FA Series Pt. 6: Mason Crosby

We provide the most in-depth look at the up-and-down career of Mason Crosby that you've ever seen. For his career, Crosby statistically is a below-average kicker. We look beyond the stats for you to decide whether the Packers should retain Crosby.

At some point, whether it's by the apparently forgotten art of negotiation or a court ruling, there will be football this year. That means there will be free agency.

The Green Bay Packers have 11 free agents — six of whom are unrestricted and five of whom may or may not be restricted, depending on the verbiage of the NFL's 2011 rules.

In this series, we will look at those players and tell you who should stay and who should go.

Up next is the second of the restricted/unrestricted free agents, kicker Mason Crosby.

"It's a weird situation," Crosby, the only free agent to attend Sunday's Donald Driver Softball Game, said after the game. "I've been trying to stay on the same routine that I normally do: Get in the weight room, go kick, play a little golf – the stuff I always do in the offseason. But the uncertainty of not knowing if I'm going to be restricted, unrestricted, waiting for the CBA to get figured out, there's a lot of us in the league right now, a lot of players that are in that position, and it's tough. I try to be optimistic, planning for it to get figured out, but for a guy in my position, the sooner we can get a deal done, the better."

About this series

Packer Report is examining the Packers' 11 free agents.

Part 1: Bigby, Spitz, Hall

Part 2: Backup safety Smith

Part 3: Veteran ILB Wilhelm

Part 4: Star DE Jenkins

Part 5: Inconsistent G Colledge

Crosby's attendance on Sunday suggests he wants to return and Green Bay's decision not to draft a kicker suggests it wants to re-sign Crosby. However, not once in his four NFL seasons has Crosby made even 80 percent of his field goals. After leading the NFL in scoring as a rookie in 2007 with 141 points on 31-of-39 accuracy on field goals (79.5 percent), Crosby's career has stagnated. He hit 79.4 percent in 2008, 75.0 percent in 2009 and 78.6 percent in 2010.

For comparison, kickers league-wide in 2010 combined to make 82.4 percent. Among kickers with at least 16 attempts last season, Crosby ranked 22nd in marksmanship.

To be fair, there were a few factors working against Crosby.

Because of his strong leg, coach Mike McCarthy is rarely shy about giving Crosby a chance. Of Crosby's career-low 28 attempts last season, 14 were from 40-plus yards. Of kickers with at least 16 attempts overall, only six were in that 50-plus percent category. Of those six, only three beat Crosby in overall accuracy: Carolina's John Kasay, San Diego's Nate Kaeding and Detroit fill-in Dave Rayner — none of which have to kick in the challenging conditions of Lambeau Field.

Kicking at Lambeau Field is an impossible-to-overlook factor.

For his career, Crosby is 75.7 percent at home compared to 80.6 on the road. While Crosby has made 53-of-70 field goals at home during his career, opposing kickers were 37-of-42 (88.1 percent) during those four years. The 28-attempt disparity is interesting — with Crosby 5-of-12 from 50-plus yards compared to just 2-of-3 for opposing kickers.

For another good comparison, look to Ryan Longwell. Longwell has made 83.5 percent of his field goals in 14 seasons. During six seasons in Green Bay, he hit 77-of-96 field-goal attempts at Lambeau Field (80.2 percent) — including just 18-of-32 (56.3 percent) from 40-plus yards.

Finally, there's been the revolving door at holder — which stems from a revolving door at punter. Assuming Crosby returns, that should be rectified with a second consecutive year with Tim Masthay as the punter and holder. Crosby finished the season strong, hitting 12-of-14 attempts, with the misses (29 yards against San Francisco and 50 yards in the playoffs against Atlanta) going off an upright.

Crosby has as much talent as any kicker in the league. This season, it's time to turn that potential into production.

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.

Packer Report Top Stories