Measurables: 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.
2014 stats: 44.6 yards per punt (25th), 37.6 net YPP (29th), 25 punts inside the 20-yard line (17th).
Like most punters, Tennessee’s Britton Colquitt entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009. The Denver Broncos signed him but he didn’t make the final roster. He spent 2009 on with the Broncos and the Miami Dolphins practice squad.
In 2010, however, he made the Broncos final roster. Josh McDaniels chose to roll with the unproven youngster, after stints with Brett Kern and Mitch Berger didn’t work out. Following the end of McDaniels’ tumultuous reign, John Elway and John Fox decided to keep Colquitt around.
And it paid off for the Broncos bigtime in 2011, when Colquitt made it into the NFL record books for fifth-most punting yards in a single season, with 4,783. That was the Tim Tebow season, where it seemed like every possession ended in a punt, except for the last five minutes of the game.
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Following 2011, the Broncos tendered Colquitt as a restricted free agent. That kept him around for another year and it proved to be fortuitous for the former Volunteer, as he agreed to a three-year contract extension in the summer of 2013 that would pay him $11.7M, making him the highest-paid punter in the NFL.
It was a questionable move and one of the few decisions Elway has made as the Broncos front office guru that I could not wrap my brain around. Why pay a punter that kind of money, especially when your quarterback is Peyton Manning?
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It makes sense to pay to have one of the league’s top punters, when you’re quarterback is Tim Tebow and you’re leading the NFL in punting yards. But with Manning? I still can’t figure out why and how Elway came to that decision.
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Now in the second year of his contract extension, the pressure is on Colquitt—the ninth-highest paid player on the roster. His last two seasons (ever since he inked his new deal) have been below average and he’s on schedule to count for $3.75M against the team’s 2015 salary cap.
Denver signed YouTube sensation Karl Schmitz in the offseason to push Colquitt and thus far, things aren’t looking great for the seventh-year veteran. If Schmitz wins out and the Broncos cut Colquitt before the regular season starts, they would save $3M on the salary cap, with just $750K in dead money. It would be a small price to pay to shed Colquitt’s bloated salary and ridiculous contract.
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