Grading on a Salary Cap Curve: Specialists

In the 11th and final part of our series, we grade the performances of kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay and snapper Brett Goode. (Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY)

We’re taking a different spin on everyone’s favorite end-of-season exercise — player grades — by grading on a curve. Building a roster means building around the restraints of the salary cap, so our grades are based relative to the players’ salary-cap worth on the roster.

Our “Grading on a Salary Cap Curve” series concludes with the specialists. Salary cap figures are from a source with access to NFLPA salary data. Stats are regular season only unless noted.

Mason Crosby

2014 cap number: $3,400,000.

2014 recap: Crosby hit 27-of-33 field-goal tries and finished fourth in the league with 134 points. His 81.8 percent success rate ranked 23rd in the league among kickers with at least 16 attempts. Of course, three of those were blocked. Had he made two, his 87.9 percent accuracy would have tied for 10th. Had he made all three, his 90.9 percent accuracy would have ranked sixth and set a career high. Of the three misses that weren’t blocked, they came from 40, 48 and 50 yards. He also had two extra points blocked. In all, none of the five blocks were Crosby’s fault. In the playoffs, he hit all seven attempts — including a huge 48-yarder that sent the Packers to overtime in the NFC Championship Game. During the regular season, he hit 4-of-7 from 50-plus. That comes on the heels of 5-of-7 during his bounce-back 2013. He’s exceptional on kickoffs, with his ability to kick deep or into a corner. So, his 26th-ranked touchback rate of 40.2 percent was acceptable. Too bad the coverage was so bad, as his net kickoff distance of 41.2 yards ranked 28th. In terms of the salary cap, Crosby was the fourth-highest paid kicker in the league and one of only six kickers with a cap charge of more than $2.6 million, according to OverTheCap.com. He’s definitely not overpaid. Next season is his last under contract.

Season grade: B-plus.

Tim Masthay

2014 cap number: $1,240,000.

2014 recap: Masthay entered the 2014 season boasting the best career gross (44.3) and net (38.5) averages in franchise history and, in his four seasons, owned the best four net averages. It was more of the same for the first half of this season. He punted in six of eight games before the bye, with a kick of at least 53 yards in five games and a net average of at least 39.8 yards in four games. Then the wheels shockingly came off. In the final eight games, he had just one game with a net of better than 36.0 and only one punt longer than 50 yards. He finished the season with a gross average of 44.1 yards but a net of 37.0. Those ranked 30th and 32nd in the league. He had 14 inside-the-20 punts vs. four touchbacks for a ratio of 3.50-to-1, far below his career rate of 5.26. In a key number, 45.8 percent of his punts were returned this season, which ranked 23rd. Last year, it was a fourth-ranked 31.3 percent. Not that he was totally to blame, but he was one of four punters who had two punts blocked. In terms of the salary cap, Masthay was the 17th-highest paid punter in the league, according to OverTheCap.com. He’ll have to fight to save his job in training camp. He’s under contract through 2016 and he’d add $480,000 of dead money to the cap.

Season grade: F.

Brett Goode

2014 cap number: $836,250.

2014 recap: Goode is Mr. Reliable. Since joining the team in 2008, he’s played in all 112 regular-season games. He’s never had a snap that resulted in a block or other related chaos. For the first time in his career, he failed to record a tackle after averaging 2.0 in his previous six seasons. Next season is his last under contract.

Season grade: C.

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.


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