 without a deal. That’s all water under the bridge now as Tucker apparently has agreed to a deal that is satisfactory for him.

It has long been said that Tucker was looking to eclipse the four-year, $17.2MM pact signed by Gostkowski last year and he has succeeded. Tucker, 26, is entering his fifth season with the Ravens. For his career, Tucker has connected on 130 of 148 field-goal attempts (87.8%), with 12 of those 18 overall misses coming from 50 yards or longer. He has also nailed an impressive 10 game-winning field goals, including three in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Franchise Tag Contract Deadline Primer

**Updated Friday morning, 10:12am CT**

This afternoon, we’ll know the fates of seven franchise-tagged players for the 2016 season and beyond. If their respective teams do not sign them to long-term contracts by 4pm ET/3pm CT, Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, Chiefs safety Eric Berry, Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker will all play out the 2016 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Will some of these players will reach lucrative multi-year deals between now and Friday afternoon? Or could we see all seven players nudged towards free agency in 2017? Here’s a complete rundown of what’s happening with each of these seven players as the deadline approaches:

Franchise Tag With Text (vertical)

Von Miller, Broncos

This offseason, Von Miller went from Dancing With The Stars to wrestling with the Broncos. Naturally, there is strong mutual interest in a new multi-year deal between Denver and the reigning Super Bowl MVP and the two sides even seem to have agreed upon terms of about $114.5MM over six years. However, there remains a significant gulf between the two sides when it comes to guaranteed money and cashflow in the first couple of years. As we’ve seen before, NFL contract terms are often not what they appear to be on the surface. In this league, you can be promised a small fortune, but it doesn’t mean much unless a significant portion of it is guaranteed and comes early on in the deal when the team values you most. Von Miller (vertical)

Back in June, the Broncos offered up a six-year, $114.5MM deal with nearly $40MM guaranteed in the first two years. However, Miller wanted more in the way of guaranteed cash and wanted a higher payout in the first three years. Soon after, Miller doubled down on his threat to hold out in 2016 if he does not get the multi-year deal that he is after and his teammates say that he’s not bluffing. Would one of the league’s best defensive players and fiercest competitors really stay home all year long rather than chase another ring and earn more than $14MM? It’s hard to imagine, but there’s also considerable incentive for Miller to stick to his guns in this situation.

If Miller opts to sit out the 2016 season, the Broncos will only be able to use the non-exclusive franchise tag on him and will not have the exclusive franchise tag at their disposal. Typically, a team that is able to pry a player away on the non-exclusive tag would have to forfeit two first-round picks to the former team. However, per the terms of the CBA, the compensation price would drop from two first-round picks to a first and a third if Miller were to sit out. Some teams would consider forfeiting two first-round choices to land Miller and even more teams would mull it over if that price drops to a first- and third-round choice.

Reportedly, Miller still harbors resentment towards the Broncos for the way that talks have gone this offseason. However, things could be changing now that Denver has updated their offer to give Miller $70MM in “solid guarantees.”

Because of Miller’s holdout threat, there’s arguably more at stake for the Broncos than the other six teams negotiating with their franchise-tagged stars.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins

After a breakout 2015 season, Kirk Cousins wants to be paid like a top NFL quarterback. The Redskins, meanwhile, want to see him do it all over again in 2016 before committing major dollars to him across a five or six-year period.

Kirk Cousins (Vertical)After watching Brock Osweiler go from backup to baller this offseason, Cousins’ camp is salivating at his potential payday on the open market. For Cousins to forego a shot at free agency down the line, his agents are demanding $43.89MM in guarantees over the first two years of the pact, for starters. Wonder where that number comes from? That’s the combined value of the 2016 franchise tag ($19.95MM) and the franchise tag in 2017 ($23.94MM), if the Redskins were to use it again. If Washington wanted to go for an unprecedented three-peat of franchise tags, it would cost them $34.47MM (!) in 2018.

Cousins earned just $660K in 2015, making him one of the league’s very best values last year. Now, he’s looking to cash in on his next deal and he’s made it clear that he’s willing to bet on himself in 2016. As of this writing, the two sides are not expected to come to an accord by Friday afternoon.

Alshon Jeffery, Bears

Alshon Jeffery is regarded as one of the league’s top wide receivers – when he’s healthy. That’s likely the sticking point for the Bears, who want to see the 26-year-old give them a complete season before they give him enough money to buy his own private island. The 6’3″, 216-pound receiver missed six games during his rookie season because of hand and knee injuries. Last year, he sat out seven contests due to calf, hamstring, groin, and shoulder ailments. Alshon Jeffery (Vertical)

However, despite missing a good chunk of the 2016 season, Jeffery still racked up 54 catches for 807 yards and four touchdowns. Since his breakout campaign in 2013, the former second-round pick has averaged 89 receptions, 1,312 yards, and eight touchdowns per 16 games. Jeffery might not have a perfect attendance record, but he is a true game-changer when he is on the field.

Right now, it doesn’t sound like the Bears are going to get a deal done with Jeffery. GM Ryan Pace doesn’t have any qualms about moving on from players of the past regime and he could theoretically allow Jeffery to walk thanks to the presence of Kevin White.

Continue reading about the rest of this year’s franchise-tagged stars:

Read more

Ravens’ Justin Tucker Upset With Negotiations

5:29pm: Baltimore’s latest proposal to Tucker was not only for less than their past offers, but less than what the Packers are paying fellow kicker Mason Crosby, writes Schefter in a full-length piece. Crosby signed a five-year, $16.1MM deal in March that contained $5MM fully guaranteed.

5:19pm: Ravens franchise player Justin Tucker is so displeased with the tenor of contract negotiations that he’s promising not to re-sign with Baltimore after the 2016 season if no extension is reached by tomorrow’s deadline, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Justin Tucker

[RELATED: Reviewing the 2016 Baltimore Ravens offseason]

Tucker, one of the league’s best kickers, has already signed his franchise tender, guaranteeing himself $4.572MM for the upcoming season. And while he’s expressed that he won’t remain in Baltimore in 2017 and beyond if no deal is reached by Friday, the Ravens could simply franchise him if 2017 if need be. Of course, Tucker’s stance could be simply be posturing, as he’s reportedly looking to eclipse the four-year, $17.2MM pact signed by Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski last year. By forcing Baltimore to consider life without him in the next few seasons, Tucker may simply be attempting to gain some sort of leverage.

Tucker, 26, is entering his fifth season with the Ravens. For his career, Tucker has connected on 130 of 148 field-goal attempts (87.8%), with 12 of those 18 overall misses coming from 50 yards or longer. He has also nailed an impressive 10 game-winning field goals, including three in 2015.

Earlier today, PFR’s Zach Links rounded up the latest news about Tucker and the rest of the NFL’s franchise players. Each player must reach an extension by 3pm CT tomorrow or else be forced to play out the year under the tag.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Franchise-Tagged Players

Barring an unlikely change in momentum, extensions are not expected to be reached for franchise-tagged players Kirk Cousins, Eric Berry, Alshon Jeffery, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Trumaine Johnson, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Schefter’s latest word echoes other reports on these five players, but two names are conspicuously absent from this list: Von Miller and Justin Tucker. It’s not clear if the Broncos and Ravens are on the cusp of deals with their respective franchise-tagged stars, but their odds of reaching deals could be looking better than the rest of the pack at this time.

[RELATED: Download The Must-Have Trade Rumors App Today!]

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver BroncosAs Mike Florio of PFT notes, things have been eerily quiet when it comes to Miller and the Broncos, which could be an indication that talks are moving along behind the scenes. In recent weeks, the acrimony between the two sides has been leaking out to the press, so this recent lack of news could be taken as good news when it comes to these contract talks.

The Broncos could theoretically trade Miller if they are unable to reach a long-term deal with him in the next day or so, but the team is focused only on retaining him. Meanwhile, Miller’s threat to sit out the 2016 season reportedly remains “very real” and several teammates believe that he will spend the year at home if he does not get his way. Late last week, the Broncos improved their offer to Miller, giving him more in the way of guarantees and better cashflow in the early part of the deal. Those are the key issues left to resolve as the two sides have largely agreed on the framework of a six-year, $114.5MM deal.

As the Ravens franchise player, Tucker will make $4.572MM this year if he and the team don’t agree to a new contract by tomorrow’s deadline. Some believe that the two sides haven’t struck a deal yet because Tucker is likely looking to eclipse the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski as the NFL’s highest-paid kicker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Tucker, Raiders, Chargers

As the Ravens’ franchise player, kicker Justin Tucker will make $4.572MM this year if he and the team don’t agree to a new contract by the July 15 deadline. The two sides haven’t struck a deal yet because Tucker is likely looking to eclipse the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski as the NFL’s highest-paid kicker, according to Clifton Brown of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Gostkowski inked a four-year, $17.2MM pact that features $10.2MM in guarantees last summer, when he was 31. The 26-year-old Tucker is significantly younger than Gostkowski and has hit a higher rate of field goal attempts (87.8 percent to 87.3), albeit in 168 fewer tries. Both the Ravens and Tucker want to extend their relationship, writes Brown, who expects them to reach an agreement by next Friday’s cutoff.

Elsewhere around the AFC…

  • Big-money Raiders acquisition Bruce Irvin expects to reap the benefits of playing with superstar defensive end Khalil Mack, the ex-Seahawks linebacker told Eddie Paskal of the team’s website. “I think me being on the other side of him, I’m going to benefit a lot and get one-on-one situations, and I have to win those matchups.” That’s presumably why the Raiders awarded $19MM in guarantees to Irvin, who totaled 22 sacks in his four-year tenure in Seattle. Mack picked up 15 on his own in 2015, which was only his second season, but no other Raider had more than four. “He’s just a freak, man,” Irvin said of Mack. “He can play the run. He can rush. He can do all types of stuff, [he’s] the kind of guy you want to play with.” Mack ranked ahead of Von Miller as Pro Football Focus’ best edge defender last season and earned even higher marks as a run defender than as a pass rusher. Mack’s grade against the run (96.3) was far and away tops among edge defenders last year.
  • Center Trevor Robinson is a potential cap casualty for the Chargers this summer, reports Tom Krasovic of the San Diego-Union Tribune. By moving on from Robinson, the Bolts would save $2.3MM and take on just $75K in dead money. If the team keeps the 26-year-old, it could be after restructuring his deal, per Krasovic. Robinson, who’s still not 100 percent from a shoulder injury he suffered last season, made 13 starts in 15 appearances for the Chargers in 2015. San Diego has since added free agent pickup Matt Slauson and third-rounder Max Tuerk to the fray at center.
  • In case you missed it, the Jets and franchise-tagged defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson aren’t progressing toward a new contract.

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Harrison, Ravens

The NFL has made plans to interview all of the players (yes, Peyton Manning included) implicated in last year’s Al Jazeera America documentary, but not all of them are thrilled about it. Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who has clashed with commissioner Roger Goodell in the past, laid out his conditions for an interview on Instagram this week (sic):

I never had a bully before in my life and I’m DAMN sure not about to have one at this point,” Harrison wrote. “But since I’m a nice guy & don’t mind helping to clear the air in the name of the NFL Shield, I’ll do this interview. WITH THESE STIPULATIONS: The interview will be done at MY house. BEFORE training camp. On a date of MY choosing. AND Mr. Goodell must be present.

While we wait to see if the NFL agrees to the 38-year-old’s terms, let’s take a look at the rest of the AFC North:

  • Time is ticking on a potential long-term deal for the Ravens and franchise-tagged kicker Justin Tucker, CSNMidAtlantic.com’s Bo Smokla writes. The two sides have until July 15th to get something done and while Baltimore surely wants to hammer out a multi-year deal, the asking price is probably high. Tucker’s camp could be shooting to top Stephen Gostkowski‘s four-year, $17.2MM deal with $10.1MM guaranteed, which set the market for kickers last year. Right now, Tucker’s franchise tag carries a $4.5MM cap hit but that could be reduced through a long-term pact. Deadlines can spur action, but Smokla writes that there hasn’t been much movement on a deal in the last four months.
  • Mike Wallace, who joined the Ravens on a free agent deal this offseason, believes that he has actually improved since his days with the Steelers. “I think I’ve gotten better, even though (the) numbers don’t say so,” the 29-year-old Wallace said of his career since leaving the Steelers in 2013, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “I think I’ll get better this year, and I’ll show some people I have a lot up my sleeve.” In March, the Ravens inked Wallace to a two-year, $11.5MM deal with a $4.5MM signing bonus. He also due a $1MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2017 league year. His option for year two must be exercised or declined by the end of the 2016 league year.
  • The BengalsAndrew Whitworth showed he had plenty left in the tank last season, but he’s unsure if he’ll play beyond 2016.
  • The saga of ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to get more and more bizarre.

Ravens’ Tucker Confident About Extension

Earlier this offseason, the Ravens used the franchise tag on kicker Justin Tucker and he quickly accepted. Months later, Tucker still doesn’t have a long-term deal in place with the team. However, he says it’s only a matter of time before a new pact is hammered out. Justin Tucker (vertical)

[RELATED: Breshad Perriman Partially Tears ACL]

As of right now, there hasn’t been a whole lot happening, but there’s still time. Like I’ve said before, I’m optimistic that something will get done. It’s a matter of when, not if,” Tucker said (via Jake Lourim of The Baltimore Sun). “I know there’s a lot of things to juggle from their perspective, so all I can do is just be patient and let the process unfold how it’s going to unfold,” he said. “There’s no sense in complaining about it. I’m definitely in a very fortunate position, and I just hope that I can take this one year and turn it into four or five, or perhaps even more.”

Tucker, 26, is entering his fifth season with the Ravens. For his career, Tucker has connected on 130 of 148 field-goal attempts (87.8%), with 12 of those 18 overall misses coming from 50 yards or longer. He has also nailed an impressive 10 game-winning field goals, including three in 2015.

Although signing the franchise tender secures Tucker for the 2016 season, he and the Ravens could still reach a longer-term agreement anytime between now and July 15th. A year ago, we saw the Patriots use their franchise tag on Stephen Gostkowski, who signed the tender days later, then agreed to a multiyear contract on July 15th. The long-term extension reduced Gostkowski’s present-day cap hit while giving him a more significant guarantee up front. I’d expect the Ravens to explore a similar scenario for Tucker, who may be looking to exceed Gostkowski’s four-year, $17.2MM deal.

If no new deal is reached, Tucker will play out the 2016 season on a one-year, $4.572MM contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Justin Tucker Signs Franchise Tender

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has signed the franchise tender assigned to him last week, the team confirmed today (via Twitter). The move guarantees Tucker a base salary of $4.572MM for the 2016 season.Justin Tucker

[RELATED: Ravens place franchise tag on Justin Tucker]

Technically, Tucker had been a free agent while his franchise tender remained unsigned. But signing a franchised player requires parting with two first-round picks, so obviously the league’s other 31 teams would have stayed away from Tucker, making it logical that he wouldn’t waste much time signing the tender.

Although signing the franchise tender secures Tucker for the 2016 season, he and the Ravens could still reach a longer-term agreement anytime between now and July 15th. A year ago, we saw the Patriots use their franchise tag on Stephen Gostkowski, who signed the tender days later, then agreed to a multiyear contract on July 15th. The long-term extension reduced Gostkowski’s present-day cap hit while giving him a more significant guarantee up front. I’d expect the Ravens to explore a similar scenario for Tucker, who may be looking to exceed Gostkowski’s four-year, $17.2MM deal.

For his career, Tucker has connected on 130 of 148 field-goal attempts (87.8%), with 12 of those 18 overall misses coming from 50 yards or longer. He has also nailed an impressive 10 game-winning field goals, including three in 2015.

[RELATED: 2016 NFL franchise/transition tag recap]

Tucker and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins have now signed their franchise tenders. The other eight players who received franchise or transition tags earlier this week have yet to sign them.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.