Mason Crosby to Sign 5-Year Deal with Green Bay Packers

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Mason Crosby
Fans could have split feelings on Mason Crosby's new 5-year deal with the Packers.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online, placekicker and unrestricted free agent Mason Crosby has agreed to a new 5-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. The deal is reportedly worth $14.75 million, which includes $3 million in guaranteed money.

“The contract puts Crosby in the upper echelon of kickers in the National Football League,” noted Silverstein, “just below top-paid kicker Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders.”

Silverstein also reminds fans that post-lockout rules prevent teams from signing unrestricted free agents until Friday a 6 p.m. Teams are, however, able to negotiate terms with free agents prior to that time.

This news will probably be received differently depending on which Packers fans you talk to.

Mason Crosby has spent his entire 4-year NFL career in Green Bay. Taken in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, he was widely considered the best college kicker that year. His main selling point has always been his strong leg, having a reputation for forcing touchbacks against his collegiate opponents.

The past few years with the Packers, however, have left something to be desired. Though some still consider his kickoff skills an essential part of his abilities, he has yet to break an 80% success rate in field goal attempts. His first two seasons in the NFL were his best in regards to his accuracy, but they have since dipped, with 2009 being Crosby’s worst season at only a 75% success rate.

This past season also saw a significant drop in the number of touchbacks by Crosby and the Packers; however, it’s unclear how much of that was due to special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum’s play calls.

It’s no secret that the Packers like what they have in Crosby despite the sometimes-overwhelming criticism from fans. They haven’t given him much (if any) competition in training camp outside of his first season, and their current lack of undrafted free agent signings at the position this year will seem to continue that trend.

Some had hoped Ted Thompson would try to sign placekicker Kai Forbath from UCLA, but a report indicates Forbath won’t be signing until healthy. Besides, it’s likely Thompson had planned to re-sign Crosby since the lockout began.

Only time will tell if Thompson made the right move. No matter what happens, though, this signing will be looked back upon in the next few years as a critical moment in Green Bay’s kicking game.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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  • aussiepacker

    It was always pretty much a given that they would resign Crosby, But i am surprised at the length of the contract. But contract length doesn’t really mean much these day’s just ask Nick barnett.

  • Tarynfor 12

    So there it is,TT has more faith in Crosbys leg than James Jones hands.

    • Chad Toporski

      Hah! Love the perspective, Taryn.

  • Kuhn

    After the John Ryan punter fiasco I am ok with keeping a decent (but not spectacular) kicker unless a guaranteed upgrade is available. His stats are a bit dicey since a lot of his misses were toss ups from ridiculous distances. I know we as fans ave come to expect 50yd field goals, but those are still pretty tough to hit.

  • Ron LC

    I can only hope a substantial part of his payout is attached to making kicks when the game is on the line.

  • Mojo

    I’m not so much against keeping him,but the price seems way to high. Did we really need to give him a $3mm signing bonus? He’s definitely not one the leagues upper echelon kickers. Shank-you very much.

    • Chad Toporski

      I think this is the crux of the concern here. Re-signing Crosby is fine, but is he really worth that much?

  • Tarynfor 12

    Interesting stat…97/116 inside the 50 for a 83.6%.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      And that puts him in the bottom 20th percentile among NFL kickers.

  • Thomas Hobbes

    Well for one, he’s probably one of the top free agent kickers this year and second I would think that Crosby’s touchback percentage has dropped in part because the special teams has been so terrible that Crosby has been asked to kick the ball everywhere but to the returner, but hey that happens when you go up against Devin Hester and Percy Harvin 4 times a year.

  • FireMMNow

    he got paid like a top five kicker and he is not a top five kicker. TT overpaid for continuity. Crosby finished the season 9 for 10 but is that the new mason or an aberation. it will take me a long time to feel comfortable with him when the game is on the line.

  • PackersRS

    Lol at the choosed photo.

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al
  • DaveK

    He was 12/14 in the last 12 games of last season which included the playoffs. His two misses hit the post. He is inches from being perfect down the stretch last year. Plus, the rule change makes a strong legged kicker like Crosby (and not Longwell or Viniteri) more valuable. Did TT overpay? Maybe, but that is probably what it took to get him signed so quickly. Is $500-$750K per year really that more important then going into camp without a kicker you can trust? It’s not a normal offseason and camp starts in just a few days. I’ll take a slightly overpaid Crosby and peace of mind over dinking around with rookie kickers and/or washed up vets who would cost about as much any day.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Good job Dave, that is the ONLY rational argument one can make in Crosby’s defense. But as FireMMNow said above? Which is the real Crosby. the one from the last 12 games last year, or the one from the rest of career? Obviously, we are going to find out…

      • DaveK

        It doesn’t seem to me that 12 games is a very small sample size. Besides, any established vet on the market was going to get about that amount. (see longwell and Mare contracts)Given that I find it hard to believe this is really about cap space. The Packers needed a kicker. A strong legged one to boot(pun intended)per the new rule change. Are we really going to quibble that TT over-paid by what…$500,000 a year? It’s not like they have a bunch of time work out kinks with a rookie kicker. More important to lock in with a reliable kicker then save $500,000 a year in cap space.

        • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

          I’m mostly indifferent to what they paid him. My big complaint is that despite mediocre performances, they did not bring any other kickers into camp to at least look at an alternative. That’s how Ryan Longwell got into the NFL.

  • Mr. Bacon

    Ted Thompson knows how to build Super Bowl winning teams. I trust Ted Thompson.

  • Adam Czech

    Was there a good alternative to Crosby? Not that I can think of. Crosby had some leverage here. TT overpaid, but what else was he going to do? TT also overpaid for Clifton last year because there was no reliable alternative (unless you thought Bulaga could man the second most important position on the field as a rookie). Overpaying for Clifton worked out, hopefully overpaying for Crosby does too.

    Check out Longwell’s new deal in MN. It’s actually better than the one he signed five years ago. Kickers have some good leverage during this free agent frenzy.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      If you don’t take a look, you don’t know. Longwell was a “camp leg” and won the starting job, correct?

    • Chad Toporski

      I think the Packers painted themselves in a corner. If they were going to keep Crosby, they should have extended him before the end of last year. Like you said, Crosby had the leverage here. Sure, the Packers could take their chances, but I don’t think they’d be willing to do that when trying to defend their champion status.

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        Problem with extending Crosby lat season is that they would have gone over the cap for this year (they were only 62K under), plus they didn’t know if Crosby would be a restricted FA (6 year rule) or a UFA (4 year rule).

        You can say that they didn’t know the cap would be lower, either, but TT didn’t get where he is by making moves that could backfire on technicalities.

        I’m fine with them signing Crosby now, and I’m fine with the numbers — probably 6 or 7 million will be in year 4 and 5 roster bonuses and inflated salary that Crosby will never see.

        • DaveK

          MM mentioned today they wanted to extend Crosby last year but they had trouble with the 30% rule due to the end of the CBA. No idea what that means….