Sam Koch

Ravens P Sam Koch Announces Retirement

Sam Koch punted for the Ravens for the past 16 seasons, but the team’s longest-tenured player will not stay on in that role. The soon-to-be 40-year-old specialist announced his retirement Thursday (video link).

A former sixth-round pick out of Nebraska, Koch has been with the Ravens since Brian Billick‘s tenure. He punted in 256 games with the team, suiting up more times as a Raven than anyone in franchise history. Aaron Rodgers is the only active player to have been with his team longer than Koch.

The Ravens used one of their six fourth-round picks on a punter, Penn State’s Jordan Stout. He is poised to take over alongside Justin Tucker. Koch and Tucker formed one of the league’s top special teams duos for the past 10 seasons. While Tucker is on a smooth track to the Hall of Fame, Koch made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and holds the franchise record for games played by a significant margin.

Although Ray Lewis played 17 seasons, multiple injury-marred campaigns limited the Hall of Fame linebacker to 228 games — third in team history. Koch passed Terrell Suggs for the most games played as a Raven in 2020. Koch signed six contracts as a Raven, his most recent — a two-year, $4.95MM pact — that year. One season remained on the veteran’s deal.

Koch will spend what was to be his age-40 season as a kicking consultant with the team, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Much of his time will go to mentoring his successor.

Titans, P Kern Rework Contract

With Titans’ punter Brett Kern heading into the final year of his contract, he’s agreed to terms with Tennessee to take about a $1MM pay cut, according to Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter). The longtime Titan was set to earn $3.2MM to complete a four-year, $12.65MM deal, but will now make $2.2MM for the 2022 NFL season. 

The 14-year veteran is Tennessee’s longest-tenured player and has spent all but one of his NFL seasons in Tennessee after signing as an undrafted free agent in Denver. There are only four punters older than Kern and only Sam Koch, Andy Lee, and Dustin Colquitt have been in the league longer.

The three-time Pro Bowler’s play has dipped a bit in recent years. Since it’s mostly a result of the team’s offensive ability and a more successful offense can lower the number of a punter’s opportunities, it can be hard to truly gauge a punter’s play. Still, Kern pinned the opposing team’s offense inside the 20-yard line only 18 times last year, his lowest season total since his rookie season as a Bronco. He also missed three games for the second consecutive year.

Kern’s initial salary of $3.2MM would’ve made him the highest paid punter in the 2022 season (before Jake Bailey‘s proven performance bonus). With the updated number down to $2.2MM, Kern ranks as the ninth-highest paid punter for the upcoming year. The extra $1MM for Tennessee will grant them a bit of wiggle room for cap spending.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/9/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed to reserve/futures deal: QB/WR Joe Webb

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/30/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: K Sam Koch

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: C Ryan Groy; Groy remains on IR

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ravens Sign Sam Koch To Extension

Sam Koch isn’t going anywhere. The punter is staying put in Baltimore with a two-year extension, the Ravens announced in a tweet.

Koch still had a year left on his previous deal, so Baltimore was being proactive here. The Ravens have been aggressive the past few days, landing Calais Campbell in a surprising trade with the Jaguars and doling out big money to free agent defensive lineman Michael Brockers. Koch might get overshadowed by Baltimore’s other specialist, league-best kicker Justin Tucker, but he’s been a reliable option himself.

A sixth-round pick all the way back in 2006, Koch has been with the team for the past 14 seasons. He’s never reached elite status but has been solid the entire time, earning the only Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods of his career in 2015. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately available, but we’ll pass those along to you as soon as we get them. The Nebraska product will turn 38 in August, and it’s possible this extension takes him right into retirement.

Ravens Notes: Yanda, Osemele, Flacco, Tucker

Although the Ravens took care of one impending free agent contract yesterday — locking up punter Sam Koch to a five-year extension worth $18.75MM — the club’s roster still contains several key players who will head into the year on expiring contracts, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. I profiled the two most prominent FAs-to-be, guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele, earlier this year, and Wilson adds that while no deal is imminent with either player, Osemele could end up being the odd man out given his injury history, including a significant back ailment suffered just last season.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Kicker Justin Tucker is another candidate for a multi-year deal, according to Wilson, who writes that the former undrafted free agent could eventually become the highest-paid kicker in the league, garnering more than $9MM in guarantees. At the minimum, the Ravens would use the franchise tag on Tucker next season, but it sounds like the two sides would like to work to come to an agreement.
  • The Ravens are expected to attempt to restructure the contract of quarterback Joe Flacco between now and the start of the new league year in March 2016, writes Wilson within his story on Koch’s extension yesterday. The news is unsurprising, as Flacco’s 2016 cap number of $28.55MM is projected to be the second-highest in the league. Flacco obviously wouldn’t be sacrificing any money, but a simple restructure — converting a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus — should be able to give Baltimore some breathing room.
  • The primary motive in negotiating a long-term deal with Koch wasn’t to clear out cap space for 2015, per Wilson. I had included Koch among the AFC North candidates for release earlier this week, speculating that the Ravens might to like to clear out, or at least reduce, Koch’s 2015 cap charge of $3.1MM (although I ultimately predicted he would not be cut). However, Wilson reports that the extension was instead aimed at solidifying the contract status of a well-respected veteran, meaning the deal can be viewed more as a reward than a financial maneuver. (It should be noted, though, that Koch’s cap number for next year will decrease by $700K; Wilson has the entire breakdown of the deal here.)

Ravens, Sam Koch Agree To Extension

The Ravens and punter Sam Koch have reached a verbal agreement on a five-year contract extension, the team announced today (via Twitter). Prior to agreeing to new deal with the team, Koch had been set to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Koch’s new five-year extension is worth $18.75MM, including a $4MM signing bonus, $7.3MM in guarantees, and $16.25MM in new money. That overall figure includes the 32-year-old’s $2.5MM base salary for 2015, so it looks like the deal will be worth $18.75MM over six total years, keeping the veteran punter under team control through the 2020 season.

Koch, a sixth-round pick out of Nebraska back in 2006, has been the Ravens’ regular punter since joining the team, with over 700 regular season attempts for the franchise. He set a career high in 2014 by averaging 47.4 yards per attempt, and his 42.9 net yards average tied for the NFL lead.

Under his old deal, Koch had been in line for a $3.1MM cap charge in 2015 — his $2.5MM base salary, along with a $600K portion of his prorated signing bonus. The new deal will add $800K in prorated bonus money, but I’d expect the team to reduce the punter’s base salary for the year, perhaps slightly lowering his cap hit.

Ravens Notes: Forsett, Yanda, Ngata, Rice

Under new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, the Ravens will be staying in the zone-running system that worked so well in 2014, which means running back Justin Forsett could prove most valuable to Baltimore when free agency opens, as Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun writes. There has been some speculation that the tailback could follow Gary Kubiak to the Broncos, but Kubiak has a history of turning bargain backs into stars and he could try to do that all over again in 2015.

Let’s check in on a few other Ravens-related items….

  • A contract extension for guard Marshal Yanda makes too much sense for the club and the four-time Pro Bowler not to make something happen this offseason, writes Jamison Hensley of Yanda is entering the final year of his contract, and as Hensley suggests, by offering him a four-year deal in the range of $30MM, the team could lock him up for the next few seasons and reduce his $8.45MM cap hit for 2015.
  • In a separate piece for, Hensley examines whether or not punter Sam Koch is in danger of being a cap casualty, ultimately predicting that Baltimore will keep Koch despite his $3MM+ cap hit.
  • In his look at major salary cap and contract questions facing AFC teams, former agent Joel Corry of leads off by exploring whether defensive lineman Haloti Ngata will agree to restructure his contract or accept a pay cut. The Ravens would create $8.5MM in cap savings by releasing Ngata if the two sides don’t reach a compromise.
  • At one time, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report was nearly positive that Ray Rice wouldn’t play in the NFL again. Now, after speaking to multiple team executives in recent weeks, Freeman is far less certain. One GM tells the Bleacher Report scribe that the former Ravens running back will “100% be on a team” in 2015. However, the Ravens may not see Rice next season — per Freeman, most of the teams thinking hard about signing the veteran are in the NFC.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Browns

The Bengals could scour free agency this offseason for a backup quarterback, but don’t expect the team to look at a high-end free agent like Michael Vick to push Andy Dalton. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the Bengals don’t have any interest in the prospective free agent, and adds that the club doesn’t want to “shake Dalton’s faith” by injecting Vick into the mix.

Here are a few more items from around the AFC North:

  • There’s still a “great gap to bridge” in negotiations between the Ravens and free agent left tackle Eugene Monroe, tweets Jason La Canfora of Talks continue between the two sides, with the team hoping to lock up Monroe before the free agent period.
  • La Canfora adds in another tweet that he wouldn’t be shocked if Dennis Pitta and the Ravens reach a multiyear contract agreement before the franchise tag is necessary, or perhaps shortly after tagging him. In other words, it doesn’t sound like he expects the situation to reach a point where an arbitrator needs to make a decision on Pitta’s position (tight end or wide receiver).
  • Punter Sam Koch is a potential cap casualty for the Ravens, but with the salary cap increase expected to be larger than originally anticipated, the team could potentially carry Koch’s $2.8MM number, writes Jamison Hensley of
  • In the wake of D’Qwell Jackson’s somewhat surprising release, Tony Grossi of takes a look at a few other players with whom the Browns may part ways in the near future.